Re: EVOLUTION: Mental Adaptation

Anders Sandberg (
Tue, 21 Jan 1997 15:29:54 +0100 (MET)

On Tue, 21 Jan 1997, James Rogers wrote:

> Vast improvements in intelligence will be THE
> defining feature in the progress of the human species.

I wonder if intelligence or brain power is the important point here.

Together with my computer, I can communicate with experts across the
world, solve mathematical problems quickly and reliably, gather and
process information much faster than in a library and remember my results
for years perfectly. Obviously, my productivity (my effective
intelligence) has been increased.

But what am I really doing? I'm letting various more or less autonomous
subsystems do work for me, sometimes quite complex work, while I don't
even need to understand how it is done. This is very similar to how we
acquire skill: at first we need to understand and concentrate on what we
are doing, but later it becomes natural and unconscious. Typing on a
keyboard is a very complex process, but since I know it well it appears
to me as an unitary process with no internal complexity, I just do it.

The modern environment is filled with this proceduralization: we have
simplified it to a large extent by hiding away the complexity inside
black boxes, which greatly improves our efficiency without relying on
increased intelligence (in fact, many technologies seem to decrease it!).
So greater *personal* intelligence might not be the crucial thing in the
future, but greater *effective* intelligence.

Anders Sandberg Towards Ascension!
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y