Episode EF49 is dedicated to Ray Kurzweil, a futurist and an advocate of the transhumanist movement and the Singularity. Transhumanism is a theory predicting that human evolution is possible (and likely) outside of biological limitations. Using exponential graphs of technology trends as predictive mechanisms, Kurzweil speculates that a machine will pass the Turing Test by the year 2029. He further believes the Singularity will happen by 2045, which is the point in time where artificial intelligence will match, and then drastically skyrocket beyond, human intelligence. This intelligence explosion is expected to have radical implications for humanity and the earth.
THINKERS, CREATIVES & OTHER INSPIRING MINDS…
Episode EF48 is dedicated to Nick Bostrom, a Swedish philosopher most well known for his work on ethics and the existential risks of technology. When your day job is to figure out all the ways humanity might find it’s end, it probably makes you the most intriguing guy at the cocktail party. While Bostrom’s rationale generates conclusions that many people might perceive as depressing, he’s doing very important work in raising awareness about the relative risk of scenarios relating to AI and technology that the world’s decision makers need to be taking more seriously.
Episode EF47 is dedicated to Sean Carroll, a theoretical physicist specializing in quantum mechanics and, specifically, the “other” hard problem of understanding the nature of reality. As fascinating as this question is, Carroll says he’s one of only about 100 physicists around the world with such a specialization; sadly, researching the most mystical big questions of the universe doesn’t really pay well.
Episode EF46 is dedicated to Paul Bloom, an American psychologist known for his work investigating how people try to understand the world. His alternative take on morality — rational compassion over empathy — makes a compelling case on why empathy without the balance of reason might sometimes do more harm than good. Can empathy actually prevent a person from doing the most good they can? If you enjoy trolley problem speculation, then toying with rational compassion will help you formulate challenging scenarios even more personal and complex.
Episode EF45 is dedicated to John Rawls, a philosopher known for his theories testing the plausibility of liberal society becoming a place of equal fairness and opportunity, despite the diversity of worldviews that society encompasses. His Original Position thought experiment provides a key understanding how any individual would behave when faced with the reality of social inequality made personal.
Episode EF44 is dedicated to Michio Kaku, a theoretical physicist known for being one of the founders of string field theory. If string or M-theory turns out to be true and experimentally provable, Kaku and his contemporaries’ work might someday enable humanity to travel between universes. While promising, these theories also smash the icons of many conventional views of the world, potentially including broadly accepted scientific worldviews like the Big Bang.
Episode EF43 is dedicated to Jack Kevorkian, a doctor who was prominent promoter and purveyor of legalizing euthanasia. For most people, his career path made him the embodiment of pure evil; to them he was more of a murderer than a doctor, earning him the nickname Doctor Death. Criticism of Kevorkian’s work usually relates to the thoroughness and inconsistency of the needed physical and psychological patient prep work. On the contrary, many of them described Kevorkian’s actions as humane and his services critically valuable. This begs the question: how much does the impression and evaluation of evil depend on perspective and intent? So was Jack Kevorkian evil or good? Or is it possible this is a question without an answer?
Episode EF42 is dedicated to Justin Vernon, the singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and creative genius behind the band Bon Iver. Called the greatest songwriter of his generation, Vernon is known for creating richly layered music accompanied by deep lyrics and haunting vocals. From his Grammy-winning album For Emma, With Love which is a solo singer-songwriter masterpiece, to the innovative full-band powerhouse that is 22, A Million — all in only one album iteration — Vernon (and Bon Iver) are the musical embodiment of evolving faster.
Episode EF41 is dedicated to Yuval Noah Harari, a historian and author of two of the most influential and important books of the last decade. In Sapiens: a Brief History of Humankind, he mines history, and leverages concepts of evolutionary psychology, in order to postulate what created the human condition of today. Then in Homo Deus, he used the same foundation to extrapolate our technology-driven evolution forward, speculating on what will become of the humans of tomorrow, building deep roots for the likelihood of transhumanism and coining terms like dataism.
Episode EF40 is dedicated to Greta Thunberg, a Swedish climate change activist who, at the age of only 16, rattled the collective cage of the previous generations more powerfully than any adult could. She was only 15 at the time of her initial protests in front of the Swedish parliament in 2018. Thunberg also did a TEDx talk in late 2018 where she shared her concern and disappointment of how little humanity is doing about one of civilization’s biggest existential threats. Then, in 2019 she inspired two global climate change rallies joined by millions around the world.
DEDICATION: Episode EF13 is dedicated to Paul McCartney. As the founding member of the Beatles, he needs no introduction for most. EF13 being an episode on the depths and source of creativity, you might assume that the Lennon/McCartney songwriting powerhouse would be enough to justify the dedication. They proved a career of hard work mixed with seemingly endless creativity can result in unforgetful pieces of art. An active musician for more than 50 years, McCartney is the best-selling musician of all time.