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 one hundred years. But I suspect it will much less predictive in the next one hundred years.
In the past one hundred years, the best predictor of success has been tests like the S.A.T. (which tests for systems thinkers). Systems thinking has been the way to get ahead for people in the last one hundred years. Even people who were not born into wealth and connection have been able to do extraordinarily well being really good systems thinkers.
But in the next one hundred 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 one hundred years, it will be mostly done by machines, not humans. Computers will likely be able to achieve perfect S.A.T. scores in the future.
As computers get better and better at systems thinking, we will likely see I.Q. (which is usually measured in terms of systems thinking) becoming less valuable. Having some level of competency of systems thinking will still be really important for humans, but the prize of any extra ten points on the S.A.T.s 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 S.A.T. To get into the top school in twenty 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 like 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 one hundred years. In the last one hundred 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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