What is the difference between intelligent and intelligent

Smart is more than smart

Every time we look at the meager leftovers in our fridge and think about what more could be cooked out of them, we are intelligent in a way that even the smartest monkeys cannot: we are creative. The ability to invent something new or to combine existing things with one another is the most important characteristic of intelligent behavior for some intelligence researchers. The American neurophysiologist and successful non-fiction author William H. Calvin is also convinced of this: He considers Shakespeare, for example, to be intelligent because he has combined existing words to create new creations. Composers also fall back on what is already known, the tones, and create new pieces of music from them. In his book How the Brain Thinks, Calvin explores our mental inner workings. It is based on the intelligence studies of psychologists and on ethological, evolutionary, linguistic and neuroscientific findings. He comes to the conclusion that our brain - as in the evolution of life - allows highly complex order patterns to arise from simple origins. Different intellectual abilities play a role - but someone is only intelligent if he understands how to effectively combine his abilities with one another. Calvin's book shows what a high degree of originality and comprehensibility the result can be. Creative Intelligence reads like a confirmation of Calvin's theses. Howard Gardner, professor of education and expert on intelligence and creativity research, takes a closer look at creative intelligence and distinguishes four forms that are differently developed in each person. Gardner traces the way in which creativity is awakened and how extraordinary work emerges using the biographies of Amadeus Mozart (creative mastery), Sigmund Freud (creative innovation), Virginia Woolf (creative introspection) and Mahatma Gandhi (creative influence). He skillfully links the life descriptions of the extraordinary people with the current content and results of modern creativity research to create an understandable book that is exciting to read - the constant emphasis that each of us (at least theoretically) would be able to achieve such great things, however, is when reading rather annoying.

While these two books can be read and understood even without prior technical knowledge, The Great, the Small and the Human Spirit is aimed at the educated reader. The author Roger Penrose, an internationally known mathematician, uses quantum gravity to explain consciousness. He defends his original thesis that the brain obeys the physical laws of the quantum realm and that consciousness can be explained on the basis of quantum theory. Penrose faces the criticism of his former student Stephen Hawking and answers the philosophers Nancy Cartwright and Abner Shimony, who doubt that physics is the right starting point for exploring the nature of human consciousness. American biochemist Howard Bloom is interested in whether our society could one day develop into a kind of enlarged anthill. In Global Brain - the evolution of social intelligence, he pursues the futuristic thesis of whether it will one day be possible for individual brains to be linked to form a kind of worldwide cortex. He finds role models not only in the World Wide Web, but also in the animal kingdom, where sociobiologists have demonstrated “group brains” in bacteria, insects, fish, birds and mammals, as well as mass phenomena that occur due to networked information. Bloom predicts that a worldwide cerebral cortex will not be a gift from computer technology, but that it is a matter of evolutionary, as it were, naturally given development. Less speculative is the discovery of intelligence or Can ants think? by the cyberneticists and biologists Holk Cruse, Jeffrey Dean and Helge Ritter. In order to find out more about human intelligence, the scientists undertake forays into the animal kingdom and discover remarkable basic principles that are also important for controlling our behavior. How these scientifically verifiable basic principles can be used, for example, in robots to generate artificially intelligent behavior, is another focus of the technically sound, detailed book.

The Cambridge Quintet, a "science fiction" by the American mathematician John L. Casti, is recommended for demanding relaxation after so much science. On a rainy evening in June 1949, four important thinkers and scientists met in the house of the physicist CP Snow: Alan Turing, mathematician and co-inventor of the computer, JB Haldan, geneticist and science author, Erwin Schrödinger, physicist and Nobel Prize winner, and Ludwig Wittgenstein perhaps the most influential philosopher of the post-war period. During a fictional dinner, the five men discuss the possibilities of artificial intelligence, how the human brain works and what both have in common. In an entertaining way, the reader is introduced to an important scientific topic and takes part in a conversation that is as witty as it is controversial. The right book for cozy autumn evenings.


William H. Calvin How the brain thinks Spectrum Akad. Verlag 1998, DM 39.80

Howard Gardner Creative Intelligence Campus 1999, DM 39.80

Roger Penrose The Great, the Small and the Human Spirit Spectrum Akademischer Verlag 1998, DM 39.80

Howard Bloom Global Brain - the evolution of social intelligence Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt 1999, DM 44, -

Holk Cruse, Jeffrey Dean, Helge Ritter The discovery of intelligence or can ants think? C.H. Beck 1998, DM 48

John L. Casti The Cambridge Quintet Berlin-Verlag 1998 DM 36, -

Claudia Eberhard-Metzger

December 1, 1999

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