22 June 2008

Reasons why humans will be smarter by 2020

Filed under: Flynn effect, IA, smartphones — David Wood @ 9:51 pm

Alvis Brigis has published a provocative article on FutureBlogger, “How smart will humans be by 2020?” The article looks at technology and social trends which can provide so-called IA – “Intelligence Amplification“. (IA is sometimes expanded, instead, to “Intelligence Augmentation”.)

Alvis produces a compelling list of intelligence-amplifying trends:

  • Widening bandwidth (Faster internet connections, pervasive WiFi…)
  • Growing global information
  • Evolving social media (including Wikipedia…)
  • Video-to-video chat
  • Evolving 3D and immersive media (including Second Life, Google Earth, and GTA4)
  • Better search
  • New interface products (including touchscreens, mini-projectors, haptic feedback…)
  • Improved portable battery power
  • Time-savers (such as robots and more efficient machines)
  • Translators (akin to the Babelfish of HHGG)
  • Rising value of attention (including more relevant targeted ads)
  • Direct brain-computer interfaces
  • Health benefits (from advances in nanotech, biology, pharma, etc).

One reason I’m personally very positive about smartphones is that I believe in their potential to “make their users smarter”. I’ve often said, only half-joking, that I view my Psion Series 5mx PDA as my “second brain”, and my current smartphone as my “third brain”. Convenient and swift access to information from any location, whenever the need arises, is only part of the benefit. The organiser capabilities can play a big role too – as does the connectivity to people and communities (rather than just to information stores). So in my mind, the potential of smartphones includes people who increasingly:

  • Know what’s important
  • Know what they want to achieve in life
  • Know how to get it.

PS For wider thoughts about the reasons for improved intelligence, see this recent interview by Alvis Brigis of James Flynn (the discoverer of what has come to be known as the “Flynn effect“)

PPS I’d like to include the FutureBlogger posts in my blogroll, right, but everytime I feed Blogger the URL http://www.memebox.com/futureblogger to include in the blogroll, it gets changed into a link to a different blog. Does anyone know how to fix this?

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