Super-Intelligent Humans Are Coming

17 Oct

Super-Intelligent Humans Are Coming Genetic engineering will one day create the smartest humans who have ever lived. … Given that there are many thousands of potential positive variants, the implication is clear: If a human being could be engineered to have the positive version of each causal variant, they might exhibit cognitive ability which is roughly 100 standard deviations above average. This corresponds to more than 1,000 IQ points. Hsu_chickens-breaker SUPERSIZE ME: The breeding of domesticated plants and animals has changed some populations by as much as 30 standard deviations. Broiler chickens, for example, have increased in size more than four times since 1957. A similar approach could be applied to human intelligence, leading to IQs greater than 1,000.Zuidhof, M.J., Schneider, B.L., Carney, V.L., Korver, D.R., & Robinson, F.E. Growth, efficiency, and yield of commercial broilers from 1957, 1978, and 2005. Poultry Science 93, 1-13 (2014). It is not at all clear that IQ scores have any meaning in this range. However, we can be confident that, whatever it means, ability of this kind would far exceed the maximum ability among the approximately 100 billion total individuals who have ever lived. We can imagine savant-like capabilities that, in a maximal type, might be present all at once: nearly perfect recall of images and language; super-fast thinking and calculation; powerful geometric visualization, even in higher dimensions; the ability to execute multiple analyses or trains of thought in parallel at the same time; the list goes on. Charlie Gordon, squared. To achieve this maximal type would require direct editing of the human genome, ensuring the favorable genetic variant at each of 10,000 loci. Optimistically, this might someday be possible with gene editing technologies similar to the recently discovered CRISPR/Cas system that has led to a revolution in genetic engineering in just the past year or two. Harvard genomicist George Church has even suggested that CRISPR will allow the resurrection of mammoths through the selective editing of Asian elephant embryo genomes. Assuming Church is right, we should add super-geniuses to mammoths on the list of wonders to be produced in the new genomic age. Some of the assumptions behind the prediction of 1,000 IQs are the subject of ongoing debate. In some quarters, the very idea of a quantification of intelligence is contentious.

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