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Ep. 533: Donald Hoffman Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Donald Hoffman
Donald Hoffman

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Donald Hoffman is a cognitive scientist at UC Irvine. He studies how our visual perception, guided by millions of years of natural selection, authors every aspect of our everyday reality. His research is about uncovering the underlying secrets of human perception. Donald has discovered clues that point to our subjective nature of reality. According to Donald, we actively create everything we see. Donald started to learn how to program at a very early age. This is what got him thinking: Are we just machines, or actual humans?

Donald began to be bothered by the reality that we might not be seeing what our eyes are seeing. Do we see reality as it really is? Almost all of us have a belief that we see the world as it is. Michael and Donald go in depth about certain illusions and truths that may be hidden from the main public. Illusions are everywhere when you start looking. Evolution shaped us with certain perceptions and interfaces that we, as humans, evolved to keep us alive. Whether or not those perceptions are real or fake is irrelevant. As long as they keep us feeling happy and alive, that is all that matters. Natural selection has also led us to the reality we see. The only thing that matters in natural selection is fitness. Fitness according to natural selection is not based on physical fitness but rather if you are able to reproduce. That is the only criteria.

Michael and Donald end the podcast posing the question: Do humans have the capacity to even understand what the true reality is?

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Are we robot or human?
  • Evolution
  • Reality vs. Perception of reality
  • Natural selection
  • Pushing theories to their limits

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Ep. 461: Robin Hanson Interview with Michael Covel on Trend Following Radio

Robin Hanson
Robin Hanson

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Michael takes a sci-fi journey on today’s podcast as he interviews Robin Hanson. Robin is professor of economics at George Mason University and his new book is, “The Age of EM.” Robin and Michael look forward about 100 years and analyze what the world will look like.

They start the podcast discussing singularity and what it will be like when robots take over. Michael asks, “How much time will it take to get to singularity and are there faster ways that we may get to this point?” Robin says that robots are a staple of where the future is headed. There are a few different schools of thought on how they will evolve but Robin’s theory is based on porting. In a nutshell, this means that you re-write old software to fit your new criteria. The idea is to do the same thing with the human brain. Robin goes into detail on this idea and says that it may take as little as one century to unfold.

Next, Robin discusses the types of people that will start out being emulated. The first will be top intellectuals of the time. After some years that will expand to other types of humans. Robin says that the economy will boom and double in size quickly. He also expands on “Em cities”, what they are, how they are created, and how they are run. “Em’s” is the term Robin uses for emulation robots.

Michael brings up the effects this next reality will have on mother nature and Em sex. Em’s live in a virtual reality. They never have pain or disease. They have perfect bodies and just have sex for recreational purposes. However, they do not last forever. Em’s will have to retire eventually because of software rot which Robin gives examples of and expands on.

Next, Michael asks about the political ramifications of robots entering the work space. Will Em’s run for politics? Robin says that they will most likely be involved in politics because they would never want to be run by people that are not nearly as fast and smart as them. He then expands on what the bodies of Em’s will look like. He describes the different shapes and sizes that Em’s are going to employ. This leads to the question of death. “Will Em’s be afraid of death?” Robin says that they probably wont see it coming.

Many people, when they look at the future, like to discuss what will happen. There is a degree at which our future can be influenced but to a large degree it is out of our control. Technology has been out of control for awhile. There are such varied interests among people that it will not matter if one group wants to move forward with Emulations or not. Things will continuously evolve. Michael and Robin end on how the political system will be run in the Em world.

In this episode of Trend Following Radio:

  • Singularity
  • Robots taking over
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Slavery
  • Reversible computing
  • Virtual reality
  • Future of politics
  • Democracy in the future

“As an economist and a social scientist I often analyze the world as if nobody is in charge. As if it is not a matter of people voting on it, it is a matter of people doing lots of little things in local self interest that end up accumulating into the net effect that we all see.” – Robin Hanson

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