Re: Uploading with current technology

From: Bill Hibbard (
Date: Tue Dec 10 2002 - 08:27:43 MST

Hi John,

On Mon, 9 Dec 2002, John G. Miller wrote:

> --- Bill Hibbard <> wrote:
> > Society has a gradual (lots of short-term setbacks, to be
> > sure) long-term trend toward equality because human
> > brains are distributed quite democratically: the largest
> > IQ (not a perfect measure, but widely applied) in history
> > is only twice the average.
> I agree that IQ is not a perfect measure of Intelligence.
> However, although an average IQ is considered to be around
> 100, it is misleading to state the largest IQ in history as
> being "only twice the average". IQ is measured on a bell
> curve. A 200 would be located extremely far out on the
> right side of the curve. It is very hard to imagine the
> capabilities that a person with a 200 IQ might have. They
> might be able to find solutions to problems that 1,000
> persons of average intelligence working together could not.

The fact that IQs have a normal distribution doesn't imply
anything about whether they are a linear, logarithmic or other
scale of intelligence. IQ is defined as a linear measure
of mental development rate (as ratio of mental to calendar
age), but of course that doesn't make it a linear measure
either. And the fact that a person with an IQ of 200 can solve
problems that 1000 people with IQs of 100 cannot is due to the
difficulty of collaboration on certain problems, rather than
any logarithmic scaling. This is nicely discussed in Fred
Brook's The Mythical Man-Month.

It is hard to find a good measure of intelligence against
which to judge whether IQ is a linear or logarithmic scale.
One candidate measure is suggested in Deric Bownds book Biology
of Mind. He says that human brains were a survival and breeding
advantage because they enabled humans to know 150 to 200 other
humans well, and thus to work in large teams. A person with an
IQ of 200 cannot know 200,000 other people well and is not 1000
times smarter than averge humans by that measure.

In fact, as humans build super-intelligent machines, I think
that "number of people you can know well" will be a good and
practical way to measure their intelligence. Machines providing
intelligent services to humans will be able to provide better
services by knowing more people. The ability of machines to
understand a billion humans and their interactions will define
their higher-level consciousness, in the same way that the human
ability to understand events over long times periods and involving
many other minds defines our higher-level consciousness compared
to animal brains.


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