by | Mar 4, 2017

Merriam-Webster Definition

  1. a archaic: a construction thing whether material or immaterial; b:conveyance, vehicle; e: an assemblage of parts that transmit forces, motion, and energy one to another in a predetermined manner or an instrument designed to transmit or modify the application of power, force, or motion; f: a mechanically, electrically or electronically operated device for performing a task.
  2. a: a living organism or one of its functional systems
  3. a: a literary device or contrivance introduced for dramatic effect.

A.C. McIntosh Definition

From “Functional Information and Entropy in Living Systems,” pp 115-126, Design and Nature III: Comparing Design in Nature and Science and Engineering, Vol 87 of WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Enviornment, Editor Brebbie, CA, WIT press, 2006, ISBN 1-84564-166-3

1. a functional device which uses energy.

From:  School of Process, Environmental and Materials Engineering, University of LEEDS., U.K. LS2 9JT.

  1.  a device which can locally raise the free energy to do useful work.

Author’s Definition

  1. An assemblage of parts that performs intelligent work.
  2. An assemblage of parts designed and built by an abstract or supreme intelligent entity that manipulates matter and energy to achieve desired ends through means that follow the laws of physics, i.e., logically intelligent work.  This definition describes a logically intelligent machine.  Examples include all devices designed and built by man that do work, everything from a mouse trap to a space ship.  All life is also a machine, and more because life has additional capabilities, e.g., reproduction, ability to learn and ability to adapt.  An assemblage of parts designed and built by a supreme intellect entity that manipulates matter and energy to achieve desired ends that follow the laws of physics, with the added ability of abstraction.  The only example we know of is ourselves, humans.
  3. Supreme Intelligent entity, with the ability to do manipulate perhaps even the universe and everything in it.  We cannot know the nature or origin of such an entity; but reason leads to the conclusion that such an entity exists.

This definition is inclusive of all Webster’s definitions.  Intelligent work is defined as work that has a defined purpose.  The ability to perform intelligent work requires that the work performed is specified, that is, the correct action (consumption of energy to achieve a specified end) is performed.  In the case of mechanical work, this requires that the right amount of force is applied at the right place, in the right direction at the right time.

All living things are machines because they are entities that perform intelligent work.  Intelligent work is required in every cell just to maintain life.  Since many of the molecules necessary for life are at a tenuous equilibrium, that is to say, they have limited lifetime and therefore must be constantly replaced or repaired by the specified work performed by life’s molecular machines.  Humans have embedded abstract intelligence (as opposed to logical intelligence) because they can, for one thing, design and build machines.

Machines, by definition, have embedded intelligence, because to perform specified work, logical actions are required to do the specified manipulation of the matter and energy.  Machines, to manipulate matter and energy in a specified manner, must themselves be the result of intelligent work by a machine.

Machines can do work that natural causes cannot because they perform logical functions.  We proved that all logical functionality can only be achieved by matter being held in a state on non-equilibrium, something natural causes cannot do according to the second law of thermodynamics.  The logic capability consumes energy that has no equivalent in natural interactions.  An example are the valve springs in an engine which must be compressed (um-recoverable work) to open the valves to provide the logical functionality of the engine.  Machines must have their own source of energy to perform the external work and, in addition, the internal work; the logic functionality.

This engineer assumes that the molecular machines in the cell consist of proteins and protein – RNA combinations.  This assumption is based on the knowledge that some molecular machines, e.g., ribosomes are proteins plus RNA.  However, so little is understood of the functioning of the majority of life process in the cell, that there well may yet-to-be-discovered mechanisms at work.  That is of no consequence to the argument being made regarding machines being the result of embedded intelligence.

The claim that machines perform logic functions or have embedded intelligence may be an unconvincing argument to some.  However, inspect any machine and you can find the logic function.  Take for example combustion engine.  The “logic” is the coordination of the pistons, valves, fuel, ignition sparks, etc., to make the engine work as explained in this video.  Without the intelligent coordination of these parts, the engine will not work.

Machines involve doing work.  Work by natural caused interactions occurs because matter/energy moves toward a more stable equilibrium point.  Machines, on the other hand, incorporate intelligence in the use of mechanical/chemical/electrical/nuclear energies in combination with mechanical configurations to perform specific work which natural causes cannot perform.  Such work can add specificity to matter which normally decreases its entropy.  These machines are themselves the result of design, so the laws of physics and chemistry cannot explain their source because of their embedded logical intelligence.

© 2016 Mike Van Schoiack

Share This