Can mathematical theories explain human intelligence?

  • Date

    Wed 17 Jan 18

Professor Sheri Markose

A thought-provoking academic paper which attempts to answer the question of why humans are so smart, has led to an editorship of a specialist publication for its author.

Professor Sheri Markose, from our Department of Economics, believes the answer to why humans are so intelligent lies in mathematical theories from the 1930s which led to the development of computers.

Professor Markose explains: “The most distinctive behaviour of humans is that we are so creative and innovative, but we have never had a proper explanation of how we came to be so smart.

 “In this digital age, where artificial intelligence is becoming part of our everyday lives, it’s important to understand how we have become agents that can innovate.”

Her findings are included in a paper in the Journal of Dynamics and Games, published by the American Institute of Mathematical Sciences. 

Professor Markose has combined the theory of computation with recent findings in neuroscience and gene research to develop her theory. She said: “Innovative behaviour takes the form of an arms race. Arms races in innovation are the hallmark of complex systems and have often been ignored. Complexity Economics is a new field that aims to cover this and we are pioneering it at Essex." 

Professor Markose has been asked to be an associate editor of Frontiers in Computational Intelligence, an online academic publication, specialising in artificial intelligence and robotics. She also delivered a keynote speech at a conference on The Economy as A Complex System organised by the Institute of Mathematical Sciences in Chennai, India.