I guess we have all had the feeling that humanity is getting more capable by each generation. Like we sometimes feel superior to our forefathers, we also tend to feel inferior to the oncoming generations.
Human cognitive capability has been measured using intelligence tests since the 1930’s. And the trend is unquestionable: We are getting smarter!
On average, and remarkably consistently across the world, the human species is currently improving its average IQ by about 3 units every 10 years. The trend is called the Flynn effect, named after Professor James Robert Flynn, New Zealand.
So, if we are improving at a certain rate now, how has it been previously? Hugues Crepin, NL, has conceived a chart which proposes a “hockey-stick” like evolution of human cognitive capability over the last 14 millennia.
The present trend started taking off in a big way already under the age of the Industrial society. Now that we have entered the age of the Information society, the growth-rate of our intelligence should increase even further.
Seems reasonable that Ray Kurzweil’s notion of Singularity will have to be the topic of a posting in the near future. 😉