In Kinds of Minds and From Bacteria to Bach and Back, Daniel Dennett differentiates 4 levels of intelligent agents, which closely map to Valentin Turchin’s cybernetic analysis of evolutionary metasystem transitions in The Phenomenon of Science and Robert Pirsig’s ethico-evolutionary Metaphysics of Quality framework in Lila: An Inquiry into Morals.
|Turchin’s Metasystem Transition
|Pirsig’s Static Level
|genetically-encoded instinctual behavior
|control of position: unconditioned reflex (via transducer-discriminator-effector)
|operant conditioning/reinforcement learning
|control of reflex: association (conditioned reflex, cybernetic concept)
|imaginative simulation/conjecture and refutation
|control of association: thinking
|culturally-transmitted thinking tools / paradigms / mental models
|control of thinking: culture (via language)
|control of culture: science [implicit in Turchin]
- Reflex is the instinctual control of position in response to stimulus enabling the differential survival and reproduction of organisms.
- Association is the conditioned control of reflex in response to reward enabling the differential survival and reproduction of learners.
- Thought is the reflective control of association in response to imaginative simulation enabling the differential survival and reproduction of cognizers.
- Culture is the social control of thinking in response to memetic contagion enabling the differential survival and reproduction of tribe members.
- Intellect is the intentional control of culture in response to universalizing criticism enabling the differential survival and reproduction of truth-seekers.