Artificial intelligence has been one of the key motifs of science fiction. Stories from Asimov to the Terminator movies series have debated various as aspects of AI. In reality the evolution of AI has been quite different from what science fiction envisaged. Science fiction mostly focused on AI being embedded in a physical robot or network of robots. Whereas AI in real life is turning out to be much more virtual and disembodied.

Embodied intelligence refers to intelligence that is embodied or integrated within a physical body or structure. This type of intelligence allows an organism or system to perceive and interact with the physical world in a meaningful way, using sensory inputs, motor skills, and other physical capabilities.

Embodied intelligence is a fundamental aspect of biological organisms, including humans and other animals. Our brains are connected to our bodies through a complex network of nerves, muscles, and other systems that allow us to perceive and interact with our environment in a coordinated and adaptive way. This type of embodied intelligence is essential for a wide range of activities, from basic survival behaviors like finding food and avoiding danger, to more complex tasks like social interaction, language use, and creative expression.

Real world AI has become more “disembodied”. Disembodied intelligence is a term used to describe forms of artificial intelligence that are not physically embodied in a physical body or structure. In other words, it is a type of intelligence that exists purely in the digital realm, with no physical presence or embodiment.

There are several forms of disembodied intelligence, including chatbots, virtual assistants, and autonomous systems. Chatbots and virtual assistants are designed to simulate human conversation and provide information or assistance to users. Autonomous systems, on the other hand, are designed to perform tasks or make decisions independently, without human intervention. Decentralized Intelligence is by definition disembodied.

One of the key advantages of disembodied intelligence is its flexibility and scalability. Since these systems exist purely in the digital realm, they can be easily replicated and distributed across different platforms and devices, allowing them to reach a wide audience and serve a variety of different purposes. Additionally, since they do not require a physical body, they can be designed to operate in a wide range of environments and contexts, from home automation systems to industrial control systems.

However, there are also some potential downsides to disembodied intelligence. One concern is the possibility of these systems becoming too powerful or autonomous, potentially leading to unintended consequences or even harm. For example, an autonomous system designed to optimize a manufacturing process might inadvertently cause harm to human workers if it is not properly designed or controlled.

Another concern is the potential for disembodied intelligence to replace human workers in certain industries, leading to job losses and economic disruption. While these systems can be highly efficient and effective at performing certain tasks, they may not have the same level of empathy, creativity, or problem-solving skills as human workers.

Despite these concerns, there is no doubt that disembodied intelligence will continue to play an important role in our society and economy. As technology continues to advance, we can expect to see more and more applications of this type of intelligence, from virtual assistants and chatbots to autonomous vehicles and robots. Ultimately, the challenge will be to ensure that these systems are designed and used in a way that maximizes their benefits while minimizing their potential risks and drawbacks.