Wednesday, 15 January 2014

What is intelligence good for?



MC said...

What do you think about this?

Personally I'm terrified by it for all the usual reasons. I'm trying to think of ways in which it might not turn out so bad, but it's hard to envision.

Bruce Charlton said...

@MC -

Nicholas Fulford said...

Intelligence amplifies the effect of our actions, but if the motivation for action is selfish and indifferent to the suffering of others, intelligence merely enables selfishness to be more effectively expressed. Even with a selfless motivation and sensitivity to the potential for harm, intelligence will have more pronounced unintended effects. (The fallacy of the progress paradigm lies in the fact that to progress to solve today's problems introduces tomorrow's even more difficult problems. We cannot dig ourselves out of the problems of the human condition that way. It just amplifies the effects and temporarily puts off the payback.)

We do not need more intelligent people, but people who are able to conduct their lives with love, respect and concern.

Bruce Charlton said...

This post is intended as a balance to my other postings on the decline of intelligence, and the too-exclusive emphasis on the benefits of higher intelligence.

To take up MC's example - China is about the most intelligent large country in the world (around the highest average intelligence), yet under Communism - just a few decades ago and in my lifetime - was just among the poorest, the most starving, and one of the all-round worst places in the world.

Because it was badly motivated and dishonest and the intelligence just made matters worse.

Any notion that high intelligence floats all boats is thus refuted.

ajb said...

4. Humility,

echoing what NF said,