Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I've run across the theory that human intelligence evolved as a response to the complexity of human social dynamics a number of times. For instance, the strangest professor I had in college (and one of my favorites) was a visiting professor who offered a special seminar course called Robots and Society -- the intrinsic intertwining of intelligence and social dynamics was a huge theme in that course. Essentially, the professor argued, that to create an intelligent robot we must instead endeavor to create a social robot. It was a new idea to me at the time.

Most recently, I ran across this idea in a Scientific American article about ravens. Terribly clever creatures. Anyway, it got me thinking -- if human intelligence developed as a coping mechanism for dealing with human social dynamics, isn't it ironic that the most "intelligent" people are quite often the most socially awkward?

Does this deny the truth of the theory? (Which I tend toward believing in.) Or does it simply mean that human intelligence has strayed from its original purpose? Or, a question with more practical application: why don't more smart people think to use their intelligence to become less socially awkward? Do they not care? Or do they not think of it?

Clearly there are multiple kinds of intelligence. Perhaps that fact plays into the answers to my questions. Unfortunately, it doesn't immediately answer them. I imagine these're questions I'll have to keep thinking about for quite a while. Maybe I'll write a book about my thoughts on them some day. First, however, more thinking.

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