Less Wrong is a community blog devoted to refining the art of human rationality. Please visit our About page for more information.

Unnamed2 comments on My Childhood Role Model - Less Wrong

29 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 23 May 2008 08:51AM

You are viewing a comment permalink. View the original post to see all comments and the full post content.

Comments (59)

Sort By: Old

You are viewing a single comment's thread.

Comment author: Unnamed2 23 May 2008 10:57:08PM -1 points [-]

I'll echo Hofstadter and a few of the commenters. The mouse/chimp/VI/Einstein scale seems wrong to me; I think Einstein should be further off to the right. It all depends on what you mean by intelligence and how you define the scale, of course, but if intelligence is something like the generalized ability to learn, understand things, and solve problems, then the range of problems that Einstein is able to solve, and the set of things that Einstein is able to understand well, seem many times larger than what the village idiot is able to do.

The village idiot may be able to pull off some intellectual feats (like language) in specific contexts, but then again so can the mouse (like learning associations and figuring out the layout of its surroundings). When it comes to a general intellectual ability (rather than specialized abilities), Einstein can do much more than an idiot with a similar brain because he is much much better at thinking more abstractly, looking for and understanding the underlying logic of something, and thinking his way through more complex ideas and problems. The minor tweaks in brain design allowed enormous improvements in cognitive performance, and I think that the intelligence scale should reflect the performance differences rather than the anatomical ones. Even if it is a log scale, the village idiot should probably be closer to the chimp than to Einstein.