Re: A study comparing 150 IQ+ persons to 180 IQ+ persons.

From: Russell Wallace (
Date: Tue Aug 22 2006 - 02:32:27 MDT

On 8/22/06, John K Clark <> wrote:
> But now the question is WHY is what you say true? One reason certainly is
> that the inventors of the test had IQ's considerably less than 160, but I
> think there is a deeper reason. I would find it mind boggling astounding
> if
> intelligence, the most complex thing in the universe, could be described
> by
> a simple scalar. At the very least I think you'd need a vector, and
> probably
> a tensor of somewhat less than trivial intricacy.

At a guess, it might be a case of the general version of Amdahl's law: If X
was 20% of the limiting factor in the first place, then an infinite
improvement in X only gets you 20% overall improvement.

Suppose for a given task there's a list of requirements to get it done, and
raw brainpower is one of them, and IQ is a good measure of brainpower. Then:

If you were low on IQ in the first place, more makes a big difference to
your chances.
Once you have a decent amount, it becomes more probable that other items on
the list are the limiting factor, therefore less probable that a further IQ
boost will make the difference.

Candidates for other factors:
Mathematics: being comfortable with very long towers of abstraction, far
removed from usual intuition. (Guesswork; I'm suggesting a possible reason
why I personally am not a great mathematician :))
Programming: Desire to learn. If you would be a great programmer, learn at
least ten different programming languages. If that strikes you as long toil
with no gain, programming mightn't appeal to you.
AI: Be able to build intricate towers of reasoning; then be willing to tear
everything you believed down to bedrock and start over. And over, and over,
and over, accepting that each time you pay that price, you converge only a
little on the truth. So it won't be the last time.
Writing: Have an intuition for what works, a feeling for language and the
human mind. Be willing to learn what you don't know to write about. Write a
million words to throw away. Dodge the Brain Eater.
Business: Be able to make correct decisions fast, and stick by them - and
then backtrack and say "crap, nevermind that, this way instead" when you're
heading for a rock.
Politics: Charisma... well duh :) Apart from that, I can't say.
Pilot: Situational awareness. That's a very distinct talent by itself.

...other examples welcome.

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