[ExI] The downsides of high IQ

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Thu Apr 16 10:26:15 UTC 2015

spike <spike66 at att.net> , 15/4/2015 6:58 PM:

Look over to Andart for a poster-child example.  All those cool ideas; the man doesn’t even ask for anything in return.  Brain-whores just give it away!  How can idea-purveyors compete with that?

At first I was planning to point out that I am a brain-slut, since I don't get paid for giving away ideas, but then I realized that I do have a paycheck from the university, so I *am* a brain-whore. And quite proud of it. It is just that I also like to give away freebies. 

 In our modern world, brains are cheap, and a lot of it is my favorite pricetag: free. Oh what a glorious time to be living.  We higher primates evolved these bulbous frontal lobes for exactly this era.  Give it away until you are sore, then give more.

Amen. One of the interesting things with this era is that we have the technology to make this giving and sharing more efficient. People were certainly giving away nice ideas in the coffee houses of the 1600s, but just a few could print, spread or read the pamphlets. Today we have technology for taking all brain-output and spread it around, as well as some rudimentary ways of sorting it (very necessary, since a lot of the gifts are honestly a bit dodgy). 

We professional brain-whores of course have a problem here. How do we compete? The main approach is quality control (and sometimes just status): writing peer reviewed papers in good journals with authors from prestigious universities is a bit like trying to be an upscale demimondaine. But there is also the wonderful power of specialization (you know more than anybody about X) and intellectual craft/connoisseurship (you can detect and put together good thoughts about X) that synergize with the flood of free brains and ideas. There is value in professionally refining ideas and pointing out which ones shine the brightest. 

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