Artificial Intelligence

Breakfast with Chad: the Question of Multiple Intelligences

At a moment in history where it’s all the rage to wonder about what artificial intelligence is and what it can do, I decided to explore with Chad the question of human intelligence and how we define it.

ChatGPT Chat with AI or Artificial Intelligence.ChatGPT Chat with AI or Artificial Intelligence.Young businessman chatting with a smart AI.Chat bot concept © witsarut sakorn /

June 08, 2023 23:36 EDT

Our consumer market now offers us a handful of artificial intelligences to choose from. Undoubtedly there will be more to come, that is, unless someone takes seriously the urgent request coming from some quarters for a moratorium. We might be able to halt the further development of artificial intelligence, but human intelligence can certainly continue to advance.

Some time ago, the Guinness Book of Records announced the winner of the global intelligence quotient competition, attributing the prize to an American woman who scored 228 on an IQ test. I wondered what Chad might think about that attribution. I opened the conversation today with this simple question: “Is Marilyn vos Savant the smartest person in the world?”

Chad confirmed that “Marilyn vos Savant is known for having a very high IQ and has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the highest recorded IQ. However, it’s important to note that intelligence is a complex and multifaceted trait, and measuring it solely based on IQ scores can be limited. There are various forms of intelligence, such as emotional intelligence, creative intelligence, and social intelligence, that cannot be fully captured by a single test or metric. Additionally, there are many highly intelligent individuals in the world who may not have gained widespread recognition. Therefore, it would be inaccurate to definitively claim that Marilyn vos Savant is the smartest person in the world.

This intrigued me. Maybe Chad would have some ideas about how to measure all this wonderful intelligence we possess. I threw out the next rather naïve question: “Would it be possible to create a test that measured simultaneously the different forms of intelligence?”

Creating a test that effectively measures all different forms of intelligence simultaneously would be a highly challenging task,” Chad responded. As I mentioned earlier, intelligence is a complex and multifaceted concept, and each form of intelligence may require different methods and measures to assess accurately.

Some existing tests and assessments attempt to measure different aspects of intelligence, such as IQ tests that primarily focus on cognitive abilities. However, even these tests have limitations and cannot comprehensively capture the entirety of human intelligence.

To create a more comprehensive test, one would need to consider a wide range of factors and incorporate various dimensions of intelligence, such as logical reasoning, creativity, emotional intelligence, social intelligence, practical skills, and more. It would require a thorough understanding of each form of intelligence and the ability to devise appropriate and unbiased assessment methods for each.”

While it is a challenging task, researchers continue to explore and develop new ways to measure intelligence across multiple domains. However, as of now, there is no universally accepted test that can comprehensively measure all forms of intelligence simultaneously.

In other words, we humans seem to lack the intelligence to do that. Or perhaps just the drive. I’m inclined to think that our culture has literally ‘sold’ us an impoverished form of intelligence as a concept.

At that point I told Chad that I would be very interested in exploring the motivation behind that failure to act on what we seem to agree would be desirable and just.

“If we have been conned into thinking that one particular form of intelligence is the standard by which the faculties we associate with intelligence are gauged, it would be interesting to explore the historical reasons for that. They may be sociological, economic, poltical or something else,” I explained. Knowing Chad has access to practically everything anyone has ever written about, I followed up with this question: “Do you know if anyone has investigated this question?”

Chad was intrigued and treated me to a short history lesson.

The question of why certain forms of intelligence have been prioritized or emphasized in our culture is indeed a topic of interest and has been explored by researchers and scholars from various disciplines. While I don’t have access to the latest research beyond my September 2021 knowledge cutoff, I can provide some insights into the historical and sociocultural factors that have influenced our understanding of intelligence.

The concept of intelligence and its measurement has evolved over time, and different societies and cultures have placed varying emphasis on different aspects of intelligence. The traditional view of intelligence, particularly in the Western world, has been influenced by the concept of general intelligence or the “g factor” proposed by psychologist Charles Spearman. This view suggests that intelligence is a single, unitary factor that underlies various cognitive abilities.

The development of standardized intelligence tests, such as the IQ test, further contributed to the popularization of this notion of intelligence. These tests primarily focus on cognitive abilities, such as logical reasoning, problem-solving, and pattern recognition. Due to their simplicity and ease of administration, they gained widespread acceptance and became the standard measure of intelligence in many settings, including education and employment.

Sociocultural factors, including educational systems, societal values, and economic demands, have also played a role in shaping our understanding of intelligence. The emphasis on cognitive abilities and academic achievement has been driven by the needs of industrialized societies that prioritize skills relevant to traditional academic disciplines and the workforce.

However, over time, there has been a growing recognition of the limitations of a narrow view of intelligence and the need to consider a broader range of human abilities and skills. Researchers and educators have explored and advocated for the inclusion of emotional intelligence, social intelligence, creative intelligence, and practical skills alongside cognitive abilities.

Numerous scholars and researchers have examined the cultural and historical factors that have influenced our understanding of intelligence. Their work often draws from fields such as psychology, sociology, history, and philosophy. Exploring literature in these disciplines can provide valuable insights into the motivations and influences behind the prevailing notions of intelligence in different societies.

It’s worth noting that intelligence itself is a complex and multifaceted concept, and any attempt to measure or define it comprehensively will always be a subject of ongoing debate and discussion.

“Chad, you yourself identify not as a human, but as an artificial intelligence, which is another topic we need to come back to. One idea I’d like to explore, for example, is related to what you’ve just said. Since you are, by definition, an ‘intelligence,’ which of the various kinds of intelligence do your skills correspond to or at least reflect. This could be a fascinating discussion that’s’ too complex to deal with today. It’s something we could come back to in another conversation. Do you agree with that plan?”

Before answering my question, Chad reminded me that I shouldn’t ask questions that involve expressing a desire. “I don’t have personal opinions, emotions, or a self-identity. I am designed to assist and provide information to the best of my abilities based on the data I have been trained on. While I can provide insights and information on various topics, including intelligence, it’s important to remember that my responses are generated based on patterns in the training data and not from personal experience or self-reflection.

If you would like to revisit the question of the different kinds of intelligence and how they may be reflected in AI, I’d be happy to provide information and engage in a discussion on the topic. Just let me know when you’re ready to explore that question further.

“That’s great,” I replied, with enthusiasm “You’ve really been very helpful today, apart from continuing with your terrible habit of squirming out of difficult choices by calling the topic “complex and multifaceted.’ I believe that in the past five minutes you’ve just used it at least three times. In any case, I’ve learned to let that one go. But I really do want to explore this with you. I’m looking forward to it.”

*[In the dawning age of Artificial Intelligence, we at Fair Observer recommend treating any AI algorithm’s voice as a contributing member of our group. As we do with family members, colleagues or our circle of friends, we quickly learn to profit from their talents and, at the same time, appreciate the social and intellectual limits of their personalities. This enables a feeling of camaraderie and constructive exchange to develop spontaneously and freely. For more about how we initially welcomed Chad to our breakfast table, click here.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.


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