A couple of great posts you'll not want to miss...
- Must-know terms for the 21st Century intellectual: Redux
- Top Ten Cybernetic Upgrades Everyone Will Want
Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: I'll be adding my own contributions to the "Must-know terms" list as I can think of them:
- The Flynn Effect - named for New Zealand political scientist James R. Flynn, this is the steady year-after-year rise in IQ scores across most of the world. The IQ test has to be constantly recalibrated so that 100 is the average score - a 100 today is a much higher score than a 100 in 1950. Arnold Kling at TCSDaily said this:
average IQ has been rising steadily in many countries for most of this century. Average IQ's in Britain may be more than two standard deviations higher than they were a hundred years ago, which says that the average citizen today would have been in the top 5 percent of intelligence early in the 20th century.
Improved nutrician may be part of the picture, but I suspect that increased societal complexity and the "Everything Bad is Good for You" phenomenon (better, more complicated plots on television/movies, video games, and the Internet) might have as much to do with this. But consider a darker possibillity: "The Roe Effect." If lower IQ populations have more abortions than higher IQ populations, rising average IQ scores might be in part the product of fewer lower IQ people being allowed to be born.
The combined impact of The Flynn Effect and the general availability of the Internet is staggering. The Technological Singularity is said to coincide with the rise of greater-than-human intelligence. Because of this, future generations might look back at history and place the date for the beginning of The Singularity at, say...1992.
- The Roe Effect - Jame Taranto of The Wall Street Journal came up with this explaination of the rise of "red state" influence. Taranto has argued that liberals tend to birth and raise liberals and conservatives, conservatives. And, since liberals generally support abortion and conservatives don't, more potential liberals are being aborted than conservatives. Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973. This means that the first legally aborted baby couldn't vote with his or her living peers in 1991. Their absence has grown larger since then.
I suspect, however, that the Roe Effect is just a small part of a much larger phenomenon: the most developed societies worldwide are reproducing least. Whether by abortion or birth control - in the most developed places reproduction is being divorced from the sex act (a Ray Kurzweil idea from The Singularity is Near). Europe, Japan, and the U.S. blue states are not reproducing at replacement level. This means that replacement people will come from elsewhere.
The U.S. will probably experience the least societal upheaval from all this. It will be less disruptive for New York City to absorb people from Alabama than it has been for France to absorb immigrant youth.