Computers no match for human intelligence

BAD news for fat heads. The size of your brain is not a factor of intelligence. Before thinking that pinhead may not be so bad a name after all, consider this: within 10 years, molecular quantum computers may handle 250 quantum bits (qubits) of info, producing more numbers (answers) than atoms in the Universe.

A qubit takes up the same space as one one-hundredth of a cubic micron. A micron is one one-thousandth of a metre. Talking very small here. And powerful.

A quantum computer, the size of the Pentium chip now in your home computer, will have more computing power than the combined power of all other computers ever made, including the ginormous supercomputers.

The human brain is ungainly gross in size comparison. But the human brain still leaves the artificial intelligence gurus and computers in the kindie playground. Human mind mappers consistently agree that our own super computer, our brain, has multiple forms of intelligence.

While you may often search for signs of just one form of intelligence in people you know, particularly in scions of government and industry, we average bods walking on two legs have, in varying degrees, eight ways to make sense of our world: language, kinesthetic, music, logic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, visual and naturalistic intelligence. While being able to use words well and reason logically remain important skills in our employees, management has greatly ignored the necessity for team members to include well developed intrapersonal (understanding self) and interpersonal (understanding others) intelligences.

IQ has been replaced by EQ emotional intelligence - as an essential ingredient of top staff. While logical reasoning ability is still handy, what the international corporate world is discovering is that working successfully with people is more a determinant of corporate success now than being a super left brain, particularly in the sciences, engineering, and accounting - all previously revered left brain havens.

Ironically, at a time when we need more smarts in science and technology, it seems we need scientists, technologists, engineers, accountants and even doctors with highly developed intelligences other than the logical one. We need them to use:

l Inter/intrapersonal intelligences to better understand teammates and changing customer attitudes and values;

l Visual/spatial intelligence to better visualise multi-layered concepts and outcomes;

l Naturalistic intelligence to better relate to our natural work if we are to turn our immense destruction of the planet to sustainable use and re-use of its resources; and,

l Kinetic/body intelligence to better understand how all things are connected and move together with grace and efficiency.

Future business success will depend on attention to the environmental and social implications of every enterprise. Logical and verbal skills will not satisfy customer demands in these areas.

The successful organisations over the next 10 years will be those who operate more from the intra/interpersonal intelligences than the logical and verbal.

The size of the brain is secondary to how that brain functions - smart is not the qubits of quantum computing but using all our human multi-intelligences.

* Ann Macbeath is a futurist and principal of Annimac Consultant

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