Average Americans think they're smarter than average Americans

YouGov poll shows 55 percent of Americans think they possess above average intelligence. A relief for the future of tech, surely.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Are smart people only those who think they're smart? Above Average/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

If you ask a non-American what they most admire about Americans, they will likely reply: "Their subtle grasp of the new world order." Actually, that's not quite right. The more predictable reply might be: "Their incredible self-confidence."

And so it is that a YouGov survey published this week has revealed more evidence of this self-confidence -- coupled, I believe, with some hope for tech's future. It seems, you see, that 55 percent of Americans believe they're more intelligent than, well, the average American.

Yes, the individualistic self-belief upon which our nation was founded blooms still today.

The picky and petty will sniff that the US education system is ranked only 14th on Earth by Pearson and the Economist Intelligence Unit. They will snort that America only comes 20th on the scale of educational attainment. (It seems that we are so confident of our worth that many of us don't bother finishing high school.)

But everyone knows that we've got what it takes to succeed in real life. A mere 4 percent of the respondents in the YouGov survey, which ran from April 30 to May 2, felt that they were less intelligent than the average American.

In this, surely, lies the true hope for the tech industry.

Mark Zuckerberg and friends peddle the notion that they cannot find people of the right skills in the US. They plead for immigration rules to be relaxed.

Indeed, the YouGov survey indicated that those who believe that Americans are rather unintelligent were the richer Americans.

Yet tech is an area where self-confidence is (almost) everything. Be confident in telling customers that their messages disappear and they'll believe you. Even if, in Snapchatty fact, the messages don't disappear at all.

Tell people confidently that you aren't like the NSA, that you'll only read their emails so that you can give them better ads -- as Google does -- and people will accept your word.

Given the results of this poll, isn't it remiss of tech companies not to hire more average Americans? Surely, in these times of growth and flux, we need more rampant self-belief in our tech companies than ever.