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IQ rates are dropping in many developed countries

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People are getting dumber. That's not a judgment; it's a global fact. In a host of leading nations, IQ scores have started to decline.

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/iq-rates-are-dropping-many-developed-countries-doesn-t-bode-ncna1008576

As a solution to this problem I can envision accepting as much as possible immigrants from the South of Tropic of Cancer and especially Papuans who are (it is well known) are very talented. What do you think? 

Edited by Moreno

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7 minutes ago, Moreno said:

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/iq-rates-are-dropping-many-developed-countries-doesn-t-bode-ncna1008576

As solution to this problem I can envision accepting as much as possible immigrants from the South of Tropic of Cancer and especially Papuans who are (it is well known) are very talented. What do you think? 

I think I just checked to see if you were from Papua New Guinea...

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3 minutes ago, J.C.MacSwell said:

I think I just checked to see if you were from Papua New Guinea...

Nope.

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15 minutes ago, Moreno said:

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/iq-rates-are-dropping-many-developed-countries-doesn-t-bode-ncna1008576

As a solution to this problem I can envision accepting as much as possible immigrants from the South of Tropic of Cancer and especially Papuans who are (it is well known) are very talented. What do you think? 

That's probably because they eat their grandpa's brain for supper (true story.) They really are are very talented.

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29 minutes ago, Moreno said:

especially Papuans who are (it is well known) are very talented

Citation needed.

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IQ rates are dropping in many developed countries

Maybe it is just compensation for the Flynn effect. 

I would guess the lack of a good definition of IQ and the corresponding arbitrariness of the tests accounts for a large part of it. Maybe modern communication technology and social media means that cultural change is happening faster and the tests can no longer be fudged quickly enough to compensate. 

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It's also a fact that attention span is declining in most technologically advanced countries.
Since a large part of IQ testing involves pattern recognition, maybe we don't have the attention span to recognize patterns as quickly.

Anyway, when you find an IQ test that challenges differing cultures/economic status equitably, then maybe you can draw some conclusions.

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50 minutes ago, Strange said:

I would guess the lack of a good definition of IQ and the corresponding arbitrariness of the tests accounts for a large part of it. Maybe modern communication technology and social media means that cultural change is happening faster and the tests can no longer be fudged quickly enough to compensate. 

+1 for the out of date part.

It's also social 'norms' that are buried in the tests.

The IQ test was introduced  well over a century ago now, and today's social norms are quite different from those of 1904.

 

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The problem is, I think, that well educated people across the entire World do not typically have a lot of children. Partially it could be attributed to economic issues. They need to study too long and then search for a job and not always find it, then sit at the computer 8-12 hr. a day, etc. There was a lot of discussion in different countries in the recent years about Basic Guarantied Income. While I don't see any sense in Basic Income for everyone, I think that introduction of bursaries for well performing students, which would almost rival salaries of a beginner specialist in the field of study may have sense. And of course higher education could be free of cost (like in some EU countries) and anyone has to be accepted. In this case people will go to study in university without debt burdens or fear of unemployment, just like go to job, will struggle to perform as better as possible and if they will not be able to find job after successful graduation they may go to study in another university with even higher bursaries (bonus for second university degree). In this case a normal person may study all his life and receive good money for this without fear of unemployment of debt burdens. Also, some serious employment programs after graduation and large bonuses for each newborn child wouldn't be spare.

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2 minutes ago, Moreno said:

The problem is, I think, that well educated people across the entire World do not typically have a lot of children. Partially it could be attributed to economic issues.

What does that have to do with the point of this thread?

You have yet to establish that IQ is in fact declining, and received several comments to the contrary.

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48 minutes ago, Moreno said:

The problem is, I think, that well educated people across the entire World do not typically have a lot of children.

What does being well educated or having children have to do with IQ? Are we to assume from your posts that you have very many children?

(But yes, there is a strong correlation between increasing education, especially of women, and  falling birth rates. That is a good thing.)

Nothing else in this rather incoherent post appears to be on topic either. 

2 hours ago, Moreno said:

Papuans who are (it is well known) are very talented

Citation still needed.

 

As you are unwilling or unable to hold a coherent conversation and engage in a discussion, maybe this thread should be closed as well.

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Also the ideas make no sense to me. Easing the access to higher education is fine, but paying the equivalent of a salary does not amke sense to me (outside of graduate studies where folks actually work full-time). What is the benefit of studying in Uni for as long as possible? How does it benefit the student, the Uni and the society at large?

This seems to stem from a weird obsession of a metric that has a narrow range of utility. Also, before wild speculations are made, it is helpful to read some articles on the topic. One those studies, published in PNAS ( Bratsberg was author forgot year but title was something about reversal of the Flynn effect) indicate that variations happen within family, indicating environmental factors are responsible (i.e. not the rather populist assumption of dumb folks having too many kids) .

It also highlights that one should not wildly extrapolate and speculate based on incomplete data.

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1 hour ago, Moreno said:

In this case a normal person may study all his life and receive good money for this without fear of unemployment of debt burdens. Also, some serious employment programs after graduation and large bonuses for each newborn child wouldn't be spare.

I wonder who is going to pay for all these perpetual students and their offspring?

And who is going to work in the offices, fields and factories if you can get a good salary by just pretending to be a student?

Before this thread gets closed, I would suggest that anyone wanting to get a better understanding of the (complex) relationships between wealth, health, education, migration, etc visits Gapminder, set up by the late great Hans Rosling: https://www.gapminder.org The information they present could change your view of the world.

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4 hours ago, Moreno said:

https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/iq-rates-are-dropping-many-developed-countries-doesn-t-bode-ncna1008576

As a solution to this problem I can envision accepting as much as possible immigrants from the South of Tropic of Cancer and especially Papuans who are (it is well known) are very talented. What do you think? 

!

Moderator Note

I don’t see a connection between a discussion of IQ and immigration. The title of the thread is “IQ rates are dropping in many developed countries”

Please confine discussion to that topic.

 

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The 'reverse Flynn effect' coincides rather nicely with the technologization of Western societies.
It has been ongoing since the 90s but wasn't an issue in the preceding 50 years.
I still think it correlates rather nicely with rising ADD, and reduced attention span, of adolescents.

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

The 'reverse Flynn effect' coincides rather nicely with the technologization of Western societies.
It has been ongoing since the 90s but wasn't an issue in the preceding 50 years.
I still think it correlates rather nicely with rising ADD, and reduced attention span, of adolescents.

Would not surprise me, to be honest. Getting students to concentrate for a certain stretch of time is like shoveling water. There was a paper  perhaps 10 years back that found lower cognitive scores, including IQ in kids who used internet excessively. Now thanks to cell phones it is pretty much a constant distraction. But of course that is circumstantial. Perhaps there are more studies out looking at that. 

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4 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Would not surprise me, to be honest. Getting students to concentrate for a certain stretch of time is like shoveling water. There was a paper  perhaps 10 years back that found lower cognitive scores, including IQ in kids who used internet excessively. Now thanks to cell phones it is pretty much a constant distraction. But of course that is circumstantial. Perhaps there are more studies out looking at that. 

Funny. :D

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I'm pretty sure adult IQs drop with age (not necessarily wisdom and good judgement...sans dementia), so as average age increases in a successful (or for that matter, less successful, if the average adult age rises) population one would expect a decline in average IQ.

I do believe conditions of early childhood, and nutrition, have an effect. But apparently Newton was a sickly kid...so who the Hell knows...more pertinently there are people with higher IQs from every race/creed/religion than anyone here (and there are plenty of gifted posters here in that department)...so who the Hell cares? I know a ton of more talented people than I am that would score lower on an IQ test (I know...low bar...)

We'll be fine in this department. Seriously we will be fine. We have far far greater challenges than this.

 

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Some thoughts,frequently speculative, in no special order, on the thread OP and some of the points made by other members:

  • The OP contains the inherent assumption that IQ has a strong correlation with "success" of the individual and of society. I think it is generally understood that "success" is much more complex than that. Thus Nelson Mandela was undoutedly of above average intelligence, but it was his grit, determination and compassion that enabled his achievements. That raises the question, why would a decline in IQ (unless it were off a precipice) be of much concern? I would be more troubled by a fall in commitment and caring.
  • I suspect that declining average IQ is unlikely to have a major impact on the value of the outliers. There should still be Newtons and Einsteins and lesser luminaries to do the heavy mental lifting for society. Most of us are drones compared with the 'top level thinkers'.
  • The development of AI is likely to eliminate a large scale need for those with above above average IQs but that fall short of genius level.
  • The increasing reliance on AI over the next century may be the real challenge we face in relation to societal intelligence. I keep getting flashes of the Eloi and Morlock of H.G. Wells' Time Machine, in which the decadent and now dumb elite are preyed upon by the subterranean worker Morlocks. (The novel was, at its heart, about the nature of society and its possible trajectory. The SF element was a device to enable that exploration.)
  • I have long thought the main value of the IQ test was to determine how people would do on an IQ test.
  • I benefited from a University education funded by the government, fees paid and sufficient money to live on, so that aspect (for undergraduates) of Moreno's proposals resonates positively with me. However, that was at a time when university education was, in the UK, for 5% of the population, not closer to 45%. I hope that this expansion of student population has not been achieved at the expense of standards, but I remain nervous on that point.
  • Of all the points raised in the thread so far the drop in attention span is the one I find most concerning. Intelligence is only of value when it is employed effectively. That takes time and practice and application. In other words, it requires one's attention be focused on a problem until it is solved.
  • On an upbeat note, perhaps we are developing aspects of intelligence that are appropriate to the environment we are now living in and that are not well discerned by the current tests.

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1 hour ago, Area54 said:

The development of AI is likely to eliminate a large scale need for those with above above average IQs but that fall short of genius level.

I think I disagree there. Current AI systems are able to do basic drudge work (scanning billions of photos looking for some feature) with reasonable success rates (and a few spectacular failures). Developing incrementally better AI systems will require some of our brightest minds for many decades.

1 hour ago, Area54 said:

I have long thought the main value of the IQ test was to determine how people would do on an IQ test.

Absolutely. (Although this may be an argument made by people who don't do very well on IQ tests!)

1 hour ago, Area54 said:

On an upbeat note, perhaps we are developing aspects of intelligence that are appropriate to the environment we are now living in and that are not well discerned by the current tests.

Very likely true.

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2 minutes ago, Strange said:

I think I disagree there. Current AI systems are able to do basic drudge work (scanning billions of photos looking for some feature) with reasonable success rates (and a few spectacular failures). Developing incrementally better AI systems will require some of our brightest minds for many decades.

I was unclear in my post. I agree that we will require exceptional people to develop advanced AI systems. (At least until the AIs do it for us. :)) The people who will be less necessary, perhaps unnecessary are the bright people whose skills can be replaced by those AIs. Possible examples include design engineers or medical doctors.

In practice, if our thinking is being done by AIs, our labouring work by robots and companies are run by psychopaths, there will be nothing left for the rest of us, other than to sit back and drink martinis.

2 minutes ago, Strange said:

Absolutely. (Although this may be an argument made by people who don't do very well on IQ tests!)

:) Sadly my IQ lies in the top couple of %. This forces me to acknowledge that my failure to be anything other than mediocre is because of a serious lack of tenacity or social nouse.

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47 minutes ago, Area54 said:

The people who will be less necessary, perhaps unnecessary are the bright people whose skills can be replaced by those AIs. Possible examples include design engineers or medical doctors.

I think (based on progress in AI so far) we are decades away from that. (But I am notoriously bad at predicting the future of technology)

50 minutes ago, Area54 said:

Sadly my IQ lies in the top couple of %. This forces me to acknowledge that my failure to be anything other than mediocre is because of a serious lack of tenacity or social nouse.

I have no idea what mine is. I have, at some point in the past, done a couple of free online tests and got implausibly high numbers. That may be because they wanted to encourage you to pay for their "real" tests. Or a reflection of the poor quality of the tests (I seem to remember that they depended a lot on general knowledge and English vocabulary, the latter of which I would probably do well at).

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17 minutes ago, Strange said:

I have no idea what mine is. I have, at some point in the past, done a couple of free online tests and got implausibly high numbers. That may be because they wanted to encourage you to pay for their "real" tests. Or a reflection of the poor quality of the tests (I seem to remember that they depended a lot on general knowledge and English vocabulary, the latter of which I would probably do well at).

I I have done several of the online tests for amusement. Some of them are deplorable, testing only one aspect of intelligence, for example. All tests contain some elments of cultural bias that are difficult to remove, so that at best one can only compare oranges with naranjas. Most of the online tests I can recall were to short to arrive at a proper measure of IQ. I suspect they may be moderatly accurate for those in the mid-range i.e. the bulk of the population. But it is my impression that those in the upper levels of IQ can get an inflated figure by just making a lucky guess on a single question or two. I know that I consistently scored higher, by from 5 to 20 points, on online tests than on the professionally conducted test I took. That corroborates your suspicion of "implausibly high numbers".

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Area54 said:

The development of AI is likely to eliminate a large scale need for those with above above average IQs but that fall short of genius level.

I wouldn't rely on it. For now AI still remains a science fiction. Do you think people will create AI capable to develop science and culture in this century? Robots in their current image aren't creative. I have difficulty to imagine an autonomous and self-learning robot which would be able to perform better than even qualified automotive technician or chef cook. Even these type of professions require ability to learn quickly and have some very basic creative abilities which go beyond strict and limited programming. Remember Gaston Plante who use petticoat of his wife to create the fist lead-acid battery in the world. I think philosophically there could be an open question whether it is principally possible to create an advanced intelligence which would completely miss consciousness and self-consciousness. For now there is no scientific phenomenon is known when some intelligent and hard-working human would completely miss consciousness as a result of some genetic mutation or brain trauma, for example. If it would be possible, then the easiest way to create intelligent robots/AI would be just take human embrio and use some genetic manipulation to convert it into a biorobot with no feelings, emotions, instincts and ambitions as well as consciousness. But I have doubts it is principally possible.

Edited by Moreno

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Most of what you say in your post above (and frankly others, too) is remedially false. AI and robots are much farther along than you seem to realize, including in the creation of art and music and culture and science and more

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!

Moderator Note

If you want to discuss AI, open a new thread. Please focus this discussion on IQ 

 

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