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A major healthcare breakthrough that improved the quality of life for a large number of people would qualify as a solid 3 -- a major political-level change. I'd save 6 for things like defeating the aging process -- something that, like raising the IQ of the population at large, would also fundamentally change the human condition. I'm not really sure how many medical breakthroughs of this magnitude there are.



Improving world health status might not improve IQ as some inherent human intelligence capacity, but would certainly have an immeasurable population-level effect on "effective IQ" i.e. ability to practice whatever intelligence capacity exists already.

Consider just the challenge of defeating the obesity epidemic. Better diet improves energy and massively increases, again at the population level, the amount of raw thoughtful hours are available to a country.

This is even more widely applicable in global health where health initiatives can also be important components of social change. Women's/sexual health is tied deeply to women's rights which is a leading indicator for social revolution.

While medical breakthrough that change the space of healthcare at large might be rare, there's a lot of room instead for the kind of breakthrough which changes how people receive and are impacted by the healthcare knowledge we already have today.


I think the idea of level 6 is not merely an incremental increase in effective IQ -- the internet and smartphones putting most of human knowledge at anyone's fingertips could qualify as that -- but something that fundamentally changes what it means to be human. Defeating obesity, the African AIDS epidemic, or even cancer would be amazing, heroic, and worldchanging, but still wouldn't qualify as changing what it means to be human.


I'd've rated Adipotide at 2 (make a large difference to the lives of hundreds of millions of people), and even with cognitive effects factored in, well, Apple hasn't had zero cognitive effect either. The thing is, there was already an age before high-fructose corn syrup when almost nobody was obese - you couldn't call it a novel change in the human condition to put things back to how they used to be. If you consider Apple as having popularized icon-based GUIs then it's got a substantially better claim to 5 or even 6 than a completely effective anti-obesity drug.




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