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Crimson Crux

Pseudo-techblog where the Corsarius gets serious. Visit blog.corsarius.net for his alter ego.

Humans Getting Smarter?

Friday, October 14, 2005 at 12:20 AM

This article reports on a certain Harvardian's belief in "Homo digitas", the next step on the evolutionary ladder for the Homo sapiens species.

If you come to think about it, just how much information does your brain process day in and day out? If you're reading this blog, then chances are you've spent a considerable number of brain cells in absorbing, organizing, and judging the veracity of gigabytes of data from the Net, usually on the fly.

As a student, for years I've mused about one challenge facing people of our times -- to learn the world's past and present knowledge, which has been expanding with each new day, year, decade. Every generation learns the knowledge of their predecessors, adds to it, and passes it to the next generation.

Admit it -- even just once you had thought that "I'm smarter than my parents; I know more things than they do." If your computer scientist dad had to learn the basics of algorithms and operating systems in college, you now have to learn all of that plus pervasive computing and complex network protocols. (Might be an exaggeration, but you get my drift.) We have to learn the basics -- be it about science, humanities, and the arts -- and then progress to more complex topics.

And indeed, it might be true that each generation of humans is smarter than its predecessor. The same article states, "A New Zealand researcher named Jim Flynn discovered in the 1980s that the average IQ test scores were ticking up by three points--a full standard deviation--every decade since the beginning of the 1900s."

Which might mean that when my (future) son boasts to me, "Hey Dad, I'm waaay smarter than you are!", I'd just have to smile and accept the truth.

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Anonymous Anonymous @ 10/14/2005 12:09 PM

Sometimes that's EXTREMELY hard to believe! LOL    

Blogger Doctor Life @ 10/14/2005 5:30 PM

How can humans be smarter when they're forgetting God?!    

Blogger ia @ 10/14/2005 8:20 PM

hey, doctor life is right.

incidentally, i pondered, on the way home, how things will turn out when it's *our* turn to run the world.    

Blogger Corsarius @ 10/14/2005 8:21 PM

to lynn: i know ;) especially when so many people seem to act stupid around dyou. not that i don't have my own moments of stupidity ;)

to doctor life: you've got a strong point there, my friend.    

Blogger Corsarius @ 10/14/2005 8:23 PM

to ia: sure he is. his comment made me ponder, actually. btw, i'd sure like to run the world. just kiddin :p    

Blogger ia @ 10/14/2005 9:19 PM

i sure know you're not kidding with that last bit.    

Blogger Doctor Life @ 10/15/2005 3:50 PM

Thanks for the comment! It's funny, by no means do I subscribe to all of Nietzsche's writings (and of course I've read only a small portion of what he's written) but it seems to me that he was an observer and a commentator. He was (I think?) lamenting the downfall of Christianity. That is why, when people laugh in glee at the increased secularization of the earth, that I shake my head in wonder as I think Nietzsche did, and hope for a more enlightened time of peace and God.    

Blogger Corsarius @ 10/16/2005 1:10 AM

to doctor life: no problem, my friend. and count me in as one who's also hoping for more enlightened times ahead for all of us. :)    

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