The Average Human Achieves IQ Scores 60 Standard Deviations Above The Average Person of 2016

By the time the year 3016 rolls around, the human race for the first time ever has achieved an average Intelligence Quotient that is 60 standard deviations above today's average.

Using any scientifically valid information available today, how can such an achievement be justified?

  1. Please ignore the fact that different types of IQ tests calculate/calibrate their scores slightly differently.

  2. Please ignore the fact that current tests may not be capable of accurately assessing IQ's at or near modern-day "genius" level

  3. If possible, please cite at least one modern scientific discovery to support your scenario

  4. Valid scenarios must achieve the goal using today's IQ standards. So, please do not use scenarios where IQ is increased by simply altering the IQ tests themselves (i.e. adding more categories of IQ being tested, such as creativity or social intelligence) or where IQ standards are redefined (i.e. restructuring to compensate for factors like scientific racism.)

  5. If you cite the Flynn Effect then please provide a date you feel the goal will be achieved based on 2016 standards and explain why you chose that date

  6. If you say computer-enhanced thinking, augmented thinking, or cybernetic links to the internet, please remember that most if not all IQ tests also test speed with which information in consciousness can be processed by the nervous system and output through motor skills, i.e. the speed of perceiving the question and then providing an answer

  7. If you suggest meditation, please specify which type and why, if possible

  8. If you suggest eugenics, then (if possible) please describe how to implement it so that people eagerly embrace it, and all human rights activists throughout time will applaud it's implememtation

  9. Bonus: If at all possible, please give a date or date range when you think your scenario could occur and an explaination of why you chose that time

NOTE: Please consider not downvoting answers already posted referring to "1000 point IQs", "4 digit IQs" or "900 point increases in average IQ"--those answers were worded that way based on previous wordings of this question.

  • $\begingroup$ The Flynn effect "is the substantial and long-sustained increase in both fluid and crystallized intelligence test scores measured in many parts of the world from roughly 1930 to the present day". (Wikipedia). $\endgroup$
    – AlexP
    Dec 20, 2016 at 22:14
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    $\begingroup$ Everyone becomes a savant? There are likely a few people alive today with 4 digit IQs, it's just that it usually comes at the cost of other things like social skills so they can be difficult to spot (young Einstein was diagnosed as being retarded). $\endgroup$
    – Samwise
    Dec 20, 2016 at 22:40
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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it asks for results around 1000 using today's standard, standard that simply does not allow results over 200 now. Thus, it is unanswerable. $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Dec 20, 2016 at 22:42
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    $\begingroup$ That was my thought too...IQ is aptitude, not knowledge...so you are asking for a genetic increase of intelligence, not a social 'educational' increase...although I guess the argument for improvements in early childhood education to increase adult mental aptitude can still be made. ty for clarify. $\endgroup$
    – Twelfth
    Dec 21, 2016 at 19:37
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    $\begingroup$ @Christoph For my scenario, I'd like it to be a utopian society, where happiness and human rights are respected. I'd like something that people in modern America would be eager to get involved with. $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2016 at 9:08

7 Answers 7


By definition, the average IQ score is 100. However, the above-mentioned Flynn effect states that average IQs relative to previous years' standards increases.

Going by this paper, the increase in averaage IQ is about $2.9 \pm 0.3$ per decade (in the Stanford-Binet and Wechsler IQ tests) and also suggests that the effect is not diminishing.

Assuming (or perhaps, defining) both of these to be true, the year that the average IQ will be 1000 by 2016 standards is in $310 \pm 3$ decades, or (more likely than not) in the year 5117.

Having said that, the highest possible score is actually somewhere near 200 (depending on the exact test), so actually getting a score of 1000 is literally impossible.

  • $\begingroup$ Would you want to include cybernetics in your answer? $\endgroup$ Dec 20, 2016 at 22:53
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    $\begingroup$ The human brain is extraordinarily fast at processing vast amounts of data, so, depending on how good humanity would be at adapting to that kind of thing, it's possible that cybernetics would be one of the factors of this increase. I'll stick with the value of an increase of 2.9 per decade (by the above paper, this doesn't seem to have changed in 8 decades), if with the addition that cybernetics would be one of the reasons that it stays at that value, although all this is very questionable as no-one really knows what the effects would be... As such, I'll cheat and define the change to be 2.9 $\endgroup$ Dec 20, 2016 at 23:11
  • $\begingroup$ So it's a no go - by both standards: theoretical standard means average is 100, annd practical has max under 200. Without changing standards it's never going to go 1000, right? $\endgroup$
    – Mołot
    Dec 22, 2016 at 9:48
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot So the average is always 100, but the point of the Flynn effect is that getting 100 in 2016 is equivalent to getting about 103 in 2006. Yes, as long as standards don't change, no-one will ever get 1000 in an actual test, but if the increase of 2.9 per decade somehow holds for such a long time, getting a score of 100 in ~3100 years time would mean that you would be 60 standard deviations above the average person now, or you've 'got a score of 1000 by 2016 standards', even though, if you took the 2016 test, you would get the max score of <200, as you'd get everything right $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2016 at 11:05
  • $\begingroup$ @Mołot A slightly different way of putting it without talking about actual numbers/results someone gets on the IQ test is that the average IQ increases by 1 standard deviation ($1\sigma$) every $52\pm 5$ years $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2016 at 11:19

I vaguely remember a "visitor from the future" style SciFi TV show from 10 or 20 years ago, which handled accelerated human evolution in a very creative way. I don't remember the name of the series or even enough details to find it on line. The only thing that I currently remember is an off-hand comment, made by the man from the future, that in his time, all of the basketball hoops had to be raised to keep the game competitive.

He explained that during the early age of genetic engineering (i.e. now), a variety of unauthorized and anonymous genetic enhancements were released into the human genome. Some of the subjects knew that they were being modified, but others did not. The end result was that by the time from which the traveler came from, much of that enhanced genetic potential had dispersed into the general public; making the average person far more capable than today's intellectual and athletic elite.

Given the rate at which genetic engineering is advancing and allowing a thousand years for the most positive illegal enhancements to disperse into the general populace, I would not be surprised if your prediction of a ten-fold increase in average intelligent falls way short.

We need a word like "singularity" for the moment when our children's IQs exceed those of our worst AI Overlord nightmares.


At present, the advent of Cesarian Sections has allowed for many babies to be born alive who otherwise might not have survived the birthing process. This has allowed, among other things, babies with larger brains to survive passing through smaller birth canals.

Over 1,000 years, the removal of this evolutionary constraint leads to more complex cerebral structures on larger brains, leading to larger innate cognitive abilities. Coupled with continually improving education, future generations will be more intelligent.


Augmented thinking, brains augmented with computers, will eventually become a reality. These augments will naturally be in the direction of being able to do things that are currently considered "intelligent." It is very reasonable to assume that the IQ tests would reflect this progression.

Now whether this qualifies as an IQ of 1000 is not really possible to say. As you pointed out, that concept really has no meaning at all, but I assume you meant "really smart in a way IQ tests will test." I expect IQ tests to be renormalized several times in that time to try to capture what they feel intelligence is, just like they have been renormalized in the past. To try to capture something akin to an IQ of 1000 in 2016 we'd need to use some sort of continuation process where we map each test into the range of the previous test to determine a conversion factor of IQ tests through the years.

It may be impossible to actually put a meaning on an IQ of 1000, because of just how imperfect the measurement of IQ is. However, it seems reasonable to me that, with augmented thinking, individuals could easily complete one of our IQ tests within a minute, mostly limited by the time it takes to flip the pages over, so if that's not "smart enough," I don't know what is. The kind of pattern matching used in 2016 IQ tests is not all that hard for computers to master (especially with a human brain coaching them on the nuances)

  • $\begingroup$ Would you want to include the Flynn Effect in your answer? $\endgroup$ Dec 20, 2016 at 22:52
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    $\begingroup$ @ThomBlairIII I was going to avoid it, because I think that augmented thinking will be enough of a knee in the curve that I would want to treat it differently than the rest of the Flynn Effect. I think Flynn will certainly play a part, but I don't think it will capture the magnitude of that particular change. It would, however, play a part in the process of mapping the measurement back to 2016 terms. Without the Flynn effect, it would be more likely that they would simply devise a completely unrelated scale of intelligence in response to the new technology. $\endgroup$
    – Cort Ammon
    Dec 20, 2016 at 23:12

The IQ test is a bit of an arbitrary metric with scores that vary not just over time, but between different IQ tests too, in some cases up to 20 points or so. Having said that, the meaning of "a IQ score of 1000" is going to change based on how you define it.

If you judge it purely on accumulated knowledge, then there are likely people who would score very highly (maybe 1000... who knows). They are called savants, they have unbelievable intelligence in some areas, but this usually comes at the cost of other things like social skills (Aspergers is a great example of this, it's a mix of some savant traits and some autistic traits).

Einstein himself was diagnosed as a child as being retarded, not even speaking until around 9 I think. This can make savants very hard to find sometimes (although some swagger gracefully into the limelight).

But given that the IQ scale is not a linear one, but a standardized and adjusted one, actually reaching an IQ of 1000 on a real test is likely never going to happen, all you would achieve is to push down everyone else's scores (thanks for that by the way!) But as Mithrandir24601 pointed out, assesing someone far into the future using a 2016 test could quite likely result in an IQ of 1000.

Even if they're not necessarily smarter per se, a current test puts someone from the 1900's in the "retarded" category, and we know that's not quite right. Or that someone who is classed as intellectually under developed now would be a genius if sent back in time which we know isn't quite right either. IQ is a lot harder to pin down, I think, than most people realize.

But basically, for everyone to have convincingly 4 digit IQs, everyone needs to become a savant, the outcome of this is anyone's guess... could make for an interesting world to live in though.

  • $\begingroup$ Good point, but this doesn't mention genetics at all $\endgroup$
    – Harlemme
    Dec 22, 2016 at 5:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Harlemme yeah, it was getting a bit out of my area of expertise, so I didn't want to cover areas that I didn't feel familiar enough with. $\endgroup$
    – Samwise
    Dec 22, 2016 at 22:23
  • $\begingroup$ I've read that Einstein started speaking at the age of three. Still late, but not crazy late. $\endgroup$ Aug 1, 2017 at 10:00

There are two things we can do:

The simple one that could be done today: Administer IQ tests at puberty. The bottom 5% of scorers get sterilized. This will help but certainly isn't enough.

The complex one is to figure out how to make a more intelligent brain and modify our genetic code. We need a lot better understanding of the brain to accomplish this. Whether it's enough or not I don't think we can know. (What's 1000 IQ even mean? And what processing power does it take to have that?)

I reject the notion of computer interfaces. That's augmentation, not IQ.

Whether your goal is possible or not I doubt it will happen as augmentation will produce a bigger benefit than anything we can pack in the skull.


There is one very realistic scenario: Embryo selection.

In IV fertilisation usually around ten embryos are created, because a number of them is not going to be viable and the egg extraction is not a process you would want to undergo several times. If you had a way to choose the embryo with the highest cognitive potential, kids conceived that way would on average be noticeable smarter than random picks.

So several things have to happen:

  • You need to be able to sequence the embryos DNA. That's already possible.

  • You need to be able to predict IQ from the genomic sequence. This depends on huge genome wide association studies and is likely to be possible within the next ten years.

  • You need to get to the points where embryo selection gives you more than maybe ten IQ points on average. At this point the advantage will become very noticeable and that might drive rapid adoption. I suspect you'll need more than ten embryos for that, but not hugely more.

So if we ramp it up to 30 points aka 2 standard deviations per generation you'll get your 60 standard deviations in the next thousand years.

Politically this has to be tied in with the elimination of genetic diseases and risk factors for diseases. It's not a designer baby, because you don't actually change anything. You just help your kid to be the most healthy, intelligent and happy kid you can have. Overall however, adoption will be driven by competition. The asian countries will start and the western countries will decide not to be left in the dust.

Stephen Hsu blogs about this in great detail.


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