Re: Risk, Reward, and Human Enhancement

From: Bryan Bishop (
Date: Wed Jan 02 2008 - 17:01:02 MST

On Wednesday 02 January 2008, Robin Gane-McCalla wrote:
> 1) We aren't really defining IQ, there are many different IQ tests

I know it's SL4 and I'll be shot for saying this, but to hell with IQ.

> out there and none of them are very accurate at predicting things

Prediction and intelligence go hand-in-hand, so how is a number (IQ)
supposed to be at all intelligent?

> like future income or contributions to society. If by IQ you mean

If you measure contributions on a per-unit basis, then there's lots of
other measurements to be taken, like wpm or publications per quarter.

> general intelligence, I think you'd need to define it better and I

Again, this is SL4, and I sincerely doubt you're going to get many
people here to redefine "general intelligence." I have been attempting
to purge the word 'intelligence' from my daily vocabulary, but it's
just so darn tempting.

> don't believe that it could be measured by a single number.

On another note, the group measures
intelligence on a numerical scale. I wonder if there's ever going to be
a change there, too.

> 2) No comprehensive argument that one person of a high IQ is better
> than many people of lower IQs. While some people think great

See the previous posts on effective sagacity and making the singularity
happen by overcoming procrastination. But this is a simple, MPD-like
theory (think pop-psych, multiple personality disorders, etc.).

> intelligences like Einstein have created huge differences in the

It's convenient to attribute intelligence to Einstein, but what about
knowledge or his daily routine? There's so much that he left unrecorded
about himself that it's all too easy to say it's intelligence.

> world, people like Einstein wouldn't be possible if it weren't for
> people who were slightly less intelligent, but who were able to

Einstein would still be Einstein even without John Does.

> understand and apply Einstein's theories. If Einstein were more
> intelligent, and everybody else less intelligent, then people
> wouldn't understand his idea and they might have even killed him for
> coming up with such heresy as they did with earlier scientists.

So he wasn't smart enough to not get killed, then.

> 3) The whole situation is contrived, and in my opinion, unlikely to
> occur. Even if there were some drug that increased intelligence in

There are some nootropics out there that do this ... sort of.

> some and decreased it in others, the intelligent thing to do with it
> would be to test the brains (via MRI, EEG etc) of all the people and

Different people, different brains. Neurodiversity etc. But I wouldn't
be opposed to fMRI nootropic studies and so on. As long as they aren't
about IQ tests.

> find out what neurological factors caused their intelligence to
> increase or decrease.

But then you run into problems defining intelligence and measurements.

> I think that the age of the super scientist who discovers some
> amazing law which revolutionizes the world is over. Real scientific

Bullshit. Superscientists ahoy!

> advances will be made by groups.

"Never underestimate the ability of a small group of thoughtful,
dedicated individuals to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing
that ever has." - Margaret Mead

- Bryan
Bryan Bishop

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