Re: Intelligence increase

From: Peter C. McCluskey (
Date: Mon Oct 09 2000 - 10:25:14 MDT (Robin Hanson) writes:
>Notice that under this conception it makes little sense to imagine a
>computer in a small lab suddenly breaking through to super-intelligence.
>Intelligence increases would be the result of breakthroughs all across the
>globe, and the compute cycles in any one lab would only be a very small
>fraction of that total.

 I question the appropriateness of using Flynn effect theories to predict
machine intelligence increases (but I suspect you are right that super-
intelligence will result from widespread breakthroughs).
 My current hypothesis for what is causing the Flynn effect is based on
the kind of sexual selection that is described in The Mating Mind. I
claim that women alter the importance they attach to intelligence in
mate selection in response to changes in the relative importance of
intelligence as a measure of a man's ability to earn a reliable living.
The industrial and information revolutions caused an increase in the
importance of mental abilities (especially the ability to handle
abstractions) and a decrease in the importance of alternative measures
such as physical strength. We should expect this to cause an increase in
evolutionary pressure for increased intelligence.
 Note that this hypothesis hints that the Flynn effect exaggerates the
increase in intelligence, as it implies the increase is concentrated
among those subsets of intelligence that are useful at modern jobs, and
I suspect IQ tests measure those subsets more than they measure the
ability to produce art or to model other people's minds.
 One (difficult) way this hypothesis could be tested is to measure when the
Flynn effect starts in different parts of the world, to see whether it
correlates with when intellectual labor significantly replaces manual labor.
 I doubt that artificial intelligence will have any comparable
mechanism, at least if it happens at all quickly. Sexual selection requires
a fairly sophisticated ability to model other individuals. AI will probably
need a process with the power of sexual selection before achieving that

Peter McCluskey          | Fed up with democracy's problems? Examine Futarchy: | or .ps

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