[extropy-chat] 12,000 IQ and nothing on?

Lee Corbin lcorbin at rawbw.com
Tue Apr 10 23:15:39 UTC 2007

Anders writes to examine the "interesting question"

>  what does 12,000 IQ really mean?
> Clearly we are not interested in its ability to solve IQ tests, where it
> would do 793 standard deviations above us. Even constructing such a test
> would require a long chain of ultrabright entities (make a normal IQ test,
> callibrate it. Then make a test that is very hard, and callibrate its
> scores so that if you get X points on a normal IQ test and Y on this, you
> get the same IQ. Then continue the chain upwards).

Right.  But I think that you have also to maintain the same amount of
gene diversity as you go along, because today's "IQ 100" is based upon
having administered tests to a *lot* of Europeans.   But the standard
deviation, as opposed to the mean, depends on diversity.  (I can't
think of what would correspond to "gene diversity" among uploaded
and vastly more intelligent entities; but perhaps it doesn't matter; we
are more interesting in the capability and behavior of an entity who is
rightfully characterized in some way as having an IQ of 12,000.)

> In fact, having these ultrabrigths around would change the population
> mean and undermine the point of IQ scores.

Yes, it would have to be an incremental process of some sort, if you
*really* wanted to be able to get to 12,000 and have a bunch of, say,
Chinese researchers end up at the same place you do.

Arthur Jensen specifically warns against trying to extend the notion of
"cognitive ability" to other species, but what the hell, this is the 
Extropians list. Even among humans and our closest relations there
are interesting results. Ashkenazi Jews have IQs on average of at
least 112, and the Kalihari San sport, according to Richard Lynn
in the 2006 book "Racial Differences in Intelligence", an average IQ
of 56.  One might say that the average Bushman is half as smart as
a Jew  :-)    Also, the genius bonobo chimpanzee Kanzi seems to
understand about as much as a European four-year old, and so we
might go on to say that he's almost half as smart as a human being,
or nearly a quarter as smart as an adult European.

> The real meaning of the statement is probably along the lines of having
> lots and lots of g,  general intelligence. But it is not entirely clear
> how to compare that.

Or what it means. I like your idea here:

> One could imagine putting various beings into competition where they
> play randomly selected games neither has ever seen before. Their
> ELO scores would to some extent general intelligence over the domain
> of these games. The problem is that that domain may be rather narrow.

Another idea I've had is to just pit them against each other in life and
death struggles.  Up to now, of course, with non-trivial intelligence
being such a recent development, such struggles are too over-
determined by inborn physical equipment (e.g. claws and teeth) and
too little dependent on cognitive ability. Stephen Hawking would have
no chance against a tiger. That is, sheer muscle or physical development
has held the key to victory in all such encounters. But with the advent
of nanotech and control of matter at all levels, survival contests between
very smart entities of the future will be a battle of wits, and that ultimately
could be the best way to measure smarts.

> If past history is a guide, the number of domains of human activity is
> increasing tremendously. Many domains do not appear to be terribly
> complex, but there are so many of them. We cannot google them all to do
> them. With even greater brains (and posthuman bodies and extraterrestrial
> environments) that number of domains would expand enormously. Even if
> general intelligence can conquer them all given time and motivation, I
> would suspect that there will never be enough time (and economics).
> Compared to the range of domains most of us are acting in today,
> posthumans might actually appear terribly specialised.

Yeah, I'm afraid you're right.  Jensen says "Cognitive ability is a lot like
money; it doesn't really matter how much you have so long as you have
a certain enough."  I take him to mean that insofar as ability to accomplish
goes (among humans today), an IQ of 130 or 150 or something is all
you need.

So in the far future, a maximal entity at a certain point in time will extend
his control over his environment (probably incorporating it into himself)
at a rate proportional to his intelligence. Standing back a ways, this
velocity will probably be the speed of light, since the entity would doubtless
resort to the Von Neumann probe approach.   On the other hand, if we
restrict its resources temporarily to, say one cubic meter, or say, to one
Jupiter of material, then we may claim that an upper limit of ability must exist.
But these levels will be maximal---as you are essentially suggesting above
---and no one of them a maximum.


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