Well maybe. I really think that we do have a lot to learn and much to perfect in brain development itself. We do understand that what we have is unsatisfactory and that specific experiments show us roads forward. What we do know today is that the brain operates with a finite number of identifiable skills. It is thus worthy to measure and polish these skills and of no use attempting to merely compete with others.
True math skill is an oddity that is easily measured and identified but also capable of been aped at what can be described as elementary levels. Take it up a notch and the crash and burn can be spectacular. In mathematics, memory turns out to not be your friend.
Memory itself is quite another trick that needs ample drill and instruction. What i am getting at here is that all minds need to be engaged in a manner to enhance each particular skill to the optimal for the individual involved.
Right now it is haphazard and sporadic with limited results with effective self starters actually thriving. Worse today we steal the child's learning time with mindless entertainment that precludes optimization.
I think it is possible to have a uniformly intelligent humanity in which the lower third are still skilled enough in some niche to perform well. The rest can obviously do much better. Otherwise i am unconvinced that we will find any magic switches and certainly not without the training described been hugely improved. Put another way, i know the unique choices which informed my development and that i have met many who could have met my standards and made other poorer choices. The super intelligent are among us and untrained.
Super-Intelligent Humans Are Coming
Lev Landau, a Nobelist and one of the fathers of a great school of Soviet physics, had a logarithmic scale for ranking theorists, from 1 to 5. A physicist in the first class had ten times the impact of someone in the second class, and so on. He modestly ranked himself as 2.5 until late in life, when he became a 2. In the first class were Heisenberg, Bohr, and Dirac among a few others. Einstein was a 0.5!
In Daniel Keyes’ novel Flowers for Algernon, a mentally challenged adult called Charlie Gordon receives an experimental treatment to raise his IQ from 60 to somewhere in the neighborhood of 200. He is transformed from a bakery worker who is taken advantage of by his friends, to a genius with an effortless perception of the world’s hidden connections. “I’m living at a peak of clarity and beauty I never knew existed,” Charlie writes. “There is no greater joy than the burst of solution to a problem… This is beauty, love, and truth all rolled into one. This is joy.” The contrast between a super-intelligence and today’s average IQ of 100 would be greater still.
These positive correlations between narrow abilities suggest that an individual who is above average in one area (for example, mathematical ability) is more likely to be above average in another (verbal ability). They also suggest a robust and useful method for compressing information concerning cognitive abilities. By projecting the performance of an individual onto the principal axis, we can arrive at a single number measure of cognitive ability results: the general factor g. Well-formulated IQ tests are estimators of g.
1. Hsu, S.D.H. On the genetic architecture of intelligence and other quantitative traits. Preprint arXiv:1408.3421 (2014).
2. Plomin, R. IQ and human intelligence. The American Journal of Human Genetics 65, 1476-1477 (1999).