Today we’re presenting the fourth and final installment of my conversation with the outspoken author, podcaster, philosopher, and recovering neuroscientist Sam Harris. Please check out parts one, two, and three if you missed them. Otherwise, you can press play on the embedded audio player or pull up the transcript, both of which are below.
We open today’s conversation by talking about bioterrorism. Because that’s not uplifting enough, we then move on the dangers a super AI could present in certain worst-case scenarios (which was the topic of a popular TED talk of Harris’). This conversation builds on yesterday’s cheerful discussion of nuclear terrorism.
The final part of the podcast is a conversation between me and podcasting superstar Tom Merritt. In it, Merritt and I discuss my interview with Harris—as well as a chunk of my novel . This section exists because I originally thought my podcast would be a limited set of just eight episodes connected that novel. But the podcast acquired a life of its own, and I’m about to publish episode #38 in the series of eight.
You may, of course, want to skip that section. Or perhaps not because it’s actually a pretty fun conversation. In addition to the topics covered in my interview with Harris, Merritt and I touch on the ever-fascinating subject of tapeworms—plus my own extensive background in the Middle East, my mercifully brief experiences in foster care, and more.
Finally, I’d like to briefly mention a series of four articles that I’m posting to Medium this month on the uplifting topic of existential risk. Which is to say the grim-yet-perversely-fascinating possibility that our technological creations might just annihilate us. I believe I present some arguments and analytic lenses that are new to this important topic—and some of these tie quite closely to the issues that Harris and I discuss in our conversation. The first piece in the series is right here. I should note that Medium is running this in their editorially curated, paid, members-only section. The goods news is that Medium gives everyone access to a few articles per month with essentially zero friction.
This special edition of the Ars Technicast podcast can be accessed in the following places:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-ars-technicast/id522504024?mt=2 (Might take several hours after publication to appear.)