back to article Douglas Coupland: The average IQ is now 103 and the present is melting into the future

A jet-lagged Douglas Coupland, recently departed from "The Lab" in Paris where he was "artist-in-residence" at that mysterious wing of the Google Cultural Institute, whatever that is, declared in a pre-written speech that "the future is already here". Speaking to an audience of Konica Minolta customers in Berlin, the author of …

  1. Anonymous Coward

    "We are now constantly connected and hungry for data..."

    Does he mean "we" the people or "we" as in : Google ?

    As for the average IQ... I think humanity as a whole is getting dumber and dumber thanks to companies like Google, Facebook etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "We are now constantly connected and hungry for data..."

      Facebook just amplifies the stupid. Blogs, long form text and hobby sites, don't rank on Google anymore, creating the illusion that huge populations of the web have simply disappeared.

      This makes sound business sense, because stupid, conformist, fearful, or angry people click ads and buy more shit.

    2. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: "We are now constantly connected and hungry for data..."

      Really depends on what you mean by "dumber". Overall, people are less capable of rote memorization, but are much better at processing new information and research. The problem is, and always has been, that people tend to lack the ability to critically analyze the data and properly determine veracity.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "We are now constantly connected and hungry for data..."

        Twenty odd years ago when I got together with my (now) wife, she would have been the first to admit that she was of average* intelligence (by IQ standards at any rate).

        It is a point of humour between us now that every year my wife is getting smarter. Not because she has developed her mind like an Olympic athlete develops their body, but because the average is being lowered so dramatically :)

        *Her eQ is *way* above mine, probably more than my iQ is above hers.

      2. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: "We are now constantly connected and hungry for data..."

        "Overall, people are less capable of rote memorization"

        just as well, since THAT is probably the DUMBEST way to memorize things (by rote? YUCK!!!), unless you have a completely linear way of thinking.

        Non-linear minds, like for engineers, artists, musicians, and create people in general, really don't work "that way". If you have a non-linear mind and want to memorize, use a "key" that's easy to remember, and associate that 'key' with what you want to memorize. There are many techniques that are well described, but your brain and your memory (particularly non-linear minded people) work like a database, where the 'key' is something that's associated with the things you want to remember. 'Keys' are associated with items, events, emotions, humor, fear, doing an activity, and so on. (and if you remember the key, you remember the things associated with that key. So simple!)

        As an example, let's say you want to memorize a shopping list. We'll use your own body as an example. We will have 8 items to remember: Eggs, milk, ground beef, pork chops, broccoli, cheese, coffee, and oatmeal.

        Think of eggs broken on top of your head. Then think of milk up your nose (or in your eyes). You're chewing on a WHOLE COW, to grind that meat into hamburger. And you're wearing pork chops around your neck. Looks kinda stupid, doesn't it? Next, you've got BOOBS made of BROCCOLI! don't forget the pasties, as they're made of CHEESE. Then, someone stuck a bunch of COFFEE in your UNDERPANTS, and finally, you're standing in a BIG PILE of OATMEAL.

        OK - here's the test (cover up the above):

        a) on top of your head is:

        b) your nose has:

        c) you're chewing:

        d) you're wearing what around your neck?

        e) what's on your chest? [2 items]

        f) someone stuck what in your underpants?

        g) what are you standing in?

        Apply as you like. Good technique for NON-LINEAR (i.e. CREATIVE) minds. At one point, the CREATIVE, who couldn't just 'memorize by rote', were considered, uh, DEFICIENT, because they had some kind of DEFICIENCY - you know, ATTENTION DEFICIENCY [something WRONG with THEM]. OK my agenda is showing. The best and brightest of us don' learn by rote, WILL NOT learn by rote, because it's not only BORING it is NAUSEATING.

        But a technique such AS the one I mentioned above, which is far more taylored to a non-linear mind, may be the difference between a 2-digit IQ and a 150 IQ, when properly applied and practiced. Yeah, think about THAT one.

        I do think the world is becoming more non-linear, though. I base this on the fact that "the geeks" will inherit the earth that is basically run by computers with intelligent humans driving them. And computer-human interaction nearly always requires non-linear thinking to be successful.

        Yeah, back to the topic at hand, "what is I.Q. exactly" and if it IS going up, I think it's because of what I just said.

        1. Blank Reg

          Re: "We are now constantly connected and hungry for data..."

          That's so complicated, I just read the list and memorize it. No need for silly gimmicks

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "We are now constantly connected and hungry for data..."

            Why not just take the list with you?

          2. m0rt

            Re: "We are now constantly connected and hungry for data..."

            "That's so complicated, I just read the list and memorize it. No need for silly gimmicks"

            In your case, yes. Funnily enough I am crap at lists but I was struck by how well that worked for me.

            No need for silly put downs.

            "Why not just take the list with you?"

            Can't decide if you are being funny or being flippant. I'll go with flippant since you posted AC. :)

          3. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: "We are now constantly connected and hungry for data..."

            Some can learn by rote. Some can utilise those memory methods. I'm rubbish at both. But I do seem to be quite good at simply remembering stuff that I am interested or involved in. For some of us learning equates with involvement and probably relates to a callisthenic learning style, learning by doing.

            We make people less able to learn if we insist on them learning in specified ways. In the UK's education system that has become increasingly a Behaviourist model. Probably because this is something that politicians can understand and companies can market. So the kids all have to recite their tables up to 12x12. Which for most kids will be fine, but a fairly large minority would be better learning number facts some other way. ( And making the target the 12s is indicative of the mindset of the politicians. Why 12? Because they had to learn to 12x12 when they were kids from when we had pennies and inches). And reading has become "phonics" decoding words sound by sound ignoring how slow that is and how often it simply fails to work. ( Think heath/death. There are vast numbers of other examples)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "We are now constantly connected and hungry for data..."

          My brain literally got hacked from reading your comment. I was able to get the right answers all the question without attempting to remember any item on the list.

      3. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        " problem is,.. that people tend to lack the ability to critically analyze the data "

        And it's in no ones interests to improve the calibration of peoples internal BS meters.

        The mass gullible are much too easy to (profitably) manipulate.

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: "We are now constantly connected and hungry for data..."

      " I think humanity as a whole is getting dumber and dumber thanks to companies like Google, Facebook etc."

      I agree that the world as a whole is getting dumber, but for different (philosophical) reasons. think politics. yeah. And you'd probably downvote me. So now you know without me saying another word...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Cloud time?"

    more like he's in 'Cloud Cuckoo Land' all the time.

    Just say no to Google. you can exist without feeding their hunger.

    1. JetSetJim

      Re: "Cloud time?"

      I just spent the entire article wondering why he'd get heavily jetlagged travelling from Paris to Munich - if that happens to him, then maybe that explains the gibberish

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge

        Re: "Cloud time?"

        "I just spent the entire article wondering why he'd get heavily jetlagged travelling from Paris to Munich - if that happens to him, then maybe that explains the gibberish"

        Either he collected too many free drinks in the 1st class section (and at the lounge before/after flight), or the Ryanair flight from "Paris" Vatry to "Munich" Memmingen via Thessaloniki really took its toll.

      2. Crazy Operations Guy

        Re: "Cloud time?"

        "jet-lagged traveling from Paris to Munich"

        I find it insulting for someone to show up jet lagged, it either shows that they care so little about the other person in that the other person would be the one having to make changes to their schedule to accommodate flight delays; or that the traveler cares so little about the other person that the other person doesn't deserve the traveler's best.

        I've always planned to arrive twice as early as the flight is long, that way it allows for re-booking in case of a cancelled flight, but also allows for time to rest and recuperate.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone needs to pee into a cup...

    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      I'm glad I wasn't there to sleep through that talk.

  4. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    Good Book by Douglas:

    Player one

    A real-time five-hour story set in an airport cocktail lounge during a global disaster. Five disparate people are trapped inside: Karen, a single mother waiting for her online date; Rick, the down-on-his-luck airport lounge bartender; Luke, a pastor on the run; Rachel, a cool Hitchcock blonde incapable of true human contact; and finally a mysterious voice known as Player One. Slowly, each reveals the truth about themselves while the world as they know it comes to an end.

    In the tradition of Kurt Vonnegut and J.G. Ballard, Coupland explores the modern crises of time, human identity, society, religion and the afterlife. The book asks as many questions as it answers and readers will leave the story with no doubt that we are in a new phase of existence as a species - and that there is no turning back.

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon


      "and that there is no turning back."

      Until someone switches off the power.

  5. Hugh Barnard

    Misquote from Wlliam Gibson

    "the future is already here" but Gibson:

    The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed. from:

    A much more subtle and interesting idea, in my opinion.

    1. Geoff Campbell Silver badge

      Re: Misquote from Wlliam Gibson

      Yes, to a point. Surely it was ever thus, though? All new technologies more complicated than knapped flint took time to spread throughout the world. I don't see why computer and comms technology should be any different to steam engines in that respect.


  6. Spudley

    The average IQ is now 103

    Darn, that's one heck of a nicely done click-bait. Had me clicking through, anticipating a good rant about it being wrong.

    But then again.... maybe the average really is 103. There would have to be some really big blob of stupidity out there, but if it's big enough, it could skew the weighting so the rest of us average out at 103.

    So, I wonder who it could be? Surely it couldn't be...? Nah...

    1. Warm Braw

      maybe the average really is 103

      I think IQ of 100 is determined by the median of the test scores. It could depend on what you mean by "average"...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It could also depend on whether you're picking a particular subset as well, Americans for instance (although they apparently do poorly as a group).

      2. Robert Helpmann??

        Different Averages

        If I remember correctly, the way the WAIS was set up was to force the data into a bell curve and set the median score to 100. This is what is meant by "average" in the context of this test. It is possible that differences may have arisen over time as to where in absolute terms that point falls as the overall population may have got a little bit smarter or stupider. A better way to look at it is that at age X, how does the person being tested perform compared to others of age X.

      3. John Robson Silver badge

        "I think IQ of 100 is determined by the median of the test scores. It could depend on what you mean by "average"..."

        IIRC IQ scores conform pretty accurately to a normal distribution curve - so you expect median, mode and mean to be the same.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          IIRC IQ scores conform pretty accurately to a normal distribution curve - so you expect median, mode and mean to be the same.

          Oh, quit showing off your big brain!

      4. Crazy Operations Guy

        "I think IQ of 100 is determined by the median of the test scores."

        Not only median of the test scores, but also the median of the particular test group. A person may get a 125 when tested alongside their peers in school, but then get a 90 if tested in a group of scientists and researchers, and then end up with a 200 if tested in a group of people from a place with a severely underfunded educational system and high amounts of lead in the water. It all depends on the organization administering the test and the selection size that they use.

        The test itself is deeply flawed in that it is trying to measure something infinitely complex and variable using a simple integer. Although it is useful in that anyone who believes that IQ is an accurate measure of intelligence is really a moron that shouldn't be listened to. The only contexts I've seen for people using IQ tests are either egotistical blowhards trying to prove they are better than someone, or idiotic racists that try to use it as an example of their race's superiority.

      5. bombastic bob Silver badge

        average vs median. it's all lies, damn lies, and statistics

  7. frank ly


    "Speaking to an audience of Konica Minolta customers in Berlin ..."

    For some reason, I'll always remember the start of that sentence.

  8. Hollerithevo

    Evolution until someone pulls the plug

    Given climate change and the threat to Life As We Know It, especially the ability to generate the amount of electricity needs for all these devices, I can't help but feel that it is not evolutionarily-wise to tether your species to a power source. We know what happens to species that can only eat one kind of leaf or bug or whatever.

    1. Drew Scott

      Re: Evolution until someone pulls the plug

      This is why we need to need to desperately end our dependence on the sun! It's just asking for trouble.

    2. Redstone

      Re: Evolution until someone pulls the plug

      Don't worry, the greatly mocked and maligned preppers are already off the grid waiting to continue civilization after everything has gone south...;)

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Evolution until someone pulls the plug

      "Given climate change and the threat to Life As We Know It,"

      wouldn't THAT make average I.Q. go DOWN? for actually BELIEVING it? (I could NOT resist, heh)

    4. Chairo

      Re: Evolution until someone pulls the plug

      We know what happens to species that can only eat one kind of leaf or bug or whatever.

      That would depend on the availability and survivability of your food source. Ant eaters and Pangolins are doing quite well since a very long time.

      That said, I think our civilization is far too dependent on fragile electronics that can be taken out by sun flares or other EMP sources. It's a bit like settling on an active volcano. Our life is just too short to take eruptions into account that happen only every few hundred years.

      Of course there are so many other things that could threaten civilization as we know it, as well. Some large caldera eruption or an asteroid impact could take out our main food sources at any time. Then the question would be how well we could cope. I suppose not well at all.

  9. handleoclast

    Coupland seems to have perfected the art of minimal work. I made the mistake of buying one of his books (it was second-hand, so not a big loss). A not very plausible plot with not very plausible characters padded out with crap like several pages of pi and similar dumps of stuff to skip over. Those could have been cut down by, for example, replacing several pages of pi with "Fred Boring printed out several pages of pi and gave it to Jane Tokenwoman to read" rather than inflicting it on us. But hey, it means he can "write" a book with half the actual work.

    If he gets any further up his own arsehole he could end up being nominated for a Booker.

    1. Unep Eurobats

      Re: several pages of pi

      I think I recognise that. Was It JPod? I enjoyed it. Even better is The Gum Thief. But then Generation A, the one about the bees - that's terrible.

      1. /dev/null

        Re: several pages of pi

        JPod was just a self-parody of Microserfs, which was a much better story.

    2. EL Vark

      ...and then some

      Having observed his "career" since GenX, for which he still owes both Brian Fawcett and Quentin Fiore (et al), oh, every dime he's ever made since his first royalty cheque, I've lived in a constant state of incredulity when it comes to El Coupland. Saw him "speak" once at the behest of my then girlfriend. 94-ish, touring for his follow-up, I believe. The charsima of A. Tree and the insight of a piece of laminated plastic.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: ...and then some

        "The charsima of A. Tree and the insight of a piece of laminated plastic."

        But a heart of Formica!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "The Charisma of A. Tree..Insight of a piece of laminated plastic...Heart of Formica

          So are you guys available when I need someone to write the author blurb for my great American novel?

  10. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge


    "the industrial revolution gave us the weekend"

    Right, so when is the Computer Revolution going to give us another couple of days off?

    God knows enough work is automated these days, both by computers and production machines . and robots. and tractors.

    So why the hell are we still working 5 days a week?

    1. FuzzyWuzzys

      Re: Automation

      We've not reached the plateau? The more raw data we produce, the more others want to consume it, manipulate it and report on it. 200 years ago we dug rocks out the ground, melted them and formed metal product that people demanded. Now all we do is produce data, for someone else to consume. You buy a pizza, you produce a trail of data. You check your email, you produce a stream of data. You buy a tube of Anasol off Amazon and a data trail the length of your arm is in several systems within milliseconds. Tons of data that we IT people have to make available to others who consume it and produce yet more, 24/7, all just making work for ourselves.

      We are now the IT Ouroboros, the snake forever doomed to consume itself.

    2. Redstone

      Re: Automation

      Maybe because, despite the automation, productivity has stubbornly refused to get off the plateau its been on for the last 15-20 years? Just my guess...

      1. ChrisPv

        Re: Automation

        What you are talking about? Productivity grown nicely in the period and owners were rewarded handsomely. Workers not so much, thou.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Automation

      You mean you actually work on a Friday? I thought the SOP was to turn up wait for the pub lunch and then go home again with very little done in the meantime....

    4. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: Automation

      "the industrial revolution gave us the weekend"

      Except that is didn't. It was the unions who had to fight hard and bloody to get it.

      I stopped giving him any credit right at that sentence.

    5. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: Automation

      "So why the hell are we still working 5 days a week?"

      Because companies and politicians fetishize the concept of "creating jobs" without regard to the actual quality of said jobs... In their minds 100 coal miners is better than 10 robotics technicians even though the technicians are going to produce 20-30x as much wealth in the community as a miner.

    6. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Automation

      "Right, so when is the Computer Revolution going to give us another couple of days off?"

      telecommute, and it's whenever you want to [within reason of course]. I happen to like finishing up the week on Sunday evening, and taking Mondays (mostly) off. And maybe Tuesday. etc.

    7. zappahey

      Re: Automation

      "So why the hell are we still working 5 days a week?"

      On average, we're not, it's just that it's not evenly distributed.

    8. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Automation

      So why the hell are we still working 5 days a week?

      Accountants. Bean counting means that no one is seen as anything other than a resource to be utilised. So if we need fewer hours to do the job we employ fewer staff. There will be some who earn enough to choose to work a shorter week and earn less if they wish. And there will be the underemployed on zero hour contracts who have the time but not the money to enjoy it and possibly not the freedom to plan to use it.

      And of course the unions have little or no power to demand shorter working weeks. So for most of us it's a matter of doing the hours and getting the pay.

    9. mahasamatman
      Thumb Up

      Re: Automation

      Upvote for 'Tractors' ...

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Automation

      "So why the hell are we still working 5 days a week?"

      BILLS. People aren't willing to take the pay cut working fewer days would entail, and pay can't be expected to be raised to compensate unless we're willing to do more in a shorter timeframe. That's how the check-writers figure our worth.

  11. Harry the Bastard

    time to reranch the optimess

    the post is required, and must contain letters

  12. Doctor Huh?

    And this is why you need your mates...

    You need some trusted friends to take the piss out of you on a regular basis, otherwise you end up spouting nonsense like this. The ideas in this interview, if left to fester, could grow into a full-blown multimedia TED talk.

  13. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Average IQ is DEFINED to be 100, so it is impossible to declare that average IQ is anything other than 100.

    What *is* possible to say is something like: today's average IQ would be XXX compared to 1950s average IQ, or: average IQ of Japanese people is XXX if measured compared to the UK average.

    1. itzman
      Paris Hilton

      AVERAGE IQ is now 80...

      compared to the 1950s, as its clear that people who gain their whole experience of life from man made data in a man made cities have no intelligence at all when it comes to the real world.

    2. Allan George Dyer
      Paris Hilton

      Cultural Bias, too

      So, if you administer a UK IQ test to Japanese people, and a Japanese IQ test to UK people, they will both score low... even more so if you don't translate the papers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Cultural Bias, too

        Don't be so sure. I believe ESL is a normal course in Japan, meaning they can probably interpret the UK IQ test.

  14. TheNix

    Jet lagged?

    I'm assuming that's being used euphemistically here.

    Still, hard to blame Coupland: nice work if you can get it.

  15. gotes

    Every day will be a Wednesday

    Permanently three days from the weekend? What a bleak and horrible future we'll be living in.

  16. Francis Boyle

    If it gets rid of

    patch Tuesday. . .

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Douglas Coupland wrote microserfs

    Never read anything by Douglas Coupland. If this is what Coupland took away from his time at Microsoft then it questions the accuracy of the rest of his works.

    "It's never been, 'We're doing this for the good of society.' It's always been us taking an intellectual pride in putting out a good product - and making money. If putting a computer on every desktop and in every home didn't make money, we wouldn't do it.", microserfs by Douglas Coupland

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Douglas Coupland wrote microserfs

      Also, he seems to think NASA did everything. In which case he should try getting a flight to the ISS. Wood, trees etc.

    2. small and stupid

      Re: Douglas Coupland wrote microserfs

      Did you know that sometimes, the opinions voiced by a character in a fictional work, are not actually the opinions of the author?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Douglas Coupland wrote microserfs

      Microserfs is actually a pretty decent book.

      OTOH, pretty much everything else he's written has been self-indulgent shite (eg. JPod)

  18. DJO Silver badge

    IQ tests

    IQ tests are good for one thing and one thing alone:

    Measuring how good you are at IQ tests. That's it, they provide no more value or insight than that, the tests are too culturally based and your mark can be improved by practising at taking tests.

    1. Geronimo!

      Re: IQ tests


      Never taken a real IQ test, have you?

      Yes, you can improve your score by practising. And by practising you do what exactly?

      Ah, okay, I'll answer that for you: You practise your skills to solve certain problems, you read up on common knowledge ... and yes, that improves your IQ too.

      1. Alan W. Rateliff, II

        Re: IQ tests

        That pretty much sums up my thoughts on cheating, or for that matter "targeted studying" for any test.

        For instance, the UCF business school cheating incident† in which a number of students studied from sample questions available on-line. These students studied 700 sample questions for a 50 question mid-term. Why not just, I dunno, learn the material, instead?

        As for targeted studying, I have a physical reaction to students asking "what's going to be on the test?" So far as I am concerned everything in the text and lectures up to now is fair-game, kind-of like life.

        Brings me as an aside to standardized testing and how schools have been "teaching to the test." When I was in elementary we had these standardized tests, as well. The one I took was called the ITBS: the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Our preparation for the test consisted of "Tuesday next week make sure you have a number-two pencil and an eraser" and I recall we did quite well. The whole point, as the name implied, was to test your basic skills, how you were applying the things being taught in regular lessons.

        † There is some additional reading which makes this incident a little controversial in its construct but does not affect my over-all point about studying questions rather than material.

        1. Crazy Operations Guy

          Re: IQ tests

          "teaching to the test."

          The school district I went to began experimenting with replacing testing with one-on-one interviews with the students. Initial results were quite promising when compared to the old methods. Then "No Child Left Behind" became a thing and the school district ended the experiment since they couldn't afford both the interviews and the mandated state-wide tests. Whoever decided that schools with students that did poorly on the standardized tests should be penalized by having their funding reduced, should be beaten with out-dated text books until they realize their mistakes, or are just a ruddy-colored stain on the carpet...

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge

            Re: IQ tests

            "teaching to the test."

            Surprisingly, I've seen specialized military schools that LITERALLY do this. reason? You're supposed to MEMORIZE all of the information that will be on the test. They throw information at you at a speed that causes a dropout rate of up to 50%, and expect you to maintain a good average (or be placed on 'mandatory study hours' to get you back on track). And you can't even be accepted into the school unless you are in the top few percentile of intelligence. Oh, they 'teach to the test' allright. And your notes are part of that. If you study your notes, which can't leave the building [because they're classified], you should be able to pass the test. It's actually testing your ability to absorb information and retain it, as well as understand it, explain it, and recognize normal vs abnormal equipment behavior when you're operating the *kinds* of gear this school is oriented towards.

            (the course was designed by M.I.T. if I remember correctly, a crash course in nuclear physics, materials science, basic chemistry, mathematics, and general power plant engineering - I graduated something like 10th in my class, 2nd highest overall for my rating, only because I'm lazy and didn't want to be #1 because it requires too much work)

            I suggest that "teaching to the test" isn't a bad idea, not if you mix it with "the reasons behind the answer" and get the students to think and remember effectively.

            1. Alan W. Rateliff, II

              Re: IQ tests

              Absolutely, I see that as a huge benefit in training, in particular when you need to absorb a skill as quickly as possible and you can learn incidentals and out-of-the-box scenarios on-the-job. I do not, however, see a place for this type of training in primary education, if only for two reasons: the minds being taught are different at the ages indicated and a majority of students cannot think and remember effectively when taught to the test, and the expected results of the education at these two points are different whereas one is expected to lay the groundwork for skills and knowledge which can be broadly applied and the other is meant to be very focused on a particular function.

              As a case in point, while a student in education I observed two grade levels preparing for the FCAT. First, I would note that a number of these students were absolute emotional wrecks with the weight of the school on their shoulders, these being the lower-performers who could "bring the school down." But more importantly, they were missing particular aspects of each subject being taught. I worked with one student trying to grasp the area of a rectangle, the formula for which is L x W. But when presented a square he stumbled on the notion of which was the length and which was the width, because both were equal. Yes, from our perspective this is a non-issue, but, again, these were not necessarily the high-performers with whom I was working.

              Now, right there on the same page as the L x W formula was the S x S formula for squares. I remember being taught this, not necessarily that squares were different than rectangles, but that the formula was more suited to the square as every side is equal. I pointed that out to the student and he informed me that he had not been taught that formula. I inquired of the teacher and she told me the formula was not in the school's curriculum because it was not on the FCAT.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IQ tests

      In my younger days, the general feeling was I wasn't too bright - perhaps border line retarded in the jargon of the day. So, the approach was "He's not too bright, we can' expect much, but he's good natured so let's give him a pass."

      Took my first standardized test when we moved to Saint Louis and I started high school.

      All of a sudden I wasn't a dim bulb that should be left alone, but an under achiever who needed to be constantly nagged and hectored to work more and work harder.

      I'm sure mine isn't the only life ruined by standardized testing.


    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: IQ tests

      @DJO - there are such things as culture-free tests, y'know, and indeed, back when I took the MENSA test, one had to take a battery of tests, and the one you rated highest on was the one they counted as your IQ. I'm pretty sure my IQ result was based on the culture-free test (they don;t actually tell you that), which is based on pattern-recognition, as I very much doubt my IQ would have rated so highly on the other ones. (If you're wondering, I broke the bank on the MENSA test, and so was rated 161 (1 point higher than their test can 'accurately' measure) though some less formal tests I took another time indicated my IQ may be in the 170-175 range, Cattel-3 scale or about 150 Weschler).

      I was also the only person a certain borough council had that ever achieved a perfect score on their job entrance test (I was told folk aren't supposed to be able to complete it in time, let alone get all the answers right. Bizarrely, I didn't get the job because they thought I'd be bored. They didn't accept my argument that I'd rather be bored than starving).

      That said, I've always thought that what IQ tests are doing is measuring processing power rather than what one might generally think of as 'intelligence'. Certainly, I am NOT as intelligent in the everyday sense as the above would seem to indicate, as anyone that knows me could tell you, and I find it amusing that some (not all) folk with high IQ's put on airs and graces about it. I just seem to be decent at processing data, but garbage in, garbage out and all that... (shrugs) :-}

  19. Alan Johnson

    IQ scores have been increasing since they were first devised - Flynn effect

    It is not clear what intelligence is, how it relates to IQ tests and what is actually being measured but what is interesting is that since IQ tests have been devised applying tests from earlier periods to later generations has consistently shown an 'increase' in IQ. This is 'corrected' by normalising all IQ tests so that they all have an average result of 100 and a standard distribution of 15 or 16. Therefore average intelligence is always 100 by design. This effect of constantly increasing results is known as the Flynn effect and may (quite recently) be coming to an end. The one thing it does not show (in my opinion) is an increase in intelligence but the limitations of the test. Saying the average intelligence is now 103 shows a profound ignorance of the defintiion of IQ tests and the history of changes in the response to tests. It is definitely not a new phenomenon.

  20. ecofeco Silver badge

    The Golden Age

    If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it.

  21. MatsSvensson

    Would have been 104, if not for Trump.

  22. Sam Therapy

    One hundred and chuffing three? And it was One chuffing hundred? Damn, that's low. Worryingly low.

    No wonder most people seem stupid.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge

      "No wonder most people seem stupid."

      this will get me *hated* by many, but it's true: when you have an I.Q. that is high enough, EVERYBODY in the 100 range looks "about the same" to you, quite possibly anyone between 85 and about 120. You get used to dealing with people in this range, and probably treat them with reasonable respect, though you might get really intolerant at times. (and of course, 100 being average, there's as many BELOW 100 as ABOVE it, and chances are, if you're in this forum, you're above, and maybe WAY above, the average of 100).

      But of course, someone with a 120 I.Q. would CERTAINLY recognize someone with an 85 I.Q. as being "not as smart", maybe even slightly ~handicapped~.

      Kinda makes you wonder, ya know?

      (ever read 'Flowers for Algernon'? Or see the movie 'Charlie' that was based on it? At both ends of the I.Q. spectrum Charlie was equally isolated, but when he was at the low end, he wasn't unhappy about it)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "when you have an I.Q. that is high enough, EVERYBODY in the 100 range looks "about the same" to you, quite possibly anyone between 85 and about 120."

        No, that's simply wrong. An IQ of 85 won't get you a job on a decent building site nowadays (not much scope for manual hole digging) while one of 120 is more than enough for an honours degree. The gap is equivalent to that between someone with an IQ of 120 and someone with an IQ of 155 - and in terms of ability to progress in life, probably more significant.

        However, I have come across people with very high IQs who do believe what you're saying. One of them was, fortunately briefly, the boyfriend of one of my kids. Couldn't drive a car...beneath his dignity. Worshipped Ayn Rand. Didn't think anybody below a 2:1 was worth speaking to.

        In other words, capable of very abstract thought but EQ close to zero and unfitted to deal with the outside world.

  23. razorfishsl

    Thought it was 120.....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thought it was 120....

      I believe that was what was believed to be "required" for successfully completing college at one time.

      Now that everyone is expected to attend college in the US, and the government is pressuring colleges to give all of their students degrees - probably down around 75 now?

      1. Tom 7

        Re: Thought it was 120....

        75 is all that is required to get a 1st at PPE. We need a measure of over-self confidence (is that the inverse of the imposter effect) and it needs to be connected something in the low ohms but high KV range.

  24. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    "The future is now, but it's all going wrong." -- The The - Perfect

  25. wsm

    It's always 100

    The way the statistic is setup, the average is always 100 if you test enough people. People aren't getting any smarter or dumber, they're just testing differently And if it seems there are more people who behave stupidly on the Internet, it's because it has been made too easy to get on--and click and point and comment on anything and everything.

    Average IQ hasn't changed. We've just given too much access without raising the bar on entry.

  26. Tom 64

    The future is bright.

    Work from home day everyday sounds like a ball...

    No commute to waste energy or pump more CO2 and other crap into the atmosphere, and more time to get out and enjoy the natural world. The Oculus Rift lifestyle only appeals in winter time thank you very much.

    I for one welcome our AI overlords.

  27. Anonymous Coward

    "The cloud is the new infinity," he offered.

    You don't need to convince me, you need to convince the nice men in white coats. Ah, here they are.

  28. Polardog

    You mean modern man is lazy.

  29. nigbose

    Zzzzzz, is it beer time yet?

    I've always rather enjoyed 'In praise of Idleness', a small essay by Bertrand Russell - makes a lot of sense to me... So bring on the 3 day week!!

  30. iRadiate

    We measure time as data......

    It's 30mb past 8. I need to get to work....

  31. Allan George Dyer

    We've proved Coupland right!

    Have you noticed that everyone posting their own IQ here says it's higher than 100? So this proves the average is higher now!

  32. JLV

    Corrected for you...

    >We are now constantly connected and hungry for data to know about the Kardashians

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