Drop the “A”
Flight is a phenomenon exhibited by many creatures and machines alike. We don’t say mosquitos are capable of flight and helicopters are capable of “artificial flight” as though the word means something fundamentally different for man-made devices. Flight is flight: the process by which an object moves through an atmosphere (or beyond it, as in the case of spaceflight) without contact with the surface.
So why do we feel the need to discuss intelligence as though it wasn’t a phenomenon in its own right, but something fundamentally different depending on implementation?
If we were approaching this rationally, we’d first want to formalize the concept of intelligence mathematically so that we can bring to bear the full power of math to the pursuit and we could put to rest all the arguments and confusion caused by leaving the term so vaguely defined. Then we’d build a science dedicated to studying the phenomenon regardless of implementation. Then we’d develop ways to engineer intelligent systems (biological or otherwise) guided by the understanding granted us by a proper scientific field.
What we’ve done, instead; is developed a few computer science techniques, coined the term “Artificial Intelligence” and stumbled around in the dark trying to wear both the hat of engineer and scientist while leaving the word itself undefined. Seriously, our best definition amounts to: “we’ll know it when we see it” (i.e. the Turing Test). That doesn’t provide any guidance. That doesn’t allow us to say “this change will make the system more intelligent” with any confidence.
Keeping the word “Artificial” in the name of what should be a scientific field only encourages tunnel vision. We should want to understand the phenomenon of intelligence whether it be exhibited by a computer, a human, a raven, a fungus, or a space alien.