I have long believed that there is no such thing as innate talent.
I instead believe that talent is something that is developed over time by practice. I just read an article on Scientific American called the "The Expert Mind." It covers many theories of how the mind works including "chunking" and "templates" which are ways to explain how an expert can store larger amounts of data temporarily by recognizing patterns.
The article also points out that practice alone will not increase ones ability. It points out that the practice must have constant challenges for the growth to occur.
The big quote from the article is: "Teachers in sports, music, and other fields tend to believe that talent matters and that they know it when they see it. In fact, they appear to be confusing ability with precocity."
That is something I can agree with. I have always thought that I can acquire any skill even an artistic one by practice. I can also become talented by enough practice.
When I look at a new skill that I would like to acquire I evaluate it like this. I determine what amount of effort is required to reach different levels, then determine how much of my time I would like to spend to get to what level.
An example is painting. I have often thought that I would like to gain skill in painting but in my mind it would take too long. There are so many tiny skills that go into making someone a good painter that I would have to work for many years to achieve the results I desire. One of the greatest skills of painting is being able to determine what in reality is important. That is when you paint a wall do you paint every brick or just enough bricks to represent the wall.
I know many people really believe in talent even though there is not really any scientific evidence to support it. It may be correct. I think a comment I in the Slashdot discussion about this by Colin Smith sums it all up for the way I think: "Of course The idea that they just worked harder, or rather, better than you is uncomfortable. It means that you're just lazy, don't have the necessary drive or don't know how to train. it's much easier to believe that they are just innately better and it's not really your fault that you can't reach their level. "
Many people tell me that I have computer talent. I agree that I do; but it is only because I have been using computers on average 6 hours a day for over 20 years. I knew nothing at first. I read many books and worked on new and challenging things every day.