What is the relationship between intelligence and wealth? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
The correlation between IQ and wealth has been really high in the last 100 years. But I suspect it will much less predictive in the next 100 years.
In the past 100 years, the best predictor of success have been tests like the SAT test (which tests for systems thinkers). Systems thinking has been the way to get ahead for people in the last 100 years. Even people who were not born into wealth and connections have been able to do extraordinarily well if they were really good systems thinkers.
But in the next 100 years, we will see more and more competition from computers on core systems thinking tasks. So while systems thinking will be likely even more important in the next 100 years, it will be mostly done by machines, not humans. Computers will likely be able to achieve perfect SAT scores in the future.
As computers get better and better at systems thinking, we will likely see IQ (which is usually measured in terms of systems thinking) be less valuable. Having some level of competency of systems thinking will still be really important for humans, but the prize of any extra 10 points on the SATs will not nearly be as great as they have been in the past.
To get into Harvard today, one likely needs at least a 1500 on the SAT. To get into the top school in 20 years (assuming that school still wants to be relevant), you probably will need a 1200.
Other "intelligences" will be increasingly important. Being able to understand a complex topic really deeply will likely always be really important.
Even within college, we will see complex fields be more valuable for the world of the future. Philosophy is likely a very under-valued major. I don't necessarily think that Computer Science is going to be more monetizable than Philosophy in the future just because it was in the past.
Wisdom will likely rise in importance over the next 100 years. In the last 100 years, raw brainpower has been able to trump wisdom in many areas. With the aid of computers, the wise will have tools to compete with the young.
Another area that will be really important is judgment. People without judgment need tons of rules to follow and that causes lots of friction and slows things down. People with judgment can collaborate much faster. We are already seeing an era where small, high-functional teams of people plus computers can beat giants.
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