A Society of All Smart People

Would an "all equally intelligent" society be good?

  • Yes, it would be better than our current society

    Votes: 17 29.8%
  • No, it would be worse, but it would still be able to work

    Votes: 7 12.3%
  • No, the society would perish

    Votes: 26 45.6%
  • Not Sure

    Votes: 7 12.3%

  • Total voters
    57

upinflames900

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 20, 2009
603
0
What would happen to society if we could genetically engineer each person to have the "perfect" traits or at least to be all equally intelligent. What effect would this have on society? If everyone was equally intelligent, would people be upset by having to do jobs that they considered to be "below" them even though not doing them would result in serious trouble for society (i.e. manual labor tasks). Do you think that there needs to be a spectrum of different intellects and/or other traits in humans?

In reference to this, do you believe this quote from A Brave New World is true:
"It's an absurdity. An Alpha-decanted, Alpha-conditioned man would go mad if he had to do Epsilon Semi-Moron work – go mad, or start smashing things up. Alphas can be completely socialized – but only on condition that you make them do Alpha work. Only an Epsilon can be expected to make Epsilon sacrifices, for the good reason that for him they aren't sacrifices; they're the line of least resistance. His conditioning has laid down rails along which he's got to run. He can't help himself; he's foredoomed."
(By alphas they are referring to the smartest caste of people, and epsilon is referring to the dumbest caste)

My main question is what effects genetic engineering would have on society. Thanks in advance.
 

NT1440

macrumors G5
May 18, 2008
12,141
13,987
It'd be a complete disaster. Diversity is what makes the world work, nature shows us this.
 

eawmp1

macrumors 601
Feb 19, 2008
4,130
5
FL
My main question is what effects genetic engineering would have on society. Thanks in advance.
A bit philosophical for MacRumors.
The potential effects are myriad (as are the possible applications of genetic engineering). That having been said, genetic diversity typically lends robustness to a species. The less genetically diverse, the more susceptible to disease and extinction a species is.
 

upinflames900

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 20, 2009
603
0
Is this your homework?
No it is not, it is simply a question that I was recently talking about with a friend. It has nothing to do with homework, essays, or any school or college related project. It is simply a question that I was interested in hearing opinions about.
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
1,301
9,062
Toronto, Ontario
Manual labor jobs and other "crap" jobs would simply be paid more until the dislike of doing the jobs was equivalent to the pay compensated for doing them, many people enter fields that they are not educated specifically in to make more money.
 

upinflames900

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 20, 2009
603
0
Manual labor jobs and other "crap" jobs would simply be paid more until the dislike of doing the jobs was equivalent to the pay compensated for doing them, many people enter fields that they are not educated specifically in to make more money.
Then the pay for jobs that were "not crap" would have to also be lowered correct?
 

mcrain

macrumors 68000
Feb 8, 2002
1,768
11
Illinois
If there weren't any dumb people, how would I get laid?

(I'm married now, so I'm only joking, but how would most guys get any if there weren't any dumb people?)
 

Zombie Acorn

macrumors 65816
Feb 2, 2009
1,301
9,062
Toronto, Ontario
Then the pay for jobs that were "not crap" would have to also be lowered correct?
They would be compensated on productivity or money generation of the particular job (usually like it is today). The only difference I see is that we would have to compensate people more to do crap work whereas today we can get people to do the jobs because they do not have qualifications to do much better.
 

j26

macrumors 65832
Mar 30, 2005
1,504
18
Paddyland
Just to get all philosophical back at you, what is intelligence?

There are theories that there are multiple forms of intelligence, such as academic, social, manual empathic etc.

Are you limiting it to academic ability, and if so, what form? I, for example am pretty numerate, and logical and have good three dimensional spatial awareness but am useless with languages, and can't remember my friends childrens names. Does that fall within the definition.
 

upinflames900

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 20, 2009
603
0
Just to get all philosophical back at you, what is intelligence?

There are theories that there are multiple forms of intelligence, such as academic, social, manual empathic etc.

Are you limiting it to academic ability, and if so, what form? I, for example am pretty numerate, and logical and have good three dimensional spatial awareness but am useless with languages, and can't remember my friends childrens names. Does that fall within the definition.
Good point... I guess consider each of the forms to be equally high? I know I am over simplifying and probably not paying enough regard to this point. But I really have no way of explaining that. So I guess you really can't have just equal intelligence.
 

xlii

macrumors 68000
Sep 19, 2006
1,854
64
Millis, Massachusetts
Before I'd even read the first post... I knew he had read Brave New World. The real horror in that book wasn't the baby making assembly line. It was that every baby could be an Alpha Prime but they neglected some of the babies to make them B, C D, E... etc.

There are many different kinds of smart. Some learn quickly. Some can make almost anything with their hands. Some can easily create music. The list goes on.

The danger in programing everyone perfect is it would remove the mutations. We are constantly evolving and mutation is one way we do it. Some are dead ends, but some give those with the mutation an advantage and that gets passed on to their children. So mutations are a way to spread out the ability of the human race to survive change. Kind of like having 100 different kinds of tomatoes. If one kind gets killed by the wilt another will survive the wilt. When you have only one kind of tomato... there is danger that something could come and kill off that tomato which would result in there being no tomatoes.
 

upinflames900

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
May 20, 2009
603
0
Not to distract the discussion but Hitler tried this.;)
Good point... which in and of it self is another negation for this I would think.

Before I'd even read the first post... I knew he had read Brave New World. The real horror in that book wasn't the baby making assembly line. It was that every baby could be an Alpha Prime but they neglected some of the babies to make them B, C D, E... etc.
Yea you got me on that... that book really does make you wonder what would happen in a genetically created society. Plus it becomes closer to being a possibility every day.
 

j26

macrumors 65832
Mar 30, 2005
1,504
18
Paddyland
The danger in programing everyone perfect is it would remove the mutations. We are constantly evolving and mutation is one way we do it. Some are dead ends, but some give those with the mutation an advantage and that gets passed on to their children. So mutations are a way to spread out the ability of the human race to survive change. Kind of like having 100 different kinds of tomatoes. If one kind gets killed by the wilt another will survive the wilt. When you have only one kind of tomato... there is danger that something could come and kill off that tomato which would result in there being no tomatoes.
To take another slant on that, even if the society postulated were to be created, assuming is survived the "wilt" events, mutations would undermine it in a few generations, and destroy it in several, and in a few hundred years you'd be back to the same situation as now.

Nature does not like monotony.


Edit: the part of Brave New World that I found far scarier than Orwells 1984 was the methods of social control used. There are so many parallels with the modern world that it's hard not to feel a little uncomfortable.