Jordan Peterson is not an Oracle

Canadian professor of psychology Jordan B. Peterson offers his views on every possible topic, but should we listen?

Erik Engheim

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Image from Facebook page of Jordan B. Peterson.
Image from Facebook page of Jordan B. Peterson.

This article began as I was writing about highly intelligent and successful figures in academia who abuse their well-earned recognition in one area to peddle pseudo-science and nonsense in other areas. I began by writing about William Shockley, the inventor of the transistor, who after his successful scientific career spent his life peddling eugenics and pseudo-scientific racist theories without having any training in human evolution, biology, neuroscience or similar. However, few people today know Shockley, so I began writing about a very famous contemporary: Canadian professor of psychology Jordan B. Peterson who gained a massive following in part due to his very successful book 12 Rules for Life combined with his criticism of political correctness and identity politics, which turned him into an icon on the political right.

The fame of Jordan B. Peterson has put him in a position to make highly public statements and remarks about almost everything in society. Peterson excels as saying absolute rubbish about a long list of topics, but he does so in such an elegant speech filled with intellectual sounding words and phrases that it sounds like he said something profound and insightful anyway. Somehow because Peterson is a professor of psychology people falsely assume he is credible on as wide range of topics as biology, artificial intelligence and energy policy.

Jordan Peterson’s Misconceptions About Artificial Intelligence

Lately, Jordan Peterson was interviewed by Lord Conrad Black at the Canadian Democracy fund, where he talked at some length about ChatGPT, a chatbot created by OpenAI. Here Jordan Peterson grossly mischaracterized ChatGPT as more intelligent than the average person, or certainly within the next one or two years. That is completely hyperbole. ChatCPT is not general intelligence and was never designed to be that. The creators of ChatGPT are very clear on that: It is a specialized AI made specifically for generating text based on textual input.

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Erik Engheim

Geek dad, living in Oslo, Norway with passion for UX, Julia programming, science, teaching, reading and writing.