Cecilia Heyes – Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking

The Nature & Nurture Podcast | 5 May 2021 | 1h 08m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Cecilia Heyes about her book Cognitive Gadgets: The Cultural Evolution of Thinking. Discusses her background in animal research, the nature versus nurture debate, culture as an evolutionary process, and various “cognitive gadgets” such as literacy and imitation, which Heyes argues are not biologically programmed, but culturally evolved feats of cognition.

I was nudged to return to this by Robin Hanson’s glowing praise. See also the Brain Science with Ginger Campbell episode and other episodes on cultural evolution.

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Culture as Human Super Power in Evolution feat. Lesley Newson and Peter Richerson

unSILOed with Greg LaBlanc | 6 February 2024 | 1h 10m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Lesley Newson and Peter Richerson about their book A Story of Us: A New Look at Human Evolution. Discusses evolution and human culture, with particular attention to women and children; how the use of tools and the stacking of technologies set humans apart from other animals; the transitions our primate ancestors had to make to evolve; and how modern cultural roles affect and inform and explain current human birthrates.

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Using Cultural Evolution to Design Better Companies with Andrew McAfee

unSILOed with Greg LaBlanc | 7 February 2024 | 1h 01m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Andrew McAfee about his book The Geek Way: The Radical Mindset that Drives Extraordinary Results. Discusses how cultural evolution has shaped the modern workplace, what allowed humans to evolve to be super collaborators, how that evolution translates to organizational culture, and why the education system might need an overhaul.

See also the EconTalk interview.

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Michael Muthukrishna: Energy Crisis and the Role of Nuclear

Paradigm | 14 December 2023 | 1h 35m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Michael Muthukrishna discussing the way cultural differences affect how we work together, why human coordination and cooperation is difficult, the importance of abundant energy, and why nuclear may be our best bet. Draws from his book A Theory of Everyone.

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Michael Muthukrishna on Developing a Theory of Everyone

Sean Carroll’s Mindscape | 30 October 2023 | 1h 17m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Michael Muthukrishna about his book A Theory of Everyone: The New Science of Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going. Brings together ideas from cultural evolution, energy engineering, economics, and psychology to outline an integrated theory providing basic organising principles for society based on how people relate to each other and to the physical resources available spelled out as ‘laws’ of energy, innovation, cooperation, and evolution.

Have you bought this book yet? You really must. The highest praise I can give it is that it feels like the next book that Matt Ridley might have written.

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Michael Muthukrishna: A Theory of Everyone

The Dissenter | 25 September 2023 | 1h 40m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Michael Muthukrishna about his book A Theory of Everyone: The New Science of Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We’re Going. Discusses the premise of the book; the four laws of life: energy, innovation, cooperation, and evolution; how cooperation expands in human societies, and what distinguishes us from other animals; intelligence and IQ, and the collective brain and the idea of “genius”; the importance of institutions and cultural norms, and the role of ideas; multiculturalism, and how to solve the “paradox of diversity”; our current energy ceiling, and the problems that derive from it and how to solve them; and the challenges of studying human behavior cross-culturally.

It’s finally here! Michael Muthkrishna launched what will surely be the most important book this year in conversation with Matthew Syed at the London School of Economics. You can watch the launch on LSE’s YouTube channel (the presentation starts 7 min 15 s into the video. You should definitely subscribe to his Substack.

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Michael Muthukrishna on Culturalytics

LSE London Alumni Talks | 29 August 2021 | 0h 50m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Michael Muthukrishna about Culturalytics, his initiative that helps organisations measure and manage organisational culture and how this can be used in strategic planning and policy. Discusses what we mean by culture, useful ways to think about culture and the insights this provides for mergers and acquisitions, corporate innovation, employee retention, and policy-making around fake news and climate change.

I listened to this to salve my hunger waiting for Muthukrishna’s book, A Theory of Everyone, which I expect to be the best book of 2023.

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Sleeping Beauties: the Mystery of Dormant Innovations in Nature and Culture

Big Biology | 15 June 2023 | 1h 11m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Andreas Wagner about his book Sleeping Beauties: The Mystery of Dormant Innovations in Nature and Culture. Explains how novel traits sometimes lie dormant for millions of years waiting until the environment changes to become useful, leading to speciation or offering novel solutions to ecological problems. These long fuses are also evident in our history, namely the life-changing technologies we invent but don’t fully exploit until the right social or economic context arises.

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