Understanding intelligence is one of the great scientific challenges of our time. But, in spite of extensive research efforts spanning many scientific disciplines, our understanding of intelligence remains fragmented and incomplete.
The Cluster of Excellence Science of Intelligence (SCIoI) will fundamentally advance our understanding of intelligence, integrate and unify theories, concepts, and insights from existing intelligence-related disciplines, catalyze progress in these disciplines, and - perhaps most importantly - advance our ability to construct intelligent technological artifacts for applications of societal importance. To do so, it follows a research methodology that distinguishes itself fundamentally from current intelligence research.
SCIoI will identify the principles of intelligence. One key methodological strategy toward this goal is the synthetic approach to intelligence research. This approach requires that each insight, method, concept, and theory must demonstrate its merits by contributing to the intelligent behavior of a synthetic artifact, such as a robot or a computer program. These artifacts represent a shared ‘language’ across all disciplines, enabling the validation, combination, transfer, and extension of research results. Insights about intelligence that are consistent across disciplines will help identify underlying principles, while inconsistencies lead to research questions. The synthetic approach also facilitates the transfer of these principles into practical technologies.
SCIoI will implement scientific, structural, and educational measures to establish an integrated, multi-disciplinary research program on intelligence. It will unite intelligence researchers from the Berlin area in a unique environment for research and education. The integrated graduate program will train a new generation of intelligence researchers. The appeal of such an important scientific challenge and the unique combination of disciplines will also be leveraged to equalize the gender distribution within the Cluster, especially in the STEM disciplines.