i think that what is missed in this is that we're only looking at artificial intelligence, which can mimic biological intelligence, perhaps in some areas surpass it if you will.
however, what's the thing here is that artificial intelligence is only part of the 'problem'. ridley talks about creativity, and the thing is though, for that, you thus need artificial creativity. intelligence and creativity are not the same, and don't neccesarily need eachother. for example, an intelligent human being can lack severely in creative skills or any creativity whatsoever.
then, a highly creative person can really lack intelligence.
the spectrum thus doesn't stop at artificial intelligence, which science seems to be halted at for quite a while. the creativity aspect is missing, when the creativity aspect is reached, then you suddenly get a whole new world at your feet. dreams, visions, etc.
that is exactly what ridley is talking about.
David is an artifcial intelligent being, but he lacks the creative part as far as we have seen untill now.
the question is, can this creative part actually be learned without the need for programming or human research?