Can anyone shed more light on whether this is true or not?
Anecdotally, one of my best friends (extremely intelligent, Cum Laude engineering student) went "off the rails" a few years after graduating. I always had the feeling that he was seeing things 5 steps ahead of everyone else, and had such an extremely deep insight into every day things. I think it just became too much for him to handle.
I am not convinced that producing people with high IQ's and declaring them "intelligent super-humans" will result in anything dramatic, unless that is followed up with a lifetime of enrichment: superb education, good parenting, and formative life-experiences.
I do volunteer work in an adult literacy program and, learning disabilities aside, some of these folks are truly very intelligent and fully capable but have been set-back in childhood and young adulthood because of circumstances beyond their control and utterly unrelated to genetics.
If we really want to create super-intelligent beings, there's a "low tech" way to do that will be far more effective than genetic engineering: treat education as a mission-critical priority and make sure kids are taken care of.
I had a period when I experienced this for some time. I can confirm it's deeply frustrating. You see all the madness very clearly. You see theoretical solutions to everything, know it could have been different. But you also understand you're quite alone and not influential enough. Generally, you're better off being average.
I agree that it isn't necessarily a net negative, but the success of an individual on the spectrum seems highly conditional on life circumstances.
The thing is, genetics for autism also seem to produce people with adhd (reciently rolled into the spectrum) and generally coincide with decreased ability in executive function - leading to the absent minded professor syndrome. It also has a high prevalence of sensory processing disorder which can lead to a lot of issues with dealing with day-to-day life.
Even in cases where people with ASD happen to be of above average intelligence, it doesn't necessarily lead to success. I score 99% percentile in almost all academic areas, but I can't even feed myself right now. I'm functionally retarded when it comes to interacting with people half the time and the high-stress that comes from normal every day things means I might as well be agoraphobic.
Under the right conditions I have no doubt that I can flourish. I'm actively engaged in getting my life back on track (grew up in poverty, diagnosed late in life) but there's a reason that suicide rates and general unemployment levels for people on the spectrum are astronomical compared to the general population.
> "But psychometric studies, which seek to measure the nature of intelligence, paint a different picture. Millions of observations have shown that essentially all “primitive” cognitive abilities—short and long term memory, the use of language, the use of quantities and numbers, the visualization of geometric relationships, pattern recognition, and so on—are positively correlated."
Whilst it might have been "proven" in the lab, that's not what is apparent with day to day experiences. If we split 'intelligence' into 'academic intelligence' and 'emotional intelligence', it's rare to find someone who excels with both. It's not just a matter of capacity, our abilities are a reflection of what we devote our energy to.
To explain why it's important to make the distinction between different types of intelligence... to put it simply, academic intelligence makes a difference in abstract thinking, developing new ideas and refining existing ones. However, emotional intelligence guides us on how best to spend our time. Emotional intelligence is a close relative to wisdom. We need it to guide us. If not, we'll end up doing things because we can, rather than whether we should, and with the power of super-intelligence that's something we'll need more than ever.
So, in a nutshell : on average, being super smart at math means you are probably verbally smart too.
Our ancestors were not so benighted as we have been told: ignorance is, indeed, bliss.
1. Intelligence is an ability to observe, gather feedback based on past observations, and see patterns at a speed much faster than others at a lower general level. The growth in insight can be exponential, but it also means you start thinking at levels of abstraction and patterns that are layers above people at other levels. You struggle to communicate.
2. High Intelligence is not correlated with high moral or other views - at its base, it means speed in some directions an individual is prone to have. If they find a career path that allows them to speed in that direction, they thrive, if not, you see a lot of psychological challenges over time.
3. Socially, the higher your IQ, the more likely you are to skip steps in explaining your thoughts and to be misunderstood because your thinking might be several levels of abstraction above the people your're talking to. People at the 150IQ general level are rarely happy working with or friending people below 120. Given a propensity to specialize it a field rarely touched by others - one can get quite lonely in their thoughts and lose the social skills needed to develop normal friendships. Unless you are lucky enough to be surrounded by peers, you may be very unhappy. That unhappiness can shift to negative, downright trolling behaviors for some people.
4. Given the above, a lot of potential is lost. For every Einstein, there are likely several hiding in corners wondering what is wrong with them.
I've been thinking about and working on prototypes for a platform that would be helpful to unite people with niche and advanced interests, so they can collaborate freely. Would love to connect with others interested in the topic. (Edit: typos)
It is equally plausible (and to my mind much more likely) that the many parameters influencing intelligence are linked in complex ways with no simple global optimum in sight.
Assuming we can indeed select for gifted embryos, and do so, the consequences are going to be… interesting.
I think the author's argument is very weak, analogous to:
"Scientists have identified thousands of parameters influencing the efficiency of petrol-powered cars. Each parameter seems to influence the outcome by a small amount. If we simply chose the best value for each parameter, I predict that we could see cars with efficiency in the range of 500 miles per gallon".
A related argument (I think the one you are making) is that generally optimising one thing is going to trade off other things. So going all-in on fuel efficiency might impact crash resistance, for example.
The author's argument for general intelligence might be true if the basic architecture of our brains has a lot of room for improvement. This might be true, but it seems that evolution should have already exploited any low-hanging fruit.
This whole thing reminds me of the "humans only use 10% of their brains" flavour of reasoning.
However, in the last couple centuries there have also been greatly increased migrations globally, leading to increased mating across cultures and races. These events will be carried in the gene pool, maybe forever, and repeated. Intuitively, even if they're outliers, these matings will trend the gene pool towards more homogeneity.
Is this intuition correct? How do biologists reconcile the views?
What exactly does this mean? Is there a place where I can learn more about it?
There are also some interesting articles you might want to read:
Then there are things like "Right now we've got assortative mating going on at a scale relatively unprecedented in history" (assumption or data-based fact?)...
Living in a world where you are that much smarter than anyone else could be intensely isolating, imagine been so smart that you would find every conversation with anyone who isn't similarly boosted boring.
> The alternative would be inequality of a kind never before experienced in human history.
That is a pretty chilling sentence and it's hard to argue, if you could engineer children for intelligence and it was fantastically expensive then that has some really nasty potential sociological outcomes (something that has been a Trope of sci-fi for at least a hundred years).
Or that IQ is only governed by genes to a very small extent in which case the rest of the argument goes out of the window.
How do you optimize: maximize intelligence subject to not messing up the organism too much. How would you do this for multiple phenotypes? Maximize height and intelligence subject to not messing up the organism too much.
Plus there is also the EQ (emotional) quotient. Not many people are going to want your company if you are a super-intelligent asshole either.
I'd argue the opposite. If you're in a tougher situation, there's a lot more for you to gain by applying your intelligence.
The article actually also mention this, in the passage about the Flynn effect.
TL;DR: Scientists have discovered some parts of DNA that reflect intelligence and advances in DNA manipulation could lead to being able to create super-intelligent humans.
I wonder about the implications of this for super-intelligent AI...
Haven't we heard this before?
If so, how much would you be willing to pay to have your IQ increased by say 10 points?
I think I would be willing to pay $10,000 if the risks of something bad happening because of the treatment would be low.
Also, IQ is a lousy measurement scale. Ten points means a lot more to someone with an 85 or 95 IQ than to someone with 120.
Skills based enhancement - becoming more empathetic or maybe more mathematical or acquiring novel light-sensitive retinal cells or biological radio seems more plausible than boosting "general intelligence" which might not be a thing at all.
How does that fit with the popular notion that intelligence is independent of race? Isn't the definition of race essentially just different genetic background?
That's an amazingly ignorant comment. First of all, the better evidence is behind the idea that currently observed high human IQ, when the "g" factor is factored into consideration, consists mostly just of luckily lacking deficiencies in function that other human individuals have. In other words, the centuries-long factor-analytic approach mostly suggests that high-IQ individuals luckily lack "general stupidity," but still are subject to hard limits on human cognition (Mackintosh, IQ and Human Intelligence second edition 2011, pages 155-156).
And the hard limits on human cognition are intractable, and actually illustrated by the article kindly submitted here. Psychologist Keith R. Stanovich points out in his book What Intelligence Tests Miss that even very high-IQ individuals (studied in studies of members of high-IQ societies) are still subject to most human cognitive biases, and they can be MORE subject to delusional beliefs than members of the general public because they can make up elaborate rationalizations for anything they choose to believe, including a belief in superintelligence.
I doubt the statements in this article also because there is a long line of research that goes back to before when the article author was born on selective breeding of mice and rats for high intelligence in their behavioral context. (One kind of test of intelligence given to rats and mice is running through mazes to find food.) Since before the author was born, there have been purebred strains of "maze-bright" and "maze-dull" rats that have been tested by psychologists. Now that there are gene technology methods in animal research, there are transgenic mice with knocked-out genes and added genes, and the author significantly fails to mention any experimentation in animal models that shows that his speculation is likely to become true.
The Wikipedia article on IQ classification adequately cites references to demonstrate that the IQ scale is strictly ordinal, so indeed a notion of "IQ 1000" is meaningless.
If you'd like to read a more thoughful article on genetic influences on human IQ, by a researcher who has been closer to the research for longer and who has published in better journals than the author whose essay was kindly submitted here, see Wendy Johnson's article "Understanding the Genetics of Intelligence: Can Height Help? Can Corn Oil?" which has an excellent review of decades of research on genetics and on human intelligence.
If you mean share for free, then I don't think that's ever likely on any large scale. You're talking about altruism, which is very exploitable by the scrupulous.
Not at all. We share things so others can build on our work and share their changes back again. The work gets improved (directly by contributions, or by testing, or just through feedback and criticism), and we benefit from those improvements. It isn't altruism because the reason we share the code is to get those improvements. Without community feedback very few people would bother opening up their source and putting it out in the world.
I hate this embrace your servitude mentality.
For example, I can easily say we need more people with high moral standards who don't lie, cheat partners, friends,family and do overall positive added value to mankind. This can be anything from freeing a seat in full bus to granny/pregnant woman to curing some specific type of cancer, and anything in between. They don't even need to work hard on this, even small positive action here and there, multiplied by 7 billions, would change our lives gradually for the better. But that's just my subjective 2 cents :)
Because working hard is a virtue, right?