The Case for Natural Stupidity

May 07, 2015

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The Case for Natural Stupidity

All of us by now, with the possible exception of some Sentinelese Islanders, are acquainted with the notion of Artifical Intelligence (AI). Most of us have read the news stories about how some alarming proportion of jobs—including middle-class careers like doctoring, lawyering, and accountancy—will soon yield to automation.

It’s scary. How will our kids make a living?

Allow me to reassure you. After pondering the matter in depth while flossing my teeth this morning, I have the solution. Pay attention, please!

Plainly the opposite of Artificial Intelligence is Natural Stupidity (NS). Therein lies our salvation. While robots take over all the work requiring intelligence, we humans must retreat behind the ramparts of NS, where the smart machines will not venture.

To help my own kids with their career planning, I have drawn up a list of ten occupations for which, on the evidence, the principal cognitive requirement is NS. Today I shall share that list with you, for the enlightenment of your own offspring. You’re welcome!

“Plainly the opposite of Artificial Intelligence is Natural Stupidity (NS).”

Harvard Professor of Economics. Steve Sailer has been having great sport tossing and goring Prof. Raj Chetty’s absurd theories about social mobility, which Hillary Clinton is incorporating into her campaign speeches.

Prof. Chetty’s prize exhibit is a map of the U.S.A. with districts colored to show the most and least socially mobile. It looks uncannily like a map showing local proportions of blacks.

As Steve points out, Prof. Chetty seems not to understand the statistical concept of regression towards the mean. I had a go at explaining it here.

Much-valued Presidential advisor. Given Al Sharpton’s success at riding the thermals of white guilt up to the highest levels of public esteem, some lawyering needs doing on the word “stupid” here.

Still, I think a guy who has trouble reading words like “giddy,” and who plainly never heard of Latvia until the name of the place showed up on his teleprompter, is sufficiently well-supplied with NS to be worth emulating.

(Let’s not forget that priceless deer-in-the-headlights moment during the 2004 candidate debates when Rev’m Al heard the phrase “Federal Reserve” for the first time in his life.)

TV “Science Guy”. Like Bill Nye, who apparently believes in allopatric divergence … except for human beings.  “We’re all the same, from a scientific standpoint. There’s no such thing as race …”

School reformer. Pick any one. The idea of Fixing The Schools is to high-NS social-science academics what honey is to bears. See Ray Wolters’ forthcoming book for the full menagerie.

The pre-K reformers, like the bad-teacher theorists before them, got somewhat carried away with their idea. Chester Finn, in Reroute the Preschool Juggernaut (2009) suggested that preschool programs should start “early in a child’s life, perhaps even before birth.” Why not before conception?

That’s from my review of Ray’s book, which due to misunderstandings with I published too early: Ray’s book comes out in August.

Speaking of which …

Billionaire software entrepreneur. As soon as he’s made a couple of billion dollars, the first thought of a Gates or a Zuckerberg is to sink a couple hundred mil into some great new scheme of educational improvement.

The idea that we can make dumb kids smart by spending boxcar-loads of money has, as I said in the aforementioned review, been tested to destruction, notably—though not exclusively—in Kansas City.

(Some people have suggested that Gates, Zuckerberg &Co. are feigning their enthusiasm for educational experiments to ward off complaints about the very low representation of Sun People in their workforces. Those who say this are bitter, crabbed cynics. Fie on them! Fie! Fie!)