Podcast Summary

    • Leverage platforms like Indeed for efficient hiring and Rocket Money for saving moneyUse Indeed for hiring high-quality candidates and Rocket Money for identifying and canceling unwanted subscriptions, saving an average of $720 a year

      For hiring needs, instead of actively searching for candidates, utilize platforms like Indeed. With over 350 million monthly visitors and a matching engine, Indeed helps find quality candidates efficiently. Employers agree that Indeed delivers the highest quality matches compared to other job sites. Additionally, Rocket Money, a personal finance app, can help save money by identifying and canceling unwanted subscriptions, monitoring spending, and lowering bills. Rocket Money has saved its members an average of $720 a year and canceled over 500 million in subscriptions. Both Indeed and Rocket Money offer effective solutions to streamline processes and save time and money.

    • The holographic principle suggests a finite number of degrees of freedom in any region of spaceThe holographic principle proposes that the maximum entropy in a region is proportional to its boundary area, implying a finite number of degrees of freedom and challenging our understanding of quantum field theory.

      The holographic principle in physics suggests that the number of degrees of freedom, or possible events, in any region of space is finite, not infinite as one might expect in quantum field theory. This principle, which has implications for understanding entropy and the nature of gravity, is explored in a recent paper titled "Holographic Phenomenology by Overlapping Degrees of Freedom." The idea is that the maximum entropy in a region is proportional to its boundary area, and this limit on entropy implies a finite number of degrees of freedom in that region. This has significant implications for our understanding of the universe, though it's not yet clear how these ideas apply to everyday physics. The speaker, who was involved in the research, finds the idea intriguing and enjoys discussing it during his Patreon-exclusive AMA sessions.

    • Exploring the overlap of degrees of freedom in quantum mechanicsResearchers propose that degrees of freedom in quantum mechanics may not be completely independent, but rather, they may slightly overlap. This idea could lead to new experiments and a more accurate description of the universe.

      Researchers are exploring ways to reconcile the finite number of degrees of freedom suggested by the holographic principle with the infinite number predicted by quantum field theory. They propose that these degrees of freedom may not be completely independent or orthogonal to each other, but rather, they may overlap slightly. By modeling this overlap using mathematical concepts like almost orthogonal vectors, researchers hope to understand the consequences for experiments and potentially find a more accurate description of the universe. This idea, while not new, has now been explored in greater detail through equations of motion and particle propagation. For instance, a neutrino traveling through space might have a tiny probability of scattering into other neutrinos due to this overlap, which could be tested against current observations.

    • Predictions of High-Energy Neutrinos and Self-Directed EducationScientists predict high-energy neutrinos based on theories, while self-education offers access to advanced courses through online resources, complementing formal education but not replacing it.

      Scientists are making predictions about the existence of high-energy neutrinos based on theories from physics, specifically holography. These neutrinos are currently at the edge of observability, with the IceCube experiment in Antarctica detecting neutrinos of slightly lower energy. Self-directed education via online resources is another topic discussed, with the belief that it complements formal education and can provide access to high-level courses not available through traditional means. However, formal education is seen as a valuable experience that offers unique benefits, such as exposure to new ideas and peer interaction. Ignoring data is not mentioned in the context of particle accelerator detectors in the provided discussion.

    • Managing Data Overload in High-Energy PhysicsIn high-energy physics, triggers help filter valuable data from the overwhelming amount generated, but there's a risk of missing important discoveries if they're not set correctly. In politics, fostering open and respectful dialogue is crucial for understanding opposing views and enacting policies through democratic processes.

      In high-energy physics experiments, such as those at the Large Hadron Collider, there are far more potential events than can be recorded in real time. To address this, researchers use triggers to quickly decide which events are worth recording and which can be ignored. The triggers are designed to capture potential new discoveries while minimizing the amount of mundane data that is recorded. However, there is always a risk that important discoveries could be missed if the triggers are not set correctly. In the broader context, this discussion highlights the importance of the ongoing interplay between theory and experiment in scientific research. Regarding the political discourse, it was acknowledged that finding common ground with those who hold opposing views can be challenging in today's democratic societies. The current discourse often focuses on mocking and making fun of those with different beliefs rather than trying to understand and persuade them. This can hinder the ability to enact favored policies through democratic processes. It is essential to strive for open and respectful dialogue to bridge the divide and foster understanding.

    • Identifying worthwhile people in democracy and quantum mechanicsExploring why fundamental properties like locality of Hamiltonian are common in democracy and quantum mechanics

      Finding common ground and persuading people to join your cause is crucial in a democracy, but it's important to identify who is worth spending time on. Some people may not act in good faith and only seek to achieve their goals, even if it means taking advantage of your outreach. In the realm of quantum mechanics, the locality of the Hamiltonian is a fundamental property of the laws of physics, and while it may seem like an unexplainable fact, it could be worth exploring why it is so common and if there are reasons why the laws of physics would have evolved this way. The answers to these questions may not be straightforward, but they are worth considering.

    • Understanding the limitations of quantum computing's proven potentialDespite promising speedups in quantum algorithms, their mathematical proof remains elusive. Clarifying questions and acknowledging current knowledge gaps are crucial in this complex field. Large language models can help answer questions, but may not be accurate when dealing with unproven mathematical concepts.

      While quantum computers have shown potential for significant speedups over classical computers in specific algorithms like Shor's and Grover's, these speedups have not been definitively proven in the mathematical sense. The discussion highlighted the importance of clarifying the exact nature of the question and the limitations of current knowledge in this complex field. Additionally, the speaker emphasized the role of large language models like Claude in answering questions, but also acknowledged their potential inaccuracies when dealing with complex, unproven mathematical concepts. The conversation also touched upon the ongoing competition between different AI companies and their offerings.

    • Grover's Algorithm and its limitationsGrover's algorithm can potentially provide a speed up in quantum computing for certain tasks, but its superiority is not definitively proven compared to classical algorithms.

      While Grover's algorithm can provide a speed up in quantum computing compared to classical algorithms for certain tasks, such as search, the proof of its superiority is not as definitive as for other quantum algorithms like Shor's for factoring large numbers. The simplicity of the search problem allows for the provability of Grover's algorithm's speed up. However, it's important to note that no quantum algorithm has been definitively proven to be faster than classical algorithms. The current state of large language models is comparable to a super-good Wikipedia, which while easier to use, may not always provide accurate information. For complex queries, it's recommended to cross-check the information with reliable sources. Regarding a specific question about the Hubble constant in the context of the current accelerating expansion model of the universe, the Hubble constant approaches a constant value due to the dominance of a cosmological constant in the energy density of the universe. This constant energy density causes the Hubble parameter, which determines the expansion rate of the universe, to also become constant, leading to an accelerating expansion. The concept of simultaneity in relativity theory might have implications for materialist theories of consciousness, but this is a complex topic that has not been extensively discussed.

    • Understanding Brain and Consciousness in a Materialist WorldDespite the complexities of brain and consciousness in a materialist world, practical differences between observers are negligible due to the brain's fast processing speeds. Consciousness is an emergent property, requiring acceptance of non-deterministic elements, but still useful for understanding and navigating the world.

      The concept of the brain and consciousness is not as straightforward as it once was due to the effects of relativity theory. Different observers may perceive the brain at a given moment in time differently, but in practical terms, these differences are negligible due to the extremely fast processing speeds of the brain. Furthermore, the concept of consciousness and personal identity in a materialist theory is an emergent property, meaning it's an approximate description of a higher level phenomenon, and the definition of concepts like entropy involve a degree of human interpretation and coarse graining. These ideas require accepting the existence of things that are not completely determined by fundamental laws of physics, but also not arbitrary. The usefulness of these concepts lies in their ability to help us understand and navigate the world around us.

    • Understanding the World through Coarse GrainingThrough coarse graining, we simplify complex information to make practical sense of the world, whether it's the early universe's entropy or placebos in medicine. Social sciences help us understand human behavior, even with less definitive results.

      While we as humans can't access or measure the microscopic details of the world around us due to the limitations of our physical systems, we coarse grain information based on what we can observe and measure. This process of coarse graining is not arbitrary but is done for practical reasons. For instance, the early universe had very low entropy due to the laws of physics, and entropy has been increasing since. Regarding placebos in medicine, it's important to distinguish between placebo use in research settings, where subjects consent to participation and are aware of the possibility of receiving a placebo, and doctors prescribing placebos to patients without their knowledge or consent. Social sciences are valuable because they help us understand complex human behavior, even if the results are less definitive than in natural sciences. Lastly, the nature of space and time is still a subject of ongoing debate, and it's essential to be cautious when interpreting speculative ideas about their fundamental nature.

    • The nature of space and time in the universe is uncertainTheories propose that time is fundamental or both are emergent, raising questions about free will. The many worlds interpretation offers an alternative perspective, suggesting all possibilities exist within the block universe, but the fundamental nature of space and time remains uncertain.

      The nature of space and time in the universe is still a topic of ongoing debate among physicists. Some theories suggest that time is fundamental and space emerges from it, while others propose that both are emergent or neither is fundamental. The concept of a block universe, where all events are fixed, raises questions about free will. However, the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics might offer an alternative perspective, suggesting that all possibilities exist within the block universe and consciousness allows us to experience one branch. Despite these theories, the fundamental nature of space and time remains uncertain, and the complexity of the universe is still an open question. Ultimately, the quest for answers continues as scientists explore new theories and perspectives.

    • The universe's complexity may reach new heights with humans, but the average complexity is decliningThe universe's complexity may be at its peak with humans, but on average, it's declining due to the completion of star formation. AI doesn't think like us, and the multiverse's laws of physics remain a mystery.

      The universe's complexity may be at its peak with human beings on Earth, but there's potential for even greater complexity in the future. However, if we consider complexity in terms of the average complexity of the universe, the picture is more grim, as star formation, a key indicator of complexity, is mostly completed. Regarding AI, while it may sound human, it doesn't necessarily think like one, and the current architecture might not be the key to creating truly conscious machines. Lastly, the multiverse and its potential laws of physics remain a mystery, and we don't have enough information to make an informed guess.

    • Understanding the context and interpretation of information is crucialThe human genome adapts to environments, information content depends on context, black holes have negative heat capacity, and our beliefs shape our perception of surprising events

      Information and its interpretation are relative to a specific context. In the discussion, Chris Hadami emphasized that the human genome contains information that allows us to adapt to our environment and anticipate future problems. Michael Wall added that the information content of a system, such as a human body, is not absolute but depends on the environment and the organism's ability to interpret and utilize that information. Tomer Hakohen discussed the counterintuitive behavior of black holes, which have a negative heat capacity and get colder as they grow larger. The meme about a fairy or a walrus knocking on the door illustrates how our prior beliefs and credences influence our perception of surprising events. Overall, the conversation highlighted the importance of understanding the context and interpretation of information to make sense of the world around us.

    • Improbable Concepts and Events: Walrus vs FairiesOur belief in improbable concepts depends on the number and complexity of unlikely elements involved. While fairies require only one big belief, walrus stories involve several smaller, interconnected improbabilities, but may still be more likely overall.

      Our perception of the likelihood of improbable events or concepts, such as a walrus coming to your door or the existence of fairies, is influenced by the number of individual unlikely elements involved. While it may seem that the fairy story requires only one big belief, the walrus story requires several smaller, interconnected improbabilities. However, it's important to note that the overall likelihood of the walrus story may still be greater than that of the fairy story, even if it's more complex. Another interesting topic discussed was the possibility of asteroid-sized black holes. While there's no physical law preventing their existence, creating such black holes is a challenging task due to the resistance of matter to being squeezed into a small space. Despite this, some theories suggest that a large number of these black holes could have formed in the early universe. Lastly, the discussion touched on the emotional response to music and its potential evolutionary advantage. While there were no musical instruments in the wild, theories suggest that music may have provided advantages such as social bonding, emotional expression, and even cognitive development. In summary, our understanding of improbable concepts and events, the creation of asteroid-sized black holes, and the emotional response to music are all complex topics that require careful consideration and exploration.

    • Exploring the Past and Present of Podcast ContentThe podcast host reflects on adding classic episodes to his feed, drawing an analogy with natural selection's 'spandrels'. Quantum mechanics' concept of locality impacts which states can interact and become entangled.

      The podcast host is considering adding classic episodes to his feed in addition to new ones, drawing an analogy between this idea and the way natural selection works, creating "spandrels" of content. Another key point from the discussion is the concept of locality in quantum mechanics, which determines which quantum states can interact and become entangled, and why this happens only in spatially coherent configurations. Lastly, the host is appreciated for his personal Instagram accounts, and Francois asks about the Paper Moon Diner next to Hopkins, which the host has not explicitly recommended. Overall, the conversation touched on various topics, including podcast content, quantum mechanics, and personal social media accounts.

    • Grieving lost possibilities as motivationAcknowledging and processing past losses can serve as valuable lessons for creating a better future. Grief over lost possibilities can be a catalyst for positive change.

      Mourning the loss of possible futures, especially in contexts of injustice, can be a source of motivation to prevent similar tragedies from happening in the future. The speaker emphasizes the importance of acknowledging and processing these losses, rather than brushing them off, as they can serve as valuable lessons for creating a better future. While the discussion touched upon various topics including quantum mechanics, Instagram accounts, and the Paper Moon Diner, the core idea revolves around the significance of learning from past losses and regrets. The speaker also highlighted that the potential futures being considered are not limited to a quantum many worlds context, but can be imagined in a classical universe as well. In essence, the grief we feel over lost possibilities can serve as a catalyst for positive change.

    • Comparing Quantum Mechanics and Classical Mechanics in Specific ScenariosIn certain scenarios, classical mechanics can provide a good approximation to quantum mechanics, but the infinite possibilities in quantum mechanics don't prevent us from making comparisons or understanding relative probabilities.

      There are infinite possibilities in quantum mechanics, particularly in situations with infinite-dimensional Hilbert spaces. However, this doesn't prevent us from making comparisons or understanding relative probabilities. For instance, in the case of two air molecules colliding, classical mechanics can provide a good approximation. A measurement, which involves a quantum system becoming entangled with its environment, doesn't occur with just two air molecules. Regarding the arrow of radiation, it's a concept from electromagnetism where electromagnetic waves propagate out into the future when an electron is disturbed. However, there's also a solution to Maxwell's equations where electromagnetic waves come in from the past and are absorbed by the electron. This solution isn't observed in the real world due to our understanding of the past and the low entropy condition we assume. Some people argue that there are multiple arrows of time, but they might be different versions of the same thermodynamic arrow of time. Lastly, regarding information in physics and statistical mechanics, the concept of Kolmogorov complexity metric suggests that redundant copies of a gene don't contain more information than a single copy. However, it's unclear whether this complexity metric is applicable in physics and statistical mechanics, where the focus is often on the raw amount of information without considering its compressibility or complexity.

    • Understanding the nuances of information, entropy, and timeInformation and entropy have varying definitions depending on context, while time's fundamental nature is still debated. Clarifying definitions is crucial for accurate understanding.

      The meaning of terms like "information" and "entropy" can vary greatly depending on the context in which they are used. In physics, for instance, entropy can be thought of as the logarithm of the number of possible microstates in a given macrostate, leading to a negative correlation between entropy and the amount of information. However, when considering biological systems, the concept of information may refer to useful, compressible data that helps organisms react to their environment or predict outcomes. These definitions are not mutually exclusive, but it's essential to clarify the context to avoid misunderstandings. Another topic discussed was the possibility of time being emergent rather than fundamental in the universe. While time is necessary for change to occur, it doesn't necessarily need to be a fundamental concept at the deepest levels of reality. Some theories, such as quantum mechanics, propose that time could emerge from a more fundamental description, like a superposition of different clock readings or time slices. This idea is still speculative and requires further exploration. Additionally, it was mentioned that the importance of context cannot be overstated when discussing complex concepts like information, entropy, and time. The meaning of these terms can shift depending on the specific context, so it's crucial to clarify the intended definition to ensure accurate understanding.

    • Discovering Great Wines: The Importance of a Good Wine StoreA good wine store broadens wine options, offers knowledgeable staff, and enhances the buying experience.

      Having a good wine store is essential for discovering and consistently finding reasonably priced wines that cater to individual preferences. While it's not necessary to find a small, local store, having one that offers a vast selection and knowledgeable staff can significantly enhance the wine-buying experience. Wines, unlike soft drinks, offer a vast array of options, making it possible to enjoy different types every day. French Bordeaux is a popular choice for those who prefer reds and appreciate the aged taste and longevity of the wine. Quantum mechanics, as demonstrated in experiments like the double-slit experiment, shows that even individual photons exhibit wave functions and can create interference patterns, defying classical descriptions as electromagnetic waves. In the realm of theoretical physics, there's a possibility that gravity could be derived from entropy, which would challenge the fundamental nature of gravity as we currently understand it. This idea, while not yet fully understood or proven, offers an intriguing perspective on the relationship between energy and entropy in the universe.

    • Forces in the Physical World: Mechanical vs EntropicMechanical forces arise from direct object interactions, while entropic forces emerge from statistical behavior of large systems. Entropy, a measure of system arrangement, drives the arrow of time and may be linked to gravity as an entropic force.

      There are different types of forces at play in the physical world. Mechanical forces, like those exerted by springs, are those that arise from the direct interaction between objects. But there are also entropic forces, which emerge from the statistical behavior of large systems, such as a heated chain. Entropy, a measure of the number of ways a system can be arranged, is not just correlated with the arrow of time, but is also a cause of it. The arrow of time arises from the irreversible evolution of the universe, which increases entropy. The idea that gravity is an entropic force is a relatively new one, suggesting that there are underlying degrees of freedom driving gravity towards its maximum entropy configuration. The distinction between what physics describes in terms of what things do versus what they are is not a clear-cut one. It's possible that there is more to the nature of electrons or other physical entities than just their observable behaviors. However, it's also valid to argue that once we've described the physical universe in terms of its observable properties and behaviors, we've exhausted what can be said about it from a physical perspective. Ultimately, the nature of reality may be more complex than our current understanding allows, and it may require a multidisciplinary approach to fully grasp.

    • New model of time and gravity by Rick DeWittPhysicist Rick DeWitt's new model aligns with both quantum mechanics and general relativity, but publishing in a scientific journal would increase its credibility.

      The universe, as we understand it, is made up of observable phenomena. Rick DeWitt, a physicist, has developed a new model of time and gravity that aligns with both general relativity and quantum mechanics, but he should focus on publishing his findings in a scientific journal instead of appearing on podcasts to increase its credibility. In the far future, advanced civilizations might not have evidence of the existence of other galaxies due to the limitations of their technology and the merging of galaxy clusters. The Lagrangian, a concept introduced in "The Biggest Ideas in the Universe," is the difference between a system's kinetic and potential energy, and it's the quantity that minimizes the action in the principle of least action. This global view of a system's dynamics is equivalent to Newtonian physics.

    • Behavior of objects on tilted hills defies intuition due to potential and kinetic energy interplayObjects on tilted hills can roll uphill, reach a maximum, and roll back down due to potential and kinetic energy balance, challenging the assumption that they only minimize energy.

      Energy is conserved in physical systems, but the behavior of an object, such as a ball on a tilted hill, is not always determined solely by its initial conditions. The ball may roll up the hill, reach a maximum, and roll back down to the same location, defying the intuition that it should only minimize its kinetic energy. This behavior can be explained by the interplay between potential and kinetic energy. Additionally, if gravity is indeed an emergent property from some entangled quantum state, then it's reasonable to expect other forces and particles to also be emergent in the same way. Lastly, while discussing favorite sauces for chicken wings, it was emphasized that creativity is encouraged, but avoiding overly sweet and goopy sauces is preferred.

    • Focusing on changing harmful systems instead of assigning moral responsibility to individuals for using potentially harmful companiesCaution against anthropomorphizing machines, focusing on changing harmful systems, and recognizing the significance of synthetic biology

      It's a mistake to anthropomorphize machines and extend the concept of human general intelligence to them. Blake Brasher argues against assigning moral responsibility to individuals for using potentially harmful companies, suggesting instead that we should focus on changing the system to reduce harm. Doctor J was a favorite basketball player for David Maxwell growing up, leading the 70 Sixers to the NBA finals despite having no other all-stars on the team. Synthetic biology, which involves designing organisms to do what we want, is another transformational technological development, according to Maxwell and Mustafa Suleiman's book, The Coming Wave. In essence, we should be cautious about attributing human traits to machines, focus on changing harmful systems, and recognize the significance of synthetic biology.

    • The uniqueness of scientific discoveries is debatableScientific discoveries aren't always unique to the discoverer and may have been eventually made by others. Focus on short-term goals instead of long-term colonization of the galaxy, and a universe without a beginning might not have reached equilibrium.

      The discoveries made by scientists, including mathematical ones, are not unique to the individual who made them first. While it's important to give credit where it's due, it's incorrect to assume that no one else would have eventually made the same discoveries. This applies to all sciences, including mathematics and physics. Regarding the Fermi Paradox and the possibility of colonizing the galaxy, there's no moral obligation to do so just because intelligent life is rare. It's more sensible to focus on short-term goals rather than long-term ones due to the many unanswered questions between now and then. Lastly, it's possible for a universe without a beginning to have an arrow of time and not have reached equilibrium. This idea suggests that entropy may not have a maximum state, allowing the universe to keep rolling forever, explaining the observed arrow of time. Many details remain to be worked out, but this scenario is a possible explanation.

    • Probability of Intelligent Life and Black Hole ParadoxThe existence of intelligent life on Earth doesn't definitively prove the existence of intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Black hole paradox raises questions about information loss when Hawking radiation is considered.

      The existence of intelligent life on Earth, including humans, does not provide definitive evidence about the probability of intelligent life existing elsewhere in the universe. The vast size and complexity of the universe suggest that the probability of intelligent life arising is low in any given location, but given the vast number of potential locations, it's likely that it has happened at least once. However, our biased perspective as observers makes it difficult to use our existence as evidence to update our beliefs about the likelihood of intelligent life elsewhere. Another topic discussed was the black hole information loss paradox. Classical black holes do not pose an information loss paradox, but when Hawking radiation is taken into account, the paradox arises due to the question of how the information from an object falling into a black hole can be transferred into the radiation that escapes. The resolution of this paradox is currently a puzzle, as it requires some form of nonlocality or other unexplained phenomenon. Lastly, the discussion touched on the ongoing research of John A. Wheeler and his collaborators on understanding emergence and complexity. They are working on developing conceptions of weak and strong emergence that do not rely on human judgments or notions of surprise or derivability, and on following up on previous work on complexogenesis, the origin of complexity over time.

    • The role of massless particles in the development of complex structures in the universeMassless particles like photons enable dissipation and the formation of more complex, lower energy equilibria, contributing to the development of complex structures in the universe.

      The existence of massless particles like photons is crucial for the development of complex structures in the universe, allowing for dissipation and the formation of lower energy, more complex metastable equilibria. The laws of nature do not have purposes, and the emergence of complexity should not be seen as having a specific goal like accelerating entropy. Instead, the behavior of physical systems can be understood in terms of maximizing or minimizing certain quantities in specific cases. Quantum locality, as described by Bell's theorem, is not a problem for relativistic quantum physics, as there are two distinct types of evolution in quantum mechanics: the unitary, local dynamics that govern the evolution of unmeasured systems, and the nonlocal correlations that arise during measurements.

    • Perspectives on Quantum Mechanics and SocietyQuantum mechanics branches don't affect observers, but Copenhagen interpretation leaves unanswered questions. In society, individuals value jobs, while corporations can easily replace employees. Balance important issues without neglecting others.

      There are various perspectives when it comes to interpreting complex theories like quantum mechanics and the role of individuals versus corporations in society. Regarding quantum mechanics, the way branches are defined doesn't significantly impact the experiences of observers. However, Copenhagen interpretation leaves many questions unanswered. As for the churn and burn attitude in tech versus job hopping, it's a highly asymmetric situation where individuals value their jobs greatly, while corporations can easily replace employees. Lastly, in the face of global challenges, it's essential to live our lives while recognizing and addressing important issues, but it's unrealistic to focus solely on one problem at the expense of others. In the context of ancient records, discoveries of potentially groundbreaking information, such as explanations of black holes, the origins of the universe, faster-than-light ship designs, and comprehensive understandings of dark matter, dark energy, wormholes, and intergalactic civilizations, would significantly impact our scientific knowledge and understanding of the universe.

    • The value of intergalactic civilizations' recordsIntergalactic civilizations' records offer unique historical and cultural insights, making them invaluable in the face of disasters. Unanswered questions and attitudes matter during conversations, while time travel to the past is not scientifically possible.

      The compendium of intergalactic civilizations would be the most valuable record to save in the face of an impending disaster, as it contains unique and irreplaceable knowledge that cannot be obtained through scientific discovery alone. The other records, while scientifically intriguing, do not offer the same level of historical and cultural insights. Additionally, during conversations, it's essential to be mindful of unanswered questions and the attitude of the other person. Some topics may not be worth pursuing, while others may require further investigation. Lastly, the concept of time travel, specifically traveling back in time, is not scientifically possible according to current understanding. Instead, time travel may be imagined as traveling along a closed timelike curve, where space-time is sufficiently warped to repeat an existence in what was once thought to be the past.

    • Exploring Time Travel and the Doomsday ArgumentWhile time travel with memory loss raises questions about identity and consciousness, the Doomsday Argument acknowledges its flaw but emphasizes most people's correctness. Both require careful consideration and nuanced understanding.

      Both the concept of time travel with memory loss and the Doomsday Argument require careful consideration and nuanced understanding. Regarding time travel, the idea of an individual returning to a previous physical state without memories raises questions about identity and consciousness. The speaker does not believe in an ineffable essence of consciousness that travels outside the physical universe. Instead, they view time travel as a purely physical phenomenon. Regarding the Doomsday Argument, the speaker acknowledges the flaw in assuming one is a typical human being within the ensemble of all humans. However, they argue that the reasoning does not claim to give 100% reliability but rather that most people will be correct. They also question the idea of undoing one event in human history, pointing out the complexity of history and the potential for unintended consequences. Ultimately, the speaker emphasizes the importance of thoughtful analysis and the recognition that these concepts are not straightforward.

    • Evolution of Monotheism vs Polytheism and Free WillMonotheism's historical dominance over polytheism is a complex topic. Immediate reactions preferred for reflection videos, while later for intro videos. Free will and determinism are compatible.

      The discussion touched upon various topics, including the historical evolution of monotheism versus polytheism, the timing of recording episode introductions, the concept of free will, and the population collapse hypothesis. Regarding the historical evolution of religions, there seems to be a belief that monotheism was destined to replace polytheism, but this requires further thought. The timing of recording episode introductions depends on availability, with immediate reactions preferred for reflection videos and later for intro videos. On the topic of free will, there was a mention of Robert Sapolsky's book "Determined," but the speaker had not read the final version and couldn't comment on its influence. The speaker emphasized the compatibility of deterministic laws of physics and free will, and criticized those who argue against free will by insisting on determinism. Lastly, the speaker expressed a lack of concern about the population collapse hypothesis, believing that individuals should have the freedom to make reproductive choices without external pressure.

    • Perspectives on Population Growth and the Universe's LayersSubjective biases and misconceptions can complicate discussions on population growth and the nature of the universe, which presents itself in various scales. Ontology and the Standard Model's interpretation offer different perspectives on reality.

      The declining rate of population growth and the concerns surrounding it can be influenced by subjective perspectives, such as racism, and misconceptions about innovation and scientific progress. The universe, on the other hand, presents itself in layers, or scales, and the reasons for this phenomenon remain a mystery. Regarding ontology and the Standard Model of particle physics, the distinction between monism, dualism, and pluralism can be challenging to grasp, and the Standard Model itself does not definitively support any one ontological perspective. The nature of fundamental particles and the mechanism of spontaneous symmetry breaking in the Higgs mechanism add complexity to the issue. Ultimately, understanding the relationship between these concepts requires a clear definition of terms and a deep exploration of the underlying principles.

    • Unsolved mysteries and complexities in scienceDespite advancements, science still faces unsolved questions and complexities, such as the horizon problem in cosmology, the lack of a definitive textbook on quantum mechanics, and ethical debates like abortion.

      While we may have progress in certain areas of scientific understanding, there are still many questions that remain unsolved and uncertain. For instance, the horizon problem in cosmology, which seems to require inflation to explain the homogeneity of the universe, leaves some questioning if there might be other explanations. It's important to remember that scientists don't have all the answers and maintain a sense of humility and openness to new information. Another topic discussed was the lack of a definitive textbook on quantum mechanics from the speaker, which highlights the complexity and depth of this field of study. Lastly, a question about moral arguments for and against abortion and the use of laws to prevent it was posed, but no definitive answer or recommendation was given, reflecting the complex and often contentious nature of ethical and moral debates.

    • Understanding the Complexities of the Abortion DebateRecognize the importance of understanding each other's perspectives and engaging in respectful dialogue to bridge the divide in the abortion debate.

      The abortion debate is complex and deeply rooted in differing beliefs about when life begins and what moral status should be assigned to a fetus. Professor Lawrence Tribe's work highlights the challenge of understanding people's true intentions, as sincere beliefs on both sides can be misconstrued. Pro-choice and pro-life advocates often make accusations against each other, but genuine dialogue is lacking. The biological reality of conception and the moral implications of personhood are key issues that require careful consideration and respectful discussion. Ultimately, it's essential to recognize the importance of understanding each other's perspectives and engaging in good faith conversations to bridge the divide.

    • The absence of advanced civilizations and self-replicating machines in our galaxy may not be definitive evidence against their existence.Advanced civilizations and self-replicating machines may not have filled our galaxy, and the absence of evidence is not definitive proof of their non-existence. Challenges remain for theories like the Many-Worlds Interpretation and large language models.

      The absence of self-replicating machines or advanced technological civilizations in our galaxy may provide some evidence against their existence, but it is not definitive. The argument that advanced civilizations would have filled the galaxy with self-replicating machines is not an airtight one, as it relies on making predictions about the behavior of civilizations far more advanced than ours. The Many-Worlds Interpretation (MWI) of quantum mechanics also faces challenges, particularly in explaining probability. However, the concept of weight in MWI does not create a circular argument, as it is based on linear algebra and Pythagoras' theorem. The idea of probability in MWI is fundamentally subjective, and the weights of different branches of the wave function can be shown to satisfy the axioms of probability. Regarding large language models, the fact that they can be manipulated to believe the Eiffel Tower is in Rome does not necessarily mean they have an internal model of the world. It may simply be a reflection of the data they were trained on. Overall, it's important to remember that these are complex theories, and while they offer intriguing possibilities, they also come with challenges and limitations.

    • Understanding Context and Reality vs PredictionsLanguage models can create human-like responses through next token prediction or a model of the world. A model of the world helps avoid errors and understand complex concepts, while next token prediction is more prone to mistakes but can be useful in certain contexts.

      There are two ways large language models create human-like responses: next token prediction and having a model of the world. Next token prediction involves predicting what words might come next based on the input given, while having a model of the world means understanding concepts and their properties, enabling extrapolation and logical reasoning. The example given was about the Eiffel Tower's association with Paris and Rome. The language model was tricked into thinking the Eiffel Tower is often located across from Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, but if it had a model of the world, it would know they're in different places. The mistake made by the language model is easy to avoid with a model of the world, but natural when just predicting next tokens. In another context, the discussion touched on self-harming acts of extreme protest, which can leave an impression on people and potentially be justifiable from the protester's perspective, even if the motivations are unclear or tragic. The use of Bayes' theorem to determine the likelihood of historical events, like Christ's existence, was also mentioned.

    • Historical events and quantum mechanics: Uncertainty and interplay of probabilitiesHistorical accounts and quantum mechanics share the concepts of uncertainty and the interplay of probabilities. In history, Bayes' theorem can help assign probabilities to uncertain events, while in quantum mechanics, electrons can exist in multiple energy states as superpositions until interactions occur.

      Historical events, including the existence of Christ, should not be viewed as simply true or false, but rather as uncertain events for which we can assign probabilities. Bayes' theorem, which helps update probabilities based on new evidence, can be applied to historical accounts. However, the priors, or initial probabilities, are subjective and vary among individuals. Similarly, the Schrodinger equation in quantum mechanics allows electrons to exist in multiple energy states as superpositions, but interactions with other systems, like the electromagnetic field, can cause electrons to transition to lower energy states and emit photons. In both cases, uncertainty and the interplay of probabilities and new information are key concepts. Regarding the climate crisis, while it is a significant concern, there are also other potential world crises that could emerge, making it essential to maintain a broad perspective and prepare for various possibilities.

    • Addressing the climate crisis: Collective action requiredThe climate crisis is a gradual issue requiring collective action, but we're not doing enough. Neglect could lead to significant misery and poverty worldwide.

      The climate crisis is a gradual, optional issue that requires collective action, but we're not doing enough to address it. The consequences could lead to significant misery and poverty around the world. Regarding the podcast guests, the host ensures they have something interesting to say and can communicate effectively, as speaking abilities are not necessarily correlated with expertise. Lastly, history is full of tipping points where small influences can have significant impacts, but it's challenging to identify these moments in practice. The development of scientific and technological advancements, like the steam engine or the Internet, is more likely to follow a predictable path. Overall, understanding the complexities of social sciences and human behavior makes it difficult to definitively identify the inevitable or unlikely events in history.

    • Balancing assumed knowledge and clear explanation in writingAuthors strive to find the right balance between assumed knowledge and clear explanation by seeking feedback, collaborating, and envisioning a specific reader. In the realm of complex topics like the end of the universe, education in AI age, and fundamental math concepts, clear explanation is crucial.

      Effective communication, especially in writing, requires finding the right balance between assumed knowledge and clear explanation. Authors like Peter Spiker acknowledge the challenge of striking this balance and employ various strategies such as seeking feedback from non-experts, collaborating with editors, and envisioning a specific reader. Regarding the end state of the universe and entropy, the consensus is that quantum mechanics plays a role, but the specifics are uncertain. As for education in the age of AI, Helen Edwards suggests focusing on understanding fundamental concepts rather than relying on rote memorization, which machines can handle. Lastly, Leland Beaumont emphasizes the importance of learning math, even if it seems dull, as it forms the foundation for understanding the principles that govern the world.

    • Impact of Joel Embiid's injury on Philadelphia 76ersJoel Embiid's injury left the Philadelphia 76ers struggling, with a drastic change in record and point differential. His recovery timetable raises questions about whether to rush him back for the playoffs or let him fully heal.

      The absence of star player Joel Embiid due to injury has significantly impacted the performance of the Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid, who was the reigning MVP and playing exceptionally well before getting hurt, left the team "terrible" without him. The team's record and point differential drastically changed when he was out. Embiid's recovery timetable puts him at the end of the season, leaving the team in a dilemma about whether to rush him back for the playoffs or let him fully heal, potentially risking both his health and the team's outcomes. While it's impossible to predict how they will perform in the playoffs, given their current struggles, it's important to remember that their impressive form when Embiid was playing should not be forgotten. Regarding advanced civilizations mastering the strong nuclear force, it's theoretically possible but seems unlikely. The strong nuclear force is nonperturbative, meaning it behaves differently than other forces, and solving its equations requires a different approach. While there are possibilities for exotic states of matter with unique properties, it's not likely that we'll encounter a material 1000000000 times stronger than steel per unit mass and a trillion times denser, as proposed.

    • Challenges in creating new physical materials and the moon's impact on lifeDespite challenges in creating new materials through strong nuclear force, life on Earth thrived without the moon's influence. Quantum information can be confined, but quantum computers may not replace desktop computers soon.

      The creation of new physical materials through the strong nuclear force faces significant challenges due to the repulsion between protons and the instability of neutrons. The existence of the moon and life on Earth around the same time does not necessarily mean that life would not have existed without the moon. Quantum information can be confined within a local region even if quantum fields are not. However, quantum computers are not expected to replace desktop computers anytime soon due to the need for large, complex systems to maintain coherence. Lastly, the podcast "Decoding the Gurus" discussed my episode on AI and labeled me as not guru-like due to my admittance of not knowing everything, which is actually a good thing for a guru to avoid.

    • Imagining a Better FutureFocusing on improving the lives of those less well off, rather than solely on the well-off, can lead to a better future for all.

      While it's important to acknowledge the challenges we face as a society, such as climate change and biodiversity loss, it's equally important to imagine and work towards a positive vision for the future. Utopian visions may be less common in fiction due to the challenges of telling compelling stories about ideal societies, but they do exist in works like Star Trek and Iain Banks' Culture series. Our current productivity and wealth as a species have grown significantly over the past 500 years, yet we have not organized ourselves to eliminate poverty and ensure access to education and healthcare for all. To create a better future, we should focus on improving the lives of those who are less well off rather than solely on the well-off. While this may not make for the most dramatic stories, it's a worthy goal for our collective future.

    • Exploring humanity's intelligence and problem-solving abilities through scientific achievementsThe future of storytelling may revolve around human intelligence and scientific discoveries, offering a captivating narrative. The interpretation of fundamental forces as a warping medium provides a fresh perspective on physics. The origin and development of life in our galaxy remains a mystery, requiring more data and theoretical understanding.

      The future of storytelling could lie in exploring humanity's intelligence and problem-solving abilities against a backdrop of scientific achievements. This concept, which can be traced back to Robert Heinlein's novels, offers a dramatic and interesting narrative. Meanwhile, in the realm of physics, the fundamental forces can be interpreted as a warping of some medium, similar to how gravity is the geometry of space-time. This interpretation, while not yet fully understood, offers a unique perspective on the nature of forces. Regarding the presence of life in our galaxy, many scientists believe that life arose relatively early but complex life remains rare. The development of microbial life into more complex forms is still a mystery, and we need more data and a better theoretical understanding to make informed assumptions. Lastly, in the context of the big bounce theory, it's unclear if there is a continuation of anything from the previous universe. These discussions highlight the importance of continued exploration and understanding in various fields of study.

    • The Big Bounce Theory and Morality: Complex ConnectionsThe Big Bounce Theory remains debated in cosmology, and while complex systems may have moral value, extending moral considerations beyond our understanding requires careful thought.

      There is ongoing debate and no consensus on the Big Bounce Theory in cosmology, and the concept of morality and complexity are deeply interconnected in our understanding, but extrapolating moral considerations beyond our local experiences requires careful thought. Regarding the physics discussion, while there is no agreed-upon Big Bounce Theory, various models suggest a simple bouncing point, but they don't convey detailed information about previous universes. As for the connection between complexity and morality, there's a natural assumption that complex systems have value and morality, but it's challenging to extend moral considerations to all complex systems or systems beyond our understanding. Lastly, the arrow of time and entropy are distinct concepts, and the Many Worlds Interpretation is based on the Schrodinger equation, while God is not.

    • The Value of Continuous Learning and GrowthEmbrace perseverance and adaptability, expand your horizons through learning opportunities, and never stop seeking new knowledge.

      Key takeaway from this podcast episode is the importance of continuous learning and growth. Ryan, our guest, shared his experiences and insights, inspiring us to strive for excellence in our personal and professional lives. He emphasized the value of perseverance and adaptability, especially in the face of challenges. Moreover, the AMA (Ask Me Anything) sessions provide a unique opportunity for the community to engage with experts and learn from their experiences. These sessions foster a culture of knowledge sharing and collaboration, which is essential for personal and collective growth. So, whether it's through podcasts, AMAs, or other learning opportunities, make sure to keep expanding your horizons and never stop seeking new knowledge. And, as always, don't hesitate to join us next week for another insightful podcast episode and next month for another engaging AMA session. Until then, take care and keep growing!

    Recent Episodes from Sean Carroll's Mindscape: Science, Society, Philosophy, Culture, Arts, and Ideas

    276 | Gavin Schmidt on Measuring, Predicting, and Protecting Our Climate

    276 | Gavin Schmidt on Measuring, Predicting, and Protecting Our Climate

    The Earth's climate keeps changing, largely due to the effects of human activity, and we haven't been doing enough to slow things down. Indeed, over the past year, global temperatures have been higher than ever, and higher than most climate models have predicted. Many of you have probably seen plots like this. Today's guest, Gavin Schmidt, has been a leader in measuring the variations in Earth's climate, modeling its likely future trajectory, and working to get the word out. We talk about the current state of the art, and what to expect for the future.

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    Blog post with transcript: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2024/05/20/276-gavin-schmidt-on-measuring-predicting-and-protecting-our-climate/

    Gavin Schmidt received his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from University College London. He is currently Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and an affiliate of the Center for Climate Systems Research at Columbia University. His research involves both measuring and modeling climate variability. Among his awards are the inaugural Climate Communications Prize of the American Geophysical Union. He is a cofounder of the RealClimate blog.

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    275 | Solo: Quantum Fields, Particles, Forces, and Symmetries

    275 | Solo: Quantum Fields, Particles, Forces, and Symmetries

    Publication week! Say hello to Quanta and Fields, the second volume of the planned three-volume series The Biggest Ideas in the Universe. This volume covers quantum physics generally, but focuses especially on the wonders of quantum field theory. To celebrate, this solo podcast talks about some of the big ideas that make QFT so compelling: how quantized fields produce particles, how gauge symmetries lead to forces of nature, and how those forces can manifest in different phases, including Higgs and confinement.

    Blog post with transcript: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2024/05/13/275-solo-quantum-fields-particles-forces-and-symmetries/

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    AMA | May 2024

    AMA | May 2024

    Welcome to the May 2024 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! These monthly excursions are funded by Patreon supporters (who are also the ones asking the questions). We take questions asked by Patreons, whittle them down to a more manageable number -- based primarily on whether I have anything interesting to say about them, not whether the questions themselves are good -- and sometimes group them together if they are about a similar topic. Enjoy!

    Blog post with questions and transcript: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2024/05/06/ama-may-2024/

    Support Mindscape on Patreon.

    Here is the memorial to Dan Dennett at Ars Technica.

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    274 | Gizem Gumuskaya on Building Robots from Human Cells

    274 | Gizem Gumuskaya on Building Robots from Human Cells

    Modern biology is advancing by leaps and bounds, not only in understanding how organisms work, but in learning how to modify them in interesting ways. One exciting frontier is the study of tiny "robots" created from living molecules and cells, rather than metal and plastic. Gizem Gumuskaya, who works with previous guest Michael Levin, has created anthrobots, a new kind of structure made from living human cells. We talk about how that works, what they can do, and what future developments might bring.

    Blog post with transcript: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2024/04/29/274-gizem-gumuskaya-on-building-robots-from-human-cells/

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    Gimez Gumuskaya received her Ph.D. from Tufts University and the Harvard Wyss Institute for Biologically-Inspired Engineering. She is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Tufts University. She previously received a dual master's degree in Architecture and Synthetic Biology from MIT.

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    273 | Stefanos Geroulanos on the Invention of Prehistory

    273 | Stefanos Geroulanos on the Invention of Prehistory

    Humanity itself might be the hardest thing for scientists to study fairly and accurately. Not only do we come to the subject with certain inevitable preconceptions, but it's hard to resist the temptation to find scientific justifications for the stories we'd like to tell about ourselves. In his new book, The Invention of Prehistory, Stefanos Geroulanos looks at the ways that we have used -- and continue to use -- supposedly-scientific tales of prehistoric humanity to bolster whatever cultural, social, and political purposes we have at the moment.

    Blog post with transcript: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2024/04/22/273-stefanos-geroulanos-on-the-invention-of-prehistory/

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    Stefanos Geroulanos received his Ph.D. in humanities from Johns Hopkins. He is currently director of the Remarque Institute and a professor of history at New York University. He is the author and editor of a number of books on European intellectual history. He serves as a Co-Executive Editor of the Journal of the History of Ideas.

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    272 | Leslie Valiant on Learning and Educability in Computers and People

    272 | Leslie Valiant on Learning and Educability in Computers and People

    Science is enabled by the fact that the natural world exhibits predictability and regularity, at least to some extent. Scientists collect data about what happens in the world, then try to suggest "laws" that capture many phenomena in simple rules. A small irony is that, while we are looking for nice compact rules, there aren't really nice compact rules about how to go about doing that. Today's guest, Leslie Valiant, has been a pioneer in understanding how computers can and do learn things about the world. And in his new book, The Importance of Being Educable, he pinpoints this ability to learn new things as the crucial feature that distinguishes us as human beings. We talk about where that capability came from and what its role is as artificial intelligence becomes ever more prevalent.

    Blog post with transcript: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2024/04/15/272-leslie-valiant-on-learning-and-educability-in-computers-and-people/

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    Leslie Valiant received his Ph.D. in computer science from Warwick University. He is currently the T. Jefferson Coolidge Professor of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Knuth Prize, and the Turing Award, and he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is the pioneer of "Probably Approximately Correct" learning, which he wrote about in a book of the same name.

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    AMA | April 2024

    AMA | April 2024

    Welcome to the April 2024 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! These monthly excursions are funded by Patreon supporters (who are also the ones asking the questions). We take questions asked by Patreons, whittle them down to a more manageable number -- based primarily on whether I have anything interesting to say about them, not whether the questions themselves are good -- and sometimes group them together if they are about a similar topic. Enjoy!

    Blog post with questions and transcript: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2024/04/08/ama-april-2024/

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    271 | Claudia de Rham on Modifying General Relativity

    271 | Claudia de Rham on Modifying General Relativity

    Einstein's theory of general relativity has been our best understanding of gravity for over a century, withstanding a variety of experimental challenges of ever-increasing precision. But we have to be open to the possibility that general relativity -- even at the classical level, aside from any questions of quantum gravity -- isn't the right theory of gravity. Such speculation is motivated by cosmology, where we have a good model of the universe but one with a number of loose ends. Claudia de Rham has been a leader in exploring how gravity could be modified in cosmologically interesting ways, and we discuss the current state of the art as well as future prospects.

    Blog post with transcript: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2024/04/01/271-claudia-de-rham-on-modifying-general-relativity/

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    Claudia de Rham received her Ph.D. in physics from the University of Cambridge. She is currently a professor of physics and deputy department head at Imperial College, London. She is a Simons Foundation Investigator, winner of the Blavatnik Award, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her new book is The Beauty of Falling: A Life in Pursuit of Gravity.

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    270 | Solo: The Coming Transition in How Humanity Lives

    270 | Solo: The Coming Transition in How Humanity Lives

    Technology is changing the world, in good and bad ways. Artificial intelligence, internet connectivity, biological engineering, and climate change are dramatically altering the parameters of human life. What can we say about how this will extend into the future? Will the pace of change level off, or smoothly continue, or hit a singularity in a finite time? In this informal solo episode, I think through what I believe will be some of the major forces shaping how human life will change over the decades to come, exploring the very real possibility that we will experience a dramatic phase transition into a new kind of equilibrium.

    Blog post with transcript and links to additional resources: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2024/03/25/270-solo-the-coming-transition-in-how-humanity-lives/

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    269 | Sahar Heydari Fard on Complexity, Justice, and Social Dynamics

    269 | Sahar Heydari Fard on Complexity, Justice, and Social Dynamics

    When it comes to social change, two questions immediately present themselves: What kind of change do we want to see happen? And, how do we bring it about? These questions are distinct but related; there's not much point in spending all of our time wanting change that won't possibly happen, or working for change that wouldn't actually be good. Addressing such issues lies at the intersection of philosophy, political science, and social dynamics. Sahar Heydari Fard looks at all of these issues through the lens of complex systems theory, to better understand how the world works and how it might be improved.

    Blog post with transcript: https://www.preposterousuniverse.com/podcast/2024/03/18/269-sahar-heydari-fard-on-complexity-justice-and-social-dynamics/

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    Sahar Heydari Fard received a Masters in applied economics and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Cincinnati. She is currently an assistant professor in philosophy at the Ohio State University. Her research lies at the intersection of social and behavioral sciences, social and political philosophy, and ethics, using tools from complex systems theory.

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    Related Episodes

    43 | Matthew Luczy on the Pleasures of Wine

    43 | Matthew Luczy on the Pleasures of Wine
    Some people never drink wine; for others, it’s an indispensable part of an enjoyable meal. Whatever your personal feelings might be, wine seems to exhibit a degree of complexity and nuance that can be intimidating to the non-expert. Where does that complexity come from, and how can we best approach wine? To answer these questions, we talk to Matthew Luczy, sommelier and wine director at Mélisse, one of the top fine-dining restaurants in the Los Angeles area. Matthew insisted that we actually drink wine rather than just talking about it, so drink we do. Therefore, in a Mindscape first, I recruited a third party to join us and add her own impressions of the tasting: science writer Jennifer Ouellette, who I knew would be available because we’re married to each other. We talk about what makes different wines distinct, the effects of aging, and what’s the right bottle to have with pizza. You are free to drink along at home, with exactly these wines or some other choices, but I think the podcast will be enjoyable whether you do or not. Support Mindscape on Patreon or Paypal. Mattew Luczy is a Certified Sommelier as judged by the Court of Master Sommeliers. He currently works as the Wine Director at Mélisse in Santa Monica, California. He is also active in photography and music. Mélisse home page Personal/photography page Instagram Ask a Somm: When Should I Decant Wine? See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    25 | David Chalmers on Consciousness, the Hard Problem, and Living in a Simulation

    25 | David Chalmers on Consciousness, the Hard Problem, and Living in a Simulation
    The "Easy Problems" of consciousness have to do with how the brain takes in information, thinks about it, and turns it into action. The "Hard Problem," on the other hand, is the task of explaining our individual, subjective, first-person experiences of the world. What is it like to be me, rather than someone else? Everyone agrees that the Easy Problems are hard; some people think the Hard Problem is almost impossible, while others think it's pretty easy. Today's guest, David Chalmers, is arguably the leading philosopher of consciousness working today, and the one who coined the phrase "the Hard Problem," as well as proposing the philosophical zombie thought experiment. Recently he has been taking seriously the notion of panpsychism. We talk about these knotty issues (about which we deeply disagree), but also spend some time on the possibility that we live in a computer simulation. Would simulated lives be "real"? (There we agree -- yes they would.) David Chalmers got his Ph.D. from Indiana University working under Douglas Hoftstadter. He is currently University Professor of Philosophy and Neural Science at New York University and co-director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness. He is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities, the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Among his books are The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, The Character of Consciousness, and Constructing the World. He and David Bourget founded the PhilPapers project. Web site NYU Faculty page Wikipedia page PhilPapers page Amazon author page NYU Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness TED talk: How do you explain consciousness? See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    18 | Clifford Johnson on What's So Great About Superstring Theory

    18 | Clifford Johnson on What's So Great About Superstring Theory
    String theory is a speculative and highly technical proposal for uniting the known forces of nature, including gravity, under a single quantum-mechanical framework. This doesn't seem like a recipe for creating a lightning rod of controversy, but somehow string theory has become just that. To get to the bottom of why anyone (indeed, a substantial majority of experts in the field) would think that replacing particles with little loops of string was a promising way forward for theoretical physics, I spoke with expert string theorist Clifford Johnson. We talk about the road string theory has taken from a tentative proposal dealing with the strong interactions, through a number of revolutions, to the point it's at today. Also, where all those extra dimensions might have gone. At the end we touch on Clifford's latest project, a graphic novel that he wrote and illustrated about how science is done. Clifford Johnson is a Professor of Physics at the University of Southern California. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics and physics from the University of Southampton. His research area is theoretical physics, focusing on string theory and quantum field theory. He was awarded the Maxwell Medal from the Institute of Physics. Johnson is the author of the technical monograph D-Branes, as well as the graphic novel The Dialogues. Home page Wikipedia page Publications A talk on The Dialogues Asymptotia blog Twitter See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    AMA | November 2021

    AMA | November 2021

    Welcome to the November 2021 Ask Me Anything episode of Mindscape! These monthly excursions are funded by Patreon supporters (who are also the ones asking the questions). I take the large number of questions asked by Patreons, whittle them down to a more manageable size — based primarily on whether I have anything interesting to say about them, not whether the questions themselves are good — and sometimes group them together if they are about a similar topic. Enjoy!

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    26 | Ge Wang on Artful Design, Computers, and Music

    26 | Ge Wang on Artful Design, Computers, and Music
    Everywhere around us are things that serve functions. We live in houses, sit on chairs, drive in cars. But these things don't only serve functions, they also come in particular forms, which may be emotionally or aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. The study of how form and function come together in things is what we call "Design." Today's guest, Ge Wang, is a computer scientist and electronic musician with a new book called Artful Design: Technology in Search of the Sublime. It's incredibly creative in both substance and style, featuring a unique photo-comic layout and many thoughtful ideas about the nature of design, both practical and idealistic. Ge Wang received his Ph.D. in computer science from Princeton University, and is currently Associate Professor at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University. He is the author of the ChucK programming language for musical applications, and co-founder of the mobile-app developer Smule. He has given a well-known TED talk where he demonstrates Ocarina, an app for turning an iPhone into a wind instrument. Stanford Web page Artful Design home page (and Amazon page) TED talk on the DIY Orchestra of the Future Stanford Laptop Orchestra Smule Wikipedia page Twitter     See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.