Re: IQ and Genius

Eliezer S. Yudkowsky (
Mon, 30 Nov 1998 12:02:09 -0600

John Clark wrote:
> So what did this prodigious intellect accomplish in his 46 years? Not
> much, if he's remembered at all it's for writing the definitive book on
> streetcar transfers, perhaps the most boring tome on the planet. I'm
> not sure what the moral is, maybe it's not to push gifted children too
> hard as Sidis's parents did, or maybe it's that high IQ and genius are
> not quite synonymous.

Yes, a famous case. But you'll note that Sidis didn't exhibit any intelligence other than that of a modern computer: Eidetic memory plus lightning calculator, the stereotypical characteristics that small children ask alleged geniuses to exhibit. The moral, maybe, is that if you're dumb enough to be taken in by stereotypes and you push your child hard enough, he or she will turn into a computer at the price of real cognitive functions.

--         Eliezer S. Yudkowsky

Disclaimer:  Unless otherwise specified, I'm not telling you
everything I think I know.