[ExI] What would an IQ of 500 or 1000 look like?

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Tue May 26 01:51:46 UTC 2015

On Mon, May 25, 2015 at 5:06 AM, Anders Sandberg <anders at aleph.se> wrote:
> In the end, talking about IQ 500 is almost as confused as talking about
> doubling IQs: this is not what the scale is about. It is a bit like
> discussing how loud the big bang was (although, see
> https://telescoper.wordpress.com/2009/04/26/how-loud-was-the-big-bang/ )

### Indeed, and this becomes obvious once we remember that IQ is not a
measure of intelligence but a measure of rarity. The measure of
intelligence is the raw score on an intelligence test, and of course
there are many ways of constructing a test in order to achieve
predictive power for different purposes. An IQ of 130 doesn't mean an
intelligence 30% higher than average but rather having an abundance of
2%. Using a properly constructed, i.e. efficient test, the raw scores
of a IQ500 person would have to be of course higher than the score of
a mere IQ400 one but only as much as needed to achieve statistical
discrimination within the continuum of scores mapping in this
interval. It could mean than the IQ 500 person would be in terms of
raw performance only somewhat better than Ms vos Savant. This is all
assuming a non-truncated normal distribution of intelligence.

An interesting question arises: a test capable of discriminating the
tails of a normal distribution in a population of 10^30 humans would
have to have incredibly tight measurement errors to be valid, i.e. to
prevent random fluctuations in scores from throwing up an IQ500 result
due to luck in answering questions. This means you would need to have
many more test items than in a regular IQ test, which may be validated
only up to an IQ of 180 or thereabouts.

So it could mean that many of the 10^30 humans would have to spend
weeks on this mega-IQ test before the smartest of them all would be
announced to the pan-galactic audience.


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