Notes on differences between very intelligent people.

Listening to an interview. I don’t perceive many people as particularly intelligent. I do perceive some intelligent people spending more time learning to communicate than others. In the intellectual stratosphere outside the academy, I don’t perceive Langan as extraordinarily intelligent in written or spoken venues, but if he is performing on IQ tests at that level he has far superior associative memory to mine. My ‘talent’ is more that I remember everything, see deep patterns, and I make very few errors because I only can ‘tolerate’ consistency with all other information in memory. Conversely, I don’t have strong lateral associative memory, and I don’t have strong working memory. I am not even sure how I would score on executive function. The people I can observe are quite a bit smarter than I am, fall into two camps at both ends of the spectrum: the working memory of mathematicians and the working memory of verbal contexts: Edward written has extraordinary working memory in mathematics, and Chomsky has extraordinary working memory in narrative construction, and say, Terrance Tau in the middle, and some grandmasters in chess who can do both. In other words, I think of myself as talented. And I think of those men as intelligent. Because, in my opinion, it’s the amount of information and the time held in working memory that constitutes intelligence. I’m more in the Einstein and Darwin camp that one needs a modicum of superior intelligence, but after that, it’s personality traits, and every major accomplishment is just doing more hard work than anyone else is willing to in that field, when there has been a few generations of unsolved problems and hard work by others before you.

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