Re: Intelligence, IE, and SI - Part 1

Skye Howard (
Wed, 27 Jan 1999 21:24:32 -0800 (PST)

I was thinking about your example of an individual who had acces to a computer. I think that quite possibly such an individual might be considered a primitive future human... you know what I mean? Is anybody else thinking similar thoughts? I mean, a computer being a primitive neural extension, and a keyboard or mouse or whatever a primitive neural connection, could it not be that one's IQ-plus-computer or IQ-plus-net could be considered a measure of your intelligence as an advanced individual? It may be really silly, but.....
it's a thought. wrote:
> Billy Brown, <>, writes:
> > Since there seems to be a fair amount of interest in the topic,
I've decided
> > to go ahead and post what I've got so far (in sections, of
course). The
> > final version of all of this will (hopefully) end up as a
> > treatment of the topic, but it has a ways to go before its ready
for that.
> This looks like a great start.
> > Now, intelligence in this sense is not a unitary entity. It is
> > possible to be good at solving one class of problems, and do a
poor job of
> > solving others. There is a very large (possibly infinite) number of
> > different problem domains in which an intelligent entity might
have some
> > ability. Some of these domains are related to each other, such
that a high
> > level of ability in one domain can be used to solve problems in
the related
> > domains. Other problem domains are independent of each other, and
> > completely different problem-solving approaches.
> The nature of intelligence is somewhat controversial, tied in to the
> dispute over whether intelligence is heritable, and whether different
> races have differences in intelligence. As you say, there are a
> number of different skills which can be identified as part of overall
> "intelligence". One disputed point is whether there is correlation
> among these abilities. Do people who are better at memorizing lists,
> say, also tend to have better logical deduction skills? Are better
> readers also better at math?
> Apparently the statistical data is ambiguous enough that controversy
> remains, although it is possible that the high political stakes are
> enough to explain it. The hypothetical correlation factor is called
> the general intelligence. My impression is that most studies show
> there is such a factor, that broadly speaking people who are better at
> some mental skills tend to be better at others, but there is
> considerable variation in abilities.
> > The answer to this apparent contradiction is also the reason why
so many
> > people think of intelligence as a single ability. Picture a graph
> > different cognitive abilities along the X-axis, and increasing
ability along
> > the Y-axis, so that the graph depicts varying ability levels in
> > problem domains. What we commonly call 'intelligence' is the area
> > this curve, with various distortions based on our own ideas about
> > abilities are important. Different humans may have different
levels of
> > ability in each problem domain, but we expect the total area under
the curve
> > to fall within a given range.
> This should be a bar (column) graph; I think the various cognitive
> would be discrete rather than continuous. (Although this may be in
> an artifact of the factor analysis technique, which inherently
> discrete basis vectors.)
> The difficult issue as you try to generalize this to
> is how to scale the Y axis. With humans, we can test people and come
> up with a range of scores which we can normalize with a desired mean
> standard deviation. However the nature of tests is such that there
may be
> no unambiguous way to extrapolate them beyond the range of abilities
> As a simple example, you can't do better than 100% on a test. A test
> may not be able to produce meaningful data outside of a given range.
> Even with open-ended tests, like how quickly something can be done, or
> how many numbers you can remember, it is not clear how to measure an
> ability which is beyond the human level, in quantitative terms. How
> much better do you have to do on a test to have an IQ of 400 rather
> 350? What would such values mean?
> An interesting point this suggests is that a person, today, who is
> to "cheat" on an IQ test by having access to computers and other
> devices, could probably score very highly on some of the sub-tests.
> He could "remember" sequences of virtually any length, for example.
> (All he really needs is pencil and paper for that.) He could come
> up with synonyms, and might be able to handle geometric problems more
> easily as well. The standard formulas assemble the sub-tests into an
> overall score, and his massively increased ability in some areas would
> increase his apparent IQ, possibly significantly.
> This leads to a couple of conclusions. First, such an "augmented"
> person is effectivelly more intelligent than an ordinary human.
This is
> unsurprising; it is one reason our culture has advanced from caveman
> But second, it shows that the tests don't always produce meaningful
> results when taken outside their intended range. A test of memory
is more
> relevant when measuring brain capacity than paper capacity. Someone
> can memorize hundreds of digits on hearing them has an amazing mental
> ability, and this would show up in his IQ score; but someone who can
> down hundreds of digits and read them back is just an ordinary person,
> and he doesn't deserve to have his IQ score boosted by a formula
> with the intention of testing a purely mental ability.
> > We can therefore say that an entity has human-equivalent
intelligence if it
> > meets the same criterion: its total ability in the relevant
problem domains
> > must fall within the same range as that of humans. A transhuman
> > would be one whose total ability falls well beyond the human
range, and an
> > SI would be an entity with an astronomically large total ability.
> What is an SI? A Super-Intelligence?
> > <to be continued>
> Looking forward to seeing more...
> Hal

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