Carl Shulman – Intelligence Explosion, Primate Evolution, Robot Doublings, & Alignment

The Lunar Society | 14 June 2023 | 2h 44m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Carl Shulman discussing his model of an intelligence explosion, integrating everything from how fast algorithmic progress and hardware improvements in AI are happening; what primate evolution suggests about the scaling hypothesis; how soon before AIs could do large parts of AI research themselves, and whether there would be faster and faster doublings of AI researchers; how quickly robots produced from existing factories could take over the economy; the odds of a takeover based on whether the AI is aligned before the intelligence explosion happens, and why he’s more optimistic than Eliezer Yudkowsky.

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Richard Rhodes – Making of Atomic Bomb, AI, WW2, Oppenheimer, & Abolishing Nukes

The Lunar Society | 24 May 2023 | 2h 37m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Richard Rhodes about his book The Making of the Atomic Bomb. Discusses similarities between AI progress and the Manhattan Project (developing a powerful, unprecedented, and potentially apocalyptic technology within an uncertain arms-race situation); visiting starving former Soviet scientists during the fall of the Soviet Union; whether Oppenheimer was a spy; living through WW2 as a child; the odds of nuclear war in Ukraine, Taiwan, Pakistan, and North Korea; and how the US pulled off such a massive secret wartime scientific and industrial project.

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Marc Andreessen – AI, Crypto, Regrets, Vulnerabilities, & Managerial Revolution

The Lunar Society | 1 February 2023 | 1h 19m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Marc Andreessen discussing how AI will revolutionize software; whether NFTs are useless, & whether he should be funding flying cars instead; a16z’s biggest vulnerabilities; the future of fusion, education, Twitter, venture, managerialism, & big tech.

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Lars Doucet – Georgism, Progress, Poverty, & Why Rent is Too Damn High

The Lunar Society | 10 January 2022 | 1h 40m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Lars Doucet about his book Land is a Big Deal. Digs deep into Georgism – the notion of taxing increases in land value. Discusses why even the wealthiest places in the world have poverty and homelessness; why rents increase as fast as wages; why land-owners are able to extract the profits that rightly belong to labour and capital; and how taxing the value of land would alleviate speculation, NIMBYism, and income and sales taxes.

This digs deep into the arguments for and against a land value tax. The earlier Narratives episode serves as a gentler introduction. I’m rather persuaded by the arguments presented. Is there something I’ve missed, or is this a no-brainer policy change?

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Bethany McLean – Enron, FTX, 2008, Musk, Frauds, & Visionaries

The Lunar Society | 21 December 2022 | 1h 25m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Bethany McLean discussing the astounding similarities between Enron & FTX, how visionaries are just frauds who succeed (and which category describes Elon Musk), what caused 2008, and whether we are headed for a new crisis, why there are too many venture capitalists and not enough short sellers, and why history keeps repeating itself.

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Tyler Cowen – Talent, Collapse, & Sex

The Lunar Society | 28 September 2022 | 1h 34m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Tyler Cowen discussing how sex is more pessimistic than he is; why he expects society to collapse permanently; why humility, stimulants, intelligence, and stimulants are overrated; how he identifies talent, deceit, and ambition; and more. Draws from his book Talent, How to Find Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Across the World.

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Alexander Mikaberidze – Napoleon, War, Progress, and Global Order

The Lunar Society | 13 July 2022 | 1h 23m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Alexander Mikaberidze about his book The Napoleonic Wars: A Global History. Discusses the global ramifications of the Napoleonic Wars – from India to Egypt to America; how Napoleon was the last of the enlightened despots; whether he would have made a good startup founder; how the Napoleonic Wars accelerated the industrial revolution; the roots of the war in Ukraine, and more.

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Charles C. Mann – Americas Before Columbus & Scientific Wizardry

The Lunar Society | 14 September 2022 | 1h 32m | Listen Later | Podcasts | Spotify
Interview with Charles C. Mann about his books 1491: New Revelations of America before Columbus, 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created, and The Wizard and the Prophet: Two Remarkable Scientists and Their Dueling Visions to Shape Tomorrow’s World. Discusses why Native American civilizations collapsed, why he disagrees with Will MacAskill about longtermism, why there aren’t any successful slave revolts, how Bitcoin is like the Chinese Silver Trade, how geoengineering can help us solve climate change, and more.

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