Open Ended Intelligence: The individuation of Intelligent Agents

Research output: Working paper


Artificial General Intelligence is a field of research aiming to distill the principles of intelligence that operate independently of a specific problem domain or a predefined context and utilize these principles in order to synthesize systems capable of performing any intellectual task a human being is capable of and eventually go beyond that. While "narrow" artificial intelligence which focuses on solving specific problems such as speech recognition, text comprehension, visual pattern recognition, robotic motion, etc. has shown quite a few impressive breakthroughs lately, understanding general intelligence remains elusive. In the paper we offer a novel theoretical approach to understanding general intelligence. We start with a brief introduction of the current conceptual approach. Our critique exposes a number of serious limitations that are traced back to the ontological roots of the concept of intelligence. We then propose a paradigm shift from intelligence perceived as a competence of individual agents defined in relation to an a priori given problem domain or a goal, to intelligence perceived as a formative process of self-organization by which intelligent agents are individuated. We call this process open-ended intelligence. Open-ended intelligence is developed as an abstraction of the process of cognitive development so its application can be extended to general agents and systems. We introduce and discuss three facets of the idea: the philosophical concept of individuation, sense-making and the individuation of general cognitive agents. We further show how open-ended intelligence can be framed in terms of a distributed, self-organizing network of interacting elements and how such process is scalable. The framework highlights an important relation between coordination and intelligence and a new understanding of values. We conclude with a number of questions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherGlobal Brain Institute
Number of pages35
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2015

Publication series

NameGBI Working Paper

Bibliographical note

Preprint; 35 pages, 2 figures; Keywords: intelligence, cognition, individuation, assemblage, self-organization, sense-making, coordination, enaction; en-US proofreading


  • intelligence
  • cognition
  • individuation
  • assemblage
  • self-organization
  • sense-making
  • coordination
  • enaction


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