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Human Intelligence Opinion Essay

Human intelligence is a diverse and intricate notion that has intrigued scientists and philosophers for many years. The issues surrounding human intelligence and its relationship with brain size remain a heated debate. Is there a positive relationship between the brain size and cognitive capacity level? In the course of evolution, how has the size of the human brain changed? So, what are the variables that determine the degree of brain size and intelligence? Questions that Taylor addresses. Taylor argues that humans are getting less intelligent because technology has given us a unique opportunity to outsmart our brains at the cost of human biological machines. This paper will analyze Taylor’s theory and use different sources to support or disprove his argument.

First, Taylor argues that the size of human brains has reduced over the last 30,000 years and that this trend will probably persist. He uses this argument based on fossil evidence that reveals the mean of the average cranial capacity of modern humans shrunk to about 10% from the Upper Paleolithic, which humans lived between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago. He further refers to some genetic studies that reveal that some genes related to brain development and function have had adverse selection during recent human evolution, implying that they have become rare or deactivated. Taylor takes this evidence as a symptom of the decline in human intelligence because he believes that bigger brain size represents increased cognitive performance. On the other hand, this criterion can be questionable since many aspects affect intelligence, including brain structure, connectivity, plasticity, and milieu(Sale et al.,2014). Furthermore, brain size is not given but is an outcome of trade-offs among various evolutionary pressures such as calorie, thermoregulation, birth canal size, and social complexity. As such, a smaller brain does not always mean a reduced level of intelligence, only adjustment to a range of new environmental and cultural circumstances.

Taylor also argues that technology has made it easier for us to ‘outsource’ our cognitive abilities and cut down on biological costs. He says that we do not need to remember as much as the first homo sapiens because we have computers and that we do not need such dangerous and expensive-to-maintain biology anymore. In his allusion, technology has made people lazy and dependent, and they have lost some of their natural abilities and skills.

Nevertheless, this argument has its weakness because it needs to consider that technology positively influences human cognition and culture. The development of technology has not only benefited us in information storage and retrieval but also changed the nature of learning, communication, and problem-solving(Hill & Hannafin,2001). Technology has also allowed us to create and disseminate ideas, art, and innovation over space and time and the cooperation and collaboration among human beings and groups. Technology has also made us diverse and innovative, as we can use various tools and approaches to address various situations(Post et al.,2009). Thus, technology has not made us less bright but instead made us more intelligent and more intellectual beings.

Taylor claims that technology changed the evolution of human beings and that we are artificial apes. He implies that technology is not a continuation of our biology but an independent and alien force transforming our destiny. He also says that technology can threaten our survival, which may lead to the development of new issues that we can barely cope with. Nevertheless, this argument is also controversial since it stipulates that technology is separate from nature and that human evolution is inevitable and predetermined. However, technology is not independent but a constituent of nature because it is a product of human creativity and genius, two of nature’s traits. Technology is not against nature but a part of nature because it communicates with and changes the environment and other living beings(Commoner,2020). Technology is neither fixed nor static but rather dynamic and fluid, as it is one that changes and evolves to various contexts and uses(Arthur,2009). Additionally, human evolution is not a static and predictable process but a complicated and contingent one because numerous factors like genetic variation, natural selection, gene-culture coevolution, and contingency influence it. Hence, technology has become an integral element in developing human evolution.

Taylor contends that technological advancement has shaped our culture and society and that we have become more individualistic and less cooperative. He says that the new technology has diminished the need for social and cooperative behavior and made human beings more egoistic and competitive. He also claims that modern technology has destroyed our moral values and norms, and we have become more violent than ever before. Nevertheless, this argument needs to be revised because it must consider the positive aspects of technology regarding our culture and society. Digitalization not only eases our social interaction and collaboration but also increases our empathy and compassion(Blakemore & Gillias,2020). It has allowed us to develop and engage in many varied, diverse, and inclusive cultures and to celebrate our differences, making us more moral, responsible, and capable of averting and resolving violence. Thus, technology has not negatively impacted our culture and society but developed and advanced it.

In summary, considering the available evidence, Taylor’s hypothesis on humans being less intelligent and constantly getting dull does not hold water. Though the size of the human brain has reduced over the last 30,000 years, the kind of intelligence that a human possesses has not declined. Brain size is only one factor contributing to cognitive abilities, and several evolutionary and environmental restrictions influence its growth. Technology has helped reduce the cognitive demands placed on us while improving our learning process, communication, and problem-solving abilities. So, instead of the dwindling intelligence of humans, both the intelligence and the range of abilities have broadened over time. Nevertheless, this does not imply that we should be contented with technology’s impact on our cognition and culture. People should be cautious about the opportunities and challenges that technology brings and try not to misuse it.


Arthur, W. B. (2009). The nature of technology: What it is and how it evolves. Simon and Schuster. DOI:10.1016/j.futures.2010.08.015

Blakemore, T., & Agllias, K. (2020). Social media, empathy, and interpersonal skills: social work students’ reflections in the digital era. Social Work Education39(2), 200–213.

Commoner, B. (2020). The closing circle: nature, man, and technology. Courier Dover Publications. The Closing Circle: Nature, Man, and Technology – Barry Commoner – Google Books

Hill, J. R., & Hannafin, M. J. (2001). Teaching and learning in digital environments: The resurgence of resource-based learning. Educational technology research and development49(3), 37-52.

Post, C., De Lia, E., DiTomaso, N., Tirpak, T. M., & Borwankar, R. (2009). Capitalizing on thought diversity for innovation. Research-Technology Management52(6), 14-25.

Sale, A., Berardi, N., & Maffei, L. (2014). Environment and brain plasticity: Towards an endogenous pharmacotherapy. Physiological reviews94(1), 189-234. Environment and Brain Plasticity: Towards an Endogenous Pharmacotherapy | Physiological Reviews (


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