The 7 Kinds of Intelligence - dummies

By John Paul Mueller, Luca Massaron

Part of AI For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Humans demonstrate seven kinds of intelligence. These forms of intelligence help distinguish humans from other species as well as from artificial intelligence (AI). Also, an awareness of these kinds of intelligence helps you see how humans will always excel over an AI. Many people fear that AIs will take over the world and eventually replace people. Yes, an AI can become quite smart in a certain intelligence area, but not “human smart;” an AI can never demonstrate certain kinds of intelligence because we don’t truly understand them ourselves.

Type Simulation Potential Human Tools Description
Visual-spatial Moderate Models, graphics, charts, photographs, drawings, 3-D modeling, video, television, and multimedia Physical environment intelligence used by people like sailors and architects (among many others). In order to move at all, humans need to understand their physical environment — its dimensions and characteristics. Every robot or portable computer intelligence requires this capability, but the capability is often difficult to simulate (as with self-driving cars) or less than accurate (as with vacuums that rely as much on bumping as they do on moving intelligently).
Bodily-kinesthetic Moderate Specialized equipment and real objects Body movements, such as those used by a surgeon or a dancer, require precision and body awareness. Robots commonly use this kind of intelligence to perform repetitive tasks, often with higher precision than humans, but sometimes with less grace. It’s essential to differentiate between human augmentation, such as a surgical device that provides a surgeon with enhanced physical ability, and true independent movement. The former is simply a demonstration of mathematical capability in that it depends on the surgeon for input.
Creative None Artistic output, new patterns of thought, inventions, new kinds of musical composition Creativity is the act of developing a new pattern of thought that results in unique output in the form of art, music, and writing. A truly new kind of product is the result of creativity. An AI can simulate existing patterns of thought and even combine them to create what appears to be a unique presentation but is really just a mathematically based version of an existing pattern. In order to create, an AI would need to possess self-awareness, which would require intrapersonal intelligence (explained later in the table).
Interpersonal Low to Moderate Telephone, audio conferencing, video conferencing, writing, computer conferencing, email Interacting with others occurs at several levels. The goal of this form of intelligence is to obtain, exchange, give, and manipulate information based on the experiences of others. Computers can answer basic questions based on keyword input, not an understanding of the question. The intelligence occurs while obtaining information, locating suitable keywords, and then giving information based on those keywords. Cross-referencing terms in a lookup table and then acting upon the instructions provided by the table demonstrates logical intelligence, not interpersonal intelligence.
Intrapersonal None Books, creative materials, diaries, privacy, and time Looking inward to understand one’s own interests and to set goals based on those interests is currently a human-only kind of intelligence. As machines, computers have no desires, interests, wants, or creative abilities. An AI processes numeric input using a set of algorithms and provides an output; it isn’t aware of anything it does, nor does it understand anything it does.
Linguistic Low Games, multimedia, books, voice recorders, and spoken words Working with words is an essential tool for communication because spoken information exchange is far faster than any other form. This form of intelligence includes understanding spoken input, managing the input to develop an answer, and providing an understandable answer as output. In many cases computers can barely parse spoken input into keywords, can’t actually understand the request at all, and output responses that may not be understandable at all.
Logical-mathematical High Logic games, investigations, mysteries, and brain teasers Calculating a result, performing comparisons, exploring patterns, and considering relationships are all areas in which computers currently excel. When you see a computer beat a human on a game show, this is the only form of intelligence that you’re actually seeing, out of seven. Yes, you might see small bits of other kinds of intelligence, but this is the focus. Basing an assessment of human versus computer intelligence on just one kind of intelligence isn’t a good idea.