In Vino Veritas

One can rarely go a day without seeing an article on the rise of artificial intelligence, and the prospect of robots taking our jobs. The theory, of course, relies on the ability of robots to become more and more intelligent… or does it? An alternative route to redundancy relies not in smarter robots, but in dumber humans. A phenomenon known as ‘the Flynn effect’ – an observed average increase of three IQ points per decade – has kept our automated overlords-in-waiting at bay for centuries. However, scientists have now found evidence that the human IQ has in fact been decreasing since the 1970s. For those of us born in the 70s, it will come as no surprise to find that we are the zenith of human existence. But what’s been going wrong since? Hypotheses include a less healthy diet, declining educational standards and an increased and unquestioning reliance on technology among Millennials. I would proffer an alternative suggestion: British Medical Association data shows a dramatic increase in our consumption of wine starting at the point that our intelligence started to fail. ‘Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile,’ said Homer.