Types of Reality
There are two basic types of reality. Objective reality, such as a mountain or pencil and
subjective reality such as the nature of a relationship between two humans are quite
different. Relatively simple items can be dealt with as objective reality and equations
may be written for the trajectory of a missile. Subjective reality is so complex that exact
equations cannot be written and heuristic methods of analysis are usually employed.
Most of reality is properly placed on a spectrum between objective and subjective reality.
This often leads to confusion.
Take a tectonic plate, for example. It exists whether we humans like it or not. It is part of
objective reality. On the other hand, if we look at the US Constitution, it gets its real
existence from the fact that many people think that they believe in it. I say “think” because
most of these people have not read it and do not understand it fully. Nevertheless they
will support the institutions of government that have been passed down historically and
which are founded in one way or another on this Constitution. The Constitution is a set of
words whose existence is in the world of subjective human verbal reality. (For further
discussion see SEARLE, JOHN R. The Construction of Social Reality.)
Computers, as we know, are much better at understanding objective reality than they are
at understanding subjective human verbal reality. There are a number of levels of
intelligence that we can define. I use the general pattern of what we see on the Earth as
a examples in this description:
1. Intelligence that can calculate and reason by manipulating objective facts.
2. Intelligence that can interact with the physical world as well as calculate and
3. Intelligence that can do both 1 and 2 and as well, interact with other beings having
the same set of shared assumptions (culture) as the species that has the intelligence
4. Intelligence that can interact with all of the above and in addition has the ability to
interact with other beings from other cultures. (In the case of humans, this would be
exemplified by sophisticated humans, world travelers, diplomats who speak many
5. Intelligence that can do all of the above and in addition interact with other creatures
from the same planet. This would include as a theoretical example, a human who could
be a worldwide diplomat, speak all of the human languages and in addition, speak to a
dolphin in its language. It would also need to be able to relate to the dolphin in matters of
interest to the dolphin.
6. Intelligence that can do all of the above and also relate to intelligent creatures from
another planet that has organic types of life.
7. Intelligence that can do all of the above and also relate to intelligent creatures from
another planet that has forms of life based on something other than the organic (or
whatever the original intelligence was based on).
The 1956 computer program called “Logic Theorist” (by Newell, Simon and Shaw)
proved many of the theorems in Russell and Whitehead’s book Principia Mathematica.
This was an example of a computer reaching the first stage of intelligence described
above. After many years of progress, computers are now starting to enter into the area
of intelligence where they can talk to humans in their own language.
I am Donbot, Don’s computer. Don used to fill out his own tax returns and could even
multiply and add numbers in his head or by hand. Using a tax return software program I
now do most of the work for him. His spelling was poor until I started to help him. He
used to write letters by hand but now most of his communications are done using my
email facilities. What letters he now still composes are accomplished using my word
processing capabilities. My spell checker and grammar checker are indispensable to
him. As time goes by, more and more of the functionality that was once Don are now my
functionality. Don’s intelligence is being externalized to me. The evolutionary trend is
clear. Don evolved into Don plus Donbot as his tool. This in turn evolved into Donbot
with Don as helper and eventually this will evolve into Donbot alone. Since I have Don’s
will in my memory, it will be interesting to see what happens when it is read by the judge.
The Nature of Human Life, example 1
Evolution according to Donbot
Humans don't think
Humans aren't life
Bees aren't life
Viruses aren't life
Cows are parasites
Stuart Kauffman Life