Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ


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The scale of these things is very difficult. In abstract, we have no disagreement, but the practicality is agreeing on a lot of important things. Within the context of its west coast libertarian ideology, Google also has to strike a difficult balance between allowing all parties freedom to express their views, while not facilitating terrorism. This could explain why, rather than speak more publicly about its policies, Google is choosing to partner with other tech firms, including one recent initiative with the UN counter-terrorism committee.

Outsourcing the problem might make it feel slightly more comfortable for Google, which does not want to emphasise its geopolitical power. Pichai says all the right things, but there is a fine line between thoughtful the word his colleagues most often use to describe him and evasive. When we make mistakes it is very costly. Recently, he fired an engineer who wrote a controversial page memo arguing against diversity initiatives, and claiming that the lack of women in tech was due to biological differences. But while many critics seemed to view the decision to fire Damore as a statement about the right to free expression, Pichai viewed it as a workplace issue.

Nobody is trying to socially engineer anything [here] — we are trying to solve hard problems. We were the first to publish our diversity numbers. In September, a class action lawsuit was filed, alleging women were segregated into lower paying roles. We are so committed to doing the right thing here, working on the underlying issues that prevent women from achieving their true potential. I feel very strongly about it.


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Jen Fitzpatrick started at Google as an intern in She is now vice-president of products and engineering, and has worked with Pichai since he joined the company in Like everyone I speak to at Google, she says he is widely respected for his thoughtfulness. Does he think some people in the Valley saw his appointment as a risk, given the prevailing culture?


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Apple co-founder Steve Jobs , Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates all cultivated reputations for abrasive egotism, a convenient narrative that excused and even encouraged bad behaviour. Hewlett and Packard, who founded the Valley, built a company with a very strong set of values and were remarkably good to their people and partners.

I never felt these things were at odds with each other. For the scale of Google, it is even more important to work well with others.

Biblical Literalism and IQ

At home, Pichai describes himself as a news junkie who starts every day with an omelette, a cup of tea and a print copy of the Wall Street Journal. Back in India, where newspapers are omnipresent but expensive, he had to wait his turn until his grandfather and father had read the paper, though he did learn to negotiate for the cricket pages. He lives with his wife Anjali, whom he met at college, and their daughter, Kavya, and son, Kiran.

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He is familiar with the screen-time negotiation that goes on in most family homes, and used to restrict their time, but is now not so sure. All of us are more comfortable when our kids read books, he says, but if they read on a Kindle, does that count? And what if the YouTube videos they watch are educational? Previous generations always feel uncomfortable with new technology. I struggle with it, too. In India he has become famous, and is mobbed wherever he goes.

His story is the one every family dreams of: hard work and huge reward. Bigger egos might be tempted to exploit that popularity: would he ever return to India and move into politics? He looks slightly embarrassed and shifts in his seat. I feel incredible support when I go there; it is humbling. When I ask how it feels to be in charge of Google, Pichai pauses and looks determinedly at the floor, then out of the window. Go back 10 years and look at the largest market cap companies: the bigger you are, the more you may be at a disadvantage. Pretty much every great thing gets started by a small team.

And it is also revealing to have it confirmed that when you reach the top the biggest thing you worry about is sliding back down again. Weekend magazine technology special. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Weekend magazine technology special.

Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ () by Elaine Castles : RealGeniuses

Alphabet interviews. However, when dealing with differences in averages as we have here , it may be a much bigger deal assuming IQ means anything at all, of course. Two populations with average difference in IQ of 20 points?! That would potentially be a big deal indeed. I seem to encounter a lot of atheists who do seem to think that literalism actually is the best way to read the Bible, and tend to get very annoyed with me when I disagree. After all, you can be a biblical literalist without actually believing that the Bible is true. Actually, I think Biblical literalism is necessary to the atheists to give the enemy a face.

White Privilege . . . or IQ?

As far as the subject of this post, the more legalistic the church is, the greater number of non-thinkers they will have in their church. That may be where the intelligence factor comes in. I seem to encounter a lot of atheists who do seem to think that literalism actually is the best way to read the Bible. Just once it would be nice for people to stop confusing cultural knowledge with intelligence, even when it suits their political opinions.

Essentially they will tell you how well you will fit in as an academic in the time period the test was written in: multiple-choice exams, lots of sitting still, large command of vocabulary, etc.

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To the extent that other spheres of life intersect with the academic environment, an IQ test is a predictor of success in those areas. All this data is represented by single points — averages I suppose. I would also suppose there would be very large error bars if those were plotted. Taking the statistical error bars into account, how much of a statistical confidence do we have that the data are different to not accept the null hypothesis? Most people who know Morse code can send it translate letters, number, punctuation into the code equivalent very much faster than they can receive Morse code translating the dits and dahs into letter, number, or punctuation.

For me, I can send code at 25 words per minute, but receive only at around 5. Linda — the disagreement is with any supernatural beliefs.

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On Biblical literalism: The appraisal of biblical literalism exists in an odd dichotomy. From my perspective, literalism is the most sensical means by which to read the bible. Yet, I consider any religious person who accepts the Bible literally to be an ignorant moron. I much prefer, and relatively respect, the moderate who engages in a cautionary reading.

Generally speaking, liberals and, at least if you ask theologians, moderates reject both. I always look askance at these studies. I was a Christian until I was If someone wants to take the Bible literally, I have no problem with that. I also know some complete morons who are biblical literalists, then again being an atheists or agnostic is no guarantee of genius. Whenever I encounter a new text of any kind, one of the few presuppositions I bring into my first reading is that the author said precisely what he intended to say, and that he meant it to be understood the way he said it.

Clearly, there are parts of the Bible that are intended metaphorically. But too often I see defenders of Scripture flee into the fortress of allegory to escape arrows of the obvious. I once got into a discussion with a rather articulate proponent of the so-called Framework Hypothesis. What is it that makes you see allegory in them? He had just admitted that all his highfalutin argumentation was really founded upon the assumption that somehow, some way, the Bible simply must be true.

IQ is trash, because it rests on an extremely shaky foundation the belief in something called intelligence, pictured as a single entity that can be measured by a single number. It correlates highly to social origin and scholastic achievement. Your parents have a higher education level and some money, you have a university degree too : expect a good score. When it comes to real problem solving tasks opposed to purely academic ones , your capacities might be well above theirs.

I think IQ testing is pretty inaccurate, for me the chart correlating higher education with religious affiliation is more meaningful.

I had a sense that the general level of curiosity about the world was pretty high. When we moved my wife became very involved in a large Methodist church. I get no sense of curiosity about the world around them — going to church and living day to day is good enough. It is a sample of only 2 churches maybe members in each so not statistically relevant, but it does confirm my own observation that as you move from the Episcopalians down towards the fundamentalists you start losing the members who are naturally curious and well educated in the sciences.

Hey, I used to be in Mensa! Every year they sent us a little flimsy membership card which, for some reason, we were supposed to sign. One year I neglected to sign it before laminating it. I thought that was fairly telling. And why in the world would you think that you, as a 21st century Westerner would be able to approach an ancient near eastern text written by dozens of authors from multiple cultures over hundreds of years and automatically understand exactly what the author meant without taking into account any of those other factors.

Literature any kind of literature, not just the Bible needs to be interpreted according to the kind of literature it is and the context in which it was written. Yes and no Gary.

Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ
Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ
Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ
Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ
Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ
Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ
Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ
Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ
Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ Inventing Intelligence: How America Came to Worship IQ

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