Measuring the intelligence of an idealized mechanical knowing agent

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We define a notion of the intelligence level of an idealized mechanical knowing agent. This is motivated by efforts within artificial intelligence research to define real-number intelligence levels of compli- cated intelligent systems. Our agents are more idealized, which allows us to define a much simpler measure of intelligence level for them. In short, we define the intelligence level of a mechanical knowing agent to be the supremum of the computable ordinals that have codes the agent knows to be codes of computable ordinals. We prove that if one agent knows certain things about another agent, then the former necessarily has a higher intelligence level than the latter. This allows our intelligence no- tion to serve as a stepping stone to obtain results which, by themselves, are not stated in terms of our intelligence notion (results of potential in- terest even to readers totally skeptical that our notion correctly captures intelligence). As an application, we argue that these results comprise evidence against the possibility of intelligence explosion (that is, the no- tion that sufficiently intelligent machines will eventually be capable of designing even more intelligent machines, which can then design even more intelligent machines, and so on).
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