Smart Fractions and Technology in 2100

The population of the world’s major regions according to the UN’s World Population Prospects 2017 report.

World Population Prospects (2017) 2015 2050 2100
WORLD 7,383,008,820 9,771,822,753 11,184,367,721
Sub-Saharan Africa 969,234,251 2,167,651,879 4,001,755,801
East Asia 1,635,150,365 1,586,491,284 1,198,264,520
South Asia 1,823,308,471 2,381,796,561 2,230,668,781
South-East Asia 634,609,846 797,648,622 771,527,666
MENA & C. Asia 551,964,576 850,895,914 1,045,856,658
Europe 740,813,959 715,721,014 653,261,252
Latin America 632,380,831 779,841,201 712,012,636
North America 356,003,541 434,654,823 499,197,606
Oceania 39,542,980 57,121,455 71,822,801

Assume the usual S.D.=15, and that their average IQs as of 2017 are as follows: Sub-Saharan Africa 70, East Asia 100, South Asia 80, South-East Asia 85, MENA & C. Asia 85, Europe 100, Latin America 85, North America 100, Oceania 90.

This should look plausible to people who’ve looked at the data. East Asian (Japanese, Korean, Chinese) IQ tends to be higher than 100, usually around 103-105, but I am giving it as 100 because in practice, for unclear reasons, East Asian IQs also tend to be “worth” 5 points less than Euro-American ones so far as economic performance and human accomplishment go.

Anyhow, if we also assume that regional IQs will remain “fixed” for the rest of the century, then the world average IQ will drop from 87 today to 82 by 2100, primarily on account of the massive demographic expansion of Sub-Saharan Africa.

However, fortunately, the number of people belonging to smart fractions” – which I will denote as people with an IQ above 160 (the approximate level that you have to be at to be capable of contributing to elite scientific progress today) – will remain similar to today, though it will be negatively impacted by demographic decline in Europe and East Asia.

Smart Fractions (No Flynn) 2015 2050 2100
WORLD 87,196 87,580 75,397
Sub-Saharan Africa 1 2 4
East Asia 51,787 50,246 37,951
South Asia 88 115 108
South-East Asia 182 229 221
MENA & C. Asia 158 244 300
Europe 23,462 22,668 20,690
Latin America 181 224 204
North America 11,275 13,766 15,810
Oceania 61 87 110

But what happens when we adjust for the FLynn effect? In his 2016 survey of psychometrists, Heiner Rindermann and co. compiled the following expert assessments.


This leads to a massive increase in the number of smart fractions, almost entirely on account of East Asia.

China as a now fully developed country drives global scientific progress pretty much single-handedly, like Europe did in the 19th century.

IQ Flynn (Rindermann) 2015 2100
WORLD 87,196 294,485
Sub-Saharan Africa 1 63
East Asia 51,787 245,857
South Asia 88 1,266
South-East Asia 182 1,181
MENA & C. Asia 158 1,155
Europe 23,462 27,364
Latin America 181 1,504
North America 11,275 15,810
Oceania 61 285

That said, I don’t think those FLynn projects are realistic, in part because East Asia is projected to increase in IQ so incredibly fast even though it is already a reasonably well developed place.

China itself can still probably eke out 3-5 IQ points, but Chinese fertility has been dysgenic since the 1960s, so this won’t last. I suspect East Asia – which in demographic terms is pretty much just China – will remain at a consistent level, with FLynn and dysgenics canceling each other out over the course of the century.

What if we use the following estimates for IQ changes during the 21st century (broadly justified here):

  • +10: Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia
  • +5: South-East Asia
  • 0: East Asia, MENA & Central Asia, Latin America
  • -5: Europe, North America

Resulting table of smart fractions in 2100:

IQ Flynn (AK) 2015 2100
WORLD 87,196 51,726
Sub-Saharan Africa 1 193
East Asia 51,787 37,951
South Asia 88 3,414
South-East Asia 182 1,181
MENA & C. Asia 158 300
Europe 23,462 4,797
Latin America 181 204
North America 11,275 3,666
Oceania 61 21

So what has basically happened is that smart fractions plummet in the high-IQ world due to a combination of demographic decline, dysgenic fertility, and low-IQ mass immigration.

Meanwhile, the quantity of smart fractions from the Global South will rise, due to some FLynn catchup, but absolute numbers will remain modest.

Overall, this is a pretty catastrophic outcome.

Not only do we see a halving of 160+ IQ smart fractions, but it is also very likely that the threshold for new scientific discoveries will have risen in the meantime, since problems tend to get harder, not easier as you climb up the technological tree.

For instance, if by 2100 the new “discovery threshold” is at an IQ of 175, the people still capable of driving global science forwards might number in the mere hundreds, in a world of more than ten billion.

The likely end result of this would be an end to scientific progress, and eventually, the Age of Malthusian Industrialism once a technologically stagnant and progressively more fecund world bumps up against the limits of the industrial economy.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. YetAnotherAnon says

    Off topic, but the Victorian book on Russia (by Donald Mackenzie Wallace) which Philip Owen referenced in a February thread of yours is available to read at

  2. Would it be possible to do projections for 2100, but with the genetic engineering of embryos for intelligence becoming available on a mass scale in 2050?

    Basically, I just want to see what effect such technology would have on this if it was already available for everyone in 2050 (which, for the record, I think is unlikely).

  3. German_reader says

    since problems tend to get easier, not harder as you climb up the technological tree.

    Shouldn’t this be the other way round?

    AK: thx

  4. Interesting.

    Some problems get harder and some problems get easier. For example, simulation and finite methods are much easier than more elegant closed form, analytical solutions to technical problems. Process improvement approaches don’t require particularly high IQ to implement. Which is good because they need to be modified frequently to account for other systemic changes.

    On the other hand, it seems like IQ might have something to do with the problem of open defecation in India and SSA. I have a feeling that dysgenic trends will lead to very bad outcomes but that we will scrape by quite well with available smart fractions.

  5. The current trends seem to presage some dystopia, but I think the worse things get, the more resistance will crystalize around defending civilization. The great minds will be recruited and harnessed towards that goal.

    If politics fails, I think there’s still the hope of technology. Lots of possibilities. For one, imagine iterated embryo selection paired with artificial wombs. One couple could have a 100 babies, all in the 99th percentile of IQ.

    Of course, on the other hand, we may end up with Europeans becoming like the Tuatha De Danann, living in fairy mounds and seeming to be magical beings because of their technology, like artificial light.

  6. Felix Keverich says

    China as a now fully developed country drives global scientific progress pretty much single-handedly, like Europe did in the 19th century.

    Call me ‘white supremacist’, but I don’t believe China will be able to drive scientific progress. There seem to be some major issues with creativity in Mongoloids.

    Look at Japan for instance: they have been a developed country for decades, and yet, can you name some famous innovations to come out of Japan since 1980? I honestly can’t think of any. Everything they have is based on Western designs, it’s copycat engineering. China seems to follow the same route.

  7. Anonymous says

    One thing to give a lot more weight in these deliberations:

    The UN selects for induced stupidity, and so, unsurprisingly, its population projections are stupid.

  8. “Invention of blue LEDs wins physics Nobel”

    Without blue LED, no white LED lamps, LED colour TV, LED smartphone screen.

  9. Yes, sure. Hence my comments on (and adjustments for) East Asian IQ being “worth” ~5 points less.

  10. I think the smart fraction’s worth could be reduced by density. It’s possible that a smart African will spend so much of his crucial early development among dumb people that he won’t be able to fully develop to the level of his potential.

    Maybe something similar could be at work with creative genius level East Asians. There’s many of them, they just have spent so much of their youth among extreme conformists that they will internalize conformism and so won’t live up to their potential.

  11. OT

    Seymour Hersh on the April chemical attacks. I don’t know how reliable his sources are.

  12. Jaakko Raipala says

    Actually, if you looked at science Nobels over the past two decades, Japan is one of the candidates for the most inventive people on earth…

    …which is a stark comparison of Japan’s history in science. Given that Nobels are generally handed for the whole lifetime body of work (even if the stated reason is some particular invention) they generally go to around 50 year old or older people and the first post-war generation of Japanese scientists reached that age around the time when Japanese Nobels science really started coming.

    Historical credit for inventions, Nobel prizes and such are not a good indicator of talent in a population for the simple reason that there’s going to be a huge pool of roughly equal talent going for it and only the first one to get there gets credit. For example, like any physics nerd I can name a whole lot of physicists who worked on the American atomic bomb. I have trouble remembering any Russians who worked on their bomb – though I’d probably recognize some names from their other achievements – and I won’t even bother trying to remember any British, French, Chinese, Indian etc bomb makers.

    Were they as inferior in talent as their lack of reputation suggests? I doubt that. I assume they were talented people but in science you have to be the first to get the fame. I bet there were Russian physicists cursing their luck of being assigned to a goal that had been already achieved by the Americans – years of career wasted on something that will not bring any fame when the American physicists were free to work on something new.

    Western Europe has had first mover credit taking advantage for a long time now. East Asia has been stuck playing catch up where their talent is having to work on things that have already been worked on but Japan seems to be breaking through that advantage and if China avoids political disaster I bet we’ll see them break it in the next 50 years.

    This whole “lack of creativity” argument for East Asians is an extremely poor show by the hbd sphere. There’s a good body of quantitative and empirical work on intelligence that’s getting ignored in favor of ideological assertions. Why weaken your case by including an argument about “creativity” that’s just as much of an evidence free assertion as the blank slate claims?

  13. Japan has indeed started winning many Nobel Prizes in recent years, but it’s still achieving them at no more than 25% of America’s rate even since 2010.

    It has 75% of Germany’s publication intensity in Nature, despite its population being 50% bigger (this being much less tied to the age of researchers).

    There actually is some concrete evidence for the East Asian relative lack of creativity argument:

  14. I really doubt that an IQ of 160+ is needed to make contributions in science/technology today (or even in 2050). I can only see that being necessary in certain theoretical disciplines within Physics/Chemistry/Mathematics.

    A lot of progress in applied science/technology is achieved through tinkering and grunt work experimentation. It requires a 130-145 IQ but not the 4+ std level you are talking about.

    We already probably have enough of a theoretical framework around many fields to continue to make practical progress for several centuries even without new theoretical breakthroughs.

  15. Number crunching is done on computers. As a field, it is very demanding on the brains, so there’s no reason to suppose that these problems will get easier as time goes on.
    Of course, the average person today has access to tools such as PCs, open-source and commercial software, programming and scripting languages etc. He/she can solve something that would be beyond him with just paper & pen, with the machine doing the heavy lifting behind the scenes. But the “ease” of such solutions comes from the work of the cognitive elite – those responsible for the processing chip, the PC’s architecture, the mathematical concepts behind the number crunching, the streamlined algorithms etc.

  16. Daniel Chieh says

    The challenge with artificial wombs isn’t the pregnancy part – though it reduces the cost of children and removes humans from the equation. You still need to raise the child, and that is still a significant cost.

  17. Daniel Chieh says

    The existence and availability of such tools, however, isn’t actually reflected precisely with the use of them.

  18. I want to credit AK for observing that Asian scientific output is underperforming, but it is still non-trivial. I read too many people who suggest that Asians are either destined to outperform Germans in scientific invention, or that Asians are basically Africans when it comes to inventing things (i.e., only white people invent things). The truth is somewhere in the middle, but where in the middle is an open question.

    On a personal level, I have a friend whose life was transformed for the better by a pharmaceutical (Uloric) developed in Japan by a Japanese company. Such contributions are fewer than IQ and relative populations would suggest, but they are not trivial.

    Japan made a lot of progress in developing its scientific community in the past few decades. Will it continue to make progress, or has it now reached a plateau? Moreover, Japan is in many ways more different from China than, say, England is from Russia. How much then can we extrapolate from Japan to the future of China?

    As AK’s tables illustrate, this open question of Chinese science is almost the entire question of human scientific progress after 2050 or so. This is doubly true if you expect, as I do, that diversity will take a negative toll on the contributions of the remaining Western smart fraction via multiple pathways.

  19. Daniel Chieh says

    I read too many people who suggest that Asians are either destined to outperform Germans in scientific invention, or that Asians are basically Africans when it comes to inventing things (i.e., only white people invent things).

    Indeed. The tendency to overshoot one way or another is quite frustrating. A civilization can underperform but still accomplish quite a few things. Being Asian myself, it seems more interesting to study the causes of it rather than going into a reflexive defensive reaction. Even if it proves to be largely false, studying the wrong angle can still lead to useful and interesting results.

    Personally, I think it has a lot to do with culture, which in itself may be correlated with genetics. Its difficult to get funding in China for projects unless they seem to bring practical results soon, something which is constantly frustrating for many researchers. It can’t be helping basic research.

  20. German_reader says

    There’s also talk of promoting regime change in Iran:

    Pretty disastrous imo.

  21. German_reader says

    But on a cultural level (admittedly including some pretty low-quality popular culture) Japan is quite influential. Certainly much more so than Germany which is culturally stagnant. Ok, you probably need a different kind of creativity for scientific research than for creating successful popular culture which is interesting to an international audience…but still, the view of Japanese as unimaginative, conformist drones common among many HBD people seems exaggerated to me.

  22. Felix Keverich says

    I think creativity is worth a lot more than mere 5 points of IQ. The average university graduate in the West has an IQ of 130+. But if a person is not creative, it doesn’t matter if his IQ is 130 or 100 – no discoveries will come out this person.

    IMO, the white man is really quite unique and cannot be replaced. Chinese may try and they will not succeed at replacing the West as the new world hegemon.

  23. Yeah, you’re really overshooting it. If Japan had 10 times larger population (which is China, basically), it would’ve already been the “hegemon”, or rather the most powerful country in the world for some time. And if anything, China seems to be a positive outlier in many ways when it comes to technology and development in general. By numerous economic and technological metrics China has already overtaken the US, and let’s be real, the Chinese are only getting started.

  24. Daniel Chieh says

    What’s the creative and unique solution for dysgenic population trends that’s also fully cooperative with atomization, as the dominant trend of human societies? Inquiring minds wish to know.

  25. for-the-record says

    Seymour Hersh on the April chemical attacks. I don’t know how reliable his sources are.

    What I find truly amazing, or perhaps unfortunately not, is how Hersh’s article is not even mentioned in any “mainstream” press in any English-speaking Western country, at least as far as I can determine. For someone who for 50 years has been renowned as an investigative reporter, it is impressive how his point of view can be totally suppressed. On the other hand, it is very interesting that Die Welt was willing to publish the article.

    For a serious discussion of Hersh’s article by a very respectable author, and one with a considerable intelligence background, see

  26. Artificial wombs are an extraordinarily hard problem. If you could crack that nut, you could just inject everyone with IQboost9000 a lot easier and cheaper.

  27. Related to the larger topic of smart fractions, there is some reasonable evidence that the college mom phenomena that is all over United States white births is also all over white European births more generally. That is, that a subset of college educated women is replicating themselves and having above-replacement numbers of children (2-4). There’s a lot of talk about white births and the lack thereof, but not so much about the fact that relatively smarter white women are taking up a bigger and bigger slice of the ones willing to have children under modern multikulti conditions.

  28. songbird says

    Very true, and dysgenics so far seems to have increased the cost significantly. But I’m speaking more in an 11th hour or last stand for civilization way, where I think there will be a more communal spirit and a bursting of the education bubble.

  29. Maybe I’ll have to read a bit more up on it, but at first glance it doesn’t seem too difficult — at least ranked among biological problems.

    An incubator is really just a substitute womb for pre-term babies. People are always working to develop artificial blood. If that problem were licked, it would become much easier in theory. The embryo does most of the difficult work. A lot of mammalian models to experiment on, not to mention easily accessible human tissue samples (umbilical cords and placentas) normally discarded

    Embryos sometimes implant outside the womb too.

  30. do you have any suggestions for how china can arrest dysgenic trends? I am interested in writing about this subject in Chinese.

  31. Daniel Chieh says

    Reverse urbanization. This is contrary to the Party’s goal of increasing GDP growth through urbanization. Somewhat intractable problem.

  32. Artificial wombs are an extraordinarily hard problem.

    Not really. There just hasn’t been a lot of research devoted it, but it otherwise doesn’t seem to be a hard problem at all.

  33. The One Child Policy, which privileges duller rural people and especially ethnic minorities, is especially bad. (Good on China for finally scrapping it).

    Otherwise, I don’t imagine the prescriptions for China would differ from that of any other country.

    Tying any maternity capital/benefits to income or education level; making it easier for university students to start a family (as in the GDR); subsidizing higher education so young people don’t have to go into debt; subdizing mortgages; etc.

  34. The average university graduate in the West has an IQ of 130+.

    This is a substantial overestimate. I used to quote 115 for the average US college grad, but it appears to have decreased from that:
    I’m not sure I buy his current estimate of 100 computed from Wordsum scores, but it is clearly much less than 130+.

  35. Ok, I looked at the actual article review. The results were poor and there is zero evidence that they carried a lamb from the human version of 20 weeks or earlier (the actual hard part) to successful delivery and lambhood. As I already said, it’s a very hard problem. That paper doesn’t suggest otherwise.

    Artificial wombs have to replace gestation itself to be promotable. The handful of super preemies are overwhelmingly NOT coming from PhD moms, even the older ones. Which isn’t exactly eugenic. I don’t mind more little preemies living, but it’s not eugenic and gestation is not the blockade to having kids.

    College education has created a bizarre situation where lots of those women don’t reproduce, but a subset reliably does and has come to dominate married childbearing among whites in the West. And that subset is having above-replacement children more often rather than less often.

  36. Johann Ricke says

    This whole “lack of creativity” argument for East Asians is an extremely poor show by the hbd sphere. There’s a good body of quantitative and empirical work on intelligence that’s getting ignored in favor of ideological assertions. Why weaken your case by including an argument about “creativity” that’s just as much of an evidence free assertion as the blank slate claims?

    That’s because a segment of hbd enthusiasts is merely white supremacists who glommed on to hbd the way a drunk leans on a lamp post – for support rather than illumination. They’re not about science – they’re about who whom, in the traditional sense of my tribe is better than your tribe. When Orientals eat cats and dogs, which they know mainly as working animals much like cattle or simply as a food source, the correct judgment is they are savages who are too uncivilized to understand that the proper place of these animals is as pets. When Europeans eat beef, which comes from an animal sacred to Hindus, the correct judgment is also that Hindus are savages in thrall to a backward cult.