Hypotheses about intelligence
Intelligence is similar to a muscle, it is a potential, a capacity.
Intelligence is the capacity of an individual to create and manage hypotheses. These hypotheses can be about anything, including itself.
Like a muscle, intelligence can be used and developed, or unused and undeveloped.
Unlike a muscle, intelligence is a component of the decision making process in an individual. In humans, decisions probably mostly involve emotions.
To this day, no mechanism has been created by man that could create a better set of hypotheses, in a non trivial situation.
When hypotheses are used as they are and not improved, then this process is probably similar to a mechanism (e.g., possibly one equivalent to predicate logic), albeit sophisticated.
There are two levels of managing hypotheses: (1) they are applied as they are, and (2) they are improved.
The process to improve hypotheses does attempt to keep consistency over the entire set.
This theory is applicable to other species than homo sapiens. It may be applicable to whales and dolphins for example.
Future intelligent robots will manage hypotheses, and once a machine will be able to improve sets of hypotheses reliably then machine intelligence will grow exponentially, far above human intelligence. Emotions in robots will probably be fake, i.e., simulated, to help communicate with humans.