In Search of Intelligence

Are We Becoming More Intelligent?

A look at whether artificial intelligence and smart-devices can increase our intelligence.

Shama Patel
Feb 19, 2020 · 5 min read
Source: Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

😏 Never lose an argument.

Are there times you wish a little voice in your head would stop you from rolling your eyes in disgust or getting irrationally angry?

🍰 Feed your body fat, sugar and cholesterol.

@ Kim Brown describes a future in personalised nutrition where an embedded chip in your tooth monitors saliva for cortisol and testosterone, tracks caloric intake, and provides insight into stress, sleep patterns, inflammation, and immune system and feeds it to a futuristic digital nutrition assistant called Tailor that applies sophisticated algorithms to make food suggestions.

😥 Defeat negative thoughts before they occur.

Sensors in everyday devices, such as phones, wearables, and computers, leave a stream of digital traces that can be collected and analysed to identify human behaviours, thoughts, feelings, and traits. Researchers at the Center for Behavioural Intervention Technologies at Northwestern University, specialising in digital mental health, have shown that sophisticated algorithms applied to mobile phone sensor data can be used to identify people who may be at greater risk for depression.

🏃‍♀ Better, faster, smarter. A more intelligent you.

Research shows that new habits are developed by mere repetition of a simple action in a consistent context. Once initiation of the action is ‘transferred’ to external cues, dependence on conscious attention or motivational processes is reduced. Therefore habits can persist even after conscious motivation or interest dissipates.

Regular use of smart-devices, based on habit-formation science, could “train” the users inherent cognitive and emotional abilities to adopt new behaviours, even after the device enabled trigger or conscious motivation is removed.

❓The Intelligent Quotient (IQ) conundrum.

The OECD 2016 Survey of Adult Skills tested 200,000 adults in 33 countries and found that 1 in 10 adults performed at the lowest level in reading and math and older generations in the UK and USA performed better than 16–24 year olds in reading and math respectively.

Source: OECD Survey of Adult Skills 2016
Gains in Mean IQ for World Regions (1909–2013) Source: Pietschnik and Voracek 2015
James Flynn TED Talk on Increase in IQ Levels

👋 In conclusion …

Technology enabled abstract thinking results in higher IQ scores and algorithmically driven, personalised smart devices have the potential to make us smarter, healthier and emotionally more resilient. The future of digitalisation is bright and we should actively embrace algorithms and smart-devices to become more intelligent.


Adams, Z (2017). Does the Quantified Self Lead to Behavior Change. The Decision Lab, Health and Technology. Retrieved from:

Human Digital Intelligence

Fostering research on the evolution of human digital…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store