Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and five-time New York Times best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the min... More
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#116 — AI: Racing Toward the Brink
Sam Harris speaks with Eliezer Yudkowsky about the nature of intelligence, different types of AI, the “alignment problem,” IS vs OUGHT, the possibility that future AI might deceive us, the AI arms race, conscious AI, coordination problems, and other topics. Eliezer Yudkowsky is a decision theorist and computer scientist at the Machine Intelligence Research Institute in Berkeley, California who is known for his work in technological forecasting. His publications include the Cambridge Handbook of Artificial Intelligence chapter “The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence,” co-authored with Nick Bostrom. Yudkowsky’s writings have helped spark a number of ongoing academic and public debates about the long-term impact of AI, and he has written a number of popular introductions to topics in cognitive science and formal epistemology, such as Rationality: From AI to Zombies and “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.” He is also the author of Inadequate Equilibria: Where and How Civilizations Get Stuck. Twitter: @ESYudkowsky Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.
#77 — The Moral Complexity of Genetics
Sam Harris speaks with Siddhartha Mukherjee about the human desire to understand and manipulate heredity, the genius of Gregor Mendel, the ethics of altering our genes, the future of genetic medicine, patent issues in genetic research, and other topics. Siddhartha Mukherjee is a cancer physician and researcher. He is an assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at the CU/NYU Presbyterian Hospital. A former Rhodes scholar, he graduated from Stanford University, University of Oxford (where he received a PhD studying cancer-causing viruses) and from Harvard Medical School. His laboratory focuses on discovering new cancer drugs using innovative biological methods. He has published articles and commentary in such journals as Nature, New England Journal of Medicine, Neuron and the Journal of Clinical Investigation and in publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and The New Republic. His work was nominated for Best American Science Writing, 2000. He won the Pulitzer Prize for his book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. His most recent book is The Gene: An Intimate History. Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.
#48 — What Is Moral Progress?
Sam Harris speaks with Peter Singer about the concept of universal moral truths, the ethics of violence, free speech, euthanasia, animal welfare, and other topics. Peter Singer is the Professor of Bioethics at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. He is the author of Animal Liberation, The Most Good You Can Do, Ethics in the Real World, and most recently Why Vegan? He is also the co-founder of The Life You Can Save, a nonprofit devoted to spreading his ideas about why we should be doing much more to improve the lives of people living in extreme poverty. Website: www.petersinger.info Twitter: @PeterSinger Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.
#196 — The Science of Happiness
Sam Harris speaks with Laurie Santos about the scientific study of happiness. They discuss people’s expectations about happiness, the experiencing self vs the remembered self, framing effects, the importance of social connections, the effect of focusing on the happiness of others, introversion and extroversion, the influence of technology on social life, our relationship to time, the connection between happiness and ethics, hedonic adaptation, the power of mindfulness, resilience, the often illusory significance of reaching goals, and other topics. Laurie Santos is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at Yale University. She hosts the popular podcast The Happiness Lab and she teaches the most popular course offered at Yale to date, titled The Science of Well-Being. Laurie is also the director of the Comparative Cognition Laboratory and the Canine Cognition Center at Yale. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Biology from Harvard University in 1997 and her Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard in 2003. Twitter:@lauriesantos Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.
#209 — A Good Life
Sam Harris speaks with Scott Barry Kaufman about human well-being. They discuss intelligence and creativity, wisdom and transcendence, the history of humanistic psychology, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the connection between well-being and ethics, self-esteem, psychedelics and meditation, peak and plateau experiences, mortality salience, the pre-trans fallacy, intrinsic vs. extrinsic rewards, pathological altruism, intimacy vs. belonging, two aspects of self-transcendence, and other topics. Scott Barry Kaufman is a humanistic psychologist exploring the depths of human potential. He has taught courses at the nation’s leading universities including Columbia University, University of Pennsylvania, and New York University. He wrote the column Beautiful Minds for Scientific American and hosts The Psychology Podcast, which discusses insights into the mind, brain, behavior, and creativity. He has also written for The Atlantic and Harvard Business Review. Scott’s latest book Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization is a reimagining of Maslow’s famous hierarchy of needs. It provides new insights for realizing one’s full potential and living a creative, fulfilled, and connected life. His previous books include Ungifted: Intelligence Redefined, Wired to Create: Unraveling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, and Twice Exceptional: Supporting and Educating Bright and Creative Students with Learning Difficulties. Scott is also credited for editing The Cambridge Handbook of Intelligence. SUBSCRIBE to listen to the rest of this episode and gain access to all full-length episodes of the podcast at samharris.org/subscribe. Episodes that have been re-released as part of the Best of Making Sense series may have been edited for relevance since their original airing.
Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and five-time New York Times best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the mind, society, current events, moral philosophy, religion, and rationality—with an overarching focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.
Sam is also the creator of the Waking Up app. Combining Sam’s decades of mindfulness practice, profound wisdom from varied philosophical and contemplative traditions, and a commitment to a secular, scientific worldview, Waking Up is a resource for anyone interested in living a more examined, fulfilling life—and a new operating system for the mind.
Waking Up offers free subscriptions to anyone who can’t afford one, and donates a minimum of 10% of profits to the most effective charities around the world. To learn more, please go to WakingUp.com.
Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.