Previously, the brainpower model of IQ.
In order to explain my two-factor model, I have to make an analogy to power consumption and capacity in a complex factory. But in order to make this analogy, I’ll have to introduce a functional understanding of factories. This will require an introductory understanding of algebraic physics and some simplified math.
The function of a machine component is to transform one sort of energy into another. For example, an electric actuator transforms electrical energy into linear work. A gear and a keyed shaft transform linear work into rotational work or vice versa. When you take something apart and find a bunch of little pieces inside, you can be confident that every little piece has some kind of energy transfer function. When you put all of those little functions together to make the larger component or a full machine, you can be confident that the larger component was designed with an energy transfer function in mind. Every machine can be characterized by its power consumption in work over time.
A factory can be thought of as a big machine made out of smaller little machines, which are in turn made out of components, which are made out of even smaller components. As you can see, the only real distinction between these levels of work is size and functional abstraction. The ideal factor is completely automated, without inputting any human work other than replacing machine components, so that there is no effective difference at all between a factory and a giant machine with a concrete housing. You shovel coal, steel, and replacement parts in one end and out the other end you get soot, widgets, and busted parts. The factor transforms the thermodynamic power produced by coal fires into the physical work done by the various drills, presses, robotic arms, etc. required in the process of producing widgets, and typical power consumption for this huge, complex process can again be described in a single unit: Watts.
None of this is particularly novel so far, and I still need to explain why we need two major factors for intelligence. Hopefully thinking of the human brain in industrial terms is a familiar process to you autists out there, so that the leaps I’ll be making won’t be too difficult. In brief, I will be modeling the brain functionally (and somewhat naively) as a system that transforms biological energy into solutions to problems, where intelligence is the brain’s physical load specifications. So we’ll be interested in all of the specifications that characterize an energy transfer system in general—typical performance specs, efficiency, maximum flow rate, maximum entropy differential (don’t worry, I’ll explain that)—even if we don’t understand what’s happening at the lower levels of abstraction, regarding components of components.
In the next post on this I’ll create a concrete example of a very simple hydraulic system and show how different flow rates and pressures change its behavior. This model will then be used to predict IQ test performance in terms of mental speed and caliber.