Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies

The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.

Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:

Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Overview of technopolitics

whats new at ieet

What Happens When We Design Babies?

Plausible Deniability: How we’ll be attacked, unable to retaliate

Accepter et combattre la mort

Include specific tasks and goals to improve health of the global aging population into the WHO

What makes an algorithm feminist, and why we need them to be

Short story: Logs from a haunted heart

ieet books

Philosophy’s Future: The Problem of Philosophical Progress
Russell Blackford and Damien Broderick eds.


Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Comment on this entry

“Alpha Thinkers” are the Transhuman Wave of the Future

Eric Schulke

March 25, 2013

Alpha thinkers are creatives, innovators, pioneers. They acutely and agilely navigate an abundance of diverse, fallacy aware thinking.


Complete entry


Posted by Intomorrow  on  03/25  at  07:21 PM

“We have to foster the growth of the alpha thinker. We can no longer afford to jam them into standardized schooling and try to turn them all into 9-5 workers. We can no longer afford to think the solution is to medicate them and dumb them down. We can no longer afford to corral their thinking drive.”

Yes. Unfortunately (for technoprogressives) the number of alphas is quite small relative to the population; and of course you all know that. I keep coming back to this, it needs to be reiterated why we are pulled back into the past by paleos: they want to preserve something from the past due to their nostalgia, however they take it way too far—they are not nostalgic for the near past but for the distant past. The more time goes by the greater the contrast between the possibilities for the future and our being pulled back by them. And we are being drawn backwards by them, as they possess not only the influence to do so, but also that pull, that power.

Posted by TastyChicken  on  03/28  at  01:02 AM

I’m all for the *science* behind brain wave frequencies, despite that they’re clearly pretty macroscopic features of underlying processes we do not yet understand much of in detail. Empirical observations that different EEG-measured frequencies are associated with different cognitive states and that some are more desirable are fascinating. I’m even very much on board with the observation that some people have more Alpha or Theta output than others, either by heredity or entrainment and that there is an association with cognitive output or even “creativeness”.

>Studies reported in Scientific America find that,
>>“highly creative people tend to produce more brain waves in the alpha range (a frequency of eight to 12 hertz, or cycles per second) during creative tasks than do less creative people.  Martindale and his group interpreted alpha power as a marker of decreased cortical arousal and defocused attention and suggested that creative people were allowing more information into their conscious awareness during creative work.” “We think that the reduction in cognitive inhibition allows more material into conscious awareness that can then be reprocessed and recombined in novel and original ways, resulting in creative ideas.”

All fine. If a little murky.

However this article goes way out on a limb to claim there is such a thing as an “Alpha thinker”, and that this is (naturally) the next stage of human evolution.

>Evolution prepares the brain to think more. The alpha thinker is necessary for society to flourish. **We advanced through stages - Erectus, Habilis, Neanderthal, Sapien - and now we are becoming the Transhuman, the species of the alpha thinker.**

This piques my skepticism. And of course—all of your dead heroes were Alpha Thinkers too! Spinoza (of course), Newton (even the hardcore logicians)... the whole lot of the old dead smart guys, basically. If they were alive and we hooked them up to an EEG you could basically expect as a fact that it would just explode with all the alpha waves.

And then right in the middle, a completely unexplained pie chart showing some distribution of religious affiliations of… something. Legend? Context? It isn’t even mentioned anywhere in the article. How does religion have anything to do with this?

A fun fact according to the essay:
>Historically, alpha thinkers have been outnumbered by more than 99 to 1. Today, they are only outnumbered by 6 to 1.

Completely unsourced. That’s just a vaugue statistic of undefined terms seemingly pulled out of a hat. “Historically”? When have “historically” significant measurements been made of the general population which seek to count the number of “Alpha Thinkers”. A rhetorical question obviously, the answer is never.

It just devolves from there.
>Alpha thinkers control the elements. They are cosmic titans, the leaders of humankind, the explorers of the universe setting sail with fierce urgency.

Sure, geniuses, alluded to previously, are truly genius. There is indeed a stratification of mental potency and of abilities which are distributed unevenly throughout the population, and certainly - a possible expression of some of the mentally extra-capable may be a preponderance toward Alpha waves, but to fixate upon that and assume that it is the significant mark of genius or *especially to attribute it as the cause* of genius and creativity is a bit foolish.

All the loosely bound associations that have nothing to do with Alpha Waves, like quoting Faulker and a bunch of dubious, unrelated, unsourced statistics and rambling in the article don’t do any favors for the thesis—assuming that the thesis is that there is such a meaningful class of people who could be called “Alpha Thinkers”, that they are the bees knees and the forefront of humanity and clearly the next stage of our evolution. It just makes “Alpha Thinker” sounds like a sort of re-branded “[Indigo Child](” for transhumanists.

At least the mystics are getting a tad more scientific.

Posted by dobermanmac  on  04/01  at  01:43 AM

I just found out the best description of my personality is Schizoid (SPD), which evolved out of (avoidant) reactive attachment disorder (RAD) :

Emotional coldness, detachment or reduced affect.
Limited capacity to express emotions towards others.
Consistent preference for solitary activities.
Very few, if any, close friends or relationships, and a lack of desire for such.
Indifference to either praise or criticism.
Taking pleasure in few, if any, activities.
Indifference to social norms and conventions.
Preoccupation with fantasy and introspection.
Lack of desire for sexual experiences with another person.

Sounds just like an Alpha Thinker…ironic (by the way I’m a member of Mensa and a National Master at chess).  BTW, I am looking at the future, which no doubt includes cosmopolitan space travel and exponential manufacturing outside the Earth’s gravity well, and seeing a great demand for schizoid workers.  Furthermore, within twenty years extreme longevity treatments that will allow us to live centuries, so perhaps my mom’s gross negligence was my inadvertent fortune (talk about making lemonade from lemons).


Add your comment here:




Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:


RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
35 Harbor Point Blvd, #404, Boston, MA 02125-3242 USA
Email: director @