# Curiosity, Passion, and Quantifying Human Characteristics

“You can’t light the fire of passion in someone else if it doesn’t burn in you to begin with.” – Thomas Friedman

In his The World Is Flat, Friedman speaks to the growing need for curiosity and passion in today’s job market. Core intelligence, as historically measured by the Intelligence Quotient (IQ), is and will always be important, but in a flat world it’s the curiosity and passion that will matter most.

Friedman references a Curiosity Quotient (CQ) and a Passion Quotient (PQ) that purportedly parallel the common IQ framework for scoring a person’s intelligence. More specifically, he expresses a comparative relationship between the three variables: CQ + PQ > IQ. But can curiosity and passion be measured like intelligence? More generally, can other individual characteristics be measured?

Traditional measurement is the process of obtaining a magnitude for a quantity. Things are measured by counting, and not by observation or estimation. It’s supported by strong criteria that support that measured value, such as a universal frame or scale of reference. By traditional measurement, we cannot really find CQ, PQ, or even IQ. However, there are other types of measurement…

In representational theory, measurement is defined as a correlation of numbers with entities that are not numbers. In information theory, measurement is actually a component of estimation with the uncertainty reduced infinitesimally to zero. Measurement means estimating through support of any number of measurable or unmeasurable parameters, and reducing uncertainty through various means until reaching a high-confidence end value. By the extended definitions of measurement, we can practically quantify anything!!!

So what do we get by measuring traditionally-unmeasurable human characteristics, emotions, abilities, and qualities? What do we get by identifying any new particular Qualitative Quotient (QQ) such as the CQ or PQ? Well, Friedman is on the right track here. We become smarter by surpassing our current understanding of intelligence. And as our QQs surpass the IQ, so does our ability to flatten the world, innovate, grow and succeed as a civilization and society.

The process of trying to quantify characteristics helps us realize the underlying factors that contribute to a specific quality. What makes someone passionate? How can we tell if someone is curious? Is it genetic, demontrated by experience, and exhibited sub-consciously? Can it be determined through the collective interpretation of dreams? Examining the underpinnings of qualities makes us more intelligent as individuals, organizations, and societies. Once quantified, we can look for patterns and trends in our data across different geographies, demographics, and slices of traditionally-measurable data.

What we’ll learn then, well, I’m curious to find out.

# Technology And Intelligence In The Next Decade

The below is an essay I wrote for my Technology and Intelligence class in early 2008 (STIA-432 at Georgetown University). It is meant to describe a few of the current problems faced and the nature of those problems, but not to offer up solutions. In the past year we have certainly seen the continuation of existing challenges coupled with the emergence of new ones. Today’s scientific and technological paradigm is by no means a simple one. But I do believe that with the collaboration of bright minds and the continued objective to ride and guide the progressive technological waves of the 21st century, substantial risks will be mitigated.

If History Could Tell

Since the establishment of the Office of Strategic Services in 1942 and subsequently the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947 (via the National Security Act), a core mission has been the collection and analysis of strategic, actionable information. This process has always required technology in the form of communications equipment, navigational tools, security systems, listening devices, and many more. Historically, the Intelligence Community as a whole has been way ahead of the technological curve, and in most cases, has established and controlled the curve. With information security and access to federal funds, various agencies have been given the ability to turn novel ideas into useful instruments for collection, analysis, and dissemination. However, history has become the past, and no longer dictates the way in which the world of technological development can move forward. Federal and international regulations, advancement in information theory, collaborative networks, and the global information age via the internet have all contributed to rapid, world-wide technological development that is no longer behind the IC on the tech curve. In the next decade, the Intelligence Community has the potential to fall even or behind any lines of global technological development, and as a result will find new struggles in all sources of intelligence, whether clandestine or not. Some arguments state that the IC, with some elements of special authority granted to preserve national security interests, will flourish as a developing technical lab for operations. However, the best and the brightest technical and analytical minds are not necessarily organized within the IC anymore, but rather are connected without boundary via the internet. Open-source development and the speed at which the commercial world can access capital may eventually move the IC technical approach to the back of the line.

The Whole is Greater Than the Sum of the Parts

Collaborative technologies have particularly flourished in the past five years. Social networking sites such as MySpace, Facebook, and Flickr, knowledge management platforms such as Microsoft SharePoint and TheBrain Technologies, and the entire blogosphere have accelerated communications without any distance barriers to get around. Information is passed, shared, and edited with the click of a button. SourceForge, an online network for open-source software development, has brought a vast array of new technologies to a market that never before existed. This lack of predictability for the technological market puts the IC in “catch-up” mode. Wikipedia, as well as other information warehouses, accelerates knowledge consumption for the individual – not just a business or state entity. With a horizontal, access-free, organizational structure, these applications have few barriers. Although the IC works to chase these technologies with A-Space and Intellipedia, an accompanying hierarchical structure and tiered-access system could truly dampen collaboration on a technological front.