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Intelligence and evolution - limits and possibilities

 Natural evolution is the fundamental mechanism of persistent existence of non-equilibrium systems . It is the mechanism for non-equilibriu...

 Natural evolution is the fundamental mechanism of persistent existence of non-equilibrium systems. It is the mechanism for non-equilibrium systems to adapt to a changing environment, creating and maintaining the living state. A fundamental feature of natural evolution is that because the adaptation process operates according to random changes, evolution functions without purpose. The selection of the different variants that form during evolution is naturally made by the environment based on their functional fitness to the environment. Another important feature of natural evolution is that because its process involves the accumulation of information, it produces increasingly complex systems

Remarkable similarities in behavior can be observed between human intelligence and natural evolution. Our own problem-solving thinking works in a similar way to natural evolution, they both form increasingly complex structures by accumulating information, and despite the capabilities that intelligence allows for forward-looking operation and planning of changes, the process of adaptation of human intelligence-driven systems to a changing environment and their development is mostly guided by selection by the environment rather than directly achieving defined goals or objectives through the ability of the intelligence present. Similar to natural evolution, the survival of human intelligence-driven organizations typically happens by their operations according to finding solutions to problems that have appeared and actually exist, survival is typically not ensured by avoiding problems with intelligent foresight. 

The functional difference between systems that operate by natural evolution and those that operate by human intelligence is that in the case of adaptation by the presence of human intelligence, the random changes that characterize natural evolution are increasingly complemented by changes brought about by the growing knowledge of the intelligence present, and therefore the evolutionary process in the presence of intelligence is a modified form of natural evolution, the function of directed evolution. However, similar to natural evolution, in directed evolution the fitness of the resulting variants is still typically determined, and the selection is made by the (human) environment according to its suitability to the environment, the direction of development generally not being consciously defined by the present intelligence. 

Human intelligence is obviously and in practice capable of functioning according to planned progress, which can be characterized by the property that the process of development, i.e. the creation of increasingly complex systems, is carried out in order to achieve predefined goals. For example, it is only possible to create a microprocessor with the mechanism of planned progress. The development of the microprocessor was clearly the result of an activity to generate development towards a well-defined goal, characterized by the suitability of variants selected by their suitability to the defined goal. 

We are obviously capable of acting according to planned progress, but we seem to be incapable, for example, of dealing with the problem of climate change according to planned progress, i.e. of solving climate change intelligently once we have recognized the problem, or even better, of preventing the climate change that threatens us by using our intelligence in a forward-looking way. 

With sufficient knowledge and intelligence, planned progress based on foresight works in some cases, but human behavior in societies is typically determined more by how natural evolutionary processes work. Our ability to solve problems collectively does not typically allow humanity to avoid problems. Why is that?

Why does the social behavior of communities of intelligent people tend toward problem solving according to natural evolution? Why are we socially unable to avoid problems, why is the role of intelligent reasoning in social behavior diminishing? Why are we unable to operate at more complex levels of social organization on the basis of planned progress? What is needed to maintain planned progress at more complex levels of social organization? How might we become capable of doing so?

Building microprocessors is a complex operation, the people involved in carrying out the task typically form a coherent group, and the intention and will of the team of experts with the relevant knowledge to carry out the goal typically tend to be in the same direction. Human society is made up of a multitude of people, it is a diverse community, and leading diverse communities toward a goal is a much more complex task than operating a coherent group of experts. Even when the common goal is clear and the tasks to be performed to achieve it are well defined, the intention and will of the individuals involved in carrying out the operation typically do not tend in the same direction, and typically function toward the achievement of individual self-preservation rather than consciously toward the actions necessary to achieve the defined goal. The process of adaptation of non-equilibrium systems to a changing environment formed by selfish building blocks functions according to the competitive operation of natural evolution, with only an emergent consequence of increasing complexity, and the process of intelligent problem solving also typically functions more by natural selection. Like natural evolution, the development of human society is typically determined by the realization of currently existing individual interests, rather than being guided by societal foresight.

However, cooperative functioning is also an obvious consequence of the natural evolutionary development of living systems. Human society also could not function without the cooperative behavior of its members.

Cooperative behavior cannot be achieved by simply pursuing the individual interests that exist at the moment. Examination of the phenomenon suggests that cooperative behavior, which has evolved in an evolutionary manner, is fundamentally sustained by the individual benefits derived from reciprocal altruism. The organization of human society, which requires cooperation, is also driven by the individual benefits of reciprocal altruism. 

However, the necessary condition for community-wide cooperation to function, for cooperation to be effective and sustainable in the long run, is that there be active reciprocal altruism among all members of the community. The reason we cannot effectively address and solve global climate change is that although the goal is clear and the path to achieve it can be defined by experts, the society-wide reciprocal altruism needed to achieve it has not been created and the global cooperation needed to achieve the goal has not been formed. 

The reason for this obstacle is obvious. Even in the case of conscious acceptance of the common goal existing in the human community, the personal intentions and self-preservation actions of the individuals forming the community are different (often in a way that contradicts each other), they do not act in the same direction, therefore the reciprocal altruism involving the entire society does not take shape, and it prevents effective problem solving even in the presence of intelligence. 

In human society, the practical methods of achieving common goals are typically based on the control of individual personal will by external force, through democratically or less democratically created and enforced regulations and laws. The instrument of law works in human societies, but because it is typically not emergent, or because it is not necessarily a naturally evolving regulation, obedience to these rules does not follow naturally for the people who make up the society, those who possess their own will. 

Is it possible to create an operation in a community of intelligent people that leads to a natural formation of the rules governing community cooperation, and which can form the emergent reciprocal altruism throughout the community, and as a consequence lead to effective cooperation?

The solution requires that personal free will prevail in a way that does not aim at the realization of (conflicting) personal interests. Experience has obviously shown that none of the current methods of social governance are suitable for achieving this goal. It is not a practical result of the operation of any currently applied method of social governance that the emergent consequence of its operation is the development of reciprocal altruism for the members of society. The operation of religions may be characterized by the community-wide intention of reciprocal altruism, but the practical operation of religions by human intentions does not necessarily lead to the development of reciprocal altruism for the whole community, and thus does not necessarily lead to the emergence of an effective society.

Can there be a method of social governance that works for a society of intelligent individuals, and whose operation has as a necessary consequence the emergent formation of reciprocal altruism? This is certainly the most fundamental question for the survival and development of humanity. A social governance system capable of generating reciprocal altruism globally in societies could also be used to operate according to the planned progress method.

Human communities are hierarchical; the will of the individuals who make up the community is not equally present in shaping the behavior of the community. Authoritarian systems in particular, but also representative democracies, tend to operate according to the individual will or the interests of a narrow group, the elite, to achieve their goals. 

Since the individual goals of the elite, which are essentially aimed at self-preservation, are not necessarily the same as the goals required for the effective development of the community, their goals, as realized in practice by the society, often lead to problems for the society, which necessarily leads to methods of operation according to natural or directed evolution, and does not necessarily lead to evolution towards goals that produce beneficial results for the society, but to forcing the necessary solution of problems that arise in the course of operation. The operation of the models of social governance currently in use does not necessarily imply the need for reciprocal altruism, especially for the elite that determines social goals.

The problem of the development of human society, the obstacle to the emergence of effective cooperation throughout society, the obstacle to the emergence of global reciprocal altruism is the use of an elitist model of social governance. There is a proposal for a model of social governance without elites among the thoughts, which could lead to the emergent formation of global reciprocal altruism

Social governance without elites is a necessary but not the only sufficient condition for society to achieve its intended development. Even if reciprocal altruism can be achieved through an appropriate model of social governance, the definition of the goals of planned progress is typically not an emergent feature. However, the effectiveness of planned progress is also fundamentally determined by the quality of community thinking, the recognition of goals through community cooperation.

How to achieve community thinking? How did the microprocessor come about? 

The direction of the planned progress can be determined by the competent expertise working in cooperation. Therefore, a knowledge-based society, the effective application of knowledge is a prerequisite for an effective society

Natural evolution's solution for the adaptation of the biosphere, a global living system of living organisms, to a changing environment, is the emergent formation of equilibrium based on the competitive functioning of its living building blocks. For human society, as a global living organism composed of intelligent individuals, the emergence of environmental equilibrium based on the competitive functioning of its building blocks is an inappropriate mode of operation. In the case of humanity, the presence of intelligence makes possible the rapid use of resources in a way that makes the emergent formation of a state of equilibrium impossible. The development of the equilibrium necessary for the survival of humanity can be brought about by the knowledge-based functionality of reciprocal altruistic cooperation. This is the only sustainable future for humanity.

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