[ExI] The downsides of high IQ

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Thu Apr 16 10:13:46 UTC 2015

William Flynn Wallace <foozler83 at gmail.com> , 15/4/2015 7:18 PM:

Two points:  there is a positive correlation between IQ and manic depression, definitely a hindrance to success.  Most companies know that there is a high turnover rate with above average IQ people in lower level jobs. 

But manic depression is a minority problem even among high IQ people. 

The real issue for companies is simply that smart people have way more options, so a higher turnover should be expected if there are potentially better jobs. And smart people also have a larger range of goals: good pay is no guarantee that it is optimal for them. The first philosophy PhD I met worked with me in the post office. Smart people can often find fulfilment in idiosyncratic places. But as an employer, figuring out whether the double doctorate would-be street cleaner would love the job or not before the fact is hard, and in many cases carries a cost. 

In many ways saying smart people have problems is like complaining that any other advantaged group has problems: sure, there are both universal problems they cannot escape, and special problems that group has. The real question is whether the special problems actually outweigh the advantage. Which I think we all more or less agree is not the case for intelligence. 

Anders Sandberg, Future of Humanity Institute Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University
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