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Thursday, November 20, 2014

In which a nerd gropes for the concept of "social intelligence"

It is widely agreed that, in addition to the sort of smartness correlated with IQ scores there is such a thing as "social intelligence". I must accept the claim that it exists even though I have no personal experience of the phenomenon (that is I my social intelligence somewhere is somewhere between that of a high functional autistic person and that of a slime mold).

So I was thinking about how some people have different personalities than others. To be honest about my nerditude I was thinking about extremely smart people I have known and how their ways of thinking are completely different But anyway I thought of a very geek question. You know two people. They are quite different. Now imagine a Science Fiction novel where the characters were aliens. Would a reasonable science fiction author choose to make those two characters members of two different intelligent species ?

I am reminded of a not very good Sci Fi movie Sphere (which I think was an Ishtar level waste of talent). It starred Dustin Hoffman, Sharon Stone and Samuel Jackson who are stuck on a spaceship from the future which contains a strange sphere (you guessed that) which spoiler alerts them.

The Jackson character is interesting. An un-naturally calm math genius who doesn't relate with other people in a normal way (the millionth Spock in science fiction) . He shaved his head for the role. Now it just so happens that Dustin Hoffman and Sharon Stone are almost exactly the same height and Jackson is a head taller. Oh also you know he is African American. I noted that he looked about as physically different from his crew mates as Spock ever did.

The role was Spock who might or might not be Spock with a beard. I think the film is worth 5 minutes of your time (scroll past the boring beginning) for a bit of his performance.


Peter said...

Well there's the guy on the Big Bang Theory.

He's very undiplomatic. CBS now has a show Scorpions which is CSI with geniuses. They're undiplomatic and dysfunctional.

And there are new biopics about Steven Hawking and Alan Turing. Seems to be a thing.

Robert said...

Totally aside from looking in the mirror and listening to people complain that I've been going on and on and onnnn, I have seen and heard many thinks which convinces me that there really is a connecction between extraordinary analytical intelligence and very bad social intelligence.

Some clich├ęs reflect some of reality.