The idea is simple, our intellegence is so far above a chimp or bonobo as to make us something different. There are things we can do intuitively that no Bonobo or chimp will be able to, and because of this most of our technology is beyond them. They can be taught to use a specific piece in a specific way, but given a new item of technology they simply can not figure it out the way even a young child could.
I was wondering about the idea translated to Aliens. Could an Alien's intellect be so far beyond ours as ours is to a chimp? Such that even having access to their technology we couldn't figure out how to turn it on or use it (not reverse engineer it, just use basic functions that even their children could do). Could it by that when we finally meet aliens they will not only have superior technology we can't yet master, but that we simply are incapable of ever comprehending?
At first I thought the answer was an easy yes, any creature can evolve to be stronger or faster, so why not smarter. But then I realized that once you have a certain level of technological power with tools your technology starts to grow at such a rapid rate that it eclipses evolution. Our technology has grown exponentially in a thousand years, which is a blink in the eye from evolutionary standards; not enough time for any significant difference in intellect to evolve. It seems that technology would, at that point, eclipse evolution as a driving form, effectively we either create technology that is able to handle new technology for us (AI and genetic programing etc) so we don't have to be smart enough, reach some degree of trans-humanism, or kill ourselves out before evolution will have a chance to have a substantial affect on our IQ.
Thus I'm wondering, is it possible that any alien species will be on the same rough intellectual level (not technological) of humans? A few IQ points one way or another, but not an insurmountable gap that prevent one from comprehending the others technology?