[FoRK] Super-Intelligent Humans Are Coming

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at jarbox.org
Sun Oct 26 11:27:04 PDT 2014

> On Oct 25, 2014, at 12:11 AM, Stephen D. Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
> Intelligence may have a rigorous definition, but the measure of intelligence sparsely covers the full ground truth.
> It may be that EQ is simply an application of plain old intelligence, or it may be that it partially relies on specialized subsystems that may, like other parts of the brain, be more capable in some people compared to others.  Given that we know about specialized units like mirror neurons, and that we have, according to some scientists explanation, a whole processing system for social and emotional processing that is exo-consciousness in operation, it may be that some are more naturally capable than others.

Tangentially, we know almost nothing about mirror neurons, and certainly not what you are implying. Most things ascribed to them in the popular media is pseudo-science. Like EQ, it enables a pleasing Gladwell-ian narrative with a truthiness that real science fails to deliver. 

It is possible that some people are limited in their ability to acquire data for social and emotional reasoning in some fashion e.g. biological cues that operate outside higher sensory function. That’s not related to intelligence, it is a defective peripheral. It is far more likely that people have no inclination or have not trained in developing those domain skills, perhaps requiring relatively higher (but by no means difficult) cognitive effort on their part.  

Effective emotional and social processing is computationally trivial. The state-of-the-art for computers discerning and being able to manipulate human emotional state and social interaction, both human-to-machine and human-to-human, has progressed at an astonishing rate. Not only is there no ineffable magic behind human emotion and social processing, it is a pretty boring domain from a cognitive standpoint. Naturally humans take it quite seriously but it is neither difficult nor interesting for even not-very-intelligent machines. Any human could learn the nuances of the necessary theater and apply it without special equipment.

As a more general observation, the “EQ for intelligence” argument is the old “qualia for intelligence” argument in different clothes. 

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