As artificial intelligence research has progressed one of the key issues which has been identified is the problem of insuring that the AI's are moral. This problem is almost identical to the challenge of mortality as envisioned by the LDS Plan of Salvation. In modeling AI researchers have discovered that many of the problems traditionally associated with religion are inherent to the problem of creating morality in an intelligence.
I explore a theory for explaining the difference between people on the left and people on the right. The first being optimized to thrive in a world without dangers and the second being optimized to survive in a world with lots of dangers. While both are interesting adaptive strategies, I argue that we have tipped too much into a thrive dominated world with consequences that are hard to predict.
Taleb coined the term "Intellectuals Yet Idiots". While I completely agree with his designation and the problems associated with people in that category, I think we also need to look at the mirror image. The people who aren't intellectual and yet are also not idiots. People who use traditional norms to keep them out of trouble. The example I use of this category are the people in developing countries who refused to adopt the more liberal rules on the use of opiates, contrary to people in developed countries who made opiates more widely available and ended up causing a huge number of deaths.
I discuss getting to the bottom of what's really happening and how difficult that can be. That often the best source of information is in what people don't want you to see. I've been going back and turning old blog posts into podcasts and this one is a little bit dated, but still relevant, particularly with all the discussion of fake news.
The US has grown at an average of 2.9%/ year since 1650. That can't continue. At some point in order to continue to grow at that rate we'll have to cover the Earth in solar panels. The growth has to stop. What happens when it does?
An examination of the explanations offered for Fermi's Paradox offered by Stephen Web in his book If the Universe Is Teeming with Aliens ... WHERE IS EVERYBODY?: Fifty Solutions to the Fermi Paradox and the Problem of Extraterrestrial Life. In particular a look of the implications of his favored explanation that we are alone. In translating the original blog post to a podcast it became apparent that some things travel better than others. This is one of those times. You've been warned. Or maybe you haven't I don't think anyone actually reads these descriptions.
In 1950 Enrico Fermi asked "Where are they?" Referring to extraterrestrials. In this episode I examine how from a religious and more specifically a Mormon perspective the best answer is that they are here, we call them God and they communicate with us through prayer.
There are two reasons to vote. To decide the election and to express a preference. Given that your chances of actually being the deciding vote, particularly in a presidential election are non-existent, you're mostly voting to express your preference, and if one of the third party candidates more closely matches your preference than the two major party candidates you should vote for them.
The Cold War is over and people have largely assumed that the threat of World War III and global thermonuclear war have passed. But I argue that they have not and that there are many reasons to be concerned.
There is a difference between history and politics. We can get so caught up in wanting our team to win that we can completely forget that in the end history is more important. And history is dominated by large negative events, like the Sack of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258. Preventing these large negative events is what we should really be focused on.
Support for organized religion is as low as it's every been, but in this episode I argue that organized religion does have a place in the world, and that place exists even if you don't believe in the existence of God. Religion is a way of reducing fragility, and increasing antifragility. The example pre-martial sex is used to illustrate the point.
A discussion of the role of morals and religion when approaching science. How the replication crisis illustrates some of the failings of science. The example of science and the opiate epidemic.
Several articles have been written pointing out that there has been an increase in suicides by LGBT youth, and have blamed that increase on the Mormon church. In this episode I examine how complicated it is to determine the causes of suicide and offer some alternative explanations for the phenomenon.
The lack of some universally recognized logical system of morality means you can rely on God for morality or you can rely on culture for morality, but in both cases you’re relying on religion. You’re just arguing about the source of it. Atheists want to toss religion out the window with God. But it turns out God is hard to get rid of, as we see what happens when atheists actually set about to write.
In this episode I discuss religious objections to a technological singularity, particularly those objections arising from an LDS perspective. And use the metaphor of receiving a driver's license vs. building a car.