Re: Uses of cloning

Anders Sandberg (
18 Dec 1998 11:29:17 +0100

"Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <> writes:

> The interesting one for me would be dumping 200 Einsteins into the
> populace and seeing what happened.

Hmm, the population now is roughly three times the population in Einstein's time, so most likely there are at least three times as many geniuses around (better education for more people shifts things up a bit). But maybe it is the genius density that matters.

Seriously, there isn't such a thing as unspecific genius - Albert was a great physicist but hardly a world-class violinist. Geniuses (by which I mean people who are simply significantly better than average, real outliers in skill) are geniuses in some areas but not all, so the effects of 200 Einsteins would depend a lot on what they are skilled in. In some areas lots of hard work by normal people can do the same thing as the insight of a single genius, others are more contingent (the arts? theoretical physics?).

In general my readings seems to suggest that genius is a combination of both having a very strong attitude or interest in something, and getting enough stimulation and input to excel at it. While there are a few people (Mussorgsky, Ramanujan) who managed to succeed even with apparently no initial support, they are rare and seemed to have been able to give the support to themselves (a very important skill for all of us!). Most geniuses become true geniuses first after much training. So there may be genetic components of personality and aptitude, and then there are powerful influences from the surroundings.

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
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