Our desire and fascination with intelligent machines dates back to the antiquity’s mythical automaton Talos, Aristotle’s mode of mechanical thought (syllogism) and Heron of Alexandria’s mechanical machines and automata. However, the quest for Artificial General Intelligence (AGI) is troubled with repeated failures of strategies and approaches throughout the history. This decade has seen a shift in interest towards bio-inspired software and hardware, with the assumption that such mimicry entails intelligence. Though these steps are fruitful in certain directions and have advanced automation, their singular design focus renders them highly inefficient in achieving AGI. Which set of requirements have to be met in the design of AGI? What are the limits in the design of the artificial? Here, a careful examination of computation in biological systems hints that evolutionary tinkering of contextual processing of information enabled by a hierarchical architecture is the key to build AGI.
Design of the Artificial: lessons from the biological roots of general intelligence