my friend Kourosh asked some questions, I think it's so useful to share the answers with you, in main blog.
1- Are instincts a form of intelligence, at least in primitive tasks?
yes they are, let me explain by detail.
suppose an agent must do a certain job in an uneasy environment, such as terrains. The first thing that robot must do is to continue it's mission, it's the essential point by which it could complete it's mission. For doing that it must not do thing's or actions that can harm itself, in other words it must protect its existence. So actions like getting back the hand from hot object which humans and animals do without thinking is a kind of intelligence. This kind is not depended on the object by itself, they are property of creature or maker of the object. I think it's a low level intelligence, but it's a kind of that. This is so far away from thinking, problem solving or such things. Instincts are a kind of intelligence too. They are essential for the object (human/animal) to continue it's living. You know there is no need to waist computational power in things that are so clear, the answers and actions designed and tested for known situations and problems, I call those solutions instincts. For example fear is a instinct, that protect us and do not let us to put ourselves in situations which are dangerous. ;)
2- Can intelligence be harmful to it's own being?
you know the humans are the creatures who can be suicide, also they are known as the most intelligent creatures on the Earth and known living world.
but there isn't any relation between to be intelligent and to be harmful to it's own being. May be you are mentioning harmful invention or global warming that are man made, so may be humans are smart enough to protect themselves form them. I duno, the coming future would prove this.
3- Does finding the signs of intelligence mean that there is a life out there?
no, they could be the robots or even an the structures of a lost foreign civilization in the universe.
but it would show that there was something. Do you remember the last civilization in the AI movie, they are bots, the remain and the continuation of human civilization when they don't exist any more.
4- Do you believe in soul?
it's so so hard to explain this.