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Questions tagged [intelligence]

For questions discussing some level of self-awareness.

48
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17answers
7k views

Could a sedentary organism develop intelligence, or even sentience?

Similar to Could Plants Develop Sentience? but slightly more general: I'm not interested in plants in particular, but want a more general understanding of the effect of motion on intelligence and vice ...
44
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8answers
13k views

Could underwater living organism create technology?

Could underwater creatures with the intelligence of human cave men or possibly the intelligence of apes create technology (that is, more complex technology comparable to what we have now rather than ...
41
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16answers
7k views

What could cause an avian species to become intelligent?

There have been a few questions about an intelligent avian species lately and they have gotten me thinking. It seems to me that it would be hard for an avian species to evolve to be more intelligent ...
39
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18answers
8k views

Why did dragons evolve to be smart?

Before you comment "dragons can't happen", we've been there before. Based on the question linked above, assume dragons are scientifically plausible. You may change what you need about the ...
39
votes
11answers
5k views

A world without natural time measures

An intelligent race evolves on a planet with no moon or axial tilt, which is tidally locked to its star, and has a very hazy atmosphere. So there are no seasons, no day/night cycle, and the stars are ...
38
votes
18answers
11k views

In a cemetery, what evidence could be found that humans were intelligent and had technology?

So, a group of archeologists from the year 4978 have uncovered something strange. They’ve been searching for the missing link between them and their primordial ancestors, and they seem to have found ...
35
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17answers
12k views

Can the number of letters in alphabet suggest how advanced civilization is?

Let's suppose we intercepted a message in an unknown language. We were not able to decipher it, but we were able to decode it. Meaning we know the letters but not the meaning of the words in the text. ...
34
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16answers
8k views

Best species to breed to intelligence

I’ve included more background below, but the TL;DR is that you’re a lone immortal who’s decided to breed some species of animal to a human-level intelligence (over the course of hundreds of thousands ...
30
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20answers
8k views

Two or more advanced civilizations aren't even aware of each other

Humans have achieved FTL and have colonized several planets in our greater stellar neighborhood. While we have discovered several planets that harbor life as we know it, we have not yet discovered ...
30
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12answers
4k views

How would you avoid making the ability to join a hive-mind very overpowered?

In a sci-fi setting, suppose there is a species that has a very strong cybernetic enhancement, to the point where they can actually form a kind of pseudo-hive-mind, while still retaining their ...
28
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7answers
6k views

How much smarter would bred humans become?

I'm building a setting in a fictional Latin American country which is under military rule. The junta starts a breeding program in the late 40's with help from unscrupulous escaped Nazi scientists. ...
27
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10answers
3k views

How could humans recognize another species as sentient / intelligent?

There is this fantasy in fiction that humans meet another species and figure out that it's intelligent. This usually happens with dragons, dolphins, aliens, collectively intelligent plancton... But ...
22
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11answers
2k views

How would an intelligent forest control and direct its animal minions?

The Wold (Forest) is one vast, interconnected, possibly digital mind. The mind is primarily built of one cloned individual of a single plant species, but there are over a dozen 'helper' sub-minds and ...
21
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5answers
5k views

Could plants develop intelligence?

I know the idea seems a bit far fetched but it's something I believe is common is science fiction and fantasy stories. I remember the talking trees of Zelda: Ocarina of time and of course, Tolkien's ...
20
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9answers
2k views

How fast could a directed breeding program turn another Earth species intelligent?

There is no genetic engineering allowed, just selected breeding and offspring selection. There is no genome sequencing, imagine medieval technology plus mendelian principles. The laws of heredity are ...
20
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5answers
496 views

An equilibrium for competing sapient species

What scientifically, socially and logically plausible mechanisms allow two (or more) sapient land-based species (either closely placed on the phylogenetic tree, such as Homo sapiens and Homo ...
19
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12answers
6k views

Would super-sized humans be super-intelligent?

A mad, egomaniac, scientist has developed a way of extending the natural growth of humans to create an army of 20ft (6 meter) tall soldiers. Physiologically, they are three times the size of normal ...
18
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2answers
2k views

Could we find a dinosaur civilization in space?

Imagine that humankind finally takes wing and reaches out into the heavens to claim its vast cosmic birthright ... ... only to find that a previous wave of dinosaurs from Earth, who left ~65 million ...
17
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14answers
4k views

How can a sapient species build an advanced civilization, while remaining on one continent?

The world I'm building contains two sapient species; one is about Mesolithic-level in terms of technology, while the other is about as advanced as the ancient Egyptians or Sumerians. However, they're ...
17
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16answers
10k views

Everyone gets an IQ of 300. What are the downsides? [closed]

Scientists developed a method to transfer intelligence. However, something went wrong and everyone got an IQ of 300 on the current scale. And that means EVERYONE: Stephen Hawking, Donald Trump, Pamela ...
17
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9answers
3k views

Is intelligence the “natural” product of evolution?

Think about a scenario in which, on a given planet, a complex life form has already evolved. In your opinion, what are the odds, for this complex form, to evolve towards intelligence? With the ...
17
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7answers
3k views

How Do I Develop a Society of Geniuses?

Goal: Achieve a society where the average person is a creative and/or analytical and/or strategic genius and/or physically phenomenal (as measured by our current standards, of course). Steps: ...
17
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9answers
3k views

Would Earth's extraterrestrial colonies have a higher average intelligence?

In the MARS series of National Geographic, an organisation is steadily colonizing Mars by sending a handful of people every few months. However, these aren't ordinary people, of course; they are top-...
16
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6answers
3k views

Plant based lifeforms: brain equivalent?

In lots of science fiction works that visit other planets we are often introduced to intelligent plant based lifeforms, be they humanoid looking or potted plant looking. I'm curious as to what part ...
16
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6answers
2k views

Could plants develop sentience?

This question is almost exactly like Could plants develop intelligence, but now I wonder (how) could plant life develop sentience, to the point where it becomes as intelligent as humans? Is a brain ...
16
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8answers
1k views

Creature with a non-centralized brain

I've always found animal intelligence to be fascinating, particularly that of the cephalopods, some of which show some pretty remarkable talents for tool usage, mimicry, and pattern recognition. ...
14
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5answers
3k views

How To Subtly Imply Intelligence

Since a couple of people seem confused, the players are there to purchase tech made by human colonists. The tech was made by exploiting the native alien fauna. The ecosystem of the planet is well ...
14
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9answers
5k views

How would an intelligent civilization evolve in the floor of a deep ocean world?

Defining what is a super intelligent civilization: An industrial civilization that invest on scientific progress and that builds and manipulates computers, robots and nano-machines, has efficient ...
13
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5answers
1k views

Could intelligent life on Earth have been seeded by precursor aliens?

This idea comes up quite frequently in science fiction, but there has not been a question about it yet on Worldbuilding.SE. Is it possible that intelligent life was brought to Earth by an alien ...
12
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4answers
487 views

How could a climate-protection organization breed sapient, tool-developing cooperating Cephalopoda?

I am working on a scenario where a climate protection organization tries to breed sapient Cephalopoda as a help in their fight against climate change. The breeding goals of the evolving species are as ...
11
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8answers
1k views

How would humans treat dogs that are more intelligent than humans and can speak?

Suppose that there is a species of dogs that are much more intelligent than humans and can speak. The humans know that the animal is smarter too. The only reason these animals can't rule over humans ...
10
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6answers
261 views

Reality Check: Plausibility of a new kind of sentient alien race: Split prehensile tail, quadrupedal, very floofy!

In building an sentient alien that is unique among the sea of humanoids, I aspire to explore quadrupeds. For a quick visual reference, this is what I have: proportions are definitely off, but in ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Would spacefaring aliens have to be roughly as intelligent as humans?

The idea is simple, our intellegence is so far above a chimp or bonobo as to make us something different. There are things we can do intuitively that no Bonobo or chimp will be able to, and because ...
10
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3answers
198 views

Solving the vulnerabilities of a plant-based life-form's civilization: sunlight, roots, and hibernation

Say you are a plant-based life-form (imagine a walking tree). You have roots and leaves. You have two main vulnerabilities: You need sunlight on your leaves for photosynthesis to get energy. You ...
10
votes
4answers
481 views

What implications might there be of mycelium being self aware?

This is for a novel I'm writing. The basic premise is that massive networks of mycelium running under the soil combine to form a decentralised intelligence that has been managing life and conditions ...
9
votes
4answers
287 views

Does intelligence necessarily lead to an abstract language?

Pretty much what it says in the question title. Suppose a non-human, social species of Earth animal found itself on an evolutionary path that favored increased intelligence of a kind not completely ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

Intelligent Animals Integrating into (Western) Human Society

So for the purposes of this question, the following items are already determined by our world: The humans and human society are in very beginning of an Industrial Revolution almost identical to our ...
8
votes
4answers
541 views

Stone-Age AI - A Thought Experiment

Suppose superintelligent AI is possible. Is there any reason its code couldn't be executed by stone-age people rather than a computer? E.g., imagine an order of monks reading and executing commands in ...
8
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3answers
1k views

Evolution without the reflex arc

How would evolution have changed without the "reflex arc", if all reflexes had to go through the brain instead of the spinal cord? Would intelligent species be able to evolve?
8
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1answer
904 views

How would an intelligent race on a methane world achieve a fire equivalent?

Linked: What would the conditions on a methane world be like? What would animal life on a methane world look like and how would it evolve? Background: Okay, an intelligent race has evolved on a ...
8
votes
2answers
337 views

Does civilization necessarily imply structure-building?

On the Life Ball of my fantasy stories, a particular species of delphinidae- I call them black dolphins- have evolved and advanced at least as much as humans and other intelligent races. Among other ...
8
votes
2answers
256 views

How would childhood be affected by the fact that babies are born with the knowledge of an average adult?

My question is simple: In a world where babies are born with the knowledge of an average adult, what would happen to the childhood of the child? For example, how would this affect the learning of ...
8
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3answers
519 views

How smart can we get?

One of the great problems in designing an Artificial Intelligence we can control is our own lack of sufficient intelligence. Partial failure here (success as designing an AI, failure at control) would ...
7
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5answers
781 views

What would cause turkeys to be intelligent?

In the spirit of Thanksgiving (US) let's tackle a fun one. I'm defining "intelligent" in this situation as "at least on par with hunter-gatherer humans, able to communicate" What natural, ...
7
votes
6answers
532 views

What more than sentience do you need from a species for its intelligence to be recognizable by humans?

It's becoming obvious from how could humans recognize another species as sentient / intelligent that recognizing another species' intelligence is very complicated. There are no universal tests, no ...
7
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3answers
174 views

How does distributed intelligence impact conscious qualia?

Or more simply, how do octopuses think? I'm designing a race of intelligent-but-primitive cephalopod aliens and while I want them to exhibit some basic human traits such as fear, self-interest, a ...
7
votes
3answers
491 views

Intelligent Animal Politics

I am continuing to work on the animal society as dictated in this question here. Basic Summary: Certain groups of animals have attained human-level intelligence. The details of species are laid out ...
6
votes
4answers
3k views

Is it plausible for my creature to have similar IQ as humans?

I've envisioned my specie called the stalker as: Humanoid about same height, strength & speed as humans Three pairs of eyes placed horizontally (Near UV, Visible, Near IR) Lightspeed ...
6
votes
8answers
704 views

How to evolve purely pacifist intelligence

In a previous question on my purely peaceful, 100% pacifist species, I asked about how to remove all defining characteristics for sexuality yet still retaining sapience. As was pointed out, I had ...
6
votes
6answers
708 views

When would a species with 100% correct intuition cease all inquiry?

Given a species that did not rely on the scientific method for discovery, but rather a 100% correct intuition (essentially they correctly guess how the universe works, every time)... under what ...