Whether “intelligence” can be created within hardware is a fascinating question, and one that remains unanswered despite significant efforts. In contrast, biological intelligence from a neural source offers a “ground truth” of opportunity. As such, the question becomes not ‘if’ general intelligence can arise from something artificial, but ‘how’.
In the 1970s, while a student of psychology and physiology at Oxford University, Dr Susan Blackmore experienced a profound “out-of-body experience.” Afterwards, she sought a deeper understanding and completed a Doctor of Philosophy in parapsychology, analyzing reported incidents of clairvoyance, telepathy, astral travelling and so forth – all a part of what has become a lifelong engagement with the ‘mystery of consciousness.’ Through her studies, Blackmore formed a view that personal experiences of the paranormal were a byproduct of abnormal brain functioning. Freshly bestowed with a doctorate in ‘psychic powers,’ she was worried “there was no way [she] was going to get a normal job…or any job.” However, she broadened her research interests to take in evolutionary theory, mimetics, and studies in consciousness to become a freelance writer and lecturer, tackling subjects that would only become the focus of scientific enquiry in the late 1990s.