Advisory Board

Professor James D. Miller

The article A Thousand Chinese Einsteins Every Year said

A recent advance in gathering eggs from women will make it much easier for choosey moms to give birth to geniuses. Two British fertility clinics have found a way of safely obtaining thousands of eggs from a woman. Fertility clinics, therefore, will soon be able to give a couple thousands of embryos to pick from. So let’s say that a certain couple’s genes mean that normally they have only a 1% chance of conceiving a child with the genetic potential to reach a genius IQ. With the ability to select among thousands of embryos, however, this couple could now almost guarantee that their offspring has the genetic potential of a genius.
Embryo selection gets even more interesting when we consider how a nation such as China might use it. Imagine that in ten years China forces all its college students to get genetic tests. Students with intelligence genes in the top 1% of the top 1% of humankind are then forced to donate sperm or eggs. China then uses the sperm and eggs to create a billion embryos each year. The genetic intellectual potential of all these embryos is checked. Those in the top 10,000 are implanted into women.
Each of these embryos has the intellectual potential to be in the top one-billionth of humankind. Now because of environmental factors many of these embryos won’t turn into intellectual titans. But let’s say that one in ten does. This means that each year 1,000 people with the scientific ability of Einstein will be born. By 2035 they will become adults and start doing scientific research. I imagine these Einsteins will be rather helpful to China’s economy and military.

James D. Miller, Ph.D., J.D. was the author of this article and is Associate Professor of Economics at Smith College and writes the Game Theorist feature for and the Random Walk Column for Better Investing Magazine. He teaches introductory microeconomics, introductory microeconomics with calculus applications, intermediate microeconomics, law and economics, game theory, and interpreting financial news.
Jim authored Singularity Rising: Surviving and Thriving in a Smarter, Richer, and More Dangerous World, Game Theory at Work: How to Use Game Theory to Outthink and Outmaneuver Your Competition, A Thousand Chinese Einsteins Every Year, Free the Elderly, Feelers vs. Thinkers, The Singular Sensation, An Empire? You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet, Robot Economics, Should We Fear “Cosmetic Neurology”, A Billion for Bin Laden, Don’t Worry About the Future, The Get-Rich-Slow Scheme, Harvard Via eBay, To Nuke, Or Not to Nuke?, Deep Links? No Way!, Blogging: An Economist’s View, and Airport Security. Read the full list of his publications!
Jim earned his B.A. at Wesleyan University in 1988, his M.A. in Economics at Yale University in 1989, his J.D. from Stanford Law School in 1992, and his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Chicago in 1997. He was a Member of the Stanford Law Review and the Federalist Society.
Read his blog Adventures in Economics.