Tutorials References Exercises Bootcamps Videos Menu
Sign Up Create Website Get Certified Upgrade

Human Intelligence

About 70 000 years ago, something happened to the human brain.

Humans started to develop "Cognitive Intelligence":

  • Being able to understand a language
  • Being able to understand numbers
  • Being able to understand abstract thinking

Words and Numbers

Using words, was a big step in the development of human intelligence:

"Elephant" is more informative than "Big Animal".

Understanding numbers, was also a big step:

"5" or "50" is more informative than "few" or "many".


"There is a lion behind the big oak" is more informative than shouting "Danger!".

Having a language is probably a key characteristic that distinguishes us from animals.

Abstract Thinking

Abstract thinking is thinking about things that are not concrete, like freedom, or ideas, or concepts.


Statue Liberty

A freedom figure


The Past
The Future


Statue Liberty

A concrete figure


My Mouth
My Fingertip
One Apple
Two Chicken
Three Horses

Many everyday behaviors use abstract thinking:

  • Using Concepts
  • Using Theories
  • Using Metaphors
  • Using Analogies
  • Using Imagination

What is Intelligence?

There is no proven definition of Intelligence.

Intelligence can be defined as:

  • Being able to understand abstract thinking
  • Being able to understand a language
  • Being able to understand numbers

Intelligence can be defined as a collection of knowledge:

"Intelligence could be defined as the process of obtaining knowledge by efficient means."

Yampolsky (2013)

The challenge of AI is to understand what intelligence is, and how intelligence works.

What is the difference between human knowledge and artificial intelligence?

Intelligence might be a type of algorithms in our brains or in our genes.

Later in this tutorial you will learn more about intelligent algorithms.

Is the Human Brain Superior?

Can animals, birds, insects, or plants think?

Humans have bigger brains than animals.

Big dogs have bigger brains than small dogs. Are big dogs smarter?

Birds have very small brains, but they know they should not make children in the autumn, and they know when to fly to the south.

Bees have even smaller brains, but they know how to communicate about where to find nectar.

Plants have no brain, but they know how to reproduce, and how to prepare for the winter.