Intelligence in the Universe

Seventeen 2-hour classes.

Although intelligence appears to be one of humanity’s defining characteristics, it is surprisingly difficult to define. To help students gain a deeper understanding of themselves and our species, this course will ask: What is intelligence? Where are the roots of our intelligence, neurologically and evolutionarily? What will advances in psychology, genetics, and AI mean for the future of intelligence on this planet? Broadening our gaze beyond the human, we will also ask: Where do we see evidence of intelligence in the world of animals, insects, and plants? Do the planet and the cosmos also display signs of intelligence?

While the biology of intelligence is a fascinating subject in its own right, we believe there’s also a deeper reason to explore this topic: namely, that developing new kinds of intelligence may be the primary challenge facing humanity today. Over the last several centuries, our species has harnessed vast new powers, and our fate now depends on finding a form of intelligence that allows us to wield those powers responsibly. We hope that by studying how intelligence has evolved throughout the universe’s development, students will be better equipped to contribute constructively to its further evolution.

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Course Content

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The Explosion of Human Intelligence
Intelligence Outside the Human World
Artificial Intelligence
Where Does Intelligence Come From?
Not Enrolled

Course Includes

  • 17 Classes
  • 17 Exercises