If the concept of "intelligence" is understood as encompassing all forms of ability, including those of unaware life forms and any non-living things, its full spectrum may look as sketched in the below table. For clarity, one may note that simple animals like maggots have abilities like eating and digesting food, that a plant has abilities like photosynthesis, that an atom has abilities like sharing electrons with other atoms to thus create molecules, and so on.
Where populations examples are given, the corresponding intelligence levels should be thought of as those populations' central tendencies, be it mode, median, or mean. For populations of beings, the mode is the most informative, as that is whereabout the vast majority of individuals are located; that is what determines the behaviour of most members of the group, and therefore the group's civilizational level.
With complex structures (such as humans) there is variance around the central tendency, with simple structures less variance, and with the simplest things — that do not differ individually, have no identity — no variance at all, no matter how many instances there are of them. Complex structures have variance because they are configurations of things, and there are different configurations of a given set of things possible, so room for variation. Even complex structures have physical constraints though; if enough instances of them are "tried", these constraints will be hit, and adding more instances will not further add to that structure's variance, so that its distribution will abandon normality from there on, will "pile up" between the constraints.
For instance, if one throws two dice, the constraints are that one can throw no lower than 2 or higher than 12, no matter how often one throws. In between those constraints, the distribution will ever closer approach triangularity, but it will be cut off at the constraints, which lie at about two standard deviations from the mean with 2-dice throws. Even after a googol throws, the distribution will end there.
Complex biological structures like Homo sapiens have greater range than that, but not infinitely. No matter how many configurations of the genome are tried through hereditary reproduction, there are physical constraints to the brain that can not be overcome until one succeeds in breeding a new species with larger heads and brains, and correspondingly higher conduction velocity, energy supply, and so on. Even then, the limited life spans inherent to biological organisms and sexual reproduction guarantee that brain and body decline and die long before the rare brilliant mind has reached full maturity. How awkward and sad, this ancient evolutionary process wherein the best minds of each generation are lost while the young ones have to start from scratch again. Eventually, the only way to achieve still higher intelligence is to incarnate the mind of a highly able specimen into an artificial brain, thus adding extra capacity and life span. The procedure thereto has, bizarrely, been published in the 1990s, having leaked back in time from 2015, and describing a method observed by future Giga Society member Dr. Whence in the late 22nd century. Effectively, one then abandons sexual reproduction and heredity in favour of extending the life spans of creative minds.
Thinking about the most intelligent brains in the universe, one must take physical constraints into account. Assuming that internal matters like conduction velocity of signals, insulation of axons, and support systems like energy supply are optimal, the number of neurons (or whatever units) will be decisive, as will the individual life span of the mind occupying it, for a mind's comprehension grows as long as its physical substrate does not deteriorate badly, and more so when that substrate grows too. Assuming that signals must arrive within milliseconds in order for symbolic activity to occur, and the speed of light being employed, the maximum diameter will lie in the order of fifteen-hundred kilometres, give or take a kilometre or thousand. Beyond that, either symbolic activity will break down, or there will be multiple brains, at best talking to each other but not forming a whole.
To get the maximum number of units within that maximum feasible diameter, the brain has to be spherical. Much of the volume is taken up by support systems — the "white matter" or glia cells so to speak — and the actual number of units depends on how small one can make them, whereby the size of atoms forms a constraint. All in all, one ends up with an artificial moon or planetoid, likely orbiting a real planet. As energy consumption is astronomical, the support systems include something like a nuclear fusion reactor with the output of a small star, solar power caught in from the nearby sun covering only a tiny fraction of the brain's input. The universe's smartest brains are, as it were, introverted stars, using their energy internally for comprehending the world, rather than radiating it outward. They forsake reproductive systems, being at the extreme end of the spectrum of creativity versus procreativity. In fact, the minds occupying such brains will be millions of years old and of biological origin, but having lived through several generations of ever larger artificial brains. There is even a remote chance that one of them will be the present reader, that is: you. Does not that excite you?
One such brain is the ultimate Verificator — or Verificatrix — of all that is, turning events into Truths, bringing the universe into being by awarely verifying its reality. Without it, nothing would exist That is, unless the Verificatorix finds the universe does not tally after all, is not consistent, a counter-example falsifies it, in which case the wretched contraption turns out to be the Falsificatorix; but the implications thereof are too horrid to speak of. Let us not even begin to imagine the scenes in the streets of our major cities upon universal Falsification: the good people running before their clouds of doom, the theoretical physicists desperately chalking away on their blackboards despite broken superstrings, the cultural relativists and other neo-Marxist intellectuals dancing with joy on the roofs of their universities — Finally proof! Truth does not exist! The universe is inconsistent! — in the final moments before being dissolved below quark level as the disproved hallucinoverse collapses into a singularity of Absolute Ability-Absence… AAA!
Protoranks (Prot.) are a ranking of all extended intelligence levels, such that 0 represents the absolute absence of ability, 1000 the central tendency of intelligence in the universe, and 2000 the mental ability required for full understanding of the universe, including the question of existence. Although completely superfluous and therefore with apologies to the more understanding readers, it is pointed out to those who have just misread the previous sentence that nowhere and in no way in this definition it is implied that Protorank 2000 is the maximum possible extended intelligence level.
To put things in perspective, the relation between extended intelligence, intelligence, and mental ability is as follows:
Below they are combined into one table and projected onto protoranks. The I.Q.s are given for information but not the preferred scale for expressing extended intelligence.
|0||-87||Singularity of absolute ability-absence (although this should logically not exist, it is whispered there be one between the ears of Ribbert Brozzel the the ears of Ribbert Brozzel the high I.Q. genius)||[Censored on behalf of [Censored on behalf of [Censored on behalf of [Censored on behalf of [Censored on behalf of [Censored on behalf of [Censored on behalf of [Censored on behalf of [Censored on behalf of [Censored on behalf of Isis]]]]]]]]]]|
|70||-75||Unknown||Lowest ability and variance levels of unknown or speculative physical phenomena (numerically downward of here)|
|100||-70||Fotons/electromagnetic radiation; other dual particle/radiation phenomena||Known physics (numerically upward of here, so actually downward in the table)|
|130||-65||Subatomic particles below the level of protons and neutrons|
|160||-60||Subatomic particles like protons and neutrons||Nuclear processes|
|190||-55||Atoms||Electron sharing, chemistry (upward of here)|
|250||-45||Simple organic molecules||Organic chemistry (upward of here)|
|340||-30||D.N.A., R.N.A. and related molecules||Encoding, reproduction, heredity|
|370||-25||Cells||Life forms (upward of here)|
|430||-15||Simple multi-celled organisms|
|490||-5||Primitive animal life forms|
|520||0||Human embryos just after fertilization|
|538||3||Human foetuses, some lower animals like reptiles and amphibians upward of here||Most primitive form of awareness|
|610||15||The smartest of the lower animals|
|640||20||Higher non-human animals like mammals and birds (upward of here)||Bonding to humans, domestication|
|730||35||Employable and teachable animals such as some dogs, horses, some birds et cetera (upward of here)||Capacity for understanding a vocabulary of several words|
|790||45||Smartest non-human animals (e.g. some primates, crows, parrots); Australopithecus when evolving into humans||Forming a mental self-image, capacity for learning a wider passive and active vocabulary but not using it naturally among oneself|
|820||50||Homo habilis||Tool-making pre-humans without spoken language; the transition to this level has probably been made several times, a conditional factor therein being the eating of meat, the nutritional value of which enables one to evolve and sustain a larger brain; it can not be excluded that other animals than hominids have the potential to make this transition too.|
|850||55||Early Homo erectus||Most primitive nomadic humans living as hunter-gatherers, using some speech (words, no grammar) for communication and cooperation in hunting, developing tribal ethics as a survival strategy; the transition to this level has been made only once on Earth.|
|880||60||Later Homo erectus||Having mastered the use and making of fire; able to inhabit colder regions; adaptation to colder climates has played a causal role in the rise of intelligence upward of here toward the central tendency (Protorank 1000); tribes of (possibly degenerated) subspecies of later Homo erectus have survived well into the prehistory and perhaps history of Homo sapiens, becoming part of folklore.|
|910||65||"Archaic Homo sapiens" transitional forms — including Pre-Neanderthals||These evolved into Neanderthals in colder northern areas, and into Homo sapiens more to the south where it was less cold.|
|940||70||Early Homo sapiens||Culture beyond mere survival, such as ritual and art; advanced language with grammar; outward projection of awareness; these features relate to having evolved from the transitional forms in relatively warmer areas.|
|958||73||Neanderthals||Less cultured and verbal than early Homo sapiens but possessing greater raw (visual-spatial) intelligence as a result of being cold-adapted|
|970||75||Settled hunters, settled farmers||Settling, agriculture, domestication of animals, cattle herding (upward of here)|
|982||77||Cro-Magnons when arriving in Europe||Combining the cultural and linguistical advancement of early Homo sapiens with the raw intelligence of Neanderthals, possibly being cross-species hybrids of those, conceived in the Middle-East|
|1000||80||Earliest historical civilizations; Europe during early Middle Ages; central tendency of intelligence in the universe||Large-scale organization involving administration, keeping written records, some technology, and warfare, such as in a city state, kingdom or empire, employing tribal ethics|
|1030||85||Populations of great ancient historical civilizations in their heyday such as Egypt, Greece, and Rome, and their counterparts on other continents; Europe during late Middle Ages and Renaissance; current world population||Blossoming of culture; inherent tendency to degenerate toward Protorank 1000, with the risk of shooting through to the level of settled farmers (Protorank 970); it is possible that such episodes of blossoming are triggered by external influences that promote creativity, like climate cooling or low solar activity, while obviously the required intelligence as acquired in the phases preceding Protorank 1000 must be present for such influences to have effect and creativity to take place.|
|1060||90||Populations of industrial, technological societies (upward of here)||Industrial society with advanced technology, shifting from tribal ethics to universal ethics, attention to "human rights" and keeping peace; the advent of industrialization, which has taken place only once hitherto, too may be related to said creativity-promoting external influences.|
|1120||100||Defined mean of Western populations||High universal ethics and globalism make an advanced technological civilization top-heavy and modal intelligence goes in remission through dysgenic effects.|
|1150||105||The few most intelligent current national populations||These are relatively closer to their raw visual/spatial ice age intelligence and in the process of investing, crystallizing it into civilization, culture, language, and technology, and in doing so will eventually reach the phase of remission through dysgenic effects.|
|1210||115||Homo pacificus — future new species, wherein violent crime is virtually absent||Society where violent crime is virtually non-existent (violent crime decreases as modal I.Q. moves upward of 85); large populations (nations) of this level or higher are only possible through artificial means like eugenics or other forms of genetic manipulation, while phenomena like universal ethics, globalism, mass migration, and cultural Marxism counteract formation of such and pull civilizations and populations downward toward the central tendency (Protorank 1000); these degenerative and dysgenic trends may be related to anti-creative influences like climate warming or high solar activity, as well as being a natural by-product of high civilization; or, as Marten Toonder writes in Het kukel (1963): "...wealth makes the kukel drop. A city where the kukel is no longer rising, must be dissolved".|
|1318||133||High-range I.Q. test candidates; I.Q. society members||Ability to more or less express oneself in writing|
|1360||140||Intelligent people; exact scientists (upward of here)||Rational thinking and rational communication (upward of here); verify-ability may occur from here on; if a tree falls in the forest and these people witness it, it may just be that the tree has actually fallen.|
|1420||150||Highly intelligent people|
|1480||160||Very highly intelligent people|
|1540||170||Pervasively intelligent people|
|1600||180||Exceptionally intelligent people|
|1720||200||Smartest specimens of biological life forms; cyborgs||Life spans in the order of millennia; reproduction and heredity become less relevant, instead one extends the lives of individual creative minds, finally enabling them to mature. Only the best are chosen for this; as with wine, not all minds get better over time. Do you think you would qualify?|
|1750||205||Artificial or partly artificial (cyborg) building-sized brains|
|1780||210||City-sized brains, possibly in spaceships||The few greatest minds from the preceding generation of brains make it to here, are reincarnated into these colossal projects.|
|1840||220||Brains, covering much of the surface of a continent|
|1900||230||Moon-sized solid spherical brains orbiting a planet (all brains upward of here are of this kind)||Life spans in the order of a hundred million years|
|1930||235||Isis (upward of here)||Highest intelligence in the universe, spanning billions of years|
|2000||247||Singularity of intelligence||Verification of the universe (or falsification, as the case may be); it is suspected though by some who approach this level that the energy consumption per millisecond of a brain of Protorank 2000 would be higher than the total amount of energy in the universe.|