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Root of Maths Genius Sought 251

ananyo writes "He founded two genetic-sequencing companies and sold them for hundreds of millions of dollars. He helped to sequence the genomes of a Neanderthal man and James Watson, who co-discovered DNA's double helix. Now, entrepreneur Jonathan Rothberg has set his sights on another milestone: finding the genes that underlie mathematical genius. Rothberg and physicist Max Tegmark, who is based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, have enrolled about 400 mathematicians and theoretical physicists from top-ranked US universities in a study dubbed 'Project Einstein'. They plan to sequence the participants' genomes using the Ion Torrent machine that Rothberg developed. Critics say that the sizes of these studies are too small to yield meaningful results for such complex traits. But Rothberg is pushing ahead. 'I'm not at all concerned about the critics,' he says, adding that he does not think such rare genetic traits could be useful in selecting for smarter babies. Some mathematicians, however, argue that maths aptitude is not born so much as made. 'I feel that the notion of "talent" may be overrated,' says Michael Hutchings, a mathematician also at Berkeley."
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Root of Maths Genius Sought

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  • by Thanshin ( 1188877 ) on Wednesday October 30, 2013 @11:04AM (#45280459)

    You've got two human worlds:

    On one they learn how to genetically select smarter babies and when those babies they improve the technique, and so on.

    On the other world, they invent an AI that's able to build AIs better than itself, and it does so over and over.

    Speculative question 1: Which of those worlds reach the singularity first.
    Speculative question 2: Which of those worlds get to a point where the only way to keep advancing is to switch to the other world's path (i.e.: Will genetically engineered smarter humans reach the singularity by building better AIs or Will exponentially smarter AIs reach the singularity by finding a way to improve humans so they can solve a problem that the AI can't bypass.)

"Never face facts; if you do, you'll never get up in the morning." -- Marlo Thomas