Show Notes


EF49 Show Notes

DEDICATION: 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.

INSPIRATIONS: Episode EF49 is further inspired by … Nick Bostrom, Søren Kierkegaard.

EF48 Show Notes

DEDICATION: 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.

INSPIRATIONS: Episode EF48 is further inspired by … Plato, Friedrich Nietzsche.

EF47 Show Notes

DEDICATION: 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.

INSPIRATIONS: Episode EF47 is further inspired by … Nick Bostrom, Giulio Tononi, Jerry Fodor, Richard Panek, Don Hoffman

EF46 Show Notes

DEDICATION: 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.

INSPIRATIONS: Episode EF46 is further inspired by … Jeremy Bentham, Peter Singer, John Stuart Mill.

EF45 Show Notes

DEDICATION: 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.

INSPIRATIONS: Episode EF45 is further inspired by … Karl Marx, Adam Smith, Andrew Yang, John Maynard Keynes, Bernie Sanders

EF44 Show Notes

DEDICATION: 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.

INSPIRATIONS: Episode EF44 is further inspired by … Thomas Paine, Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Erwin Schrödinger.

EF43 Show Notes

DEDICATION: Episode EF43 is dedicated to Jack Kevorkian, a doctor who was prominent promoter and purveyor of legalizing euthanasia.

INSPIRATIONS: Episode EF43 is further inspired by … Friedrich Nietzsche.

EF42 Show Notes

DEDICATION: Episode EF42 is dedicated to Justin Vernon, the singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and creative genius behind the band Bon Iver. INSPIRATIONS: Episode EF42 is further inspired by … Ayn Rand, Henry David Thoreau, Noam Chomsky, Maurice Merleau-Ponty.

EF41 Show Notes

Sam Payne is on the brink of tearing down the entire world in hopes of getting in touch with a higher force she believes created the universe. Not knowing what the force might be, she’s risking everything to get to the other side. In the last moment, as she plans to quit to spare the universe, the force replies.

Although the distant future is unknowable, we can still predict what the near future brings. Unlike philosophical theories that deal with the present and the past, futurism doesn’t have the benefit of events happening or that they already happened — thus, it becomes the biggest guessing game. But is it important to know the future or is it all about living in the now?

EF40 Show Notes

Sam, a 16-year-old from the South, organizes a school walkout to protest the technological trends leading society towards an AI-run government owned by corporate tech royalty. Will this lead to a near future of radical inequality between the transhuman haves and have-nots? Facing backlash from the previous generation which refuses to look inself the mirror to see the truth, Sam learns that social conformity hasn’t changed since at least the 14th-century witch hunts. Instead of getting burned on a stake, will Sam get devoured by cultural pressures where everyone is expected to wear their given mask and mimic one another in the social mirror? To understand if humanity needs society and culture, we must first understand your ties to society as an individual. Using Edmund Burke’s theory of Social Contract, and what sociologist Émile Durkheim sees as the difference between laws and norms, we will hope to dissect the core of what it means to live in society. More importantly, what are your possibilities, if any, for rewriting the terms of the contract you’re given at birth?

EF39 Show Notes

Welcome to Life, Upgraded. On 1/7/2020, ten new cautionary tales of speculative fiction begin to drop every other week. The goal of Season Two of the Evolve Faster Podcast is to help you explore the contracts you’ve unwittingly signed with society and its layers of cultural institutions. Then it will be up to you to decide if it’s time to tear up and rewrite any of them. Season Two is about LIFE. Humanity rose to the top of the food chain because of our ability to cooperate and communicate; but life in society also causes much of the anguish and suffering that exists in the human condition. This season is also a philosophical meditation about the next 25 years. It doesn’t take radical extrapolation of the trends we’re already on to envision how overdependence on technology might go awry, putting risk our humanity’s last remaining stronghold: actually being human.

EF38 Show Notes

EF38 peeks behind the curtain of Episode EF13 to dissect the following submitted questions: How would you define creativity after having written this episode? Is this actually how art therapy works? Do we all have the potential to be creative? Did William James really take drugs to experiment with mystical states? Can you explain how improvisation in creativity works? Can we actually kill off parts of—or all of—ourselves? Or even replace parts with something better? Why would they lock Eric up? Is he in a flow state when creative? And more…