There are many people who think and work at understanding how our mammalian brains work. Some approach the problem by trying to figure out what each neuron is doing. Others attempt to find which region of the brain is active for any particular activity. Sorry, there is no region of the brain dedicated to just thoughts of Pamela Anderson. There are regions that activate when we think of her, but they are multipurpose and get used for other things and other people too.
NOTE: The mammalian brain is multi-functional. That is, much of it is dedicated or programmed for this task or that, but can be put to use for other things if the situation calls for it. Paraplegics do not simply stop using the parts of their brains which previously were used for controlling their limbs and dealing with nerve signals from those limbs. The extent of brain re-use is (To My Knowledge) unknown.
Remember that TMK part, I'll use it again.
We have found regions of the brain that are sort of hardwired for certain purposes. There are many websites to tell you what the human brain map looks like. When you look at it, it begins to look a lot like a machine - this part does that, that part does this and so on. Why should it be that it is divided up like this? The brain seems to be made up of cells which are not much different than any of the other cells in the brain, so why should this area be different in usage from that area? How did it get that way?
- The simple answer to how is 'evolution'
- The simple answer to why is 'accident'
To be more intelligent we (it would seem) need only to feed more energy to our brains. This is partially true in that more brain function will require more energy. The trouble is that the body is a system, not simply interconnected units. To feed the brain more energy and have it use that energy requires fine tuning of the entire system, not simply taking a brain energy pill. Saying it that way doesn't even begin to give credence to the systems which support our brains. Generally they are optimized already and pushing them harder will cause a break down somewhere else or simply fail to work. This optimization takes into account the fact that other parts of the supporting systems may in fact not be optimal.
Before continuing, lets look at what intelligence is... as far as we know:
- Wikipedia says: Intelligence is an umbrella term describing a property of the mind including related abilities, such as the capacities for abstract thought, understanding, communication, reasoning, learning, learning from past experiences, planning, and problem solving. Intelligence is most widely studied in humans, but is also observed in animals and plants. Artificial intelligence is the intelligence of machines or the simulation of intelligence in machines.
- Dictionaries might say: capacity for learning, reasoning, understanding, and similarforms of mental activity; aptitude in grasping truths,relationships, facts, meanings, etc.
In effect we can boil it down to this. The body is a support system for the brain. Intelligence does not require a body or even 5 sensory inputs - see Stephan Hawking and Helen Keller for examples of why I say that. Intelligence exists within the brain.
I think of intelligence as the ability and capacity to acquire, manipulate, and consume information. I don't think you can make it simpler than that. If you make it more complex then you are trying to apply this simple definition to some task or group of tasks.
Given this very small definition of intelligence we can take it and theorize other things from this which may or may not follow traditional thoughts on intelligence:
- Intelligence is useless without information
- Intelligence is not information
- Intelligence without new and changing information is 'probably' useless