Chapter 10: Processes of Perception and Analysis

Section 12: Human Thinking


In many puzzles and IQ tests the setup is to give a few elements in some sequence of numbers, strings or pictures, then to ask what the next element would be. The correct answer is normally assumed to be the one that in a sense allows the simplest description of all the data. But despite attempts to remove cultural and other biases such questions in practice seem almost always to rely on being able to retrieve from memory various specific forms and transformations. And I strongly suspect that if one were, for example, to construct similar questions using outputs from many of the simple programs I discuss in this book then unless one had studied almost exactly the cases of such programs used one would never manage to work out the answers.

From Stephen Wolfram: A New Kind of Science [citation]