When Jordan Peterson came to Silicon Valley to be interviewed during an event called Simulation, he made a lot of very interesting remarks.
What you see written down here are just the gists of his observations. Definitely click through to watch Jordan Peterson’s explanations in full.
Please note that sometimes the thing written down here are also explained by things Jordan Peterson said before the point from whereon they were written down.
I. Dominance vs. competence hierarchy
Most social animals, even animals that aren’t social, any animal that has to compete for occupation of a specific territorial space, tends to organize themselves into fairly predictable hierarchies. It’s a biological universal. If you don’t know that, then you may think that hierarchical organizations are some secondary consequence of a socio-political structure or an economic structure or something like that and that’s not true, it’s not even a little bit true, it’s unbelievably not true.From: 4:48.
II. Chimp societies
One of the things Frans De Waal noted, was that, in chimpansee hierarchies, the brutal males can rise to the top, but they tend to have very short lived empires and to meet very, very violent deaths. His conclusion was that, even for a chimpansee-hierarchy to be stable across time, then the top Chimp had to be quite pro-social. He had to engage in sufficient reciprocal behavior so that he had allies among other males.From: 7:30
III. IQ and intelligence
Intelligence is something like processing speed and working memory capacity. The ability to manipulate variables simultaneously at relatively high speeds. They’re abstract variables.
There are still people who debate about the existence of IQ, but they are called fools, fundamentally. There is absolutely no doubt that IQ is the most documented phenomena in the social sciences.
The correlation between IQ and success, depending on how you measure it, as academic learning speed, economic success, success as a manager or administrator, success as an entrepeneur or creative agent. The correlation between that and IQ is about 0.5, which is about 2 to 3 times as powerful as the most typical next powerful order of effects social scientists measure.
IQ predicts performance in complex jobs better than it predicts performance in simple jobs, and a simple job is one where you learn it and then you repeat what you have learned. Whereas a complex job is a job that changes every day. As long as the environment that you are operating in changes on a relatively frequent basis, then you have to have a relatively high IQ to manage it effectively, that’s basically what IQ measures.From: 11:40.
IV. Conscientious people
The best way to sum up a conscientious person is to say that they are very good at keeping contracts, with themselves and others.From: 14:10.
V. Smart people who work hard do better in a just society
What’s also really cool about this is that, let’s say that you are going to psychometrically validate the integrity of an economic system, so say, you take the smart people and the hard working people and see if they do better and if the answer is no the system is rotten.
In our culture, in the Western culture, the correlation between conscientiousness plus IQ (you have to weigh the two) and long term life success is as high as 0.7, which is walloping, given how much chance also contributes to success.From: 15:08.
VI. A manager can’t continually mistreat his workers
As a manager you can’t mistreat your people with any degree of consistency because: the good ones leave, the bad ones torture you to death and the whole thing collapses across time. And so the whole idea that what you have in a competence hierarchy is power is not a reasonable assumption as far as I can tell.From: 20:25.
VII. The radical leftists war and the idea of competence itself
I think that’s the fundamental narrative driving the real radical leftists. They hate the idea of competence itself. It’s deeper than Orwell’s comment in Road to Wigan Pier, where he said that the problem with middle class British socialists is that they don’t like the poor, it’s that they hate the rich. Dead on. It’s a vicious diagnosis.
But it’s worse than that. The radical leftists don’t like the oppressed, they just hate the competent. I really believe that. I think it’s unbelievably pathological and dangerous.From: 26:45.
VIII. How to make an IQ test and The idea of multiple intelligences is wrong
Here’s how you make an IQ-test. It’s really easy and everyone should know this because you need to know how these things work.
Imagine that you took an imaginary library of questions, any sort of questions that required abstraction to solve. Could be a general knowledge question, could be a vocabulary question, could be a mathematical question. Doesn’t matter, it could be a question about anything as long as it requires abstraction to solve.
Then imagine you took a 100 questions at random from that universal library and you gave them to 500 people and you totalled their scores and then you rank orderered their scores from highest performer to lowest performer. That’s IQ. That’s all there is to it. That’s it. And then what you’d find is that if you took another 100 questions from the same library, randomly selected, and gave them to the same 500 people, then you’d have two rank orders. The correlation between the two rank orders would be 0.9. Unbelievably high. Unbelievably stable. If you correct that for age, you get IQ. That’s all there is to it. That’s it.
So, there’s no multiple intelligences. It’s a single factor. If you do a factor analysis, which is a statistical technique that tells you how many different attributes that rank ordering posesses, you get one factor. So it’s one. That’s that. Now there’s multiple talents and there are multiple temperaments. And this is where the Big Five model comes in. So people divert on extraversion and extravert people are better at sales jobs….From: 28:25.
IX. It’s not in the interest of a company to bring diverse people from around the world in, to increase the creativity of their output.
Interviewer: Could it potentially be in the interest of a company to bring diverse people from around the world in, to increase the creativity of their output.
JP: It depends on how you define ‘diverse.’
Interviewer: “Someone that’s born in a different part of the world, that has a different upbringing that could potentially bring something unique, a unique perspective…“
There’s no evidence for that whatsoever.From: 42:53.
X. The ineradicability of inequality
There’s a good book by Walter Scheidell, called The Great Leveller. He detailes out the ineradicability of inequality.
The people who are succeeding get a disproportionate share of the resource pie.
This is not something that only applies to money. It applies to everything that’s creatively produced. So the same rule applies to the number of records sold by recording artists. The same rule applies to the number of books sold by novelists. (…) the same rule ap-plies to the population of cities and the mass of stars and the size of trees in the jungle. The inequality problem is way more troublesome than mere capitalism. It’s a terrible problem.From: 44:09.
XI. There’s no evidence left wing governments ameliorate inequality
You can track whether inequality is generated by a right-wing government or a left-wing government and then you might hope that the left wing government would ameliorate inequality. There’s no evidence for that at all. It doesn’t look like the amelioration of inequality is within the purview of political organization. And you should not hear that with any degree of happiness whatsoever.From: 47:00.
XII. Inequality drives male homicide
If you rank-order American states and Canadian provinces by inequality, the poorer provinces where everyone’s poor, there’s no male aggression, and the rich provinces and states where everyone’s rich, there’s no male homicide. But the states and p[rovinces where inequality is high, there the male homicide rate starts to climb up. And it’s probably the most aggressive males who get most aggressive most rapidly when inequality increases, so there’s a psychological component.
0.9 is the correlation, which means you actually don’t need any other explanation for male homicide. Maybe you throw in alcohol. It’s staggering work (by Martin Daly and Margo Wilson).From: 48:00.
Monopoly is a great example of how inequality emerges. Everybody’s equal to begin with. It’s basically a random game, there’s some skill in it but not much. What happens when everything is equal and you play a random game. One person ends up with everything. Everyone else stacks up at zero.From 49:00.
XIV. Computational technology is a multiplier
Economic equality at least by some measures is decreasing and that does have this destabilizing effect. And the question is: what do you do about it. And that’s really hard because in a meritocracy part of that is driven by segregation of intelligence. And that’s likely exaggerated by the provision of computational power. Because a really smart person with a computer is way smarter than a really smart person without a computer, and is way smarter than a person who isn’t so smart either with or without a computer.From: 50:40.
XV. People with an IQ less than 83 (The Army Observation)
I have really familiarized myself with the IQ literature and it’s a dismal, horrible literature, but you really need to know it because it’s a solid literature, unfortunately.
One of the most terrifying statistics I came across is one detailing out the rationale of the US Army Forces for this: you can’t induct anyone to the Armed Forces of the US if they have an IQ of less than 83.
Let’s take that apart because it’s a horrifying thing.
The US Armed Forces has been at the forefront of the IQ research since WWI, because they where on board early with the idea that you need to sort people out effectively and essentially without prejudice, so that you don’t loose the damn war.
So there is real motivation to get it right. Cause it’s a life and death issue.
So they used IQ.
So that’s the first thing. They are motivated to find an accurate predictor.
Second thing: The US Armed Forces was also really motivated to get as many people in as they possibly can. (…) It’s not easy to recruit people so you don’t want to unnecessarily throw people out. (…)
And after a hundred years of careful statistical analysis they concluded that if you have an IQ of 83 or less, there wasn’t anything you could possibly be trained to do in the military at any level of the organization, that wasn’t positively counterproductive.
That’s 1 in 10 people.
And if imagine that the military is approximately as complex as the broader society, which I think is a reasonable proposition, then there’s no place in our cognitively complex society for 1 in 10 people.From: 51:20.
XVI. We radically overestimate the degree to which training works
The data on this is crystal clear. (…) It’s really hard to get into Harvard. You have to have an IQ that places you at least in the 99th percentile, and then you have to be really good at at least one or two other things.
Why should one hire a Harvard graduate? Well it’s the quality of the education. No it’s not, it’s the fact that it’s pretty hard to get in. All of the value of the Ivy League education is in the screening before the education starts.
Of course people who get into Harvard get educated, but they’d get just as educated if they were trained anywhere else.From: 54:35.
XVII. The basic fallacies of the liberals and the conservatives
The liberals think that everyone’s roughly equal and there’s a job for everyone, you just have to train them. No, wrong. The conservatives think there’s a job for everyone if they just get off their ass and work. No, that’s wrong too.From: 56:15.
XVIII. The genetic lottery
One of the things the left leaning Silicon Valley people should understand is that they are the beneficiary of a genetic lottery. And they should take that seriously. Yeah, you worked hard and yeah you are a entrepeneur and you put in your 60 hours a week and you everything you could, but you have an IQ of 150. And that’s not your doing. That’s something that happened to you. It’s not all you, its you and the genius you where granted as an infant.
That’s doesn’t mean I think that people of disproportionate intelligence shouldn’t be rewarded disproportionally, it’s possible that they should, because it might be in the interest of everyone else to dump as much money as possible to the top 2% of the cognitive strata, because they are going to be the most generative with it.From: 57:25.