TED | An equation for intelligence by Alex Wissner-Gross

December 10, 2013

“Is there an underlying mechanism for intelligence? Yes, intelligence consistently tries to maximize diversity of future options,” says Alex Wissner-Gross, PhD. (credit: iStock)

TED | What is the most intelligent way to behave? Wissner-Gross explains how the latest research findings in physics, computer science, and animal behavior suggest that the smartest actions, from the dawn of human tool use all the way up to modern business and financial strategy, are all driven by the single fundamental principle of keeping future options as open as possible.

Consequently, he argues, intelligence itself may be viewed as an engine for maximizing future freedom of action. With broad implications for fields ranging from management and investing to artificial intelligence, Wissner-Gross’s message reveals a profound new connection between intelligence and freedom.

Wissner-Gross is a scientist, inventor, and entrepreneur. He serves as an institute fellow at the Harvard University Institute for applied computational science and as a research affiliate at the MIT Media Laboratory. In 2007, he completed his PhD in physics at Harvard, where he researched programmable matter, ubiquitous computing, and machine learning.

related reading:
profile | Alex Wissner-Gross, PhD
Wikipedia | Alex Wissner-Gross, PhD
io9 | “How Skynet might emerge from simple physics
Physical Review Letters | “Causal entropic forces


Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis critiqued this idea in The New Yorker back on May 6, 2013.
Here’s the link: The New Yorker | “A grand unified theory of everything


related viewing:
Singularity Summit | Alexander Wissner-Gross on planetary scale intelligence

Alex Wissner-Gross, PhD | Does cosmology hint at how to build artificial minds?