On the Nature of Human Intelligence

What is the nature of intelligence? Is it just you or the sum of you and any tools you have at your disposal? For the purposes of an IQ test, it would be just the organic part. However, on your job were it really counts, all bets are off. You are allowed any trick in the book to achieve your goal. And in your personal life, you set the rules. I submit that we have already entered the Cyborg age. It may not be exactly what you expected from reading science fiction, but the details are just speed and interface.

The typical techie has some type of wireless Internet access at most times, be it 3G, EVDO or wifi hotspot. With this technology, you are able to access such on-line resources such as Wikipedia, Wolfram Alpha, or the Internet Move Database. If you can access this information at any time and place, doesn’t it make it part your smarts? I mean you can get the information, perhaps not with the speedof Marilyn vos Savant. But you could easily wax her tail with the sheer volume of information available. Who played Lumpy on leave it to Beaver? Suck on that, Marilyn. It’s given that only part of intelligence is pure recall, but it’s an important part. Original and theoretical constructs are key piece of total cranial horsepower. But even each of these are based on a foundation of basic recall.You could argue based on the premise that we have been in the Cybernetic age since the first written word. But I submit that carrying around the Library of Congress is impractical. It is only the confluence of wireless devices and the Internet that finally makes the total of human knowledge available on demand.

There was a time when students weren’t allowed to use calculators during a test. Now its pretty common if not encouraged. And now we are seeing Internet access accepted on tests as well. Thus, the total of the human experience now includes handheld devices.

Android is more than a phone

Google is a self described information company, so why would they enter into the phone market? One obvious answer is that they see mobile as a major advertising platform and wanted to capture the market. While this is true, it’s not the full story.

Google’s thing is information and this has to be captured in some fashion. We all know that Google makes use of the data we submit in searches, gmail and gtalk. They have even sent around street view vehicles to take pictures of our houses and streets. But with android, they no longer have to do this. We are doing a lot for them. Through use of android, we are a mass of mobile information gathering nodes for the Google collective.

For example, Google would be very interested in the locations of the wireless hotspots you’ve run into today. You can also correct navigation data on the fly and crowd-source traffic information. You already upload pictures to picasa with geotag information. And the GPS records your coming and goings while driving, working and shopping. All valuable information to marketers and this information is silently recorded by your android handset.

In many ways this is a little creepy. Big brother and all that. But in others, this is a great experiment in digitizing the human experience. We just need to be vigilant that our rights are not trampled along the way.