What is intelligence?
Tell me! Define it.. As in write it out in actual real words before you continue with this post..
You can’t, can you! You dumbass!
Alright, well it’s complicated, so listen up, you basic underlings 😉
Firstly, IQ isn’t a measurement of intelligence, actually it’s almost non-important in measuring true “general intelligence”. Neither are the grades someone achieved throughout their formal education. These processes measure peoples capabilities in very “simple tasks”. These processes allow for the estimation of forms of “narrow intelligence”.
But what do I mean by “simple tasks”, and “narrow intelligence” and “general intelligence”? Well let me tell you, you half-wits and eager-beavers.
If I asked you to compute 43 x 17, could you do it? If you can, can you do it quickly? What about being able to do it almost instantaneously? I doubt it.
If you knew someone who could calculate the multiplication of 43 x 17 almost instantaneously, would you assume them to be intelligent? Most people would say they are intelligent, because it isn’t easy for most people to do that quickly.
If you been through the British education system, or if you have watched Countdown on Channel 4, you might have been persuaded that someone who can do a calculation like this instantaneously, is in fact, very intelligent.. Surely Rachel Riley and Carol Vorderman are intelligent. They are not! Not just because they can do quick mental-maths. In that narrow sphere, if that was all they were able to do, all they have proved is they have a very narrow capability, i.e. having a strong mental-mathematics capability.
If you cannot instantaneously compute the answer to 43 x 17, and it is likely you probably cannot, then it really doesn’t matter. Because this is a very basic computation. A rudimentary calculator from the 1960’s can work this out instantaneously.. And no one is calling a rudimentary calculator from the 1960’s “intelligent”, especially not in the 2020’s when computers can do far more sophisticated things than tell you the answer to a basic 43 x 17 calculation.
It is difficult for humans to do mental-maths of this type, no doubt. And it is difficult because we haven’t evolved to be able to do such things, as easy and simple as it maybe. We, and all intelligent animals, haven’t evolved to do this efficiently because it hasn’t had any bearing on the survival of our genes. If it had, we would have been able to do it, quite easily. For most of the billions of years of organic evolution, and then more specially, mammalian evolution, and human evolution, we haven’t had to conduct such basic and simple tasks. The types of things that have been important to the survival of our genes have included: survival, reproduction, and the rearing of children such that they were also effectively able to survive and reproduce.
In the 2020’s, as all you Millennial’s and Gen-Z’s will know, having the ability to work-out basic maths multiplications, like the one above, with absolute precision, is an almost a useless skill. Being able to work out 43 x 17 instantaneously doesn’t get you anywhere. We have calculators, and phones, and computers, and Excel, and Python to do those basic calculations for us. What we need, in the 2020’s, is ability to work those systems, along with social-skills, logic, reason, and creativity, amongst an array of other capabilities, which enable us to set ourselves apart and proves ourselves to be both capable and intelligent.
The best I can do in defining human intelligence is to say that it is our: “Mental capability to produce useful results”.
“Useful”, in this definition, means useful to people in the current context. Therefore, in the 2020’s, being able to calculate 43 x 17 instantaneously is useless as we have plenty of tools to do that for us, and anyway, was it ever genuinely useful? However, being able to come-up with a more efficient algorithm to search the world-wide-web (like Google has done), or to come up with an effective strategy to win the Premier League (like Guardiola and Klopp have done) is useful.
“Results” in this definition means something that is of value to us. Again an efficient algorithm to search the world-wide-web, or to come up with an effective strategy to win the Premier League, is of value.
Computers are objective
Computers are a great way to objectively work out what is genuinely difficult and easy to do. Computing 43 X 17 is easy for computers, and it requires very little memory and processing power. Understanding the body of work produced by Shakespeare is very difficult for a computer, and no computer can do this, not even in the 2020’s. Therefore we should be able to deduce that understanding the works of Shakespeare is far more difficult than being able to do basic multiplications like 43 x 17, 23 x 27, 11 x 52, and other variations, quickly, in our heads. As stated above, a very basic calculator with hardly any processing power (compared the computers we have today) can do this. That is because it is basic!
It was in the 1950s/1960s when rudimentary calculators were able to produce answers to two variables, of a relatively small size, being multiplied together. It wasn’t until the 2010’s that computers could efficiently do facial-recognition. That’s because facial-recognition is far more complicated than basic multiplication. Yet society, and our education systems, have somehow convinced us that proficiency in mental-mathematics is an indicator of “intelligence”. We don’t test people of higher-level human capabilities like facial-recognition. And we most certainly don’t test people on social-skills, creativity, genuine logic and reason, ingenuity, abstract problem-solving, wit, humour, big-picture thinking, and again, an array of other sophisticated human skills. The reason these are not testing for is because measuring these, more sophisticated human skills, is wayyyyy too complicated and difficult. And as it is a too complicated and difficult to measure higher intelligence capabilities, measurements are taken on basic capabilities, and these are then extrapolated to assume higher and more sophisticated capabilities.
Hopefully you have started to understand that intelligence is very broad and encompasses many capabilities. The narrow ways we have traditionally measured capability are inadequate. More in-depth information is below, however, for those of you with a limited bandwidth, and a limited attention-span, all that is left to say is:
You’re welcome bitches.