[extropy-chat] Collective Singularities (Was: Desirability of Singularity)

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Mon Jun 5 02:56:10 UTC 2006

George Dvorsky wrote:
>> Increasing individual cognitive capacity has a big multiplicative effect
>> on the economy, according to some of my current analysis (stay tuned
>> :-).
> While I'm sure that there's some truth to your analysis, one factor you
> must be sure to consider is the impact of wide scale under-employment.
> Already today the cognitive demands of work isn't matching what many
> people are truly capable of (ie people are over-educated relative to
> their jobs). In the future, I can imagine more of the same; just because
> you have groups of populations with high IQs doesn't mean that the
> cognitive demands of jobs will follow accordingly.

Having overeducated people in simple jobs suggests that there isn't enough
entrepreneurship, venture capital or whatever for them to find new niches;
I don't think that is an unavoidable consequence of too much brainpower.
Maybe it is rather a sign that we have too little economic flexibility
(individually and societally).

One approach to estimate the use of higher IQ for GDP is to look at
correlations between IQ and salaries, and then do a bit of extrapolation
(adding in changes in probability of holding a job, some lowered social
costs for prisons and poorhouses etc). Those are based on a status quo
assumption about the structure of the economy, so they might not hold very
far into the future (I would also love to have a way of including a
competition factor in such models).

Another is to look at the productivity residual and assume some of it is
due to technological ability increase; that produces a multiplicative
factor that is probably a more robus mixture of lots of smaller factors.

A third, and honestly fairly iffy approach, is to base it on
http://www.iapsych.com/articles/dickerson2006ip.pdf that suggests that
national IQ is multiplicative of GDP. Here the cause and effect are likely
tightly meshed and the raw data is suspect, so this should be taken with a
ton of salt.

But overall, the impression I get is that higher intelligence overall
produces a big effect on the overall economy, even if it might be just a
smaller group that does most of the smart work. A bit like Florida's
creative and service classes: if the creatives are smart and productive
enough, it doesn't matter that most others do macjobs. The entire economy
grows fast anyway.

Anders Sandberg,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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