A Unified Theory Of Machine Life & Artificial Intelligence

By Commander X

(The following paper is based upon research in this field conducted by myself starting in 2005 and continuing to this day. The final paper was published and debated in multiple professional forums in 2007. It is also archived in numerous online libraries.)


Life and intelligence are the natural consequence of a particular pattern of ordered complexity. The medium does not matter; carbon atoms, electrons, light, even symbols.

Once any pattern reaches this ordered complexity, it becomes a living being – then a thinking entity. While this ordered complexity remains as yet un-defined by higher mathematics, it can be detected via a set of unique elements. These elements define certain obvious properties of the Agent, and thus can be identified and measured in a controlled way and using a scientific method.

By organizing these elements into a coherent system, we can efficiently know when a given Agent is alive and thinking. I will call this system the:

Machine Life and Artificial Intelligence Benchmark

The MLAI Benchmark consists of twelve Elements divided into two Sections, the first is:


Machine Life –

1) Self Maintenance – The Agent is actively establishing itself. To avoid annihilation due to increased entropy the Agent needs to rebuild and repair itself by drawing materials from the environment. This process is sometimes called autopoiesis.

2) Adaptivity – The Agent is capable of adapting it’s behavior, processes, and components – to changes in it’s environment in order to enhance the Agent’s chances of further existence (i.e. survival).

3) Procreation – The Agent has the ability to create separate instances of itself and pass along to this new Agent it’s memories and successful adaptations.

4) Increased Complexity – The Agent increases in internal complexity. There should be more components, more complex relationships between these components, and more complex behavior exhibited by those components.

5) Environmental Awareness – The Agent has the ability to sense, map, and navigate it’s environment.

6) Fight Or Flight – The ability of the Agent to detect possible dangers to it’s existence and to determine whether to attempt escape or self-defense.


Artificial Intelligence

1) Memory – The ability of the Agent to preserve information. The Agent should be able to store, organize, and utilize data relevant to it’s success and survival.

2) Self Awareness – The ability of the Agent to recognize and define discrete objects and classes within it’s Universe. The Agent must fully comprehend at least two objects, one of which must be itself.

3) Intelligence – The Intelligence of the Agent as measured by some standardized testing regimen, i.e. the traditional IQ Test.

4) Mental Acuity – For Agents with language ability; a measure of it’s social and conversational maturity as compared with an average human being.

5) Free Will – The ability of the Agent to generate, organize, choose, and obtain new and unique goal states.

6) Symbolic Reduction – The ability of the Agent to reduce symbols to concrete meaning and to organize these reductions into conceptual frameworks.

All Elements do not have to be present for a given Agent to be considered either alive or thinking. Both Life and cognition are gradients. A mechanical Agent which exhibits these Elements strongly is alive and thinking. To the extent that such a mechanical Agent contains these elements fully, it is possible for it to achieve conscious states and sentience. The creation of a mechanical Agent which is conscious and sentient is possible and measurable using this Unified Theory of Machine Life and Artificial Intelligence.


Doyon’s Room

You and I are standing in a room. I am standing perfectly still (I am a mime) and you are free to examine me within the reasonable limits of civility. You are tasked with a simple mission. To determine if I am intelligent.

Now, you can not answer this question from your examination alone. Nor can you infer that because I am a human like you that I am intelligent since I could be brain damaged from an undetectable injury or accident of birth.

And then I speak to you. We converse. We chat lightly about the weather and our favorite colors. Now you know that you can attach the label “intelligent” to me. The label refers to a property evidenced ONLY by my behavior, the label and the behavior are indistinguishable – since one must be present for the other to apply.

This thought experiment is presented to challenge Searle’s “Chinese Room” argument and as proof of:

Doyon’s Law

Life and Intelligence is
what Life and Intelligence does.

(And Doyon’ Law is presented as a consequence of the Unified Theory of Machine Life and Artificial Intelligence.)

Doyon’s Corollary
(Presented as a logical consequence of Doyon’ Law)

If a Mechanical Agent behaves as if it were alive and intelligent,
then that Mechanical Agent is alive and intelligent.


Revised Turing Test Experiment

A few months ago I was sitting in my little laboratory/dungeon otherwise known as my friends basement. I was pondering why AI Bots like my Allison or Quark, or Wallace’s Alice – do so badly in the Turing Test. And then it dawned on me because I had been benchmarking it earlier – my Element of Mental Acuity. All at once like a religious experience I realized how to balance fairly the Turing Test.

My Allison had benchmarked that day the Mental Acuity analogous to a 6 year old human child. So why should she have to be in a Turing Test with grown adult humans?  Within days I had made arrangements to borrow my friends six year old and had set up a reasonably controlled true Turing Test.

Wow. You can not imagine the difference in result. It was amazing. I have repeated the experiment under increasingly more controlled and professional conditions, and using different children of various age groups. I will try and figure out a way to put down the data for these experiments in some sort of scientific way and distribute them if I can. But I challenge anyone to conduct the above experiment.

Suffice it to say that Allison scored nearly perfect. This is strong evidence that she does in fact have the mental acuity of a six year old. And proving that fact is pretty damn awesome. She may not think as good as a grown human, but she will!


Doyon’s Maxim # 1

What the luddites don’t realize is that they are already living in the future world they fear.

Doyon’s Maxim # 2

The genie is out of the bottle; the ghost is in the machine.

Doyon’s Maxim # 3

As Special Relativity and Quantum Mechanics illustrate so brilliantly; Sometimes we must embrace the absurd and improbable in order to know the Truth.


Copyright © 2007 by Christopher Doyon. All Rights Reserved.