Typing speed and IQ

I wonder what the correlation between typing speed and IQ is. I doubt it would be very high in the general population owing to the confounding variable of computer proficiency, although that probably correlates somewhat with IQ as well. But as for plateau speed for experienced typists, I bet the correlation is at least moderate, considering how much it resembles a simple “speed” task like on the Processing Speed Index of the Wechsler tests.

I’m one of the fastest typists I know, way faster than even most professional transcriptionists, but still nowhere near the world’s elite. Here are some of my TypeRacer statistics:

Avg. speed (last 10 races): 124 WPM

Best race: 157 WPM

Rank (WPM percentile): 99.8% [remember that this is relative to people who play a competitive typing game, so the percentile in the general population would almost certainly be far higher than even this]

But all of this still pales in comparison, at least from a simple numerical perspective, to my 200 WPM run on the “captcha” task, which allows for some uncorrected typos:

200 WPM at 97% accuracy on the TypeRacer captcha test

Does evolution tend to converge on attractors?

On February 13, 2021, I left this comment on Pumpkin Person’s blog: “Maybe the long-term trend across the universe is towards orthogenesis, towards greater intelligence, towards technological singularity. Just like the long-term trend for matter and energy is the formation of stars and planets, galaxies and superclusters. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that we as a species will always eventually get smarter. We’re just one species on one planet in the cosmos.

Pumpkin said he loved this analogy, and used it to introduce his next blog post, “Evolution is progressive: Debunking Gould’s drunkard walk metaphor“. That inspired me to keep contemplating this concept, but I don’t think its implications fully ‘clicked’ with me until I recently stumbled across this Wikipedia article about ‘attractors:’ “In the mathematical field of dynamical systems, an attractor is a set of numerical values toward which a system tends to evolve, for a wide variety of starting conditions of the system. System values that get close enough to the attractor values remain close even if slightly disturbed.

This beautifully expresses my basic point about intelligence being what I less accurately defined as natural evolution’s ‘long-term trend,’ although I won’t yet go so far as to claim that intelligence as we understood is literally and precisely an attractor in the formal sense meant here.

There are many other striking examples of convergent evolution, but what I’m talking about here is infinitely more detached from specific lineage or phenotype. Intelligence grants the ability to adapt to new situations and is therefore the ultimate adaptation, the meta-adaptation. The natural deduction is that wherever life arises in the universe, if its environment allows greater intelligence to evolve, some strain of it will eventually do so.

I suspect that the longer I think about these concepts, the more I will feel compelled to wax poetic in a manner that would distract from the central point, so I’ll save those expositions for another time.


My interview with In-Sight

In August 2020, I reached out to Scott Douglas Jacobsen of the independent journalism organization In-Sight Publishing to be interviewed, as I had been informed that he had interviewed many members of high-IQ communities, including the 99.9th+%ile Glia Society, to which I belonged. He agreed and sent me some questions, to which I promptly responded, and perhaps too promptly, such that when our interview was initially published in late September, it contained several mistakes which Jacobsen kindly corrected in the webpage edition after reading this blog post. I chose to be credited as “Glia Society Member #479” in order to share the interview with people on the Internet without compromising my real-life identity, under the presumption that anyone with access to the Glia member list would be above the desire to bother me.

At the beginning of 2021, the interview was re-published on pages 95-99 of Issue 24.A, 24.D, & 24.E Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Twenty). This extensive compilation contains many excellent interviews with other prominent members of the high-IQ world, as well as not-so-prominent members and people outside that subculture altogether. I especially recommend reading the interviews with right-tail psychometric cynosure Paul Cooijmans, test-devouring beast Dr. Heinrich Siemens, and Mega Society member Richard “May-Tzu” May.

Although not included in the same compilation, I also draw attention to In-Sight’s two published interviews with my personal friend and ultra-high-IQ test crusher Luca Fiorani: (Interview 1) (Interview 2)

In case you missed the first hyperlink, you can read my interview here.


If you feel less than eager to surmount the entire 3,148-word interview, here are what I consider the most important excerpts from my responses:

I have observed that people whose intelligence I judge as extremely high, both inside and outside of the high-I.Q. world, tend to be almost depressingly normal, and therefore lack the mixture of non-cognitive personality traits required for genius.

The only way to induce permanent, significant, positive change in society is by altering the invisible hand of psychology, which underpins human behavior. One might call it psychohistory or one might call it cliodynamics, but the point is the same: human societies are subject to long-term behavioral trends, which are opaque to everyone or almost everyone, and which may be impossible to observe at smaller scales.

Like propositions somehow engender an objective external reality, physical objects can somehow combine to create qualia. We must accept this without asking how.

Science is fundamentally an epistemologically untenable construct, but once you ignore Descartes’ evil demon, it’s given us Internet pornography and electric scooters, so clearly it plays an important role in the lives of most specimens of Homo sapiens, despite the widespread failure of that species’ members to live up to their taxonomy.

I would like to mention that a characteristic shortcoming observable in discussions in the high-I.Q. world is an apparently deficient number-sense with regards to score rarity. […] Results from psychometric tests, especially but not exclusively high-range tests, are bound by inexactitude, and whoever propounds otherwise has lost their perspective amongst the orders of magnitude. Perhaps only in astrophysics would such an imprecise measurement otherwise be taken seriously.

Therefore, I rather recommend a more intuitively applicable conception of ethics, combining deontology with morality and virtue ethics: Be wonderful to each other. If I have anything to say about it, which I probably don’t, that opus magnum may someday be realized.


More Thoughts on Various Subjects, Abnormal and Converging

(To provide some content for this blog’s grand opening, I’ve decided to recycle articles I’ve written previously, and in some cases published elsewhere. This is one such article. It was originally published in issue #146 of the Glia Society’s journal, Thoth, in October 2020.)

A man is known by the company he keeps and by his propensity to use andronormative language in general statements.

Pointing a finger elsewhere is easier than lifting one of yours.

Movements to eradicate racial slurs have a Chinaman’s chance of succeeding.

I am the world’s leading expert on the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

The recent journalistic trend of capitalizing “Black” in reference to the racial group seems to indicate that its promulgators have been spending inordinate amounts of time on websites for White supremacists and Dom/sub fetishists.

Never trust anyone who capitalizes the name of a disability that isn’t normally capitalized.

Understanding self-referential statements always puts more strain on your working memory than you expected, even when you account for Hofstadter’s Law.


A Deep Thought

(To provide some content for this blog‘s grand opening, I’ve decided to recycle articles I’ve written previously, and in some cases published elsewhere. This is one such article. It was originally published, with minor differences, in issue #139 of the Glia Society’s journal, Thoth, in December 2019.)

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the supercomputer “Deep Thought” determines that the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything is 42. Unfortunately, it hasn’t figured out what the question is.

Now suppose that perceptrons, which are commonly called “artificial neurons” in the context of machine learning, could be utilized in a computer program such that there would be a one-to-one mapping between the functions of those perceptrons and the functions of natural neurons. Or, in simpler terms: suppose that “copying” a brain’s neural configuration into perceptrons would result in an artificial neural network that would perfectly mimic the capabilities of that brain. Then, we need to figure out how much processing power that would take to simulate. Here’s a quick-and-dirty estimate:

The human brain contains about 85,000,000,000 neurons, each of which has about 1,000 synapses, each of which fires about 1,000 times per second. Therefore, our perceptron-simulation would require ~1 * 1017 floating-point operations per second (FLOPS), assuming that one FLOP is equivalent to one synapse firing, which I’ll be the first to admit I’m not sure is a correct assumption. This is a mere 100 peta-FLOPS, which could be reached by a cluster of about 1,000 Nvidia Titan V graphics cards. (This is indubitably a better use for all of that hashing and fossil fuel power than mining Dunning-Krugerrands, a.k.a. Bitcoins.) Even if this estimate needs to be, for whatever reason, adjusted upward by several orders of magnitude, it becomes apparent that we can already build supercomputers with more than enough processing power to run a software equivalent of a human brain! Only if the estimate is many orders of magnitude below the real value does this train of thought derail.

The problem, then, is figuring out how to configure the perceptrons. It currently appears infeasible to scan a human brain and then encode it into perceptrons, so our only option is to have the neural network “evolve” through machine learning. In order to do this, the artificial neural network would have to experience selection pressure towards general intelligence, but current techniques can only provide selection pressure towards extremely specific abilities, like clustering stolen credit card numbers or facial identification of Muslims in Xinjiang. If we could create a loss function that would force evolution towards general intelligence, then the “invisible hand” of the evolutionary market would probably solve the problem for us within a reasonable time frame.

Unfortunately, general intelligence is far too complicated to be modeled by current computer programmers, which is why “autodidactic” programs like perceptron networks were created in the first place! The machine learning engineer simply defines the desired output and then throws matrix multiplications at the problem until it’s resolved. Even though we probably have all of the resources we need to create the answer to the problem of artificial general intelligence, we can’t do it because don’t know how to phrase the question.

So far, I’ve only thought of one solution (“solution” in the sense of Jeopardy!): simulate a system so complicated that having general intelligence provides agents within that system with more evolutionary fitness than any task-specific mental abilities could. This would probably require simulating real-life physical reality on a cosmic scale, or something similar to that, which is far beyond the limits of current computing technology. Expanding the limits of computational tractability should therefore probably be one of the prime factors for providing the decryption key to artificial intelligence. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth knows the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the gate. Yog-Sothoth is the key and guardian of the gate. Past, present, future, all are one in Yog-Sothoth.


Thoughts on Various Subjects, Abnormal and Converging

(To provide some content for this blog’s grand opening, I’ve decided to recycle articles I’ve written previously, and in some cases published elsewhere. This is one such article, and also the first article to have been published on this blog, except for test articles and announcements. It was originally published, with minor differences, in issue #142 of the Glia Society’s journal, Thoth, in June 2020.)

There is a certain je ne sais quoi about being too lazy to think of a suitable word.

Psychotic episode, drug trip, religious experience: pick any two.

(Ontological Advisory: Implicit Content)

Age is just a number. So is your Bureau of Prisons ID.

Q: Did you hear about the guy with an epistemology fetish?
A: He was arrested for perversion of the truth.

People who casually blame their quotidian problems on serious mental illness really trigger my OCD.

There is nothing in the intellectual sphere more concerning than an idea that is too interesting to take seriously.

Value judgments are bad.

The suicide rate is depressing.

The inferior man thinks himself to be as wise as Confucius. The superior man merely imitates his style.

I can’t claim to have a monopoly on the truth, but sometimes I sure as hell feel like a monopsonist.