People always want superb service from competent professionals that’s why they solicit the recommendation of peers. Receiving poor service is not only costly, it can also cost you your life. We have a natural desire to want the best that life has to offer. But the best is only possible when the most competent people are doing the job.
As the economy becomes increasingly complex institutions will require more people to solve novel challenges. It is impossible to mount an effective response to social and environmental problems without smart and competent people. Though there is widespread consensus that competence matters, few are worried about declining IQ scores.
In the 1980s, James Flynn observed that IQ scores rose throughout the twentieth century. This has been dubbed the Flynn effect. Some assert that better schooling and nutrition are responsible for rising intelligence. However, recent reports have shown that the Flynn effect is being reversed. Although these reports are aired by mainstream outlets, they have not ignited the concern of intellectual elites.
Such indifference is expected because talking about the relevance of IQ is considered impolite in mainstream quarters. People can always choose to be oblivious to the significance of IQ, but this does not change the fact that intelligence is a robust predictor of national development and social outcomes. Our present success is a consequence of rising IQ scores.
Researchers have proposed that there might have been a Flynn effect during the industrial revolution. As a watershed moment in history, the industrial revolution sired a slew of innovations that made the economy more competitive and improved living standards. Others estimate note that there was a selection for intelligence because more talented and prosperous people were likely to have children leading up to the industrial revolution.
Contributing to this research, W.W. Hanlon in a landmark publication contends that there was a fundamental change in the design and innovation process during the industrial revolution. More efficient processes led to better innovations that sustained growth. Macro-innovations that alter the course of history are created by people with a high level of intelligence.
Moreover, macro-innovations lead to micro-innovations that continue to propel growth. Complex societies are sustained by highly intelligent people who can manage crises and launch innovations to build a successful future. But interestingly, pundits lament the decline of innovation without considering that this is an outcome of declining intelligence.
Billionaires have grand goals like colonizing Mars and commercializing space, but they don’t see how declining intelligence can pose obstacles to these goals. Similarly, politicians intend to build smart cities and adapt to climate change, yet they ignore the drop in IQ scores.
Further, the problem is compounded by diversity programs privileging race and sex at the expense of social progress. Competent applicants have been rejected to achieve diversity quotas; however, people act surprised when institutions underperform. Contrary to what some think AI and climate change are not the world’s biggest problems rather it is declining intelligence. High intelligence is needed to manage AI and the challenges of climate change. In a world where IQ is declining global problems will be amplified.
The horizon does look gloomy, but steps can be taken to mitigate the problem. Genetic enhancement offers numerous opportunities to improve the quality of the gene pool. So, writers must explain the benefits in a stimulating and engaging way to motivate ordinary people to embrace human enhancement. We can’t compel people to accept gene editing, but marketing is necessary because the dilemma of declining intelligence is too great to be ignored.