well, I googled superintelligence and corporations and this came up with the top result for an articulated claim that corporations are superintelligent:
The top result for an articulated claim that corporations are not superintelligent came from our own Nick Bostrom:
Nick Bostrom "A superintelligence is any intellect that is vastly outperforms the best human brains in practically every field, including scientific creativity, general wisdom, and social skills.1This definition leaves open how the superintelligence is implemented – it could be in a digital computer, an ensemble of networked computers, cultured cortical tissue, or something else."
If one is defining superintelligent as able to beat any human in any field, then I think it's reasonable to say that no corporations currently behave in a superintelligent manner. But that doesn't mean that the smartest corporations aren't smarter than the smartest humans. It may mean that it's just not rational for them to engage in those specific tasks. Anyways, the way corporations operate, one wouldn't attempt, as a unit, to be more socially skilled than Bill Clinton. It would just pay to utilize Bill Clinton's social skills.
So Nick's point is interesting, but I don't think it's an ending point, it's a starting or midway point in the analysis of networked groups of humans (and nonhuman computers, etc.) as potentially distinct intelligences, in my opinion.
Here are some more personal thoughts on this in a recent blog post of mine:
I'd also like to be directed to such claims and claim justifications (there's a protean claim justification on my blog). I'll resist the temptation of the thread-jacking bait that constitutes your last sentence, and encourage you -and Eliezer- to join me on my blog to continue the conversation on this topic.
Eliezer, not bothering to go after a goal may fall into that category. For example, it's reasonable to choose to live an average life, because one is probably mistaken if one thinks one is likely to have strongly positively deviant outcomes in life, such as becoming a billionaire, or procreating with a 1 in a million beauty, or winning a nobel prize for one's academic contributions, or becoming an A list celebrity. So one may choose never to invest in going after these goals, and devote the balance of one's time and energy to optimizing one's odds of maintaining a median existence, in terms of achievements and experiences. I could name people who seem to be doing that, but you've never heard of them.
Actually, I'd like to read good critiques of descriptions of corporations as superintelligent (or more nuanced versions of that assertion/theory, such as that some corporations may be intelligent, and more intelligent than individual humans).
Where can I find such critiques?
Eliezer, I'm using transparency to mean people wearing lab coats, or making great public displays of doubt being open and honest to themselves and others about why they're doing so. I think it's a standard usage of the word.
Particularly scary sentence:
"And yet, the practice of medicine involves more than its subservience to evidence or science. It also involves issues such as the meaning of service and feelings of professional pride."
PS I love this line for the double scoop of transparency: "Making a great public display of doubt to convince yourself that you are a rationalist, will do around as much good as wearing a lab coat."
A great post (in a series of great recent posts from Eliezer), and so far the comments on this post are very strong too.
I share your concerns, as expressed in past posts to this blog. Great to see someone else (non-anonymously?) expressing them. I have a longer response on my anonymous blog.