This link describes the differences between children with an IQ of 150 vs. 200. http://www.davidsongifted.org/db/Articles_id_10152.aspx
“Louis (1993, p. 8) described Ryan, age 27 months, who at his first view of the ocean made a pun: “The ocean is waving at me.””
“Lydia, at age 11, described herself being an “optimistic pessimist.””
“Feldman (1986) described a child, who from age 2 to 4, learned 11 different languages to find out whether there had been a parent language.”
“Silverman (1993a) described a 4-year-old boy who never hit or hurt anyone but was extremely loving in his relationships, even purposely helping peers to make the best moves in games and losing at times while telling them how good they were. Such empathy is rare even among the exceptionally gifted.”
These are the top 0.1% of people, of whom there are ~14,000 alive today.
Where are they?
The MacArthur Foundation gives out 20-25 “genius grants” of $625,000 (over five year periods) to individuals in support of “a more just, verdant, and peaceful world.” The recipients are free to do whatever they want with the money.
Future topics of research- what professions are rewarded? What kind of pressures do the recipients face? Has the program been successful? Is it morally different than this ?
- Newton’s famous reference to standing on the shoulders of giants is an axiom at this point. Humanity progresses at a faster rate when we can condense knowledge for future generations. From an engineering point of view, reading a report is faster than doing an experiment. Computer scientists mostly prefer to program in higher level languages.
- During WW2, a higher than usual percentage of our country’s best minds focused on building better internal combustion engines, and there was a noticeable bump in productivity. This shows that focusing a group of smart people on one problem will lead to a faster solution (in opposition to the idea of “genius needs to be free”).
- Human learning seems limited by intelligence, age, and time. It’s possible that we eventually reach the point where our reservoir of prior knowledge is so large that most human beings can’t reach the point of adding anything new before they die. This will limit progress and morale will suffer. At least mine would.
- To get ahead of this problem (or less controversially, just in the name of experimentation), we should focus on developing methods of learning faster, remembering more, living longer, etc. Reverse engineering the human brain seems like the right thing to do if the goal is maximum “progress”. Subjects of study should be prioritized based on some TBD principle- for example, computer science, chemistry, philosophy are useful, marketing is not useful, art is not useful. Or maybe it is, if it helps the geniuses.
- Humans have a natural inclination to explore, push boundaries, etc.
- The internet should make it easier to gather the right people together, or just everyone, to start a project on the scale of all of humanity. Universities, reddit, the United Nations, Bilderberg Group etc are good starting points. There is a huge business opportunity if someone figures out the logistics.
- We should gather the geniuses together, and encourage them to identify and solve the most exploratory problems, the things that can move us forward intellectually.
- An organization (and marketing) is needed to begin such a movement.