Logo
    Search

    IQ fetishism, in Silicon Valley and beyond

    enSeptember 25, 2023

    Podcast Summary

    • The Complexities and Implications of MeritocracyMeritocracy, a system of governance based on ability, has sparked debates about its impact on society, particularly in the tech industry where it can lead to a toxic culture of intelligence.

      Meritocracy, a concept coined in the 1950s, suggests the selection of the governing class based on ability, particularly intelligence. Originally proposed as a more egalitarian alternative to democracy, meritocracy has since sparked ongoing debates about its implications. Michael Young's 1958 novel, "The Rise of the Meritocracy," presents a future where society is governed by the intelligent elite, but ultimately, a populist revolt leads to a more equal system. Today, meritocracy is a common term, but it raises questions about its impact on society. The tech industry, in particular, has seen the cult of IQ become a toxic ideology, as explored in Quinn Slobodian's article for The New Statesman. While designing a unique ring online at Blue Nile or losing weight with a personalized plan from Noom offers convenience, remember that real life isn't always as straightforward as these processes. Similarly, the implementation of meritocracy in society isn't without its complexities and potential unintended consequences.

    • IQ testing and meritocracy: A long and complex historyIQ testing, originally used for military selection, gained prominence in the 1950s and 1960s for meritocratic potential in education. Debates around its role in meritocracy centered around issues of streaming and racial differences in the UK and US.

      The conversation surrounding Intelligence Quotient (IQ) testing and its role in meritocracy has a long and complex history. Originally used for military selection during World War I, IQ testing gained prominence again in the 1950s and 1960s during the shift to a knowledge economy. This led to debates about education and the meritocratic potential of a universal education system. In the UK, these debates centered around the issue of streaming and the potential suppression of talent. In the US, the debate remained dormant until the 1990s when the publication of "The Bell Curve" by Charles Murray and Richard J. Hernstein reignited the discussion, focusing on the question of racial differences in IQ and the potential impact of egalitarian policies on meritocratic advancement. The topic was highly controversial and disputed by experts.

    • The Bell Curve and the Controversy Over Intelligence and HeredityThe bell curve debate continues to be a contentious issue, with some believing intelligence is largely hereditary and genetically determined, opposing meritocratic policies and progressive ideologies, leading to concerns about quotas and downward pressure on overall intelligence due to immigration.

      The ongoing conversation around intelligence and heredity, as depicted in the bell curve, continues to be a contentious issue, particularly in certain tech and right-wing circles. This dynamic gained significant popularity in the 1990s and persists today, with many believing intelligence to be largely hereditary and genetically determined, opposing what they see as meritocratic policies and progressive ideologies. They argue that these policies create quotas for underrepresented groups, skewing the quality of people in leadership positions, and suppress the idea that there are irredeemable parts of the population who need to be segregated from society. Additionally, immigration becomes a volatile topic, as the belief in group differences defined by racial groups in IQ leads to concerns about a potential downward pressure on overall intelligence. These beliefs have been popularized through the widespread appeal of the bell curve, despite efforts to suppress them as extreme theories.

    • Controversial belief on the tech right about 'dumbing down' of the countrySome individuals believe lower IQ groups are having more children and immigrating, leading to concerns about a 'dumbing down' of the country, but critics argue it's a racist disguise and could result in eugenic policies.

      There is a controversial belief among some individuals on the tech right that lower IQ groups are having more children and immigrating to the United States in larger numbers, leading to concerns about a "dumbing down" of the country. Critics argue that this perspective, which is rooted in IQ testing and racial categorization, is a disguised form of racism that reinforces stereotypes. If followed through, this belief system could result in a eugenic policy where the government, in cooperation with the scientific community, identifies and elevates the highest-achieving individuals to positions of power. This vision is reminiscent of the dystopian future envisioned by Michael Young in his book "The Rise of the Meritocracy." Interestingly, there was a fascination with China among some tech right figures around 15 years ago due to its approach to genetic selection and population control. However, the implications of such policies, including the potential for democratic egalitarianism, are significant and complex.

    • Government's ability to make drastic interventions for demographic outcomes attracts tech figures and white nationalistsTech figures and white nationalists are drawn to governments with the power to control populations and promote controversial ideologies like IQ fetishism

      The one-child policy in China and the resulting population control measures showcased a government's ability to make drastic interventions for specific demographic outcomes. This attracted the interest of certain tech figures during the early 2010s, who saw potential in more dictatorial societies to transform behavior. Parallels can be drawn between this attraction and the envy some white nationalists and white supremacists have for modern Russia under Putin. The revival of IQ fetishism, which dominates men, is being promoted and funded by individuals like Charles Murray, the original co-author of "The Bell Curve," who continues to write about the science of race and gender. Harlan Crowe, a wealthy real estate heir, is another key figure, known for his support of conservative and reactionary ideas and his involvement in the creation of the University of Austin, which promotes the investigation of forbidden knowledge, often related to race and gender differences.

    • Belief in building society based on natural hierarchy and difference driven by evolutionary psychologySome in tech and right-wing circles advocate for a society based on nature as understood through science, using evolutionary psychology to justify innate differences between men and women and the need for natural hierarchy. Critics argue this perspective overlooks structural privilege and risks reinforcing power dynamics.

      There is a growing belief in certain tech and right-wing circles that politics and society should be based on the principles of nature as understood through science. This belief is driven in part by evolutionary psychology, which posits that men and women have innate differences rooted in our evolutionary past. Proponents of this view argue that these differences are being ignored or denied in contemporary society, particularly in the realms of gender and race. They see scientists as the experts on nature and therefore the best guides for building a society based on natural hierarchy and difference. This perspective has gained traction on the American West Coast in Silicon Valley, where it intersects with existing ideas about meritocracy and individual achievement. However, critics argue that this view overlooks the role of structural privilege in shaping individuals' opportunities and outcomes. It also risks justifying the status quo and reinforcing existing power dynamics.

    • The illusion of inherent genius in Silicon ValleyDuring times of low interest rates and high demand, the belief in inherent genius in Silicon Valley reinforces individualism and defends against criticism. However, this illusion is an illusion and true success comes from collaboration, hard work, and team efforts.

      During the period from the 2008 global financial crisis to the 2020 pandemic, extremely low interest rates and high investor demand led to a culture of individualism and the belief in inherent genius in Silicon Valley. This illusion of genius was reinforced by online communities and the potential for outsized returns on investments, even for seemingly trivial ideas. This belief in genetic superiority provided a defensive shield against criticism, creating a sense of embattlement and exclusivity. However, as interest rates rise and this era comes to an end, we can expect people to cling to this notion of genetic genius as a way to maintain their status and power. It's important to remember that this idea of inherent genius is an illusion, and true success often comes from collaboration, hard work, and the collective efforts of a team.

    • Tech leaders' belief in intelligence superiority and dystopian visionsBelief in superior intelligence can lead to dystopian visions of future with advanced AI, fear of job loss in knowledge economy, and potential consequences of AI taking over essential jobs cannot be ignored.

      The belief in intelligence superiority among some tech leaders could significantly influence the development and use of AI technology. This belief, as exemplified by individuals like Curtis Yarvin, can lead to dystopian visions of the future where surplus populations are pacified with advanced virtual reality interfaces to prevent social unrest. These tech leaders, who see themselves as geniuses, fear the creation of something smarter than them, leading them to invest in creating advanced AI. However, it's important to note that the fear of AI taking over manual labor jobs is a more realistic concern than the often-discussed takeover of human jobs by killer robots. The potential automation of white-collar jobs in the knowledge economy could leave many people unemployed, leading to the need for new solutions to address this issue. The singularity, or the idea of AI surpassing human intelligence, is a complex and debated topic, but the potential consequences of AI taking over essential jobs cannot be ignored.

    • The importance of non-IQ skills in a world of automationAs technology automates IQ-related tasks, creativity, empathy, and adaptability will become more valuable human qualities

      As automation takes over tasks once done by humans, the importance of non-IQ related skills, such as creativity, will become increasingly valuable. IQ tests primarily measure abilities that can be replicated by artificial intelligence, like spatial and sequential reasoning. Therefore, as we navigate a world where these tasks are automated, the qualities that make us uniquely human will become more essential. This includes creativity, empathy, and the ability to adapt to new situations. So, while the rise of technology may bring about some challenges, it also presents opportunities for us to focus on the qualities that set us apart from machines. I hope you found this discussion thought-provoking. To read more from Quinn Slobodian on this topic, check out the link in the show notes. Thank you for listening to the New Statesman podcast, and don't forget to check out our sponsors 1-800-Flowers and Quince.com for special offers.

    Recent Episodes from The New Statesman Podcast

    The Conservative party's very public nervous breakdown

    The Conservative party's very public nervous breakdown

    The Conservative party are scrapping it out to have their visions of the future of the party heard and things are getting messy.


    Hannah Barnes, associate editor, is joined by Rachel Cunliffe, associate political editor, and Freddie Hayward, political correspondent.


    Read: Kemi Badenoch is the early front-runner for the Tory leadership


    Sign up to the New Statesman's daily politics newsletter: Morning Call

     

    Submit a question for a future episode: You Ask Us



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    How will global affairs define the Starmer era?

    How will global affairs define the Starmer era?

    Today is the day we see our Labour government on the world stage for the first time. Starmer is in Washington today for the 75th summit of the Nato defence alliance. Ahead of the summit Starmer has met with President Joe Biden and praised the UK-US special relationship. Starmer has also told reporters that his plan to raise defence spending to 2.5% was “cast iron” - but has not committed to a timeline.


    In an increasingly volatile world, how will global affairs define the Starmer era?


    Read: Why foreign affairs will define the Starmer era


    Sign up to the New Statesman's daily politics newsletter: Morning Call

     

    Submit a question for a future episode: You Ask Us



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Andrew Marr: "The smell in Whitehall? An invigorating reek of change."

    Andrew Marr: "The smell in Whitehall? An invigorating reek of change."

    A record number of new MPs are flooding through Westminster, Starmer has been on a tour of the UK, and this morning the metro mayors gathered in Downing Street.


    What is the new reality for the UK? Do we need to think seriously about electoral reform? And how is Macron going to get out of his political deadlock?


    Hannah Barnes, associate editor, is joined by Andrew Marr, political editor; and Freddie Hayward, political correspondent.


    Sign up to the New Statesman's daily politics newsletter: Morning Call

     

    Submit a question for a future episode: You Ask Us



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    What can we learn from Labour's first days in power?

    What can we learn from Labour's first days in power?

    Since forming a new government on Friday, Keir Starmer's cabinet has been hard at work across the weekend to prove to the nation that they are a government of service.


    Hannah Barnes, associate editor, is joined by Rachel Cunliffe, associate political editor, and Freddie Hayward, political correspondent, to discuss surprise appointments, early policy announcements, and the results of France's shock election this weekend.


    Sign up to the New Statesman's daily politics newsletter: Morning Call

     

    Submit a question for a future episode: You Ask Us



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Election results: Welcome to Labour Britain

    Election results: Welcome to Labour Britain

    The UK has just voted in its 7th ever Labour prime minister, Keir Starmer. As the results from yesterday’s general election trickled in overnight it became clear that this was not so much a story of Labour victory, as it was of Tory defeat. The last 14 years of conservative rule has dismantled both the country and much of the party’s once loyal supporters. ‘The work of change begins immediately’ said Keir Starmer this afternoon upon arrival at Downing Street straight after accepting the King’s invitation to form a new government.


    Hannah Barnes, associate editor, is joined by Rachel Cunliffe, associate political editor, and Freddie Hayward, political correspondent.


    Sign up to the New Statesman's daily politics newsletter: Morning Call

     

    Submit a question for a future episode: You Ask Us





    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    What to expect when you're expecting ... a new government

    What to expect when you're expecting ... a new government

    Today the country heads to the polls to decide who will be in government for the next five years.


    Hannah Barnes, associate editor, is joined by Rachel Cunliffe, associate political editor, and senior data journalist to go through the key timings and processes of the day, what we know so far and what to look out for.


    Sign up to the New Statesman's daily politics newsletter: Morning Call

     

    Submit a question for a future episode: You Ask Us



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    The penultimate day of Tory Rome

    The penultimate day of Tory Rome

    In a final poll published before the election things have never looked worse for the Conservatives, Rishi Sunak has expressed fear that he might lose his seat, and Boris Johnson has been wheeled out at the 11th hour. How long will it take for the Tories to come back from this and where will they begin?

     

    Hannah Barnes, associate editor, is joined by the New Statesman’s senior editor George Eaton and David Gauke, former Conservative MP and New Statesman columnist.

     

    Sign up to the New Statesman's daily politics newsletter: Morning Call

     

    Submit a question for a future episode: You Ask Us



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    How many hours a week should a prime minster be working?

    How many hours a week should a prime minster be working?

    Another Reform UK candidate has stepped down to back the Tories as the “vast majority” of her fellow candidates are “racist, misogynistic and bigoted”, the Conservatives have launched an attack campaign on Keir Starmer, claiming he is work-shy, and the Tory leadership contest may or may not be underway.


    Rachel Cunliffe, associate political editor, is joined by Freddie Hayward, political correspondent.


    Sign up to the New Statesman's daily politics newsletter: Morning Call

     

    Submit a question for a future episode: You Ask Us



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    Andrew Marr: To succeed, Starmer must upset a lot of people

    Andrew Marr: To succeed, Starmer must upset a lot of people

    In order to succeed in a first term in government, to deliver for working people, Keir Starmer will need to enforce some quietly radical change. And doing so will upset quite a lot of people ...


    It's the last week of the campaign and Hannah Barnes, associate editor, is joined by political editor Andrew Marr, and political correspondent Freddie Hayward.


    As well as looking at what's happening on our own shores, the team also discuss the election prospects across the channel with the success of the right yesterday in France, and across the pond with the widespread trepidation around Biden's future in US government.


    Sign up to the New Statesman's daily politics newsletter: Morning Call

     

    Submit a question for a future episode: You Ask Us



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    The race to cervical cancer elimination | Sponsored

    The race to cervical cancer elimination | Sponsored

    Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women globally. It causes more than 800 deaths in the UK each year.

     

    Yet 99.8% of cervical cancer cases are entirely preventable. Regular screening and the introduction of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination are helping to reduce the number of deaths. With smart policy and public health interventions NHS England have set 2040 as the target date for total elimination of cervical cancer.

     

    If that goal is to be met the issue of health inequality needs to be addressed; currently screening and vaccination rates vary between different regions, communities and socio-economic groups.

     

    So what needs to be done to share best practice and narrow these inequalities?

     

    In this episode of Spotlight on Policy, host Zoe Grunwald is joined by Emma Cerrone, Business Unit Director for Public Health & Vaccines at MSD; Dr Adeola Olaitan, Honorary Associate Professor at University College London and Honorary Consultant Gynaecological Oncologist at UCLH; and Gayathri Kumar, Senior Economist at OHE, the Office for Health Economics.

     

    This episode has been fully funded by MSD who, as sponsors, have reviewed and inputted to the final content. The report referenced by Office for Health Economics throughout this episode was fully funded by MSD. Ultimate editorial control for this episode and the OHE report rests solely with the New Statesman and the Office for Health Economics, respectively. MSD is one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies active in several key areas of global health, including immunisation and oncology.



    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

    Related Episodes

    Is Your Baby Smarter Than a Robot?

    Is Your Baby Smarter Than a Robot?
    Babies and toddlers have truly outstanding brains - they absorb information broadly, quickly, and indiscriminately as they learn about the world, with processing speeds that leave AI-powered robots in the dust. Alison Gopnik, professor of psychology and affiliate professor of Philosophy at U.C. Berkeley, has been studying baby brains for decades, and she joins us today to talk about how we could look to them to make computers smarter.

    https://thisisyourbrain.com/ 

    Season 4 Episode 1 - AI Boosts Data Ops in Drug Abuse Research

    Season 4 Episode 1 - AI Boosts Data Ops in Drug Abuse Research

    New technologies are making impacts in scientific research at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Artificial intelligence and machine learning take center stage when it comes to drug and addiction data. NIDA Program Director for Big Data and Computational Science Susan Wright provides an outlook for tech on helping the agency better understand data and also how data is improving overall health care system operations to better treat patients. She also highlights a program that harnesses smart phones to deliver evidence-based addiction treatment interventions.

    Episode 145 ADHD and Intelligence

    Episode 145 ADHD and Intelligence

    Even stranger things happen in Episode 145 (or 146 as we probably call it, as Alex's face issues mean we are all out of sync..) which covers the subject of ADHD and Intelligence. As usual, Alex the Psycho.......education Monkey delivers the evidence behind the subject, all three ADHD Adults give their personal reflections, and then 'Just The Tip' covers some top tips about IQ-type intelligence. 'What has James lost, forgotten or mislaid this week?" returns with Alex incredibly 4-1 up the year, The Metrics Intern continues telling us about the cities we have listeners in and Alex reads the usual 'definitely real' correspondence. Alex talks about the Queens of the Sea, James can’t fly as high as a Ruppel’s griffon vulture and Mrs ADHD didn’t get a Mensa test...


    Written by Alex Conner, Samantha Brown and James Brown.

    Produced by James Brown and JBHD Ltd.

    Social media contacts: @theadhdadults

    Music by ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Sessionz⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠


    ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Subscribe for extra content⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

    ⁠⁠⁠⁠Submit a message, question or future topic to the podcast⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠Support the charity that the show raises money for ⁠⁠

    --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/theadhdadultspodcast/message