Well, unless everyone is capable of fooling you, the ability to do so would seem to indicate at least some skill. I’m not sure of the intelligence conversion rate between “capability of deceiving you” and “capability of showing they’re better than you at programming in the particular class you share,” but your realization that the person is actually better at the former and not the latter seems to suggest the individual has a different set of skills, rather than merely being less skilled.
You believe that you’re more intelligent than they are because you are able to do one task better than them (coding), yet it sounds like they were able to do another task better than you (being able to successful convince you that they were more intelligent). I’m not sure why the latter should be ruled out as a sign of intelligence.
Agreed, especially since, from what I’ve seen, Kurzweil’s reason for being so sanguine about Global Warming is exponential growth. He doesn’t seem to reflect on the problems that Global Warming is causing right now, or that the growth in renewables has come in a large part because of people who are concerned.
And the idea that we shouldn’t worry isn’t reassuring when it comes from someone who’s predictions of the future have mostly been incorrect. This is a man who stands by his predictions that by 2009, human musicians and cybernetic musicians would routinely play music together and that most text would come from voice recognition software, not keyboards. Anyone that takes him seriously should re-read that chapter with predictions for 2009 (which talks about 3D entertainment rooms, the growing popularity of computer authors, 3D art coming from computer artists being displayed on screens hung up on people’s houses, nanobots that think for themselves, the growing industry of creating the personalities for the artificial personas we routinely communicate with, etc.) and keep in mind that Kurzweil says his predictions were mostly accurate.
Good news. A recent study into incentives and IQ scores has shown that a monetary incentive of more than $10 can raise someone’s IQ score by 20 points. Looks like we can revolutionize the world pretty cheaply.
The predictions in his popular writings have been pretty off base. More unsettling is the way he twists the words around to pretend they're accurate.