Lex Fridman Podcast

Conversations about science, technology, history, philosophy and the nature of intelligence, consciousness, love, and power. Lex is an AI researcher at MIT and beyond.

#365 – Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs

#365 – Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs

Tue, 14 Mar 2023 17:19

Sam Harris is an author, podcaster, and philosopher. Please support this podcast by checking out our sponsors:
- Notion: https://notion.com
- Indeed: https://indeed.com/lex to get $75 credit
- MasterClass: https://masterclass.com/lex to get 15% off

Sam's Website: https://samharris.org
Making Sense Podcast: https://www.samharris.org/podcasts/making-sense-episodes
Waking Up App: https://www.wakingup.com
Sam's YouTube: https://youtube.com/@samharrisorg
Sam's Instagram: https://instagram.com/samharrisorg

Podcast website: https://lexfridman.com/podcast
Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2lwqZIr
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2nEwCF8
RSS: https://lexfridman.com/feed/podcast/
YouTube Full Episodes: https://youtube.com/lexfridman
YouTube Clips: https://youtube.com/lexclips

- Check out the sponsors above, it's the best way to support this podcast
- Support on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/lexfridman
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/lexfridman
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lexfridman
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lexfridman
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lexfridman
- Medium: https://medium.com/@lexfridman

Here's the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players you should be able to click the timestamp to jump to that time.
(00:00) - Introduction
(09:25) - Empathy and reason
(17:17) - Donald Trump
(1:00:11) - Military industrial complex
(1:04:45) - Twitter
(1:28:52) - COVID
(2:12:35) - Kanye West
(2:29:11) - Platforming
(2:47:07) - Joe Rogan
(3:03:59) - Bret Weinstein
(3:17:38) - Elon Musk
(3:29:45) - Artificial Intelligence
(3:45:48) - UFOs
(3:59:03) - Free will
(4:26:17) - Hope for the future

Listen to Episode

Copyright © Lex Fridman <lexfridman@gmail.com> - all rights reserved

Read Episode Transcript

The following is a conversation with Sam Harris, his second time in the podcast. As I said two years ago when I first met and spoke with Sam, he's one of the most influential pioneering thinkers of our time. As the hosts of the Making Sense podcast, creator of the waking up app, and the author of many seminal books on human nature and the human mind, including the end of faith, the more landscape, lying, free will, and waking up. In this conversation, besides our mutual fascination with AGI and free will, we do also go deep into controversial challenging topics of Donald Trump, Hunter Biden, January 6th, vaccines, lab leak, Kanye West, and several key figures at the center of public discourse, including Joe Rogan and Elon Musk, both of whom have been friends of Sam and have become friends of mine. Somehow, an amazing life trajectory that I do not deserve in any way, and in fact believe is probably a figment of my imagination. And if it's alright, please allow me to say a few words about this personal aspect of the conversation of discussing Joe, Elon, and others. What's been weighing heavy on my heart since the beginning of the pandemic now three years ago is that many people I look to for wisdom in public discourse stop talking to each other as often with respect, humility, and love. When the world needed those kinds of conversations the most. My hope is that they start talking again. They start being friends again. They start noticing the humanity that connects them, that is much deeper than the disagreements that divide them. So let me take this moment to say with humility and honesty, why I look up to and I'm inspired by Joe, Elon, and Sam. I think Joe Rogan is important to the world, as a voice of compassion and curiosity and open mindedness to ideas both radical mainstream, sometimes with humor, sometimes with brutal honesty, always pushing for more kindness in the world. I think Elon Musk is important to the world as an engineer, leader, entrepreneur, and human being could take on the hardest problems that face humanity and refuses to accept the constraints of conventional thinking that made the solutions to these problems seem impossible. I think Sam Harris is important to the world as a fearless voice who fights for the pursuit of truth against growing forces of echo chambers and audience capture, taking unpopular perspectives and defending them with rigor and resilience. I both celebrate and criticize all three privately, and they criticize me usually more effectively from which I always learn a lot and always appreciate. Most importantly, there is respect and love for each other's human beings, the very thing that I think the world needs most now in a time of division and chaos. I will continue to try to mend divisions, to try to understand, not to ride, to turn the other cheek if needed, to return hate with love. Sometimes people criticize me for being naive, cheesy, simplistic, all that. I know, I agree, but I really am speaking from the heart and I'm trying. This world is too fucking beautiful not to try. In whatever way I know how. I love you all. And now a quick few second mention of each sponsor. Check them out in the description. It's the best way to support this podcast. We got notion for AI-powered note-taking and team collaboration, indeed for hiring great teams and masterclass for online learning. Choose wisely, my friends. Also, if you want to work with our team, we're always hiring good electsfreeman.com slash hiring. And now, onto the full ad reads. As always, no ads in the middle. I try to make this interesting, but if you must skip them, please still check out our sponsors. I enjoy their stuff. Maybe you will too. This show is brought to you by notion, a note-taking and team collaboration tool. My favorite note-taking and team collaboration tool. And they have a new feature, notion AI, that I've been using and loving. And this thing is probably the best implementation of a system that uses a language model to generate text because it integrates across the entirety of your note-taking process. And it adds just a giant number of small and big features that help you out. That save a lot of time, but also make everything more fun and creatively sort of inject ideas into your workflow. So just to list some features, they can edit the voice and tone of the text you already wrote so they can rewrite it in a different tone. They can make the text which I love. They can make it shorter or longer. Also, they can simplify the text, which to me is at the core of the writing process. Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler, as Einstein said. And to have tools that give you ideas how to do that, none of that is completely automate everything, but give you really powerful ideas of how to get 90% there. This is just brilliant. Also, if there's technical jargon, they can rewrite the text and explain it more simply. What else? They can obviously summarize the text. If you start writing, they can continue your writing. If you're having trouble starting to write and there's a blank page, glaring back at you, they can generate based on a topic of much of text to get you going. I mean, there's so many just amazing features. I love it when great, powerful language models, or any idea in AI is then injected into a tool that's actually usable and useful and powerful across a number of use cases to a huge number of people. I mean, this is really, really, exciting. Notion AI helps you work faster, write better and think bigger, doing text that normally takes you hours and just minutes, try Notion AI for free when you go to Notion.com slash Lex. That's all lowercase Notion.com slash Lex to try the power of Notion AI today. This shows also brought to you by indeed a hiring website. I've used it, I continue to use it to hire folks for the teams I've been on have led from engineering to creative, everything requires a rigorous systematic artistic, all many adjectives I want to use process to build up an amazing team because there's nothing more important to the success of an endeavor or the success of life or to just your contentment and happiness, enjoying fulfillment and a source of meaning than the team that you take on, the hard challenges of life with, of work with. So you should use the best tools for the job of hiring and you should take hiring very, very, very seriously. Don't overspend on hiring. Visit indeed.com slash Lex to start hiring now. That's indeed.com slash Lex terms and conditions apply. This shows also brought to you by Masterclass. $180 a year gets you in all access pass to watch courses from the best people in the world and their respective disciplines. One of the people I just recently talked to is Chris Voss. He is a former FBI hostage negotiator, brilliant guy. Off the mic, I really enjoy talking to him. There is kindness, camaraderie, thoughtfulness, humor, wit, also certain sort of cultural density and complexity, hailing from New York or whatever that Rich Sexy accent is from is just really fun to listen to him, to listen to him discuss what he's really good at. That was drawn the podcast and that is very much true in his masterclass, where he really systematically breaks down his ideas of what it takes to negotiate terrorist negotiate with hostage takers negotiate with bank robbers, but I think the most important thing is negotiate in everyday life to negotiate and business relationships all of that. It's just a really brilliant concise, clear, actionable advice that he gives and that's true for almost every single masterclass they have and you get access to all of them, get unlimited access to every masterclass and get 15% off an annual membership at masterclass.com slash Lex. This is the Lex Friedman podcast to support it. Please check out our sponsors in the description and now dear friends, here's Sam Harris. What is more effective at making a net positive impact on the world? Empathy or reason? It depends on what you mean by empathy. There are at least two kinds of empathy. There's the cognitive form which is, I would argue even a species of reason, it's just understanding another person's point of view. You understand why they're suffering or why they're happy or why you have a theory of mind about another human being that is accurate and so you can navigate in relationship to them more effectively. Then there's another layer entirely, not incompatible with that but just distinct, which is what people often mean by empathy, which is more emotional contagion. You feel depressed and I begin to feel depressed along with you because it's contagious. We're so close and I'm so concerned about you and your problems become my problems and it bleeds through. Now I think both of those capacities are very important but the emotional contagion piece and this is not really my thesis, this is something I have more or less learned from Paul Bloom. The psychologist wrote a book on this topic titled Against Empathy. The emotional social contagion piece is a bad guide rather often for ethical behavior and ethical intuitions. I'll give you the clear example of this which is we find stories with a single identifiable protagonist who we can effortlessly empathize with far more compelling than data. If I tell you, this is the classic case of the little girl who falls down a well. This is somebody's daughter. You see the parents distraught on television. You hear her cries from the bottom of the well. The whole country stops. There was an example of this 20-25 years ago. It was just wall to wall on CNN. This is just the perfect use of CNN. It was 72 hours of whatever it was of continuous coverage of just extracting this girl from a well. So we effortlessly pay attention to that. We care about it. We will donate money toward it. I mean, it's just it marshals 100% of our compassion and altruistic impulse. Whereas if you hear that there's a genocide raging in some country you've never been to and never attend to go to and the numbers don't make a dent and we find the story boring. We'll change the channel in the face of a genocide. It doesn't matter. It could be 500,000 little girls have fallen down wells in that country and we still don't care. Many of us have come to believe that this is a bug rather than a feature of our moral psychology. So empathy plays an unhelpful role there. Ultimately, I think when we're making big decisions about what we should do and how to mitigate human suffering and what's worth valuing and how we should protect those values, I think reason is the better tool. But it's not that I would want to dispense with any part of empathy either. Well, there's a lot of changes to go on there. But briefly to mention, you've recently talked about effective altruism on your podcast. I think you mentioned some interesting statement. I'm going to horribly miss quote you. But that you'd rather live in a world like it doesn't really make sense, but you'd rather live in a world where you care about maybe your daughter and son more than a hundred people that live across the world, something like this. Like where the calculus is not always perfect, but somehow it makes sense to live in a world where it's irrational in this way. And yet empathetic in the way you've been discussing. Right. I'm not sure what the right answer is there or even whether there is one right answer that could be multiple peaks on this part of the moral landscape. But so the opposition is between an ethic that's articulated by someone like the Dalai Lama, right? You know, really any exponent of classic Buddhism would say that the ultimate enlightened ethic is true dispassion with respect to friends and strangers. Right. So you would the mind of the Buddha would be truly dispassionate. You would love and care about all people equally. And by that light, it seems some kind of ethical failing or at least a failure of fully actualized compassion in the limit or enlightened wisdom in the limit to care more or even much more about your kids than the kids of other people or and to prioritize your energy in that way. Right. So you spend all this time trying to figure out how to keep your kids healthy and happy and you'll attend to their minutest concerns and however superficial. And again, there's a genocide raging in Sudan or wherever and it takes up less than 1% of your bandwidth. I'm not sure it would be a better world if everyone was running the Dalai Lama program there. I think some prioritization of one's nearest and dearest ethically might be optimal because we'll all be doing that and we'll all be doing that in a circumstance where we have certain norms and laws and and other structures that force us to be dispassionate where that matters. Right. So like when I go to when my daughter gets sick and I have to take her to to a hospital, you know, I really want her to get attention. Right. And I'm worried about her more than I'm worried about everyone else in the lobby. But the truth is I actually don't want a totally corrupt hospital. I don't want a hospital that treats my daughter better than anyone else in the lobby because she's my daughter and I've you know, bribed the guy at the door or whatever, you know, or the guy's a fan of my podcast or whatever the thing is, you don't want starkly corrupt unfair situations. And when you're when you sort of get pressed down the hierarchy of Maslow's needs, you know, individually and and society, a bunch of the bunch of those variables change and they change for the worse understandably. But yeah, when things are when everyone's corrupt and it's you're in a state of of collective emergency, you know, you've got a lifeboat problem. You're scrambling to get into the lifeboat. Yeah, then then fairness and norms and and the, you know, the other vestiges of civilization begin to get stripped off. We can't reason from those emergencies to normal life. I mean, in normal life, we want justice, we want fairness, we want we're all better off for it, even when the spotlight of our concern is focused on the people we know, the people who are friends, the people who are family, people we we have good reason to care about. We still by default want a system that protects the the interests of strangers too. And we know that generally speaking and interesting in game theoretic terms, we're all going to tend to be better off in a fair system than a corrupt one. One of the failure modes of empathy is our susceptibility to anecdotal data. Yeah, just a good story. Yeah, we'll get us to not think clearly. But what about empathy in the context of just discussing ideas with other people? And then there's a large number of people like in this country, you know, right and blue, half the population believes certain things on immigration or on the response to the pandemic or any kind of controversial issue, even if the election was fairly executed, having an empathy for their worldview, trying to understand where they're coming from, not just in the explicit statement of their idea, but the entirety of like the roots from which their ideas, thumbs that kind of empathy, while you're discussing ideas, what is in your pursuit of truth, having empathy for the perspective of a large number of other people versus raw mathematical reason? I think it's important, but it only takes you so far, right? It doesn't get you to truth, right? The truth is not decided by democratic principles. And certain people believe things for understandable reasons, but those reasons are nonetheless bad reasons, right? They don't scale, they don't generalize, they're not reasons anyone should adopt, for themselves or respect, you know, epistemologically, and yet their circumstances understandable and it's something you can care about, right? And so yeah, like, let me just take, I think there's many examples of this you might be thinking of, but I mean, one that comes to mind is I've been super critical of Trump obviously, and I've been super critical of certain people for endorsing him or not criticizing him when he really made it, you know, painfully obvious who he was, you know, if there had been any doubt initially, there was no doubt when we have a sitting president who's not agreeing to a peaceful transfer of power, right? So I'm critical of all of that, and yet the fact that many millions of Americans didn't see what was wrong with Trump or bought into the, didn't see through his con, right? I mean, they bought into the idea that he was a brilliant businessman who could just be able to change things because he's so unconventional and so, you know, his heart is in the right place, you know, he's really a man of the people even though he's a, you know, gold plated everything in his life. They bought the myth somehow of, you know, largely because they'd seen him on television for almost a decade and a half pretending to be this genius businessman who could get things done. It's understandable to me that many very frustrated people who have not had their hopes and dreams actualized, who have been the victims of globalism and many other, you know, current trends. It's understandable that they would be confused and not see the liability of electing a grossly incompetent, morbidly narcissistic person into the presidency. So I don't, so what should I say that I don't blame, there are many, many millions of people who I don't necessarily blame for the Trump phenomenon, but I can nonetheless bemoan the phenomenon as indicative of, you know, very bad state of affairs in our society, right? So it's, it's two levels to it. I mean, one is I think you have to call a spade a spade when you're talking about how things actually work and what things are likely to happen or not. But then you can recognize that people are very different life experiences and, and yeah, I mean, I think empathy and, you know, probably the better word for what I would hope to embody there is compassion, right? Like really, you know, to really wish people well, you know, and to really wish, you know, strangers well, effortlessly, wish them well, and to realize that you there is no opposition between in the at bottom, there's no real opposition between selfishness and selflessness because wise selfishness really takes into account other people's happiness. I mean, what, you know, which do you want to live in a society where you have everything, but most other people have nothing? Or do you want to live in a society where you're surrounded by happy, creative, self-actualized people who are having their hopes and dreams realized? I think it's obvious that the second society is much better. However, much you can guard your good luck. But what about having empathy for certain principles that people believe? For example, though, the pushback, the other perspective on this, because you said, bought the myth of Trump as the great businessman. There could be a lot of people that are supporters of Trump who could say that Sam Harris bought the myth that we have this government of the people, buy the people that actually represent us as the people, as opposed to a bunch of elites who are running a giant bureaucracy that is corrupt, that is feeding themselves, and they're actually not representing the people. And then here's this chaos agent, Trump who speaks off the top of his head. Yeah, he's flawed in all this number of ways. He's a more comedian than he is a presidential type of figure. And he's actually creating the kind of chaos that's going to shake up this bureaucracy. He's really shake up the elites that are so uncomfortable because they don't want the world to know about the game that got running on everybody else. So that's a kind of perspective that they would take and say, yeah, there's these flaws that Trump has, but this is necessary. I agree with the first part. So I haven't bought the myth that it's a truly representative democracy in the way that we might idealize. And on some level, this is a different conversation, but on some level, I'm not even sure how much I think it should be. I'm not sure we want in the end everyone's opinion given equal weight about what we should do about anything. And I include myself in that. There are many topics around which I don't deserve to have a strong opinion because I don't know what I'm talking about or what I would be talking about if I had a strong opinion. So I think we'll probably get to that to some of those topics because I've declined to have certain conversations on my podcast just because I think I'm the wrong person to have that conversation. And I think it's important to see those bright lines in one's life and in the moment politically and ethically. So yeah, I think so we've aside the the viability of democracy. I'm under no illusions that all of our institutions are worth preserving precisely as they have been up into the moment. This great orange wrecking ball came swinging through our lives. But I just it was a very bad bet to elect someone who was grossly incompetent and were worse than incompetent genuinely malevolent in his selfishness. And this is something we know based on literally decades of him being in the public eye. He's not a public servant in any normal sense of that term. And he couldn't possibly give an honest or sane answer to the question. The question you asked me about empathy and reason and like how should we you know what should guide us. I genuinely think he is missing some necessary moral and psychological tools. Right. And this is I can feel compassion for him as a human being because I think having those things is incredibly important and genuinely loving other people is incredibly important. And knowing what all that's about is that's really the good stuff in life. And I think he's missing a lot of that. But I think we don't want to promote people to the highest positions of power in our society who are far outliers in pathological terms. We want them to be far outliers in the best case in wisdom and compassion and some of the things you've some of the topics you brought up. I mean we want someone to be deeply informed. We want someone to be unusually curious, unusually alert to how they may be wrong or getting things wrong consequentially. He's none of those things. And so far as we're going to get normal mediocrities in that role, which I think is often the best we could expect, let's get normal mediocrities in that role. Not once in a generation, narcissists and frauds. I mean it is like that. We just take honesty as a single variable. Right. I think you want, yes, it's possible that most politicians lie at least some of the time. I don't think that's a good thing. I think people should be generally honest, even to a fault. Yes, there are certain circumstances where lying I think is necessary. It's kind of on a continuum of self-defense and violence. So it's like if you're going to, if the Nazis come to your door and ask you if you've got Anne Frank in the attic, I think it's okay to lie to them. But, you know, Trump, there's, I arguably there's never been a person that anyone could name in human history who's lied with that kind of velocity. I mean, it's just, he was a blizzard of lies. Great and small, you know, to pointless and effective. But it's just, it says something fairly alarming about our society that a person of that character got promoted. And so, yes, I have compassion and concern for half of the society who didn't see it that way. And that's going to sound elitist and smug or something for anyone who's on that side listening to me. But it's genuine. I mean, I understand that like I barely have the, I'm like one of the luckiest people in the world. And I barely have the bandwidth to pay attention to half the things I should pay attention to in order to have an opinion about half of the things we're going to talk about. Right. So, how much less bandwidth is somebody who's working two jobs or, you know, a single mom who's, who's, you know, raising, you know, multiple kids, you know, even a single kid. It's just, it's unimaginable to me that people have the bandwidth to, to really track this stuff. And so then they jump on social media and they see, they get inundated by misinformation and they see what their favorite influencer just said. And now they're worried about vaccines and they're, it's just, it's, we're living in an environment where our, the information space becomes so corrupted. And we've built machines to further corrupted, you know, and we built a business model for the internet that further corrupts it. So it's, it is just, it's chaos in informational terms. And I don't fault people for being confused and impatient and at the, at their wits end. And yes, Trump was a an enormous fuck you to the establishment. And that's, that was understandable for many reasons. To me, Sam Harris, the great Sam Harris, is somebody I've looked up to for a long time, as a beacon of voice of reason. And there's this meme on the internet. And I would love you to steal man the case for it. And against that Trump broke Sam Harris's brain. That there's something is disproportionately to the actual impact that Trump had on our society. He had an impact on the, on the ability of balanced, calm, rational minds to see the world clearly, to think clearly. You being one of the beacons of that. Is there, is there a degree to which he broke your brain? Well, otherwise known as Trump's arrangements. Yeah, yeah, medical, medical and my, yeah, I think Trump's arrangements in drum is a very clever meme because it, it just throws the, you know, the problem back on the person who's criticizing Trump. But in truth, the true Trump's arrangements in drum was not to have seen how dangerous and divisive it would be to promote someone like Trump to that position of power. And to not, and in the, in the, the final moment, not to see how untenable it was to still support someone who, you know, a sitting president who was not committing to a peaceful transfer of power. I mean, that was, if that wasn't a bright line for you, you have been deranged by something because that was, you know, the, that was one minute to midnight for our democracy as far as I'm concerned. And I think it really was but for the, the integrity of a few people that we didn't suffer some real constitutional crisis and, and real emergency, you know, after January 6th. I mean, if Mike Pence had caved in and decided to not certify the election, right? If it literally, you can count on two hands, a number of people who help things together at that moment. And so, and it was so, it wasn't for want of trying on Trump's part that we, we, um, didn't succumb to some, you know, real, truly uncharted catastrophe with our democracy. So the fact that that didn't happen is not a sign that those of us who were worried that it was so close to happening were exaggerating the problem. I mean, it's like, you know, you almost got run over by a car, but you didn't. And so, you know, you're the fact that you're adrenalized and you're thinking, you know, boy, that was dangerous. I probably shouldn't, you know, wander in the middle of the street with my eyes closed. You weren't wrong to feel that you really had a problem, right? And came very close to something truly terrible. So I think that's where we were and I think we shouldn't do that again, right? So the fact that he's still he's coming back around us potentially a viable candidate. You know, I'm not spending much time thinking about it, frankly, because it's, you know, I'm waiting for the moment where it requires some thought. Um, I mean, it did, it took up, uh, I don't know how many podcasts I devoted to the topic. It wasn't that, I mean, it wasn't that many in the end, you know, against the, the number of podcasts I, I devoted other topics, but there are people who look at Trump and just find him funny, entertaining, not especially threatening. It's like not a, you know, it's just, it's just good fun to see somebody who's like, he's just not taking anything seriously. And it's just just putting a, you know, a stick in the wheel of, of business as usual again and again and again and again. Um, and they don't really see anything much at stake, right? It doesn't really, it doesn't really matter if we don't support NATO. It doesn't really matter if he says he trusts Putin more than our intelligence services. Uh, none of this, it doesn't matter if he's on the one hand saying that he loves, uh, the leader of North Korea and on the other threatening, it threatens to, to, you know, bomb them back to the Stone Age, right on Twitter. It's all, it all can be taken in the spirit of kind of reality television. Like this is just, this is the part of the movie that's just fun to watch, right? And I understand that I can even inhabit that space for a few minutes at a time, but there's a deeper concern that we're in the process of entertaining ourselves to death, right? That we're just not taking things seriously. And this is, it's a problem I've had with several other people we might name who just, who just appeared in me to be goofing around at scale. And they lack a kind of moral seriousness. I mean, they're touching big problems where lives hang in the balance, but they're just fucking around. And I think there are really important problems that we have to get our head straight around. And we need, you know, it's not to say that institutions don't become corrupt. I think they do. And I think, and I'm quite worried that, you know, both about the loss of trust in our institutions and the fact that trust has eroded for good reason, right? That they have become less trustworthy. I think, you know, they've become infected by, you know, political ideologies that are not truth tracking. I mean, I worry about all of that. But I just think the, we need institutions. We need to rebuild them. We need, we need experts who are real experts. We need to value expertise over, you know, amateur speculation and conspiracy thinking and just, you know, and bullshit. The kind of amateur speculation we're doing on this very podcast. I'm usually alert to the moments where I'm just guessing or where I actually feel like I'm talking from within my wheelhouse. And I try to teleclip graph that a fair amount with people. So yeah, I mean, but it's not, it's different. I get me. You can invite someone onto your podcast who's an expert about something that you're, you're not an expert about. And then you, you in the process of getting more informed yourself, your, your audience is getting more informed. So you're asking smart questions. And you might be pushing back at the margins, but you know that when push comes to shove on that topic, you really don't have a basis to have a strong opinion. And if you were going to form a, a strong opinion that was this counter to the expert you have in front of you, it's going to be by deference to some other expert who you've brought in or who you've heard about or whose work you've read or whatever. But there's a paradox to how we value authority in science. That most people don't understand. And I think we should at some point unravel that because it's the basis for a lot of public confusion. And for, for, for instance, the basis for a lot of, you know, criticism I've received on these topics where it's, you know, people think that I'm a, you know, I'm against free speech or I'm an establishment shill or it's like I just think, I'm a credentialist. I just think people with PhDs from Ivy League universities should, you know, run everything. It's not true, but there's a ton of confusion. There's a lot to cut through to get to daylight there because people are very confused about how we value authority in the service of rationality generally. You've talked about it, but it's just interesting. The intensity of feeling you have, you've, you've had this famous phrase about Hunter Biden and children in the basement. Can you just revisit this case? So let me, let me give another perspective on the situation of January 6th and Trump in general. It's possible that January 6th and things of that nature revealed that our democracy is actually pretty fragile. And then Trump is not a malevolent and ultra-competent malevolent figure, but is simply a jokester. And he just by creating the chaos revealed that it's all pretty fragile because you're a student in history and there's a lot of people like Vladimir Lenin, Hitler, who are exceptionally competent at controlling power, at being executives and taking that power, controlling the generals, controlling all the figures involved, and certainly not tweeting, but working in the shadows behind the scenes to gain power. And they did so extremely competently and that is how they were able to gain power. The pushback with Trump, he was doing none of that. He was creating, he's very good at creating drama, sometimes for humor sake, sometimes for drama sake, and simply revealed that our democracy is fragile. And so he's not this once in a generation horrible figure, once in a generation narcissist. No, I don't think he's a truly scary sinister, you know, Putin-like or, you know, Hitler, much less Hitler-like figure, not at all. He's not ideological. He doesn't care about anything beyond himself. So it's not, no, no, he's much less scary than any really scary, totalitarian, right? And he's more brave in your world than 1984. This is what Eric Weinstein never stops badgering me about, but he's still wrong, Eric. You know, my analogy for Trump was that he's an evil, trancey gardener. I don't know if you remember the book or the film being there with Peter Sellers, but Peter Sellers is this gardener who really doesn't know anything, but he gets recognized as this wise man and gets promoted to immense power in Washington because he's speaking in these kind of, in a semblance of wisdom, he's got these very simple aphorisms, or it seemed to be aphorisms. He's just talking, all he cares about is gardening. He's just talking about his garden all the time, but, you know, he'll say something, but, you know, in the spring, you know, the new shoots will bloom, and people read into that some kind of genius, you know, insight politically. And so he gets promoted and says that's the joke of the film. For me, Trump has always been someone like an evil trancey gardener. He's not to say he's totally, yes, he has a certain kind of genius. He's got a genius for creating a spectacle around himself. He's got a genius for getting the eye of the media always coming back to him. But it's only, it's a kind of, it's a kind of, you know, self-promotion that only works if you actually are truly shameless and don't care about having a reputation for anything that I or you would want to have a reputation for. It's like it's pure, the pure pornography of attention, right? And he just wants more of it. I think that truly depressing and genuinely scary thing was that we have a country that at least half of the country given how broken our society is in many ways. We have a country that didn't see anything wrong with that, bringing someone who obviously doesn't know what he should know to be president. And who's obviously not a good person, right? Obviously doesn't care about people. Can't even pretend to care about people really, right? In a credible way. And so, I mean, if there's a silver lining to this, it's along the lines you just sketched. It shows us how vulnerable our system is to a truly brilliant and sinister figure, right? I mean, like, I think we are, we really dodged a bullet. Yes, someone far more competent and conniving and ideological could have exploited our system in a way that Trump didn't. And that's, yeah. So if we plug those holes eventually, that would be a good thing and he would have done a good thing for our society, right? I mean, one of the things we realized, and I think nobody knew, I certainly didn't know it and I didn't hear anyone talk about it, is how much our system relies on norms rather than laws. Yes, civility. Right. Yeah, it's just like it's quite possible that he never did anything illegal. Truly illegal. I think he probably did a few illegal things, but like illegal such that he really should be thrown in jail for it, you know, at least that remains to be seen. So all of the chaos, all of the, you know, all of the diminishment of our stature in the world, all of the just the opportunity costs of spending years focused on nonsense, all of that was just norm violations. All that was just, that was just all a matter of not saying the thing you should say, but that doesn't mean they're insignificant, right? It's not that it's like, it's not illegal for a sitting president to say, no, I'm not going to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, right? We'll wait and see whether I win. If I win, it was, the election was, was, was valid. If I lose, it was fraudulent, right? But aren't those humorous perturbations to our system of civility, such that we know what the limits are, and now we start to think that and have these kinds of discussion? But that wasn't a humorous perturbation because he did everything he could, granted he wasn't very competent, but he did everything he could to try to steal the election. I mean, the irony is he claimed to have an election stolen from him all the while doing everything he could to steal it, declaring it fraudulent in advance, trying to get the votes to not be counted as the evening war on, knowing that they were going to be disproportionately Democrat votes because of the, because of the position he took on mail-in ballots. I mean, all of it was fairly calculated. The whole circus of, of, you know, the clown car that crashed into, you know, the four seasons landscaping, right? And you got Rudy Giuliani with his hair dyed and you got Sidney Powell and all these grossly incompetent people lying as freely as they could breathe about election fraud, right? And all of these things are getting thrown out by, you know, Republican, largely Republican election officials and Republican judges. It wasn't, it wasn't for what have tried that he didn't maintain his power in this country. He really tried to steal the presidency. He just was not competent and the people around him weren't competent. So that's a good thing and it's worth not letting that happen again. But he wasn't competent. So he didn't do everything he could. Well, no, he did everything he could. He didn't do everything that could have been done by someone more competent. Right. But the, the tools you have as a president, you could do a lot of things. You can declare emergencies, especially during COVID, you could postpone the election. You can create military conflict that, you know, any kind of reason to postpone the election. There's, there's a lot of a lot of what he tried to do things and he would have to have done those things through other people and there are people who refuse to do those things. There are people who said they would quit. They would, they would quit publicly. Right. I mean, this, you start, again, there are multiple books written about all in the, the last hours of this presidency. And the details are shocking in what he tried to do and try to get others to do. And it's awful. Right. I mean, it's, it's just awful that we were that close to something, um, to, to a true unraveling of our political process. I mean, it's the only time in our lifetime that anything like this has happened. And, um, it's deeply embarrassing, right? For, you know, on the world stage, it's just like we, we looked like a banana republic there for a while. And we're the, the lone superpower. It's a bet. It's, it's not good. Right. And so we shouldn't, I get, there's no, there's no, the, the people who thought, well, we just need to shake things up. And this is a great, great way to shake things up and having people, you know, storm our capital and, you know, smear shit on the walls. That's just more shaking things up, right? It's all just for the lulls. Um, there's a nihilism and cynicism to all of that, which again, in certain people, it's understandable. You know, frankly, it's not understandable. If you've got a billion dollars and you're, you know, have a compound in Menlo Park or wherever it's like, there are people who are cheerleading this stuff, who shouldn't be cheerleading this stuff and who know that they can get on their Gulf Stream and fly to their compound in New Zealand. If everything goes to shit, right? So there's a cynicism to all of that that I think we should be deeply critical of. But what I'm trying to understand is not, and analyze, it's not the behavior of this particular human being, but the effect it had in part on the division between people. As, to me, the degree, the meme of Sam Harris's brain being broken by Trump represents, you're like the person I would look to to bridge the division. Well, I don't think there is something profitably to be said to someone who's truly captivated by the, the, the personality cult of Trumpism, right? Like there's nothing that I'm going to say to, there's no conversation I'm going to have with Candace Owens, say about Trump. This is going to converge on something reasonable, right? I haven't tried with Candace, I've tried with many people who are in that particular orbit. I mean, I've had conversations with people who won't admit that there's anything wrong with Trump, anything. So I'd like to push for the empathy versus reason. Because when you operate in the space of reason, yes. But I think there's a lot of power in you showing in you, Sam Harris showing that you're willing to see the good qualities of Trump publicly showing that. I think that's the way to win over the Candace Owens. Well, but he has so few of them. He has fewer good qualities than any, virtually anyone I can name. Right. But he's funny. I'll grant you that he's funny. He's a good entertainer. There's others look at just policies and actual impacts. I've admitted that. No, no. So like, so I've admitted that many of his policies I agree with. Many, many of his policies. So probably more often than not, at least on balance, I agreed with his policy that we should take China seriously as an adversary. And I think, again, you have to, there's a lot of fine print a lot of this because the way he talks about these things and many of his motives that are obvious are things that I don't support. But I'm going to take immigration. I think there's, it's obvious that we should have control of our borders. Right. Like, I don't see the argument for not having control of our borders. We should let in who we want to let in and we should keep out who we want to keep out and we should have a sane immigration policy. So I don't, I didn't, necessarily think it was a priority to build the wall, but I didn't, I never criticized the impulse to build the wall because if tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people are coming across that border and we are not in a position to know who's coming, that seems untenable to me. So, and I can recognize that many people in our society are on balance the victims of immigration. And there is a, in many cases, a zero sum contest between the interests of actual citizens and the interests of immigrants. Right. So I think we should have a, we should have control of our borders. We should have a sane and compassionate immigration policy. We should have, we should let in refugees. Right. So I did, you know, Trump on refugees was terrible. But no, like, I would say 80% of the policy concerns, people celebrated in him are concerns that I either share entirely or certainly sympathize with. Right. So like that's not, that's not the issue. The issue is, I'll thread the democracy in some fun. Well, the issue is largely what you said it was. It's not so much the person. It's the effect on everything he touches. Right. He just, he has this, this superpower of deranging and destabilizing almost everything he touches and selling the, and compromising the integrity of almost anyone who comes into his orbit. I mean, so you looked at these people who served, you know, as chief of staff or, you know, in various cabinet positions, people had real reputations, you know, for, for probity and, and levelheadedness, you know, whether you share their politics or not. I mean, these were real people. These were not, you know, some of them were goofballs. But, um, you know, many people who, who just got totally trashed by proximity to him and then trashed by him when they finally parted company with him. Yeah, I mean, there's just people bent over backwards to accommodate his norm violations. And it was, it was bad for them and it was bad for our, our, our system. And, but that, but none of that discounts the fact that we have, um, a system that really needs proper house cleaning. Yes, there are bad incentives and, um, entrenched interests. And, yeah, I'm not a fan of the concept of, of the deep state, but because it, you know, has been so propagandized. But yes, there's, there's something like that, you know, that is not, um, flexible enough to, to respond intelligently to the needs of the moment. Right. So there's a lot of rethinking of government and of institutions in general that I think, you know, we should do, but we need smart, well informed, well intentioned people to do that job. And the well intentioned part is, is hugely important, right? It's just, just give me someone who is not the most selfish person anyone has ever heard about in their lifetime. Right. And what we got with Trump was that like literally the one most selfish person, I think anyone could name. I mean, and again, there's so much known about this man. That's the thing. It was like, it predates his presidency. We knew this guy 30 years ago. And, and this, and this is what to come back to the, those inflammatory comments about 100 Biden's laptop. The reason why I can say with confidence that I don't care what was on his, his laptop is that there is, and, and that includes any evidence of corruption on the, on the part of his father, right? Now, there's been precious little of that that's actually emerged. So it's like, there is no, as far as I can tell, there's not a big story associated with that laptop as much as people bang on about a few emails. But even if there were just obvious corruption, right? Like Joe Biden was at this meeting and he took, you know, this amount of money from this shady guy, for bad reasons, right? Given how visible the lives of these two men have been, right? And given how much we know about Joe Biden and how much we know about Donald Trump and how they have lived in public for almost as long as I've been alive, both of them, the, the, the scale of corruption can't possibly balance out between the two of them, right? We, if, if you show me that Joe Biden has this secret life, or he's driving a Bugatti and he's living like Andrew Tate, right? And he's doing, he's doing all these things. I didn't know about, okay, then I'm going to start getting a sense that, all right, maybe this guy is way more corrupt than I realized. Maybe there is some deal in Ukraine or with China that is just, like this guy is not who he seems. He's not the public servant. He's been pretending to be. He's been on the take for decades and decades. And he's just, he's as dirty as can be. He's all mobbed up and it's a nightmare. And he can't be trusted, right? That's possible if you show me that his life is not at all what it seems. But on the assumption that I, having looked at this guy for literally decades, right? And knowing that every journalist has looked at him for decades, just how many affairs is he having, just how much, you know, how many drugs is he doing, how many houses does he have? Where, you know, what, what, what, what is, what are the obvious conflicts of interest? You know, you hold that against what we know about Trump, right? And I mean, the litany of indiscretions, you can put on Trump's side that, that testified to his personal corruption to testify to the fact that he has no ethical compass. There's simply no comparison, right? So that's why I don't care about what's on the laptop. When, now, if you tell me Trump is no longer running for president in 2024 and we can put Trumpism behind us. And now you're saying, listen, there's a lot of stuff on that laptop that makes Joe Biden look like a total asshole. Okay, I'm all ears, right? I mean, it was a forced, in 2020, it was a forced choice between a sitting president who wouldn't commit to a peaceful transfer of power and a guy who's obviously too old to be president who has a crack addicted son who, who, you know, who lost his laptop. And I just knew that I was going to take Biden in spite of whatever litany of horrors was going to come tumbling out of that laptop. And that might involve sort of, so the actual quote is Hunter Biden literally could have had the corpses of children in the basement. There's a dark humor to it, right? Which is, I think you speak to, I would not have cared. There's nothing. It's Hunter Biden, it's not Joe Biden. Whatever the scope of Joe Biden's corruption is, it is infinitesimally compared to the corruption. We know Trump is involved in, it's like a firefly to the sun. It's what you're speaking to. But let me make the case that you're really focused on the surface stuff that it's possible to have corruption that masquerades in the thing we mentioned, which is civility. You can, you can spend hundreds of billions of dollars or trillion stores of war in the Middle East, for example, something that you've changed your mind on in terms of the negative impact it has on the world. And that, you know, the military industrial complex, it's everybody's very nice. Everybody's very civil. There's very upfront. Here's how we're spending the money. Yeah, sometimes somehow disappears in different places, but that's the way, you know, war is complicated. And it's everyone is very polite. There's no coke and strippers or whatever is on the laptop. It's very nice and polite. And the meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of civilians die of hate. Just an incredible amount of hate is created because people lose their family members, all that kind of stuff. But there's no strippers and coke on a laptop. But it's not just superficial. When someone only wants wealth and power and fame, that is their objective function. They're like a robot that is calibrated just to those variables. And they don't care about the risks we run on any other front. They don't care about environmental risk, pandemic risk, nuclear proliferation risk, none of it. They're just tracking fame and money and whatever can personally redound to their self-interest along those lines. And they're not informed about the other risks we're running, really. I mean, in Trump, you had a president who was repeatedly asking his generals, why couldn't we use our nuclear weapons? Why can't we have more of them? Why do I have fewer nuclear weapons than JFK? So that were a sign of anything other than progress. And this is the guy who's got the button. Somebody's following him around with a bag waiting to take his order to launch. That is a risk we should never run. One thing Trump has going for him I think is that he doesn't drink or do drugs. People allegedly do speed. But let's take him in his word. He's not deranging himself with pharmaceuticals at least. But apart from diet coke. But there's nothing wrong. Just for the record. We need to push back on that. There's nothing wrong with diet coke. Yeah. I'm very large. I occasionally have some myself. There's no medical, there's no scientific evidence that I observed the negatives of all those studies about Aspertaim and all that. I hope you're right. Everything you said about the military industrial complex is true. We've been worrying about that on both sides of the aisle for a very long time. That phrase came from Eisenhower. It's so much of what ails us as a story of bad incentives. And bad incentives are so powerful that they corrupt even good people. How much more do they corrupt bad people? So it's like you want to at minimum you want reasonably good people, at least non-pathological people in the system trying to navigate against the grain of bad incentives. And better still, all of us can get together and try to diagnose those incentives and change them. And we will really succeed when we have a system of incentives where the good incentives are so strong that even bad people are effortlessly behaving as though they're good people because they're so successfully incentivized to behave that way. Right? That's so it's almost the inversion of our current situation. So yes, and you say I changed my mind about the war. Not quite. I mean, I was never a supporter of the war in Iraq. I was always worried that it was a distraction from the war in Afghanistan. I was a supporter of the war in Afghanistan. And I will admit in hindsight that looks like you know, at best a highly ambiguous and painful exercise, you know, more likely a full zarind, right? I was like that. You know, it did not turn out well. It's it wasn't for want to try. And I don't, you know, I have not done a deep dive on on all of the failures there. And maybe all of these failures or failures in principle. I mean, maybe it's just maybe that's not the kind of thing that can be done well by anybody, whatever our intentions. But yeah, the move to Iraq always seemed questionable to me. And when we knew the problem, the immediate problem at that moment, you know, Al-Qaeda wasn't in Afghanistan and, you know, and then bouncing to Pakistan. Anyway, you know, so yes, but my my sense of the possibility of nation-building, my sense of, you know, and so far as the the the Neocon spirit of, you know, responsibility and idealism, that you know, America was the kind of nation that should be functioning in this way as the world's cop. And we have to get in there and untangle some of these knots by force rather often because, you know, if we don't do it over there, we're going to have to do it over here kind of thing. Yeah, some of that has definitely changed for me in my thinking. I mean, there are obviously cultural reasons why it failed in Afghanistan. And then if you can't change the culture, it's, you're not going to force a change at gunpoint in the culture. It certainly seems that that's not going to happen. And it took us, you know, over 20 years to apparently to realize that. That's one of the things you realize with the wars. There's not going to be a strong signal that things are not working. If you just keep pouring money into a thing, a military effort. Well, also there are signs of it working too. You have all the stories of girls now going to school, right? You know, the girls are getting battery acid thrown in their faces by religious maniacs. And then we come in there and we stop that. And now girls are getting educated. And there's a, and that's all good. And our intentions are good there. And I mean, we're on the right side of history there. Good girls should be going to school. You know, Malala, Joseph, Si, should have the Nobel Prize. And she shouldn't have been shot in the face by, by the Taliban, right? We know what the right answers are there. The question is, what do you do when there are enough in this particular case, religious maniacs, who are willing to die and let their children die in defense of crazy ideas and moral norms that belong in the seventh century. And it's a problem we couldn't solve. And we couldn't solve it even though we spent trillions of dollars to solve it. This reminded me of the thing that you and Jack Dorsey jokingly had for a while is the discussion about banning Donald Trump from Twitter. But does any of it bother you? Now that Twitter files came out that, I mean, it's has to do with sort of the hunter laptop, hunter Biden laptop story. There's a bother you that there could be a collection of people that make decisions about who to ban and not. And then that could be susceptible to bias and to ideological influence. Well, I think it always will be or in the absence of perfect AI, it always will be. And this becomes relevant with AI as well. Yeah, because there's some censorship on AI happening. Yeah. And it's an interesting question there as well. I don't think Twitter is important as people think it is, right? And I used to think it was more important when I was on it. And now that I'm off of it, I think it's, it's, I mean, for somebody say it's just an unambiguously good thing in my experience to to lease your Twitter account, right? It's like it is just even the good parts of Twitter that I miss were bad in the aggregate in the degree to which it was fragmented in my attention. The degree to which my life was getting doled out to me in periods between those moments where I checked Twitter, right? And had my attention divergent. And I was, you know, I was not a crazy Twitter addict. I mean, I was probably a pretty normal user. I mean, I was not someone who was tweeting multiple times a day or even every day, right? I mean, I probably, I think I probably averaged something like one tweet a day. I think I averaged. But in reality, it was like, you know, there'd be like four tweets one day and then I wouldn't tweet for, you know, the better part of a week. And but I was looking a lot because it was my newsfeed. I was just following, you know, 200 very smart people. And I would just wanted to see what they were paying attention to. And I would, they would recommend articles and I would read those articles. And and then when I would read an article, then I would, then I would, I would thought I should signal boost. I would tweet. And so all of that seemed good. And you know, like that's all separable from all of the ODS bullshit that came back at me in response to this largely in response to this Hunter Biden thing. But even the good stuff has a downside. And it, and it comes at just this point of your phone is this perpetual stimulus of, which is intrinsically fragmented of time and attention. And now my phone is is a much less of a presence in my life. And it's, it's not that I don't check slack or check email. I mean, I, you know, I use it to work. But my sense of just what the world is in my sense of my place in the world, the sense of where I exist as a person has changed a lot by deleting my Twitter account. I mean, I had a, you know, and it's just, it's, um, and the things that I think, I mean, we all know this phenomenon. I mean, we, we say of someone that person is too online, right? Like, what does it mean to be too online? Um, and where do you draw the, that, that boundary, you know, where, how do you know what constitutes being too online? Well, in some sense, just being, I think being on, on social media at all is to be too online. I mean, given what it does to, given the kinds of information, it, it, um, signal boosts and given the, um, given the impulse it kindles in each of us to reach out to our audience in, in specific moments and in specific ways, right? It's like, there, there are lots of moments now where I have an opinion about something, but there's nothing for me to do with that opinion, right? Like, there's no Twitter, right? So like, there are, there are lots of things that I would have tweeted in the last months that are not the kind of thing I'm going to do a podcast about. I'm not going to roll out 10 minutes on that topic on my podcast. I'm not going to take the time to really think about it, but had I been on Twitter, I would have reacted to this thing in the news or this thing that some, somebody did, right? What do you do with that thought? No. I just let go of it. Like, chocolate ice cream is the most delicious thing. Yeah, it's usually not that sort of thing, but it's, it's just, but then you look at the kinds of problems people create for themselves. You look at the life, deranging and reputation, destroying things that people do. And, and look at the things that, that have, the analogous things that have happened to me, I mean, the things that have really bent my life around professionally over the past, you know, decade. So much of it is Twitter. I mean, to, honestly, in my case, almost 100% of it was Twitter. The controversies I would get into, the things I would, I would think I would have to respond to in a pod, like I would release a podcast on a certain topic. I would see some blowback on Twitter. You know, it would give me the sense that there was some signal that I really had to respond to. Now that I'm off Twitter, I recognize that most of that was just, it was totally species, right? It was, it was not something I had to respond to. But yet I would then do a cycle of podcasts responding to that thing that, like, taking my foot out of my mouth or taking someone else's foot out of my mouth. And it became this, this self perpetuating cycle, which, I mean, it's, you know, if you're having fun, great. I mean, if it's, if it's, if it's generative of useful information and engagement professionally and, psychologically, great. But, and, and there, you know, there was some of that on Twitter. I mean, there were people who I've connected with because, because I just, you know, one, one of us DMed the other on Twitter. And it was hard to see how that was going to happen otherwise. But it was, um, largely just a machine for manufacturing unnecessary controversy. Do you think it's possible to avoid the drug of that? So now that you've achieved the Zun state, is it possible for somebody like you to use it in a way that doesn't pull you into the whirlpool? And so anytime there's attacks, you just, I mean, that's how I tried to use it. Yeah, but it's, it's not the way I wanted to use it. It's not the way it, it, it promises itself as, as I wanted to have debate. I wanted to actually communicate with people. I wanted to hear from the person because, again, it's like being an Afghanistan, right? It's like there, there, there are the, the potted cases where it's obviously good, right? It's like an Afghanistan, the girl who's getting an education, that is just here. That's why we're here. That's, that's obviously good. I have those moments on Twitter, which is okay, I'm hearing from a smart person who's detected an error I made in my podcast or in a book or they've just got some great idea about something that I should spend time on. And I would never have heard from this person in any other format. And now I'm actually in dialogue with them. It's fantastic. That's the promise of it to actually talk to people. And so I kept getting lured back into that. No, the, the, the same or, you know, sanity preserving way of, of using it is, is, just as a marketing channel, you just put your stuff out there and you don't look at what's coming back at you. And that's, you know, for, you know, I'm on other social media platforms that I don't even touch. I mean, my team put post stuff on Facebook and on Instagram. I never even see what's on there. So you don't think it's possible to see something and not let it affect your mind? No, that's definitely possible. But the question is, and I did that for vast stretches of time, right? And, but then the promise of the platform is dialogue and feedback. So like, so why do my, if I know, for whatever reason, I'm going to see like 99 to one awful feedback, you know, bad faith feedback, malicious feedback. Some of it's probably even bots. And I'm not even aware of who's a person who's a bot, right? But I'm just going to stare into this funhouse mirror of acrimony. And dishonesty that is going to, I mean, the reason why I got off is not because I couldn't recalibrate and find equity again with all the, the, the, the, the nastiness that was coming back at me and not that I couldn't ignore it for vast stretches of time. But I could see that I kept coming back to it, hoping that it would be something that I could use a real tool for communication. And I was noticing that it was insidiously changing the way I felt about people. Both people I know and people I don't know, right? Like people I, you know, mutual friends of ours who are behaving in certain ways on Twitter, which just seemed insane to me. And then I, that became a signal I felt like I had to take into account somehow, right? You're seeing people at their worst, both friends and strangers. And I, I felt that it was as much as I could sort of try to recalibrate for it, I felt that I was losing touch with what was real information because people are performing, people are faking, people are not who themselves are there. You've seen people at their worst. And so I felt like, all right, what's at was being advertised to me here on a, not just a daily basis, you know, an hourly basis or, you know, increment sometimes of, you know, multiple times an hour. I mean, I probably checked Twitter, you know, at minimum 10 times a day and maybe I was checking it 100 times a day on some days, right, where things were really active and I was really engaged with something. What was being delivered into my brain there was a, was a, was a subtle, subtly false information about how dishonest and, you know, just generally unethical, totally normal people are capable of being, right? It was like, it was, it was a fun house mirror. It was, it was, I was seeing the most grotesque versions of people who I know, right? People who I know I could sit down and dinner with and they would never behave this way. And yet they were, they were coming at me on Twitter. You know, I mean, it's essentially turning ordinary people into sociopaths, right? It's like, people are just, you know, it's, I mean, there are analogies that many of us have made. It's like, it's like, one analogy is road rage, right? Like people behave in the confines of a car in ways that they never would, if they didn't have this metal box around them, you know, moving at speed. And it's, you know, all that becomes quite hilarious and, and, um, you know, obviously dysfunctional when they're actually have to stop at the light next to the person they just flipped off and they realized they didn't realize, they didn't understand that the person coming out of that car next to them with cauliflower ear is someone who they never would have, you know, rolled their eyes at in public because they would have taken one look at this person, realized this, this is the last person you want to fight with. That's one of the heartbreaking things is to see, see people who I know, who I admire, who I know our friends, be everything from snarky to downright, um, mean, um, uh, derisive towards each other. It doesn't make any sense. Like this, this is the only place where I've seen people I really admire who have had a calm head about most things, like really be shitty to other people. It's probably the only place I've seen that. And I don't, I don't, I tend, I choose to maybe believe that that's not really them. There's something about the system. Um, like if you go paintballing, if you go to Peterson and, uh, go, go, you're gonna shoot your friends. Yeah. Yeah. You're gonna shoot your friends, but you kind of accept it. That's kind of what you're doing in this little game that you're playing, but it's sometimes hard to remind yourself of that. Well, and I, I think I was guilty of that definitely. Um, you know, I don't think I, there's nothing I, I don't think I ever did anything that I really feel bad about, but yeah, it was always pushing me to the edge of snideness somehow. And, um, it's just not healthy. It's not, it's not, uh, I'm so, so the, so the reason why I deleted my Twitter account in the end was that it was obviously making me a worse person. And, and so, and yeah, is there some way to be on there where he's not making you a worse person? I'm sure there is, but it's given the nature of the platform and given what was coming back at me on it. The way to do that is just to basically use as a one way channel of, of communication. Just, it's just marketing. And it's like, here, here's what I, what I'm paying attention to. Look at it if you want to and just, just push it out and then you don't, you don't look at what's coming back at you. I put out a call for questions on Twitter and then actually quite surprising. There's a lot of good, I mean, they're, they're like, even if they're critical, they're like being thoughtful, which is nice. I used it that way too. And that was what kept me hooked. But then there's also, uh, touch balls 69 wrote a question. Ask what I can't imagine. This part of it, but one way to solve this is, you know, we've got to get rid of anonymity for this. It's like, let me ask the question. Ask Sam why he sucks was the question. Yeah. That's good. Well, one reason why I sucked was Twitter. That was, uh, and I, I've since solved that problem. So I mean, touch, touch ball 69, 69, touch balls 69 should be happy that I suck a little bit less now that I'm off Twitter. I mean, the fact don't have to hear from touch balls 69 on the regular. The fact that you have to, um, see that it probably can have a negative effect. Just even a moderation, just to see that there is like for me, the negative effect is, um, slightly losing faith in the underlying kindness of humanity. Yeah. That was for me. Yeah. You can also just reason your way out of it saying that this is an intermediary. And this is kind of fun in this kind of, just the, the shit show of Twitter. It's okay. But it does mentally affect you a little bit. Like I don't read too much into that kind of comment. It's like, it's just, that's just, uh, trolling. And it's, you know, I get what's, I get, I understand the fun the person is having on the other side of that. It's like, do you though? I do, well, I do. I don't, I don't, I don't behave that way. But I do. And I know that person could be, you know, 16 years old, right? So it's like, it could be also an all to come for Elon. I don't know. Well, yeah, it's right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Um, not pretty sure. Elon would just tweet that. It's a underzone name at this point. Uh, but you have each other. Okay. So the, do you think so speaking of which, not that Elon has taken over Twitter, um, is there something that he could do to make this platform better? This Twitter and social media in general, but because of the aggressive nature of his innovation that he's pushing, is there any way to make Twitter a pleasant place for Sam Harris? Uh, maybe I can then explain it. I don't know. I think I'm agnostic as to whether or not here or anyone could make a social media platform that really was healthy. So you were just observing yourself week by week, seeing the effect as in your mind and on how much you're actually learning and growing as a person and it was negative. Yeah. And I also seen the negativity in other people's lives. I mean, it's obviously, I mean, he's not going to, he's not going to admit it, but I think it's obviously negative for Elon, right? It's just not this. Uh, that was one of the things that, you know, when I was looking into the fun house mirror, I was also seeing that the fun house mirror on his side of Twitter and it was just even more exaggerated. It's like, well, when I, when I was asking myself why is he spending his time this way, I then reflected on why, why, you know, why was I spending my time this way to a lesser degree, right? And at lesser scale and at lesser risk, frankly, right? And so, um, and it was just so it's not just Twitter. It means it's, this isn't part an internet phenomenon. It's like the, the whole Hunter Biden mess that you, you, um, explored, explored. That was based on, I mean, it was on, I was on somebody's podcast, but that was based on a clip taken from that podcast, which was highly misleading as to the, the, the general shape of my remarks on that podcast. Even, you know, I had to then do my own podcast, uh, untangling all of that and admitting that even in even in the full context, I was not speaking especially well and didn't say exactly what I thought in a way that was, would have been recognizable to anyone, you know, even someone with not functioning by a, a, a spirit of charity, but, but the clip was quite distinct from the podcast itself. The reality is, is that we're living in an environment now where people are so lazy and there's, they're, they're, their attention is so fragmented, that they only have time for clips, but you know, 99% of people will see a clip and will assume there's no relevant context I need to understand what happened in that clip, right? And obviously the people who make those clips know that, right? And they're doing that, doing it quite maliciously. And in this case, the person who made that clip and subsequent clips of other podcasts was quite maliciously trying to engineer, you know, some reputational, um, emulation for me. Um, and being signal boosted by Elon and other prominent people who can't take the times to watch anything other than a clip, even when it's their friend or someone who's a stensibly their friend in that clip, right? So it's a total failure and understandable failure of ethics that everyone is so short on time and they're so fucking lazy that the, and that, and that we now have these contexts in which we react so quickly to things, right? Like Twitter is inviting an instantaneous reaction to this clip, um, that it's, um, it's just too tempting to just say something and not know what you're even commenting on. And most of the people who saw that clip don't understand what I, what I actually think about any of these issues. And the irony is people are going to find clips from this conversation that are just as misleading and they're going to export those and then people are going to be dunking on those clips. And you know, we're all living and dying by clips now. And it's, um, it's dysfunctional. So I think it's possible to create a platform. I think we will keep living on clips, but you know, when I saw that clip of you talking about children and so on, just knowing that you have a sense of humor, you just went to a dark place and in terms of humor. Right. So like, I didn't even bother. And then I knew that the way clips work is that people use it for virality's sake, but the giving, giving a person benefit of the doubt, that's not even the right term. It's not like I was, it was really like interpreting it in the context of all the past. The truth is, even neat. Like I even give Trump the benefit of the doubt when I see a clip of Trump. So because they're famous clips of Trump that are very misleading as to what he was saying in context. And I've been honest about that. Like the whole, you know, there were good people on both sides scandal around the show, his remarks after Charlottesville, that the clip that got exported and got promoted by everyone, you know, left of center from Biden on down, you know, the New York time, CNN, there's nobody that I'm aware of who has honestly, you know, apologized for what they did with that clip. That he did not say what he seemed to be saying in that clip about the Nazis at Charlottesville, right? And I've always been very clear about that. So it's just, you know, I, I even, even people who I think should be marginalized and people who, who, who should be de-fantastrated because they really are terrible people who are doing dangerous things and for bad reasons, I think we should be honest about what they actually meant in context, right? And, and this goes to anyone else we might talk about, you know, who is more, where the, or the case is much more confusing, but yeah, so everyone's, it's just so, and then, I'm sure we're going to get to AI, but, you know, the prospect of being able to manufacture clips with AI and deep fakes, and that where it's going to be hard for most people most of the time to even figure out that, whether they're in the presence of something real, you know, forget about being divorced from context, there was no context. I mean, that is, that's a misinformation apocalypse that is, we're right on the cusp of and it's, you know, it's terrifying. Well, it could be just a new world like where Alice going to Wonderland, where humor is the only thing we have and they will save us. Maybe in the end, Trump's approach to social media was the right one after all. Nothing is true and everything's absurd. But we can't live that way. People function on the basis of what they assume is true, right? They think you will have functioned. To do anything, it's like, I mean, you have to know what you think is going to happen, or you have to at least give a probabilistic waiting over the future. Otherwise, you're, you're going to be incapacitated by, you're not going to, like, people want certain things and they have to have a rational plan to get those desires gratified and they don't want to die, they don't want their kids to die. You tell them that there's a comet hurtling toward Earth and they should get outside and look up, right? They're going to do it. And if it turns out it's misinformation, you know, it's, it's, it's a, it's going to matter because it comes down to like, what medicines do you give your children, right? Like, what we're going to be manufacturing, fake journal articles. I mean, this is, I'm sure someone's using chat GPT for, for this, read as we speak. And if it's not credible, if it's not persuasive now to most people, I mean, honestly, I don't think we're going to, it's, it's, I'll be amazed if it's a year before, we can actually create journal articles that would take, you know, a, a PhD to debunk that are completely fake. And they're people who are celebrating this kind of, you know, coming cataclysm, but I just, it's just, they're the people who don't have anything to lose who are celebrating it or just, are so confused that they just don't even know what's at stake. And then they're the people who have met, the few people who we could count on a few hands, who have managed to insulate themselves, or at least imagine they've insulated themselves from the downside here enough that they're not implicated in the great unraveling we are witnessing or could, could witness the shaking up of what is true. So actually that returns us to experts. Do you think experts can save us? Is there such thing as expertise and experts in something? How do you know if you've achieved it? I think it's, it's important to acknowledge a front that this, there's something paradoxical about how we relate to, to authority, especially within science. And I don't think that paradox is going away. And it's just, it doesn't have to be confusing. It's just, and it's not, it's not truly a paradox. It's just like there are different moments in time. So it is true to say that within science or within, within, within rationality, generally, I mean, which is, whenever you're making it, having a fact-based discussion about anything, it is true to say that the truth or falsity of a statement does not even slightly depend on the credentials of the person making the statement, right? So it doesn't matter if you're a Nobel laureate, you can be wrong, right? The thing you could, you the last sentence you spoke could be total bullshit, right? And it's also possible for someone who's deeply uninformed to be right about something or to be right for the wrong reasons, right? Or someone just gets lucky, or someone, or, or, and they're, they're middleing cases where you have like a, a backyard astronomer who's got no credentials, but he just loves astronomy and he's got a telescope and it's, he's, spends a lot of time looking at the night sky. And he discovers a comet that no one else has seen, you know, not even the professional expert astronomers. And I got to think that happens less and less now, but, but some version of that keeps happening and it may always keep happening in every area of expertise, right? So it's true that truth is orthogonal to the reputational concerns we have among apes who are talking about the truth. But it is also true that most of the time real experts are much more reliable than frauds or people who are not experts, right? So, and expertise really is a thing, right? And when, you know, when you're flying an airplane in a storm, you don't want just randos come into the cockpit saying, listen, I've got a new idea about how to, you know, how we should tweak these controls, right? You want someone who's a train pilot and and that training gave them something, right? It gave them a set of competences and intuitions and they know what all those dials and switches do, right? And I don't, right? I shouldn't be flying that plane. So when things really matter, you know, and putting this at 30,000 feet in a storm, sharpens this up, we want real experts to be in charge, right? And we are at 30,000 feet a lot of the time on a lot of issues, right? And whether they're public health issues, whether it's issues, whether it's a geopolitical emergency like Ukraine, I mean, the climate change, I mean, just pick your, pick your topic. There are real problems and the clock is rather often ticking and their solutions are not obvious, right? And so expertise is a thing and deferring to experts much of the time makes a lot of sense. It's at minimum, it prevents, it has spectacular errors of incompetence and just, you know, foolhardiness. But even in the case of some, where you're talking about someone, I mean, people like ourselves who are like, we're well educated, we're not the worst possible candidates for, you know, the Dunning Kruger effect. When we're going into a new area where we're not experts, we're fairly alert to the possibility that we don't, you know, it's not as simple as things seem at first and we don't, you know, we don't know how our tools translate to this new area. We can be fairly circumspect, but we're also, because we're well educated, we can, and we're pretty quick studies, we can learn a lot of things pretty fast and we can begin to play a language game that sounds fairly expert, right? And in that case, the invitation to do your own research, right, is, when times are good, I view as an invitation to waste your time pointlessly, right? When times are good. Now, the truth is times are not all that good, right? And we have the ongoing public display of failures of expertise. We have experts who are obviously corrupted by bad incentives. We've got experts who, you know, perversely won't admit they were wrong when they, in fact, you know, are demonstrated to be wrong. We've got institutions that have been captured by political ideology that's not truth-tracking and this whole woke encroachment into really every place, you know, whether it's universities or science journals or government or, I mean, it's just like that is, that has been genuinely deranging. So there's a lot going on that where experts and the very concept of expertise have seemed to discredit itself, but the reality is that there is a massive difference when anything matters, when there's anything to know about anything, there is a massive difference most of the time between someone who has really done the work to understand that domain and someone who hasn't. And if I get sick or someone close to me gets sick, you know, I have a PhD in neuroscience, right? So I can read a medical journal article and understand a lot of it, right? And I, you know, so I'm just fairly conversant with medical terminology. And I understand its methods and I'm alert to the difference because in neuroscience I've spent hours, hours, and journal clubs, you know, diagnosing, you know, analyzing the difference between good and bad studies, I'm alert to the difference between good and bad studies in medical journals, right? And I understand that bad studies can get published and, you know, et cetera. And experiments can be poorly designed. I'm alert to all of those things, but when I get sick or when someone close to me gets sick, I don't pretend to be a doctor, right? I've got no clinical experience. I don't go down the rabbit hole on Google for days at a stretch trying to become a doctor, much less a specialist in the domain of problem that has been visited upon me or my family, right? So if someone close to me gets cancer, I don't pretend to be an oncologist. I don't go out and start reading, you know, in journals of oncology and try to really get up to speed as an oncologist because it's, it's not, it's one is a bad, one is a bad and potentially and very likely misleading use of my time, right? And it's, if I decide, if I had, if I had a lot of runway, if I decide, okay, it's really important for me to know everything I can. At this point, I want to, I know someone's going to get cancer. I may not go back to school and become an oncologist, but what I want to do is I want to know everything I can know about cancer, right? So I'm going to take the next four years and spend most of my time on cancer. Okay, I could do that, right? I still think that's the way it's to my time. I still think at the end of, even at the end of those four years, I'm not going to be the best person to, to form intuitions about what to do in the face of the next cancer that, that I have to confront. I'm still going to want a better oncologist than I've become to tell me what he or she would do if they were in my shoes or in the shoes of, you know, my family member. I'm going to, you know, what I'm not, what I'm not advocating, I'm not advocating a a blind trust and authority. Like if you get cancer and you're talking to one oncologist and they're recommending some course of treatment, but all means get a second opinion, get a third opinion, right? But it matters that those opinions are coming from real experts and not from, you know, Robert Kennedy Jr., you know, who's telling you that, you know, you got it because you got a, you know, a vaccine, right? It's like, it's just, it, it, there's, we're swimming in a sea of misinformation where you've got people who are moving the opinions of millions of others, who, who should not have an opinion on these topics. Like there's no, there is no scenario in which you should be getting your opinion about vaccine safety or, or climate change or the warn Ukraine or anything else that we might want to talk about from Candace Owens, right? It's just like, like she, she's not a relevant expert on any of those topics and what's more, she doesn't seem to care, right? And, and, and she's living in a culture that has, that has amplified that not caring into a business model, an effective business model, right? So it's just, it's, and that's something very trumping in about all that. Like that's, that's the problem is, is the culture is not, these specific individuals. So, so the paradox here is that expertise is a real thing and we defer to it a lot as a, as a labor saving device and it's just as, and just based on the, the, the, the, the, the reality that it's very hard to be a polymath, right? And specialization is a thing, right? And so that people who specialize in a very narrow topic, they know more about that topic than the next guy, no matter how smart that, that guy or gal is, uh, and, and that those differences matter. But it's also true that when you're talking about facts, sometimes the, the, the, the, the best experts are wrong. The scientific consensus is wrong. You get a, a, a, a sea change in the thinking of a whole field because one person who's an outlier for whatever reason decides, okay, I'm, uh, you know, I'm going to prove this point and they prove it, right? So somebody like, uh, the doctor who, uh, believe that, that stomach ulcers were not due to stress, but were due to, to, um, H. Pylori infections, right? So he just drank a vial of H. Pylori bacteria and, and proved that, and then quickly got an ulcer and convinced the field that, that, at, minimum, H. Pylori was involved in, in that process. Okay. So yes, everyone was wrong. That doesn't disprove the reality of expertise. It doesn't disprove the utility of relying on experts most of the time, especially in an emergency, especially when the clock is ticking, especially when you're, you know, you're, you're in this particular cockpit and you only have one chance to land this plane, right? You want the real pilot, uh, at the controls. But there's just a few things to say. So one, you mentioned this example with cancer and doing your own research. There, there's several things that are different about our particular time in history. One, doing your own research has become more and more effective because you can read the internet made information a lot more accessible. So you can read a lot of different meta analyses. You can read blog posts that describe to you exactly the flaws and the different papers that make up the meta, meta analyses. They, and, and you can read a lot of those blog posts that are conflicting with each other and you can take that information in, in a short amount of time, you can start to make, um, good faith interpretations. For example, I don't know, I don't want to overstate things, but, um, if you suffer from depression, for example, then there, you could go to an expert and a doctor that prescribes you some medication. Yeah. But you could also challenge some of those ideas and seeing like what are the different medications, what are the different side effects, what are the different solutions to depression, all that kind of stuff. And I think depression is a really difficult problem that's very, um, I don't want to, again, state incorrect things, but I think it's, um, there's a lot of variability of what depression really means. So it, it, it, being introspective about the type of depression you have and the different possible solutions you have, they, just doing your own research as a first step before approaching a doctor or as you have multiple opinions could be very beneficial in that case. Now, that's depression that's something that's been studied for a very long time with a new pandemic that's affecting everybody. It's, uh, you know, with the airplane, I would equate it to like 9-11 or something, like, new emergency just happened and everybody, every expert in the world is publishing on it and talking about it. So doing your own research there could be exceptionally effective in asking questions. And then there's a difference between experts, virologists, and it's actually a good question who is exactly the expert in a pandemic? Yeah. But there's the actual experts doing the research and publishing stuff. And then there's the communicators of that expertise. And the question is, uh, if the communicators are flawed to, to a degree, what doing your own research is actually the more effective way to figure out policies and solutions because you're not competing with the experts, you're competing with the communicators of expertise. That could be WHO, CDC, in the case of the pandemic or politicians or political type of science figures like Anthony Fauci. There's a question there of the effectiveness of doing your research, your own research in that context. And the competing forces there in centers that you've mentioned is you can become quite popular by being contrarian by saying everybody's lying to you, all the authorities are lying to, all the institutions are lying to you. So those are the waters you're swimming in. But I think doing your own research in that kind of context could be quite effective. Let me be clear. I'm not saying you shouldn't do any research, right? I'm not saying that you shouldn't be informed about an issue. I'm not saying you shouldn't read articles on, on whatever the topic is. And yeah, yes, if I got cancer or someone close to me got cancer, I probably would read more about cancer than I've read thus far about cancer. And I've read some. So I'm not making a virtue of ignorance and a blind obedience to authority. And again, I recognize that authorities can discredit themselves or they can be wrong. They can be wrong even when they had that when there's no discredit, there's just there's a lot we don't understand about the nature of the world. But still this vast gulf between truly informed opinion and bullshit exists. It always exists. And conspiracy thinking is rather often, most of the time, the species of bullshit, but it's not always wrong, right? There are real conspiracies and there really are just awful corruptions of, you know, born of bad incentives within our, you know, our scientific processes, within institutions. And again, we've mentioned a lot of these things in passing, but you know, what what woke political ideology did to scientific communication during the pandemic was awful. And it was really corrosive of public trust, especially on the on the right. For understandable reasons, you know, it was just it was crazy. Some of the things that were being said and still is. And these cases are all different. So you take depression, but we just don't know enough about depression for, you know, anyone to be that confident about anything, right? And there are many different modalities in which to interact with it is a problem, right? So there's yes, pharmaceuticals, have whatever promise they have, but there's certainly reason to be concerned that they don't work well for everybody. And that's obvious. They don't work well for everybody, but they do work for some people. But again, depression is a multifactorial problem and they're different levels at which to influence it. And they're, you know, the things like meditation, they're things like just life changes and, and, you know, one of the first things about depression is that when you're depressed, all of the things that would be good for you to do or precisely the things you don't want to do, you don't have any energy to socialize, you don't want to get things done, you don't want to exercise, you don't. And all of those things, if you got those up and running, they do make you feel better in, you know, in the aggregate. But the reality is that they're, you know, there are clinical level depressions that are so bad that it's just, we just don't have good tools for them. And it's not enough to tell you there's no life change. Someone's going to, going to embrace that is going to be an obvious remedy for that. The pandemic, or obviously a complicated problem, but I would consider it much simpler than depression in terms of, you know, what's on the menu to be chosen among, you know, the various choices. It's less multifactorial. The logic by which you would make those choices. Yeah. So it's like, we have a virus, we have a new virus. It's some version of bad, you know, it's human transmissible. We're still catching up, we're catching up to every aspect of it. We don't know how it spreads. We don't know how effective masks are. At a certain point, we knew it was respiratory, but we know how it spreads. And whether it's spread by phone mites, like all we were confused about a lot of things, and we're still confused. It's been a moving target this whole time. And it's been changing this whole time. And our responses to it have been, you know, we ramped up the vaccines as quickly as we could, but you know, too quick for some, not as not quick enough for others. We could have done human challenge trials and got them out more quickly with better data. And I think that's something we should probably look at in the future because, you know, to my eye, that would make ethical sense to do, to do challenge trials. But and so much of my concern about COVID, many people are confused about my concern about COVID. My concern about COVID has for much of the time not been narrowly focused on COVID itself, I had dangerous, I perceive COVID to be as a illness. It has been for the longest time, even more a concern about our ability to respond to a truly scary pathogen next time. Like, well, I for, you know, outside those initial months, you know, give me the first six months to be quite worried about COVID and the unraveling of society, but- And this is live toilet paper. You want to secure a steady supply of toilet paper? But beyond that initial period, when we had a sense of what we were dealing with, and we had every hope that the vaccines are actually going to work and we're getting, and we knew we were getting those vaccines in short order, right? Beyond that, and we had, and we knew just how dangerous the illness was and how dangerous it wasn't. For years now, I've just been worrying about this as a failed dress rehearsal for something much worse. Right? I think what we proved to ourselves at this moment in history is that we have built informational tools that we do not know how to use, and we have made ourselves- we've basically enrolled all of human society into a psychological experiment that is deranging us and making it virtually impossible to solve coordination problems that we absolutely have to solve next time when things are worse. Do you understand who's at fault for the way this unraveled? The way we didn't seem to have the distrust institutions and the institution of science that grew like seemingly exponentially or got revealed to this process, who's at fault here? And what's the fix? So much blame to go around, but so much of it is not a matter of bad people conspiring to do bad things. It's a matter of incompetence and misaligned incentives and just ordinary, plain vanilla dysfunction. But my problem was that people like you, people like Brett Weinstein, people like that I look to for reasonable, difficult conversations on difficult topics, have a little bit lost their mind, became emotional, dogmatic, in style of conversation, perhaps not in the depth of actual ideas, but I tweaked something of that nature and not about you, but just it feels like the pandemic made people really more emotional than before. And then Kimbo Mosque responded, I think something I think you probably would agree with, maybe not. I think it was the combo of Trump and the pandemic. Trump triggered the far left to be way more active than they could have been without him. And then the pandemic handed big government, Nanny State left these a huge platform on the silver platter. I want to punch in here we are. Well, I would agree with some of that. I'm not sure how much to read into the Nanny State concept, but... Well, yet like basically got people on the far left really activated. Yeah. And then gave control to, I don't know if you say Nanny State, but just control to government that one executed poorly has created a complete distrust in government. But my fear is that there was going to be that complete distrust anyway given the nature of the information space, given the level of conspiracy thinking, given the gaming of these tools by an anti-vax cult. I mean, there really is an anti-vax cult that just ramped up its energy during this moment. But it's a small one. It's not to say that everything, every concern about vaccines is a species of... It's born of misinformation or born of this cult. But there is a cult that is just... And the core of Trumpism is a cult. I mean, a QAnon is a cult. So there's a lot of lying and there's a lot of confusion. It's almost impossible to exaggerate how confused some people are and how fully their lives are organized around that confusion. I mean, there are people who think that the world's being run by pedophile cannibals and that Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama are among those cannibals. I mean, like, there adjacent to the pure crazy, there's the semi-crazy, and adjacent to the semi-crazy, there's the grifting opportunist asshole. And the layers of bad faith are hard to fully diagnose. But the problem is all of this is getting signal boosted by an outrage machine that is preferentially spreading misinformation. It has a business model that is guaranteed that is preferentially sharing misinformation. Can actually just in a small tangent. How do you defend yourself against the claim that you're a pedophile cannibal? It's difficult to get in the case I would make. Because I don't think you can use reason. I think you have to use empathy. You have to understand. But part of it, I find it very difficult to believe that anyone believes these things. I think that there's, and I'm sure there's some number of people who are just pretending to believe these things because it's just, again, this is sort of like the forechanification of everything. It's just a good, it's just pepper the frog. None of this is what it seems. They're not signaling an alliance with white supremacy or neo-Nazism, but they're not doing it. They just don't fucking care. It's just cynicism overflowing its banks. It's just fun to wind up the normies. Look at all the normies. You don't understand that a green frog is just a green frog, even when it isn't just a green frog. It's just, it's just gumming up everyone's cognitive bandwidth with bullshit. I get that that's fun if you're a teenager and you just want to vandalize our, our, news sphere. But at a certain point, we have to recognize that real questions of human welfare are in play. There's like, there's like, there's really, there's, there's, there's, their war is getting fought or not fought. And there's a pandemic raging and there's medicine to take or not take. But I mean, to come back to this issue of COVID, I don't think my, I don't think I got so out of balance around COVID. I think people are quite confused about what I was concerned about. I mean, like, I, there was a, yes, there was a period where I was crazy because anyone who was taken it seriously was crazy because they had no idea what was going on. And so it's like, yes, I was wiping down packages with, with alcohol wipes, right? Because people thought it was trimissant, trans, transmissible by touch, right? That's so. And then when we realized that was no longer the case, I stopped doing that. But so there, there, again, it was, it was a moving target. And a lot of things we did in hindsight around masking and school closures. Look, it's fairly dysfunctional, right? But I think the criticism that people would say about your talking about COVID and maybe you can correct me, but you were skeptic, or you were against skepticism of the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. So people who get nervous about the vaccine, but don't fall into the usual anti-vax camp, which I think there was a significant enough number. They were asking, they were getting nervous. I mean, I, especially after the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, I too was nervous about anything where a lot of money could be made. And you start, you just see how the people who are greedy, they come to the surface all of a sudden. And a lot of them that run institutions actually really get human beings. I know a lot of them, but it's hard to know how those two combine together when there's hundreds of billions, trillions of dollars to be made. And so that skepticism, I guess you, the sense was that you weren't open enough to the skepticism. I understand that people have that sense. I'll tell you how I thought about it and think about it. One, again, it was a moving target. So there was a point in the timeline where it was totally rational to expect that the vaccines were both working, but both they were, they were reasonably safe. And that COVID was reasonably dangerous. And that the trade off for basically everyone was it was rational to get vaccinated, given how many, given the level of testing and how many people had been vaccinated before you, given what we were seeing with COVID, right? That that was a forced choice. Are you thinking you're eventually going to get COVID? And the question is, do you want to be vaccinated when you do, right? There was a period where that forced choice, where it was just obviously reasonable to get vaccinated, especially because there was every reason to expect that while it wasn't a perfectly sterilizing vaccine, it was going to knock down transmission a lot. And that matters. And so it wasn't just a personal choice. You were actually being a good citizen when you decided to run whatever risk you were going to run to get vaccinated because there are people in our society who actually can't get vaccinated. I mean, I know people can't take any vaccines. They're so allergic to, I mean, they, in their own person, seem to justify all of the fears of the anti-vax cult. I mean, it's like they're the kind of person who Robert Kennedy Jr. can point to and say, see vaccines are, well, we'll fucking kill you, right? Because of the experience it. And they, and we're still, they, I know people who have kids who fit that description, right? So we should all feel a civic responsibility to be vaccinated against a gregiously awful and transmissible diseases for which we have relatively safe vaccines to keep those sorts of people safe. And there was a period of time when it was thought that the vaccine could stop transmission. Yes. And so again, all of this has, it has begun to shift. I don't think it has shifted as much as Brett Weinstein thinks it's shifted. But yes, there are safety concerns around the mRNA vaccines, especially for young men, right? As far as I know, that's the, that's the purview of the, of, of actual heightened concern. But also, there's, there's, there's now a lot of natural immunity out there, a lot of, basically everyone who was, was going to get vaccinated has gotten vaccinated. The virus has evolved to the point in, in this context where it seems less dangerous, you know, again, I don't, I, I'm going more on, on the Siemens than on, on research that I've done at this point. But I'm certainly less worried about getting COVID. I've had it once. I've been vaccinated. I've like, it's like, so you ask me now, how do I feel about getting the next booster? I don't know that I'm going to get the next booster. Right. So I was somebody who was waiting in line at four in the morning, you know, hoping to get get a some overflow vaccine when it was first available. And I, that was at that point, given what we knew, or given what I thought I knew based on the best sources I could consult and based on, you know, based on anecdotes that were too vivid to ignore, you know, both data and, and personal experience, it was totally rational for me to, to want to get that vaccine as, as soon as I could. And now I think it's totally rational for me to, to do a, a, a different kind of cost benefit analysis and wonder, listen, do I really need to get a booster? Right. You know, like, how many of the, how many of these boosters am I going to get for the rest of my life? Really? And how safe is the mRNA vaccine for a man of my age? Right. And do I need to be worried about my carditis for, you know, all of that is completely rational to talk about now. My concern is that at every point along the way, I was the wrong person and, and Brett Weinstein was the wrong person. And there's many other people I could add to this list to have strong opinions about any of this stuff. I just disagree with that. I think, yes, in theory, I agree 100%, but I feel like experts failed at communicating. Not at doing, they did. I, and I just feel like you and Brett Weinstein actually have the tools with the internet, given the engine you have in your brain of thinking for months at a time, deeply about the problems that face our world, that you actually have the tools to do pretty good thinking here is the problem I have with experts, but there would be deference to experts, pseudo experts behind all of that. Well, the papers, you would stand on the shoulders of giants, but you can serve those shoulders better than the giants themselves. Yeah, but I knew we were going to disagree about that. Like I saw his podcast where he brought on these experts who had many of them had the right credentials, but for a variety of reasons, they didn't pass the smell test for me. One larger problem, this goes back to the problem of how we rely on authority and science, is that you can always find a PhD or an MD to champion any crackpot idea. I mean, it is amazing, but you could find PhDs and MDs who would sit up there in front of Congress and say that they thought smoking was not addictive, or that it was not harmful to, there was no direct link between smoking and lung cancer. You could always find those people, but some of the people Brett found were people who had obvious tells to my point of view, to my eye, and I saw them on, some of the same people were on Rogan's podcast, right? And it's hard because if a person does have the right credentials, and they're not saying something floridly mistaken, and we're talking about something where they're genuine unknowns, right? Like how much do we know about the safety of these vaccines? At that point, not a whole hell of a lot. I mean, we have no long-term data on mRNA vaccines, but to confidently say that millions of people are going to die because of these vaccines, and to confidently say that Iver Mecton is a panacea, right? Iver Mecton is the thing that prevents COVID, right? There was no good reason to say either of those things at that moment. And that's, and so given that that's where Brett was, I felt like there was, there was just no, there was nothing to debate. We're both the wrong people that would get beginning into the weeds on this. We're both going to defer to our chosen experts. His experts look like crack pots to me, and or at least the ones who are most vociferous on those most, on those edges points that seem most, and your experts seem like what is the term, mass hysteria? I forgot the term. Well, well, it's, no, but it's like, it's like with, you know, climate science. I mean, this, this, old, it's received as a canard for, for, in half our society now, but the claim that 97% of climate scientists agree that human cause climate changes are thing, right? So do you go with the 97 percent most of the time, or do you go with the 3% most of the time? It's obvious you go with the 97% most of the time for anything that matters. It's not to say that the 3% are always wrong. Again, there are things get overturned. And yes, as you say, I've spent much more time worrying about this on my podcast than I've spent worrying about COVID. Our institutions have lost trust for good reason, right? And, and it's, it, it's an open question whether we can actually get things done with this level of transparency and, and pseudo transparency, given our information ecosystems. Like, can we fight a war? Really fight a war that we may have to fight, like the next Nazis. Can we fight that war when everyone with an iPhone is showing just how awful it is that little girls get blown up when we drop our bombs, right? Like, could we, could we as a society do what we might have to do to, to actually get necessary things done when we're living in this, this panopticon of just, you know, everyone's a journalist, right? Everyone's a scientist, everyone's an expert, everyone's got direct contact with the facts or, or some, or semblance of the facts. I don't know. I think yes. And I think voices like yours are exceptionally important. And I think there's certain signals you send in your ability to steal me on the other side and your empathy, essentially. So that's the fight. That's the mechanism by which you resist. The dog went to some of these, this binary thinking. And then if you become a trusted person that's able to consider the other side, then people will listen to you as, as the aggregators, the communicator of expertise, because the virologist haven't been able to be good communicators. I still to this day don't really know what is the, what am I supposed to think about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines today? As it stands today, what are we supposed to think? What are we supposed to think about testing? What are we supposed to think about the effectiveness of masks or lockdowns? Where's the great communicator on this topic that consider all the other conspiracy theories, all the other, all the communication that's out there and actually aggregating it together and being able to say this is actually what's most likely the truth. And also some of that has to do with humility, epistemic humility, knowing that you can't really know for sure, just like with depression, you can't really know for sure. I'm not seeing those communications being effectively done even still today. Well, I mean, the jury is still out on some of it. And again, it's a moving target. And some of it, it's complicated. Some of it's a self-fulfilling dynamic where like, so like lockdowns, in theory, lockdowns, a lockdown would work if we could only do it, but we can't really do it. And there's a lot of people who won't do it because they're convinced that this is the totalitarian boot, you know, on finally on the neck of the good people who are always having their interests, you know, produced by the elites, right? So like this is, if you have enough people who think the lockdown for any reason in the face of any conceivable illness, right, is just code for the new world order coming to fuck you over and take your guns, right? Okay, you have a society that is now immune to reason, right? Because they're absolutely certain pathogens that we should lock down for next time, right? And it was completely rational in the beginning of this thing to lock down given what to attempt to lock down, we never really lock down. To attempt some semblance of lockdown, just to quote Ben the curve to spare our healthcare system, given what we were seeing happening in Italy, right? Like that moment was, it was not hard to navigate. I at least in my view, it was obvious at the time in retrospect, my views on that haven't changed, except for the fact that I recognize maybe it's, it's just impossible, given the nature of people's response to that kind of demand, right? We live in a society that's just not going to lock down. Unless the pandemic is much more deadly. Right, so that's a point I made, which, you know, was maliciously clipped out from some other podcast, someone's trying to make it look like I want to see children die. Like there's a pity more children didn't die from COVID, right? This is, it's actually the same person who, who I'm that's the other thing that got so poisoned here. It's like that person, this, this psychopath or effective psychopath who's creating these clips of me on podcasts, this second clip of me seeming to say that I wish more children died during COVID, which it was, it was so, I was so, it was so clear in context, what I was saying that even the clip betrayed the context, so it didn't actually work. This psycho, and again, I don't know whether he actually is a psychopath, but he's behaving like one because of the incentives of Twitter. This is somebody who Brett signal boosted as a, as a very reliable source of information, right? He kept retweeting this guy at me against me, right? And this guy, at one glance, I knew how unreliable this guy was, right? But I think I, I'm not at all set. One thing I think I did wrong. One thing that I do regret, one thing I have not sorted out for myself is how to navigate the, the professional and personal pressure that gets applied at this moment where you have a friend or an acquaintance or someone you know who's behaving badly in public or or or or behaving badly, behaving in a way that you think is bad in public. And they have a public platform where they're influencing a lot of people and you have your own public platform where you're constantly getting asked to comment on what this, this friend or or acquaintance or colleague is doing. I haven't known what I think is ethically right about the choices that seem forced on us in moments like this. So like I've criticized you in public about your interview with Kanye. Now in the case, in that case, I reached out to you in private first and told you exactly what I thought. And then when I was going to get asked in public or when I was touching that topic on my podcast, I more or less said the same thing that I said to you in private. Right? Now that was how I navigated that moment. I did the same thing with with Elon, at least on at the beginning. You know, this we have we have maintained good vibes, which is not what I'm saying about Elon. But I don't think I disagree with you because good vibes in the moment. There's a deep core of good vibes that persist through time between you and Elon and I would argue probably between some of the other folks you mentioned. I think with Brett, I failed to reach out in private to the degree that I should have. And we never really had a we we tried to set up a conversation in private that never happened. But there was some communication. But it would have been much better for me to have made more of an effort in private than I did before it's built out into public. And I would say that's true with other people as well. What kind of interaction in private do you think you should have with Brett? Because my case would be beforehand. And now still the case I would like in this part of the criticism you sent my way. Maybe it's useful to go to that direction. Actually, let's go to that direction because I think I disagree with your criticism as you stated publicly. But this is your of your your the thing you could have said before is actually the right thing to do with Brett. Okay, you you said Lex could have spoken with Kanye in such a way as they have produced a useful document. He didn't do that because he has a fairly naive philosophy about the power of love. Let's see if you can maintain that philosophy in the present. Let's go. He's he. No, it's beautiful. He seemed to think that if he just got through the minefield to the end of the conversation or the two of them still were feeling good about one another and they can hug it out, that would be by definition a success. So let me make the case for this power of love philosophy. Right. And first of all, I love you Sam. You're still in inspiration and somebody I deeply admire. Okay. Back at you. To me, in the case of Kanye, it's not only that you get to the conversation and have hugs. It's that the display that you're willing to do that has power. So even if it doesn't end in hugging, the actual the turning the other cheek, the act of turning the other cheek itself communicates both to Kanye later and to the rest of the world that we should have empathy and compassion towards each other. There's power to that. I said that maybe that is naive, but I believe in the power of that. So it's not that I'm trying to convince Kanye that some of his ideas are wrong, but I'm trying to illustrate that just the act of listening and truly trying to understand the human being, that is opens people's minds to actually questioning their own beliefs more. It takes them out of the dogmatism, de-escalates the kind of dogmatism that I've been seeing. So in that sense, I would say the power of love is the is the philosophy you might apply to Brett because the right conversation you have in private is not about, hey, listen, you're, you know, the experts you're talking to, they seem credentialed, but they're not actually as credentials as they're illustrating. They're not grounding their findings in actual meta-analyses and papers and so on, like making a strong case. Like, what are you doing? There's going to get a lot of people in trouble, but instead just saying, like, being a friend in the dumbest of ways, being like respectful, sending love their way and just having a conversation outside of all of this. Like basically showing that like, removing the emotional attachment to this debate, even though you are very emotionally attached because in the case of COVID, specifically, there is a very large number of lives at stake, but removing all of that and remembering that you have a friendship. Yeah, well, so I think these are highly non-analogous cases, right? So your conversation with Kanye misfired from my point of view for a very different reason. It was, it has to do with Kanye. I mean, so Kanye, I don't know, I've never met Kanye, so obviously, I don't know him, but I think he's either obviously in the midst of a mental health crisis, or he's a colossal asshole, or both. I mean, the exact opposite of those aren't mutually exclusive. So one of three possibilities, he's either mentally ill, he's an asshole, or he's saying he's mentally ill and an asshole. I think all three of those possibilities are possible for both of us as well. No, I would argue none of those are likely for either of us, but possible. Not to say we don't have our moments, but so the reason not to talk to Kanye, so I think you should have had the conversation you had with him in private. That's great. And there's no, I've got no criticism of what you said had had been in private. In pub, I just thought you're not doing him a favor. If he's mentally ill, right, he's in the middle of a, a manic episode, or, or, you know, I'm not a clinician, but I've heard it said of him that he is bipolar. You're not doing him a favor, sticking a mic in front of him, and letting him go off on the Jews or anything else, right? We know what he thought about the Jews. We know that there's not much illumination going to come, it's going to come from him on that topic. And if it is a symptom of his mental illness that he thinks these things, well, then it's, you're not doing him a favor, making that even more public. If he's just an asshole, and he's just an anti-Semite, an ordinary, you know, garden variety anti-Semite, well, then there's also not much to say unless you're really going to dig in and kick the shit out of him in public. And I'm saying you can do that with love. I mean, that's the other thing here is that I don't agree that compassion and love always have this patient embracing acquiescent face, right? They don't always feel good to the recipient, right? There is a sort of wisdom that you can wield compassionately in moments like that where someone's full of shit and you just make it absolutely clear to them and to your audience that they're full of shit. And there's no hatred being communicated. In fact, you could just like listen, I'm going to do everyone a favor right now and you know, just take your foot out of your mouth and the truth is, you know, I just wouldn't have aired the conversation. I just don't think it was a document that had to get out there, right? I get that many people, this is not a signal you're likely to get from your audience, right? I get that many people in your audience thought, oh my god, that's awesome. You're talking to Kanye and you're doing it in Lex style, where it's just love and you're not treating him like a pariah. And you know, you're holding this tension between he's this creative genius who he was work we love. And yet he's having this moment that's so painful and you know, what a tight rope walk. And I get that maybe 90% of your audience saw it that way. They're still wrong. And I still think that was not balanced, not a good thing to put out into the world. You don't think it opens up the mind and heart of people that listen to that just having it. Seeing a person. It's led if it's opening up in the wrong direction where just gale force nonsense is coming in, right? I think we should have an open mind and an open heart, but there's some clear things here that that we have to keep and do. One is the mental illness component is its own thing. Yeah. I don't pretend to understand what's going on with him. So, but in so far as that's the reason he's saying what he's saying, do not put this guy on camera and let me put it. Sorry, sorry, in that point, real quick, I had a bunch of conversations with him offline and I didn't get a sense of mental illness. That's why I chose to sit down. Okay. And I didn't get it. I mean, mental illness is such a but when he shows up in a gimp put on Alex Jones's podcast, I mean, this is either that's more, you know, genius performance in his world or it's he's I wouldn't rave. I wouldn't put that on the mental illness. I we have to I think there's another conversation to be had about how we treat artists. Right. Because they're they're weirdos. They're very, I mean, we, you know, taking taking words from Akanya as if he's like Christopher Hitchens or something like that. Like very eloquent research, you know, written many books on history and politics and geopolitics on psychology. Kind of didn't do any of that. He's an artist just spotting off. And so there's a different style of conversation and a different way to treat the words that are coming out of itself. Let's leave the mental illness aside. So if we're going to say that there's no reason to think he's mentally ill and this is just him being creative and brilliant and opinionated, well, then that falls into the asshole bucket for me. It's like then then he's someone and honestly, the most offensive thing about him in that interview from my point of view is not the anti-semitism, which, you know, we can talk about. Because I think there are problems just letting him spread those memes as well. But the most offensive thing is just how delusional ego centric he is or was coming off in that interview and in others like he he has an estimation of himself as this omnibus genius to arrive not only to rival Shakespeare to exceed Shakespeare, right? I mean, he's like he's he is the greatest mind that has ever walked among us. And he's more or less explicit on that point. And yet he manages to talk for hours without saying anything actually interesting or insightful or or factually illuminating, right? So it's complete delusion of a very trumpian sort. You know, it's like it's like, you know, when Trump says he's a genius who understands everything and say, but nobody takes him seriously. One wonders whether Trump takes himself seriously. Kanye seems to believe he seems to believe his own press. He actually thinks he's he's you know just a colossus. And he may be a great musician, you know, I'm not, you know, I've certainly not my willhouse to compare him to any other musicians. But one thing that's patently obvious in from your conversation is he's not who he thinks he is intellectually or ethically or in any other relevant way. And so when you couple that to the anti-semitism he was spreading, which I was genuinely noxious and ill considered and has potential knock on effects in the black community. I mean, there's a there's an ambient level of anti-semitism in the black community that is worth worrying about and talking about anyway. There's a bunch of guys, you know, playing the knockout game in Brooklyn just punching orthodox Jews in the face. And I think letting Kanye air his anti-semitism that publicly only raises the the likelihood of that rather than diminishes it. I don't know. So let me say just a couple of things. So one, my belief at the time was it doesn't. It decreases it. Showing empathy while pushing back decreases like the hood of that. It does might it might on the surface look like it's increasing it, but that's simply because the anti-semitism or the hatred in general is brought to the surface and that people talk talk about it. But I should also say that you're one of the only people that wrote to me privately criticizing me. And like out of the people I really respect that admire and that was really valuable that I had to painful because I have to think through it for a while. I'm still it still haunts me because the other kind of criticism I got a lot of people basically said things towards me based on who I am that they hate me. Just you mean anti-semitic things or that you're writing. I just hate the word any. It's a racist. But here's the reality. So I'm someone, so I'm Jewish, although obviously not religious. I have never taken, you know, I've been a student of the Holocaust. Obviously I know a lot about that and there's reason to be a student of the Holocaust. But in my lifetime and in my experience, I have never taken anti-semitism very seriously. I'm not worried about it. I have not made a thing of it. I've done exactly one podcast on it. I had Barry Weiss on my podcast. When her book came out. But it really is a thing. It's something we have to keep an eye on societally because it's a unique kind of hatred. It's unique in that it seems it's knit together with it's not just ordinary racism. It's knit together with lots of conspiracy theories that never seem to die out. It's it can by turns equally animate the left and the right politically. I mean, it was so perverse about anti-semitism. It looked in the American context. With the far right, you know, with white supremacists, Jews aren't considered white. So they hate us in the same spirit in which they hate black people or brown people or anyone is not white. But on the left, Jews are considered extra white. I mean, we're the extra beneficiaries of white privilege. In the black community, that is often the case. We're a minority that has thrived. And it seems to stand as a counterpoint to all of the problems of other minorities suffer, in particular, African-Americans in the American context. Any Asians are now getting a little bit of this, like the model minority issue. But Jews have had this going on for centuries and millennia. And it never seems to go away. And it's again, this is something that I've never focused on. But this has been at a slow boil for as long as we've been alive. And there's no guarantee it can't suddenly become much, much uglier than we have any reason to expect it to become even in our society. And so there's a kind of a special concern at moments like that where you have an immensely influential person in a community who already has a checkered history with respect to their own beliefs about the Jews and the conspiracies and all the rest. And he's just messaging, not especially fully opposed by you and anyone else who's given him the microphone at that moment to the world. And so that made my spidey sense. Yeah, it's complicated. It's the stakes are very high. And I, somebody that's been obviously family and also reading a lot about World War II. And it's just this whole period. It was a very difficult conversation. But I believe in the power, especially given who I am of not always, but sometimes often turning the other cheek. Oh, yeah. And again, things change when they're for public consumption, you know, when you're, it's like, I mean, the cut for me that, you know, has just the use case I keep stumbling upon is the kinds of things that I will say on a podcast like this or if I'm giving a public lecture versus the kinds of things, I will say a dinner with strangers or with friends like if you're in an elevator, like if I'm in an elevator with strangers, I do not feel, and I hear someone say something stupid, I don't feel an intellectual responsibility to turn around in a, you know, in the confine to that space with them and say, listen, that thing you just said about X, Y, Z is completely false and here's why, right? But if somebody says it in front of me on some public bias where I'm actually talking about ideas, that's when, you know, there's a different responsibility that comes online. The question is how you say it, how you say it, or even whether you say anything in those, I mean, there are moments, there are definitely moments to privilege, civility or just to pick your battles. I mean, sometimes it's just not worth it to get into it with somebody out, out in real life. I just believe in the power of empathy, both in the, in the elevator and when a bunch of people are listening, that when they see you willing to consider another human being's perspective, it just gives more power to your, to your words after. Well, yeah, but until it doesn't, like if you, because you can, you can, you can extend charity too far, right? You can, like, it can be absolutely obvious what someone's motives really are, and they're, they're, you know, dissembling about that, right? And so then you're taking at face value, their representations begins to look like you're just being duped and you're not, you're not actually doing the work of, of putting pressure on a bad actor. You know, so it's, it's, and again, the mental illness component here makes, makes it very difficult to think about what you should or shouldn't have said to Kanye. So I think the topic of platforming is pretty interesting. Like what's your view on platforming controversial people? Let's, let's start with the, the old, would you interview Hitler on your podcast? And how would you talk to him? Oh, and follow a question. Would you interview him in 1935, 41, and then like 45? Well, I think we have an uncanny valley problem with respect to this issue of whether or not to speak to bad people, right? So if a person is sufficiently bad, right? If they're all the way out of the valley, then you can talk to them and it's just, it's totally unproblematic to talk to them because you don't have to spend any time signaling to your audience that you don't agree with them. And if you're interviewing Hitler, you don't have to say, listen, I just got to say before we start, I don't agree with the whole, you know, genocide thing. And, you know, I just think you're killing, you know, killing mental patients and vans and all that. That was all bad. That's a bad look. It all, you see, you just, it can go out sane that you don't agree with this person. And you're not platforming them to signal boost their, their views. You're just trying to, if they're sufficiently evil, you can go into it very much as an anthropologist would just, you just want to understand the nature of evil, right? You just want to understand this phenomenon, like how is this person, who they are, right? And that strikes me as a intellectually interesting and morally necessary thing to do, right? So yes, you, I think you always interview Hitler. Well, when you know, once he's hit, but when do you know it? Once he's legitimately hit, but when do you know it? Is genocide really happening? Yeah, yeah, 42, 33. If you're on the cusp of it, where it's just he's someone who's gaining power and you don't want to, you don't want to help facilitate that. Then there's a question of whether you can, you can undermine him in, while pushing back against him in that interview, right? So there are people I wouldn't talk to just because I don't want to give them oxygen. And I don't think that in the, in the context of my interviewing them, I'm going to be able to take the wind out of their sales at all, right? So it's like for whatever, either because in asymmetric advantage, because I just know that they can do something that they, within the span of an hour that I can't, that I can't correct for, you know, is like they can, they can light many small fires and it just takes too much time to put them out. That's more like on the topic of vaccines, for example, having it to be in the efficacy of vaccines. Yeah. It's not that I don't think sunlight is usually the best disinfectant. I think it is. You know, even these asymmetries aside, I mean, there are, it is true that a person can always make a mess faster than you can clean it up, right? But still there are debates worth having even given that limitation. And they're the right people to have those specific debates. And there's certain topics where, you know, I'll debate someone just because I'm the right person for the job and it doesn't matter how messy they're going to be. It's just worth it because I can make my points land, at least to the right part of the audience. So some of it is just your own skill and competence and also interest in preparing correctly? Well, yeah. Yeah. In the nature of the subject matter and, but there are other people who just by default, I would say, well, there's no reason to give this guy a platform. And there are also people who are so confabulatory that they're making such a mess with every sentence that you, in so far as you're even trying to interact with what they're saying, you're going to, you're by definition going to fail and you're going to seem to fail to an un-un-sufficiently large, un-informed audience, where it's going to be a net negative for the cause of truth, no matter how good you are. So like, for instance, I think talking to Alex Jones on any topic for any reason is probably a bad idea because I just think he's he's just neurologically wired to just, I mean, under a string of sentences, he'll get 20 sentences out, each of which has to be, each which is, you know, contains more lies than the last. And there's just, there's not time enough in the world to run down, and certainly not time enough in the span of a conversation, to run down each of those leads to bedrock so as to falsify it. I mean, he'll just make shit up or make shit up and then weave it in with, you know, half truths and micro truths that give some semblance of credibility to somebody out there. I mean, apparently, millions of people out there. And there's just no way to untangle that in real time with him. I have noticed that you have an allergic reaction to confabular theorization. Confabulation. Confabulation. That if somebody says something a little micro-un-truth, it really stops your brain. Here, I'm not talking about micro-un-truths. I'm just talking about making up things out of whole cloth. Just like, if someone says something, well, what about, and then the thing they put at the end of that sentence is just a set of pseudo facts, right, that you can't possibly authenticate or not in the span of that conversation. They will, you know, whether it's about UFOs or anything else, right? They will seem to make you look like an Agenuramus when, in fact, everything they're saying is spacious, right? Whether they know it or not. I mean, there's some people who are just crazy, there's some people who are who are just bullshit in and they're not even tracking whether it's true, which just feels good, and then some people are consciously lying about things. But don't you think there's just a kind of jazz masterpiece of untruth that you should be able to just wave off by saying like, well, none of that is backed up by any evidence. And just almost like take it to the humor place. Well, yeah. But the thing is, the place I'm familiar with doing this and not doing this is on specific conspiracies like 9-11 Truth, right? Like the 9-11, so because of my, because of what 9-11 did to my intellectual life, and they really just, you know, it sent me down a path for the better part of a decade. Like I became a critic of religion. When I don't know if I was ever going to be a critic of religion, right? But that happened to be in my wheelhouse because I spent so much time studying religion on my own. And I was also very interested in the underlying spiritual concerns of every religion. And so I was, I was, you know, I devoted more than a full decade of my life to just, you know, what is, what is real here? What is possible? What is, what is the nature of subjective reality? And how does it relate to reality at large? And is there anything to, you know, who was someone like Jesus or Buddha? And are these people frauds? Are they, are they, are these just, uh, these just myths or, or, or is there really a continuum of insight to be had here that is interesting? So I spent a lot of time on that question through my 20th, the full decade at my 20s. And that was launched in part by 9-11 truth or, no, but then when 9-11 happened, I had spent all this time reading religious books, understanding empathically understanding the motivations of religious people, right? Knowing just how fully certain people believe what they say they believe, right? So I took religious convictions very seriously. And then people started flying planes into our buildings. And I, so I knew that there was something to be said about allegedly, the core doctrine to Islam, exactly. So, so I went down, so that was, that became my wheelhouse for a time, you know, terrorism and, and, uh, jihadism and related topics. And so the 9-11 truth conspiracy thing kept, you know, uh, getting aimed at me. And the question was, well, do I, do I want to debate these people, right? Like, like, Alex Jones, perhaps. Yeah, I mean, yeah, so Alex Jones, I think, was an early purveyor, but although I don't think I knew who he was at that point. Um, and so, and privately, I had some very long debates with people who, you know, one person in my family went way down that rabbit hole. And I just, you know, every six months or so, I'd literally write the two-hour email, you know, that would try to, try to deprogram them, you know, however, and effectively. And, uh, so I went back and forth for three years on that topic with, with, in private with people, but I could see the structure of the conspiracy. I could see the nature of, of, of, of, of how, of how impossible it was to, to play whack a mole sufficiently well. So, as to, so as to convince anyone of anything who was, who was not seeing the, the problematic structure of that way of thinking. I mean, it's, it's not actually a thesis. It's a, it's a proliferation of anomalies that don't, you can't actually connect all the dots that are being pointed to. They, they don't connect in a coherent way. There's, they're incompatible theses that are not, and, and, and their incompatibility is not being acknowledged. Um, but there's, they're running this algorithm as things are, things are never what they seem. There's always malicious conspirators doing things perfectly that we, we, we see all, we see evidence of human incompetence everywhere else. No one can tie their shoes, you know, expertly, anywhere else. But over here, people are perfectly competent. They're perfectly concealing. They, like the thousands of people are collaborating, you know, inexplicably. I mean, incentivized by what who knows their, their collaborating to murder thousands of their neighbors, and no one is breathing a peep about it. No one's getting caught on a, on camera. No one's, you know, no one's breathed the word of it to a journalist. Um, and so I've, I've dealt with that style of thinking, and I, I know what it's like to be in the weeds of a conversation like that. And, and, and the personal say, okay, well, but what do you make of the fact that, um, all those F 16s were flown 800 miles out to sea on the morning of 9-11 to do in an exercise that hadn't even been scheduled for that day. But it was, and now all of these are, I'm, I dimly recall some thesis of that kind, but I'm just making these things up now, right? So like that, that detail hadn't even been scheduled for that day. It's inexplicably run that day. Like it was a, how long would it take to track that down, right? The idea that this is a novelist like that, there was a F, F 16, exercise run on it, and it wasn't even supposed to be been run that day, right? Yeah. Yeah. Someone like Alex Jones, their speech pattern is to pack as much of that stuff in as possible at the highest velocity that a person can speak. And unless you're knocking down each one of those things to that audience, you appear to just be uninformed. You appear to just not be, you don't, wait, he didn't know about the F 16s. Yeah. Um, sure. He, he doesn't know that project Mockingbird. You haven't heard about project Mockingbird. I just made up project Mockingbird. I don't know what it is, but well, that's the kind of thing that comes that tumbling out in conversation like that. That's the kind of thing, frankly, I was worried about in the COVID conversation because not that someone like Brett would do it consciously. But someone like Brett is swimming in a sea of misinformation on social, living on Twitter, getting people sending the blog post and the study from, from, uh, you know, the Philippines that showed that in this cohort, Ivermectin did X, right? And, and not like to actually run anything to ground, right? You have to actually do the work, uh, journalistically and scientifically, uh, and run it to ground, right? So if sort of many, for some of these questions, you actually have to be a statistician to say, okay, they were, they used the wrong statistics in this experiment, right? Now, yes, we could take all the time to do that. Or we could at every stage along the way, in a, in a context where we, we have experts we can trust, go with 90, what 97% of the experts are saying about X, about the safety of mRNA, about the transmissibility of COVID, about whether to wear masks or not wear masks. And I completely agree that that broke down, uh, unacceptably in the over the last few years and that, but I think that's largely a social media and blogs and, and the efforts of podcasters and substack writers were not just a response to that. It was a, I think it was, it was a symptom of that and a cause of that, right? And I think we're living in an environment where people, we've basically, we have trained ourselves not to be able to agree about facts on any topic, no matter how urgent, right? What's, what's flying in our sky? You know, what is, you know, what is, what's happening in Ukraine is, is Putin just denocifying Ukraine? I mean, like, they're people who we respect, who are spending time down that particular rabbit hole, like this is, this is, you know, maybe there are a lot of Nazis in Ukraine and that's the real problem. Right? Maybe Putin's, maybe Putin's not the bad actor here, right? How much time do I have to spend empathizing with Putin to the point of thinking, well, maybe Putin's got a point and it's, it's like, what about the Polonium and the Nerve Agents and the Killian of Journalists and the, you know, Navalny and like, does that count? Well, no, I'm not paying so much attention to that because I'm following all these interesting people on Twitter and they did, they give me some pro-Putin material here and there is a, there are some Nazis in Ukraine, it's not like there are no Nazis in Ukraine. How am I going to wait these things? I think people are being driven crazy by Twitter. Yeah. But you're kind of speaking to conspiracy theories that pollute everything and then, but every example you gave is kind of a bad faith style of conversation. But it's not necessarily knowingly bad faith by, I mean, the people, the people who are worried about Ukraine, Ukrainian Nazis, to my, I mean, there's some of the same people, they're the same people who are worried about Ivermectin got suppressed. Ivermectin is really the panacea, but it got suppressed for, because no one could make billions on it. It's the same, it's literally, it's in many cases, the same people and the same efforts to unearth those. I'm saying it's very difficult to have conversations with those kinds of people. What about a conversation with Trump himself? Would you do a podcast with Trump? No, I don't think so. I don't think I'd be learning anything about him. It's like with Hitler, and I'm not comparing Trump to Hitler, but Clips Guy is your chance. You got this one. With certain world historical figures, I would just feel like, okay, this is an opportunity to learn something that I'm not going to learn. I think Trump is among the most superficial people we've ever laid eyes on. He is in public view. I'm sure there's some distance between who he is in private and who he is in public, but it's not going to be the kind of distance that's going to blow my mind. I think the liability of that, for instance, I think Joe Rogan was very wise not to have Trump on his podcast. I think all he would have been doing is he would have put himself in a situation where he couldn't adequately contain the damage Trump was doing, and he was just going to make Trump seem cool to a new, potentially new cohort of his massive audience. They would have had a lot of laughs. Trump's funny. The entertainment value of things is so influential. There was that one debate where Trump got a massive laugh on his line, only Rosie O'Donnell, right? The truth is we're living in a political system where if you can get a big laugh during a political debate, you win. It doesn't matter who you are. That's the level of, it doesn't matter how uninformed you are. It doesn't matter that half the debate was about what the hell we should do about the threat of nuclear war or anything else. We're monkeys, and we like to laugh. Well, because he brought up Joe, he's somebody like you I look up to. I've learned a lot from him, because I think who he is, privately as a human being, also his, he's kind of the voice of curiosity to me. He inspired me that so unending open-minded curiosity, much like you are the voice of reason. They recently had a podcast, Joe had recently had a podcast with Jordan Peterson, and he brought you up saying they still have a hope for you. Any chance to talk to Joe again and reinvigorate your friendship? I reached out to him privately when I saw that. Did you use the power of love? Joe knows. I love him and consider him a friend, so there's no issue there. He also knows I'll be happy to do his podcast when we get that together. I've got no policy of not talking to Joe or not doing his podcast. I think we got a little sideways along these same lines where we've talked about Brett and Elon and other people. It was never to that degree with Joe because Joe is in a very different lane, right? He's unconsciously so. I mean, Joe is a stand-up comic who interviews, who just is interested in everything, interviews, the widest conceivable variety of people, and just lets his interests collide with their expertise or a lack of expertise. Again, it's a super wide variety of people. He'll talk about anything and he can always pull the rip cord saying, I don't know what the fuck I'm saying. I'm a comic. I'm stone. We're just trying too much. As very entertaining, it's all in, to my eye, it's all in good faith. I think Joe is an extraordinarily ethical good person. Also, it doesn't use Twitter. It doesn't really use Twitter. Yeah. The crucial difference though is that because he is an entertainer first. I mean, I'm not saying he's not smart and he doesn't understand things. He's very smart and he's also very informed. His full-time job is taught when he's not doing stand-up or doing color commentary for the UFC. His full-time job is talking to lots of very smart people at great length. He's created the Joe Rogan University for himself and he's gotten a lot of information crammed into his head. It's not that he's uninformed but he can always, when he feels that he's uninformed or when it turns out he was wrong about something. He can always pull the rip cord and say, I'm just a comic. We were stoned. It was fun. Don't take medical advice from me. I don't play a doctor on the internet. I can't quite do that. You can't quite do that. We're in different lanes. I'm not saying you and I are exactly the same lane but for much of Joe's audience, I'm just this establishment shill. He's just banging on about the universities and medical journals. It's not true but that would be the perception. As a counterpoint to a lot of what's being said on Joe's podcast or on certainly Brett's podcast on these topics, I can see how they would form that opinion. In reality, if you listen to me long enough, you hear that I've said as much against the woke nonsense as anyone. Even any lunatic on the right who can only keep that bright shining object in view. There's nothing that Candace Owens has said about wokeness. I haven't said about wokeness as far as she's speaking rationally about wokeness. We have to be able to keep multiple things in view. If you could only look at the problem of wokeness and you couldn't acknowledge the problem of Trump and Trumpism and QAnon and the explosion of irrationality that was happening on the right and bigotry that was happening on the right, you were just disregarding half of the landscape and many people took half of the problem in recent years. The last five years is a story of many people taking half of the problem and monetizing that half of the problem and getting captured by an audience that only wanted that half of the problem talked about in that way. This is the larger issue of audience capture, which is very, I'm sure it's an ancient problem, but it's a very helpful phrase that I think comes so as courtesy of our mutual friend Eric Weinstein. Audience captures a thing and I believe I've witnessed many casualties of it. If there's anything I've been unguarded against in my life professionally, it's been that. When I noticed that I had a lot of people in my audience who didn't like my criticizing Trump, I really leaned into it. When I noticed that a lot of the other cohort in my audience didn't like me criticizing the far left and wokeness, I thought I was exaggerating that problem. I leaned into it because I thought those parts of my audience were absolutely wrong. I didn't care about whether I was going to lose those parts of my audience. There are people who have created knowingly or not, there are people who've created different incentives for themselves because of how they've monetized their podcast and because of the kind of signal they've responded to in their audience. I worry about Brett would consider this totally invidious ad hominem thing to say but I really do worry that that's happened to Brett. I think I cannot explain how you do 100 with all the things in the universe to be interested in and of all the things he's competent to speak intelligently about. I don't know how you do 100 podcasts in a row on COVID. It makes no sense. You think in part audience capture can explain that. Absolutely. For example, do you feel pressure to not admit that you made a mistake on COVID or made a mistake on Trump? I'm not saying you feel that way but do you feel this pressure? So you've attacked audience capture within the way you do stuff so you don't feel as much pressure from the audience but within your own ego. I mean again, the people who think I'm wrong about any of these topics are going to think, okay, you're just not admitting that you're wrong but then now we're having a dispute about specific facts. There are things that I believed about COVID or worried might be true about COVID two years ago that I no longer believe or I'm not so worried about now and vice versa. I mean, the things have flipped, certain things have flipped upside down. The question is, what was I wrong? So here's the cartoon version of it but this is something I said probably 18 months ago and it's still true. When I saw what Brett was doing on COVID, let's call it two years ago, I said even if he's right, even if he turns out that I've remected in is a panacea and the mRNA vaccines kill millions of people. He's still wrong right now. His reasoning is still flawed right now. His facts still suck right now and his confidence is unjustified now. That was true then, that will always be true then. Not much has changed for me to revisit any of my time points along the way. Again, I will totally concede that if I had teenage boys and their schools were demanding that they be vaccinated with the mRNA vaccine, I would be powerfully annoyed. I wouldn't know what I was going to do and I would be doing more research about myocarditis and I'd be badgering our doctors and I would be worried that we have a medical system and a pharmaceutical system and a healthcare system and a public health system that's not incentivized to look at any of this in a fine grain way and they just want one blanket admonition to the entire population. Just take the shot, eukidates. I view that largely as a result of a panicked response to the misinformation explosion that happened and the public, the populist resistance animated by misinformation that just made it impossible to get anyone to cooperate. Part of it is again, a pendulum swing in the wrong direction. Someone analogous to the woke response to Trump and the Trumpist response to woke. A lot of people have gotten pushed around for bad reasons or but understandable reasons. But yes, there are caveats to my, things have changed about my view of COVID. But the question is, if you roll back the clock 18 months, was I wrong to want to platform Eric Topel, a very well respected cardiologist on this topic or Nicholas Christakis to talk about the network effects of whether we should close schools. He's written a book on COVID. He's network effects or his wheelhouse. He's both as an MD and as a sociologist. There was a lot that we believed we knew about the efficacy of closing schools during pandemics. During the Spanish flu pandemic and others. But there's a lot we didn't know about COVID. We didn't know how negligible the effects would be on kids compared to older people. We didn't know. My problem, I really enjoyed your conversation with Eric Topel, but also didn't. So he's one of the great communicators in many ways on Twitter, like distillation of the current data. But he, I hope I'm not overstating it, but there is a bit of an arrogance from him that I think it could be explained by him being exhausted by being constantly attacked by conspiracy theory, like anti-vaxxers. To me, the same thing happens with people that start drifting to being right wing. Is to get attacked so much by the left, they become almost irrational and arrogant in their beliefs. I felt your conversation with Eric Topel did not sufficiently empathize with people that have skepticism, but also did not sufficiently communicate uncertainty we have. So many of the decisions you made, many of the things you were talking about, we're kind of saying there's a lot of uncertainty, but this is the best thing we could do now. Well, it was a forest choice. You're going to get COVID. Do you want to be vaccinated when you get it? That was always, in my view, an easy choice. And it's up until you start breaking apart the cohorts and you start saying, okay, wait a minute. There is this myocarditis issue in young men. Let's talk about that. Before that story emerged, it was just clear that if it's not knocking down transmission as much as we had hoped, it is still mitigating severe illness and death. And I still believe that it is the current view of most people competent to analyze the data that we lost something like 300,000 people unnecessarily in the US because of because of vaccine hesitancy. But I think there's a way to communicate with humility about the uncertainty of things that would increase the vaccination rate. I do believe that it is rational and sometimes effective to to signal impatience with certain bad ideas, right, and certain conspiracy theories and certain forms of misinformation. I think so. Because it's just I just think it makes you look a douchebag most times. Well, I mean, certain people are persuadable. Certain people are not persuadable. But it's no, because there's not enough. It's the opportunity cost. It's not everything can be given a patient hearing. So you can't have a physics conference and then let people in to just trumpet their pet theories about in the grand unified vision of physics when they're obviously crazy or when they're obviously half crazy or they're just not you know, the people like you begin to you begin to get a sense for this when it is your wheelhouse, but there are people who kind of declare their their irrelevance to the conversation fairly quickly without knowing that they have done it, right. And and the truth is, I think I'm one of those people on the topic of COVID, right? Like I it's like it's not it's never that I felt listen, I know exactly what's going on here. I know these mRNA vaccines are safe. I know exact I know I know exactly how to run a lockdown. I know this is this is a situation where you want the actual pilots to fly the plane, right? We needed experts who we could trust. And in so far as our experts got captured by by all manner of thing, I mean some of them got captured by Trump. Some of them were made to look ridiculous just standing next to Trump while he was bloating about you know, whatever the the it's just going to go away. There's just 15 people, you know, 15 people in a cruise ship and it's just going to go away. There's going to be no problem or it's like when he said to he, you know, many of these doctors think I understand this better than them. They're just amazing how I understand this. And you've got doctors, real doctors, the heads of the CDC and NIH standing around just ashen faced while he's talking, you know, all of this was deeply corrupting of the public communication of science on bull and then again, I've banged on about the depredations of walkeness. The woke thing was a disaster, right? Still is a disaster. But it doesn't mean that I mean, but the thing is there's a big difference between me and bread in this case, I didn't do a 100 podcast on COVID. I did like two podcasts on COVID. The measure of my concern about COVID can be measured in how many podcasts I did on it, right? It's like once we had a sense of how to live with COVID, I was just living with COVID, right? Like, okay, if you get faxed or don't get faxed, wear a mask or don't wear a mask. Travel or don't travel. Like you've got a few things to decide, but my kids were stuck at home on iPads, you know, for too long. I didn't agree with that. You know, it was obviously not functional. Like I criticized that on the margins, but there was not much to do about it. But the thing I didn't do is make this my life and just browbeat people with one message or another. We need a public health regime where we can trust what the confident people are saying to us about, you know, what medicines are safe to take. And in the absence of that craziness is going to put even in the presence of that craziness is going to proliferate given the tools we've built. But in the absence of that, it's going to proliferate for understandable reasons. And that's going to, it's not going to be good next time when, when something orders of magnitude more dangerous hits us. And that's, I spent, you know, in so far as I think about this issue, I think much more about next time than this time. Before this COVID thing, you and Brad had some good conversations. I would say we're friends. What's your, what do you admire most about Brad outside of all the criticism we've had about this COVID topic? Well, I think Brett is very smart and he's a very ethical person who wants good things for the world. I mean, I have no reason to doubt that. So the fact that we're on, you know, we're crosswise on this issue is not does not mean that I think he's a bad person. I mean, the thing that worried me about what he was doing, and this was true of Joe, and this was true of Elon's true of many other people is that once you're messaging at scale to a vast audience, you incur a certain kind of responsibility not to, to get people killed. And I do, I did worry that yeah, people were, people were making decisions on the basis of the information that was getting shared there. And that, that's why I was, I think fairly circumspect. I just said, okay, give me the, the center of the fairway expert opinion at this time point, and at this time point, and at this time point, and then I'm out, right? I don't have any more to say about this. I'm not an expert on COVID. I'm not an expert on the safety of MRNA vaccines. If something, if something changes, so as to become newsworthy, then maybe I'll do a podcast, so I mean, I just did a podcast on the lab leak, right? I was never skeptical of the lab leak hypothesis. Brett was very early on saying this is, this is a lab leak, right? At a point where my only position was, who cares if it's a lab leak, right? Like this, that there's the thing we have to get straight is what do we do given the nature of this pandemic? But also, we should say that you've actually stated that it is a possibility. Oh, yeah. I just said it doesn't quite know. I mean, the time to figure that out, now I've actually, I've had my podcast guest on this topic changed my view of this because one of the guests, Alina Chan, made the point that, no, actually the best time to figure out the origin of this is immediately, right? Because in the avid, you lose touch with the evidence. And I hadn't really been thinking about that. If you come back after a year, you know, there are certain facts you might not be able to get in hand. But I've always felt that it didn't matter for two reasons. One is we had the genome of the virus and we could design, we're very quickly designed immediately, designing vaccines against that genome. And that's what we had to do. And then we had to figure out how to vaccinate and to mitigate and to develop treatments and all that. So the origin story didn't matter. Generically speaking, either origin story was politically inflammatory and made the Chinese look bad, right? And the Chinese response to this looked bad, whatever the origin story, right? They're not cooperating. They're stopping their domestic flights, but letting their international flights go. I mean, it's just they were bad actors and they should be treated as such regardless of the origin, right? And you know, I would argue that the wet market origin is even more politically invidious than the lab leak origin. I mean, why do you think? Because for the lab leak, to my eye, the lab leak could happen to anyone, right? We're all running, all these advanced countries are running these dangerous labs. That's a practice that we should be worried about, you know, in general. We know lab leaks are a problem. There have been multiple lab leaks. If you even worse things that haven't gotten out of hand in this way, but you know, worse pathogens, we're wise to be worried about this. And on some level, it could happen to anyone, right? The wet market makes them look like barbarians live in another century. Like you got to clean up those wet markets. Like what the what are you doing putting a bat on top of a pangolin on top of a duck? It's like, get your shit together. So like if anything, the wet market makes them look worse in my view. Now, I'm sure there's I'm sure that what they actually did to conceal a lab leak. If it was a lab leak, I mean, all of that's going to look odious. Do you think we'll ever get to the bottom of that? I mean, one of the big negative, I would say failures of Anthony Foulcini and so on is to be transparent and clear and just a good communicator about getting functional research to the dangers of that. The success, like, the, you know, why it's a useful way of research, but it's also dangerous. Right. You know, just being transparent about that as opposed to just coming off really shady, of course, the conspiracy theorists and the politicians are not helping, but this just created a giant mess. Yeah, I know. I would agree that so that exchange with Fauci and Rand Paul, they went viral. Yeah, I would agree that Fauci looked like he was taking refuge in kind of very layered language and not giving a straightforward account of what we do and why we do it. And so yeah, I think it looked shady. It played shady and it probably was shady. I'm out. I don't know how personally entangled he is with any of this, but yeah, the gain of function research is something that I think we're wise to be worried about. And so far as I judge myself adequate to have an opinion on this, I think it should be banned. Right. Like I probably a podcast I'll do, you know, if you or somebody else doesn't do it in the meantime, you know, I would like a virologist on to defend it against a virologist who would criticize it. Forget about just the gain of function research. I don't even understand virus hunting at this point. It's like, I don't know, I don't even know why you need to go into a cave to find this next virus that could be circulating among bats that made jump zoonotically to us. Why do that when we can make when we can sequence in a day and and make vaccines in a weekend? I mean, like what kind of head start do you think you're getting? That's a surprising new thing. How could you can develop a vaccine? Exactly. That's, uh, yeah, that's really interesting. But the shading us around lab leak. I think the point I didn't make about Brett's style of engaging this issue is people are using the fact that he was early on lab leak to suggest that he was right about Iver Mectin and about MRNA vaccines and all the rest like no, that's none of that connects and it was possible to be falsely confident. Like you shouldn't have been confident about lab, no one should have been confident about lab leak early, even if it turns out to be lab leak. Right. It was always plausible. It was never definite. It still isn't definite. Zoonotic is also quite plausible. It certainly was super plausible then. Both are politically uncomfortable. Both of the time were inflammatory to be banging on about when we were trying to secure some kind of cooperation from the Chinese. Right. So there's a time for these things and and it's possible to be right by accident. Right. That's the, it's, it met your reasoning, the style of reasoning matters whether you're right or not. You know, it's like because your style of reasoning is dictating what you're going to do on the next topic. Sure, but this is a, this multi various situation here. It's really difficult to know what's right on COVID given all the uncertainty all the chaos, especially when you step outside the pure biology, biology of it, and you start getting to policy. Yeah. It's really, yeah, it's just trade-offs. Yeah. Like transmissibility of the virus. Sure. Just knowing if 65% of the population gets vaccinated, what effect would that have? Just even knowing those things, just modeling all those things. Given all the other incentives, let me Pfizer. But you had the CEO of Pfizer on your podcast. Did you leave that conversation feeling like this is a person who is consciously reaping windfall profits on a dangerous vaccine and putting everyone at intolerable risk? Or do you think this person, did you think this person was making a good faith attempt to save lives and had no bad, no, no, no, a taint of bad incentives or something. The thing I sensed and I felt in part, it was a failure on my part, but I sensed that I was talking to a politician. So it's not thinking of there was malevolence there or benevolence. There was a, he just had a job. He put on a suit and I was talking to a suit, not a human being. Now he said that his son was a big fan of the podcast, which is why he wanted to do it. So I thought I would be talking to a human being. And I asked challenging questions, what I thought the internet thinks otherwise. Every single question in that interview was a challenging one. But it wasn't grilling, which is what people seem to want to do with pharmaceutical companies. There's a deep distress as pharmaceutical companies. What was still alternative? I totally get that windfall profits at a time of public health emergency looks bad. It is a bad look. Right. But what do, how do we reward and return capital to risk takers who will spend a billion dollars to design a new drug for a disease that may be only harms a single digit percentage of the populations? Like, what do we want to encourage? And who do we want to get rich? I mean, so like the person who cures cancer, do we want that person to get rich or not? We want the, we want the person who gave us the iPhone to get rich, but we don't want the person who cures cancer to get rich. What are we trying to do? It's a very gray area. So what we want is the person who declares that they have a cure for cancer, dev authenticity and transparency. There's like, I think we're good now as a population smelling bullshit. And there is something about the Pfizer CEO, for example, just CEO of pharmaceutical companies in general, just because they're so lowered up, so much marketing RPR people that they are, you just smell bullshit. You're not talking a real human. It just feels like none of it is transparent to us as a public. So like this whole talking point that Pfizer is only interested in helping people, just doesn't ring true. Even though it very well could be true. It's the same thing with Bill Gates, who seems to be at scale helping a huge amount of people in the world. And yet there's something about the way he delivers that message where people like, this seems suspicious. What's happening underneath this? There's certain kinds of communication styles that seem to be more service better catalysts for conspiracy theories. And I'm not sure what that is because I don't think there's an alternative for capitalism in delivering drugs that help people. But also at the same time, there seems to need to be more transparency. And plus like regulation that actually makes sense versus it seems like pharmaceutical companies are susceptible to corruption. Yeah, I worry about all that. But I also do think that most of the people go into those fields. And most of the people go into government doing it for good. And they're non-cycle paths trying to get good things done and trying to solve hard problems. And they're not trying to get rich. I mean, many of the people are like, bad incentives or something. Again, I've heard that phrase 30 times on this podcast, but it's just almost everywhere it explains normal people creating terrible harm. It's not that there are that many bad people. And yes, it makes the truly bad people that much more remarkable and worth paying attention to. But the bad incentives and the bad and the power of bad ideas do much more harm. Because I mean, that's what that's what gets good people running in the wrong direction or doing things that are clearly creating unnecessary suffering. You've had, and I hope still have a friendship with Elon Musk, especially over the topic of AI. You have a lot of interesting ideas that you both share, concerns you both share. Well, let me first ask, what do you admire most about Elon? Well, I had a lot of fun with Elon. I like Elon a lot. I mean, the Elon, I knew as a friend. I like a lot. And it's not going to surprise anyone. He's done and he's continuing to do amazing things. And I think he's, you know, I think many of his aspirations are realized the world would be a much better place. I think it's just it's amazing to see what he's built and what he's attempted to build and what he may yet build. So, Tesla was SpaceX with? Yeah, I'm a fan of almost all of that. I mean, there are wrinkles to a lot of that, you know, or some of that. And he was a full of wrinkles. There's something very trumping about how he's acting on Twitter. I mean, Twitter, I think Twitter, he doesn't, he thinks Twitter is great. He bought the place because he thinks it's so great. I think Twitter is driving him crazy, right? I think he's, I think he's needlessly complicating his life and harming his reputation and creating a lot of noise and and harming a lot of other people. I mean, so like he, the thing that I objected to with him on Twitter is not that he bought it and made changes to it. I mean, that was not, again, I, I, I remade agnostic as to whether or not he can improve the platform. It was how he was personally behaving on Twitter, not just toward me, but toward the world. I think when you, you know, forward an article about Nancy Pelosi's husband being attacked not as he was by some lunatic, but that is to some gay, gay, sad, garner, right? That's not what it seems. And you link to a, a website that previously claimed that Hillary Clinton was dead and that a body double was campaigned in her place. That thing was exploding in Trumpistan as a conspiracy theory, right? And it was having its effect and matters that he was signal boosting it in front of 130 million people. And so it is with saying that your, you know, your, your former employee, you, you, all Roth is a pedophile, right? And it's like that has real consequences. It appeared to be complete bullshit. And now you get this guy's getting in and dated with death threats, right? And Elon, it's all that's totally predictable, right? And he's, so he's behaving quite recklessly. And there's a long list of things like that that he's done on Twitter. It's not ethical. It's not good for him. It's not good for the world. It's not serious. It's just, it's, it's, it's, it's, it's a very adolescent relationship to real problems in our society. And so my, my problem with how he's behaved is that he's, he's purported to touch real issues by turns, like, okay, do I give the satellites to Ukraine or not? Do I, do I minimize their use of them or not? Is this, should I publicly worry about World War Three or not, right? He's doing this shit on Twitter, right? And at the same moment, he's doing these other very impulsive ill-considered things. And he's not showing any willingness to really clean up the mess he makes. He brings Kanye on, knowing he's an anti-Semite who's got mental health problems and then kicks him off for a swastika, which I probably wouldn't have kicked him off for a swastikers. Like, that's that's even, like, can you really kick people off for a swastikers? Is that something that you get banned for, I mean, that, you a free speech absolutist if you can't let a swastiker show up. I'm not even sure that's enforce an enforceable terms of service, right? There's, there are ways, there are moments to use swastikers that are not conveying hate and not raising their risk of violence. Clip that. Yeah. Any, but so much of what he's doing, given that he's, again, scale matters. He's doing this in front of 130 million people. That's very different than a million people and that's very different than 100,000 people. And so when I went off the tracks with Elon, he was doing this about COVID. And again, this was a situation where I tried to privately mitigate a friend's behavior and it didn't work out very well. Did you try to correct him sort of highlighting things he might be wrong on? Yeah. Or did you use the Lex Power Love method? I should, I should write like a pamphlet for Sam Harris. Well, no, but it was, it was totally coming from a place of love because I was concerned about his reputation. I was concerned about what he, I mean, there was a twofold concern. I could see what was happening with the tweet. I mean, he had this original tweet that was, I think was panic, panic over COVID is dumb or something like that. Right. This is, wait, this is the March, this is an early March 2020. Oh, super early days. Super early. So when nobody knew anything, but we knew we saw what was happening in Italy, right. It was totally kicking off. God does a wild time. That's when the toilet paper was totally wild. But that became the most influential tweet on Twitter for that week. I mean, it had more engagement than any other tweet, more than any crazy thing. Trump was tweeting. I mean, it was, it went off. Again, it was just a nuclear bomb of, of, of information. And I could see that people were responding to it like, wait a minute. Okay. Here's this genius technologist who must have inside information about everything. Right. Surely he knows something that is not on the surface about this pandemic. And they're reading, they were reading into it a lot of information that I knew wasn't there. Right. And I, and at the time, I didn't even, I didn't think he had any reason to be suggesting that. I think he was just firing off a tweet, right. So I reached out to him in private. And I mean, because it was a private text conversation, I won't talk about the details. But I'm just saying, in that's a case, you know, among the many, the many cases of friends who have public platforms and who did something that I thought was dangerous and ill considered. This was a case where I, I reached out in private and tried to, to help genuinely help because it was just, I thought it was harmful in every sense because it was being misinterpreted. And it's like, okay, you can say that panic over anything is dumb. Fine. But this was not how this was landing. This was like non-issue conspiracy code. There's going to be no COVID in the US. It's going to peter out. It's just going to become a cold. I mean, that's how this was getting received. Whereas at that moment, it was absolutely obvious how big a deal this was going to be. No, or that it was going to add minimum going to be a big deal. I don't know if it was obvious, but it was obvious there was a significant probability that it could be a big. I remember, it was unclear. Like, how big? Because there were still stories of it. Like, it's probably going to, like, the big concern, the hospitals, my overfill, but it's going to die out in like two months or something. Yeah, we didn't know, but it was there was no way we weren't going to have tens of thousands of deaths at a minimum at that point. And it was, there was every, it was totally rational to be worried about hundreds of thousands. And when Nicholas Christakis came on my podcast very early, he predicted quite confidently that we would have about a million people dead in the US. Right. And that didn't seem, you know, it was, you know, I think appropriately hedged, but in me was still it was just like, okay, it's just going to, you just look at the, we were just kind of riding this exponential and we're and it's going to be, you know, it'd be very surprising not to have that order of magnitude and not something much, much less. And so anyway, I mean, again, to close the story on Elon, I could see how this was being received and I tried to get him to walk that back. And then we, we had a fairly long and detailed exchange on this issue. And that, so that intervention didn't work. And it was not done, you know, I was not an asshole, I was not, I was just concerned, you know, for him, for the world, for it. And, you know, and then there are other relationships where I didn't take that, again, that's an example we're taking the time, didn't work, right? privately. There are other relationships where I thought, okay, it's just going to be more trouble than it's worth. And I just just ignored it, you know. And there's a lot of that. And I, and I, again, I'm not comfortable with how this is all netted out because I, I don't know if, you know, I'm not, you know, frankly, I'm not comfortable with how much time in this conversation we've spent talking about these specific people. Like what good is it for me to, to talk about Elon or Brad or anything? I think there's a lot of good because those friendships, listen, as a fan, these are the conversations that I, I loved, love is a fan. And it feels like COVID has robbed the world of these conversations because you were exchanging back and forth on Twitter, but that's not what I mean by conversations like long form discussions, like a debate about COVID, like a normal debate. But there's no, there is no, Elon and I shouldn't be debating COVID. You should be. Here's the thing with humility, like basically saying, we don't really know like the Rogan method. We don't, we're just a bunch of idiots. Like one is an engineer, you're a neuroscientist, but like it just kind of, okay, here's the evidence and be like normal people. That's what everybody was doing. The whole world was like trying to figure out what the hell? What? Yeah, but the issue was that at that, so at the moment I had this collision, with Elon, certain things were not debatable, right? It was just, it was absolutely clear where this was going. It wasn't clear how far it was going to go or how quickly we would mitigate it, but it was absolutely clear that it was going to be an issue, right? The train had come off the tracks in Italy. We knew we weren't going to seal our borders. There were already people, you know, there are already cases known to many of us personally in the US at that point. And he was operating by a very different logic that I couldn't engage with. Sure, but the logic represents a part of the population and there's a lot of interesting topics that have a lot of uncertainty around them, like the effectiveness of masks. Yeah, but no, but where things broke down was not at the point of, oh, there's a lot to talk about, a lot to debate. This is all very interesting. And who knows what's what? It broke down very early at this is, you know, there's nothing to talk about here. Like it like, like either there's a water bottle on the table or there isn't, right? Like, it, well, technically there's only one fourth of a water bottle. So what defines a water bottle? Is it the water inside the water bottle? Is it the water bottle? Well, I'm giving you as an example of its worth of conversation. This is difficult because this is, we had an exchange in private and I want to, I want to honor not, not exposing the details of it, but, you know, the details convinced me that there was not a follow-up conversation on that topic on this topic. Yeah. That said, I hope, and I hope to be part of helping that happen that the friendship was rekindled because one of the topics I care a lot about artificial intelligence, you're, you've had great public and private conversations about this topic. And yes, and Elon was very formative in my taking that issue seriously. I mean, he and I went to that initial conference in Puerto Rico together and it was only because he was going and I found out about it through him and I just wrote his co-tales to it, you know, that I, that I got dropped in that side of the pool to hear about these concerns at that point. It would be interesting to hear how is your concern, concern evolved with the coming out of Chad G.P.T. and these new, large language models that are fine-tuned or with reinforcement learning and you're seemingly to be able to do some incredible human-like things. There's two questions. One, how is your concern in terms of AGI and superintelligence evolved and how impressed that you were Chad G.P.T. as a, as a student of the human mind and mind in general? Well, my concern about AGI is unchanged. So I did a, I've spoken about it a bunch of my podcasts, but you know, I did a TED talk in 2016, which was the kind of summary of what that conference and various conversations I had after that did to my, my brain on this topic. Basically, that once superintelligence has achieved, there's a takeoff, it becomes exponentially smarter and in a matter of time, there's just where ants and their gods. Well, yeah, unless we find some way of permanently tethering a, a, a, a superintelligent, superintelligent, self-improving AI to our value system and I, you know, I don't believe anyone has figured I had to do that or whether that's even possible in principle. I mean, people like Stuart Russell, who I just had on my podcast, are really having, have you released to him? I haven't released it yet. Oh great. He's been on previous podcasts, but we just recorded this week. Because you haven't done an AGI podcast in a while. Yeah, great. He's a good person to talk about alignment with. Yeah, so Stuart, I mean, Stuart has been, you know, probably more than anyone, my guru on this topic. I mean, like, you're reading his book and doing, I think I've done two podcasts with him at this point. I think it's all the control problem or something. His is, his book is human compatible. Human compatible. He talks about the control problem. And yeah, so I just think the idea that we can define a value function in advance that permanently tethers a self-improving superintelligence AI to our values as we continue to discover them, refine them, extrapolate them in an open ended way. I think that's a tall order. And there I think there are many more ways. There must be many more ways of designing super intelligence that is not aligned in that way and it's not ever approximating our values in that way. So I mean, Stuart's idea to put it in a very simple way is that he thinks you don't want to specify the value function upfront. You don't want to imagine you could ever write the code in such a way as to admit of no loophole. You want to make the AI uncertain as to what human values are and perpetually uncertain and always trying to ameliorate that uncertainty by hewing more and more closely to what our professed values are. So it's always interested in saying, oh no, that's not what we want. That's not what we intend. Stop doing that. No matter how smart it gets, all it wants to do is more perfectly approximate human values. I think there are a lot of problems with that at a high level. I'm not a computer scientist. So I'm sure there are many problems at a low level that I don't understand. I can't force a human into the loop always. No matter what. There's that. What humans get a vote and just what do humans value and what is the difference between what we say we value and our revealed preferences which I mean, if you were a super intelligent AI that could look at humanity now, I think you could be forgiven for concluding that what we value is driving ourselves crazy with Twitter and living perpetually on the brink of nuclear war and just watching hot girls in yoga pants on TikTok again and again and again. It's like what you're saying that is not this is all revealed preference. And it's what is an AI to make of that? And what should it optimize? This is also Stuart's observation that one of the insidious things about the YouTube algorithm is it's not that it just caters to our preferences. It actually begins to change us in ways so as to make us more predictable. If I get finds ways to make us a better reporter of our of our preferences and to trim our preferences down so that it can can further train to that signal. So the main concern is that most of the people in the field seem not to be taking intelligence seriously. Like as they design more and more intelligent machines and as they profess to want to design true AGI, they're not again they're not spending the time that Stuart is spending trying to figure out how to do this safely above all. They're just assuming that these these problems are going to solve themselves as we as we make that final stride into the end zone or they're saying very you know, polyannish things like you know an AI would never form a motive to harm human like why would it ever form a motive to to to be malicious toward humanity right unless we put that motive in there right and that's that's not the concern the concern is that in the presence of of vast disparities and competence and in certainly in a condition where these the machines are improving themselves are improving their own code. They could be developing goal instrumental goals that are antithetical to our well-being without any without any intent to harm us right. It's it's it's analogous to what we do to every other species on earth. I mean you and I don't consciously form the intention to harm insects on a daily basis but there are many things we could intend to do that would in fact harm insects because you know you just had to repay of your driveway or whatever whatever you're doing you're like you're not you're just not taking the the interests of insects into account because they're so far beneath you in terms of your cognitive horizons and so that the real challenge here is that if you believe that intelligence you know scales up on a continuum to toward heights that we can only dimly imagine and then I think there's every reason to believe that there's no reason to believe that we're near the summit of intelligence and you can define you know defined and maybe maybe there's maybe there's some forms of intelligence for which this is not true but for for many relevant forms you know like the top hundred things we care about cognitively I think there's every reason to believe that many of those things most of those things are a lot like chess or go where once the machines get better than we are they're going to stay better than we are although they're I don't know if he's caught the recent thing with go we're we're and this actually came out of Stuart's lab yeah yeah yeah one one time a human beta machine yeah they found a hack for that but anyway in the ultimately it's there's going to be no looking back and then the question is what do what do we do in relate in relationship to these systems that are more competent than we are in every relevant respect because it will be a relationship it's not like the people the people who think we're just going to figure this all out you know without thinking about it in advance it's just going to these solutions are just going to find themselves seem not to be taking the prospect of really creating autonomous super intelligence seriously like like what does that mean it's every bit as independent and ungovernable ultimately as us having created I mean just imagine if we created a race of people that were 10 times smarter than all of us like how would we live with those people they're 10 times smarter than us right like they begin to talk about things we don't understand they begin to want things we don't understand they begin to view us as obstacles to them to they're solving those problems or gratifying those desires we become the chickens are the monkeys in their presence and I think that it's but for some amazing solution of the sort that steward is imagining that we could somehow anchor their reward function permanently no matter how intelligent scales I think it's it's really worth worrying about this I do I do buy the you know the sci-fi notion that this is an existential risk if we don't do it well I worry that we don't notice it I'm deeply impressed with Chad Gbt and I'm worried that it will become super intelligent these language models are become super intelligent because they're basically trained in the collective intelligence through the human species and then it will start controlling our behavior if they're integrated into our algorithms the recommender systems and then we just won't notice that there is a super intelligent system that's controlling our behavior well I think that's true even before far before super intelligence even before general intelligence I mean I think just the narrow intelligence of these algorithms and of what something like you know Chad Gbt can can do I mean it's just far short of it developing its own goals and that is that are across purposes with ours just the just the unintended consequences of of using it in the ways we're going to be incentivized to use it and you know the money to be made from scaling this thing and what it does to our information space and our sense of just being able to get the ground truth of of on any facts it's yeah it's super scary and it was it's do you think it's a giant leap in terms of the development towards a GI Chad Gbt or we still is it's just an impressive little tool box so like what do you think the singularity is coming or do you have no intuitions on that front apart from the fact that if we continue to make progress it will come right so it's just you just have to assume we continue to make progress there's only two assumptions you have to assume substrate independence so there's no reason why this can't be done in silico it's just we can build arbitrarily intelligent machines there's nothing magical about having it having this done in in the wet wear of our own brains I think that is true and I think that's you know scientifically parsimonious to think that's true and then you just have to assume we're going to keep making progress doesn't have to be any special rate of progress doesn't have to be Moore's Law it can just be we just keep going at a certain point we're going to be in relationship to minds leaving conscious to conscience aside I don't I don't have any reason to believe that they'll necessarily be conscious by virtue of being super intelligent and that's its own interesting ethical question but leaving conscience aside there can be more there can be more competent than we are and then that's like you know the aliens have landed you know that's literally that's an encounter with again leaving aside the possibility that that's something like Stuart's path is is actually available to us but it is hard to picture if what we mean by intelligence all things considered and it's truly general if that scales and you know begins to build upon itself how you maintain that perfect slavish devotion until the end of time the tether no systems the tether to humans yeah I think my gut says that that tether is not there's a lot of ways to do it so it's not this increasingly impossible problem right so I have no you know as you know I'm not a computer scientist I have no intuitions about just algorithmically how you would approach that and what's somewhat spot my main intuition is maybe deeply flawed but the main intuition is based on the fact that most of the learning is currently happening on human knowledge so even tragedy pretties just trained on human data right I don't see where the takeoff happens where you completely go above human wisdom the current impressive aspect of tragedy pretties that's using collective intelligence of all of us from what what I lean from again from people who know much more about this than I do I I think we have reason to be skeptical that these tech techniques of you know deep learning are actually going to be sufficient to push us into and age yeah right so it's just they're not they're not generalizing in the way they need to they're not certainly not learning like human children and so they're there's brittle and strange ways they're they're it's not to say that the human path is the only path you know and you know and maybe there's we might learn better lessons by ignoring the way brains work but um we know that they don't generalize and use abstraction the way we do and so um although they have strange holes and they're competent but the size of the holes is shrinking every time and that's so the intuition starts to slowly fall apart you know the intuition is like surely can't be this simple to achieve intelligence yeah but it's becoming simpler and simpler so I don't know I don't the progress is quite incredible I've been extremely impressed with Chad G.P.T. and the new models and there's a lot of financial incentive to make progress yes record so it's we're going to be living through some very interesting times uh in raising a question then I'm going to be talking to you a lot of people brought up this topic probably because Eric Weinstein talked to Joe Rogan recently and said that he and you were contacted by folks about UFOs can you clarify the nature of this contact can you yeah yeah that you are contacted by I've got very little to say on this I mean he has much more to say I think he I think he went down this rabbit hole further than than I did um which which wouldn't surprise anyone um he's got much more of a taste for this sort of thing than I do but I think we're contacted by the same person it wasn't clear to me who this person was or how this person got that my cell phone number um they didn't seem uh it didn't seem like we were getting punked I mean the person seemed credible to me and they were talking to you about the release of different videos on you yeah and this this is when there's a flurry of activity around this so there was like there was a big New Yorker article on on uh UFOs and there was there was uh rumors of congressional hearings I think come in and and then with the the videos that were being debunked or not um and so this person contacted both of us I think around the same time and I think he might have contacted Rogan or other Eric is just the only person I've spoken to about it I think um who I know was contacted and the um what happened is there's a person kept you know writing a check that he didn't cash like he kept saying okay next week I'm gonna you know I understand this is sounding spooky and you know you have no reason to really trust me but next week I'm gonna I'm gonna put you on a zoom call with people who you will recognize and they're gonna be you know former heads of the CIA and you know people who just you're gonna within five seconds being on the zoom call you'll you'll know this is not a hoax uh so great just let me know just send me the zoom link right and I went that happened maybe three times you know but you there was just one phone conversation and then it was just texts you know that's just a bunch of texts and I think uh Eric spent more time with this person and I'm not I haven't spoken about I know he spoke about it publicly but um so I you know it's not that my bullshit detector ever really went off in a big way it's just the thing never happened and I saw I lost interest so you made a comment which is interesting that you ran the um which I really appreciate the you ran the thought experiment of saying okay maybe we do have alien spacecraft or it's just the thought experiment the aliens did visit you're and then this is very kind of nihilistic sad thought that it wouldn't matter it wouldn't affect your life can you can you explain that well no I was I think many people noticed this I mean this was a sign of how crazy the news cycle was at that point right like we had covid and we had trump and I forget when this the UFO thing was really kicking off but um it just seemed like no one had the band with even be interested in this it's like I was amazed to notice in myself that I wasn't more interested in figuring out what was going on it's like a it's and I considered okay wait a minute this is if this is true this is the biggest story in anyone's lifetime the contact with alien intelligence is by definition the biggest story in anyone's lifetime in human history um why isn't this just totally captivating and it not only wasn't not totally captivating it was just barely rising to the level of might be enabled to pay attention to it and I view that I mean one as a um to some degree a an understandable defense mechanism against the the the bogus claims that that have been made about this kind of thing in the past um you know the the general sense has probably bullshit or probably has some explanation that is purely terrestrial and not surprising and there was there's there is somebody who what does name is it mcwest ever get is it a youtuber yeah he debunks the yeah he don't I mean I mean I you know I have since seen some of those videos I mean now this is going back still at least a year but some of those videos seem like fairly credible debunkings of some of the the optical evidence um and I'm surprised we didn't haven't seen more of that like there was a fairly credulous 60 minutes piece that came out around that time looking at some of that video and it was the very video that he was debunking on youtube and you know his his video only had like 50,000 views on it or whatever um but again it seemed like a fairly credible debunking I haven't seen debunkings of his debunkings but uh I think there is but he's basically saying that there is there is possible explanations for right and usually in these kinds of contexts if there's a possible explanation even if it seems unlikely it's going to be more likely than an alien civilization visiting us yeah it's the extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence principle which I think is generally true well with aliens I think generally I think there should be some humility about what they would look like when they show up but I tend to think they're ready here the amazing thing about this AI conversation though is that we're talking about a circumstance where we would be designing the aliens yeah and they would and there's every reason to believe that eventually this is going to happen like I so I'm not at all skeptical about the the coming reality of the aliens that we're going to build them now here's the thing does this apply to when super intelligence shows up will this be trending on Twitter for a day and then we'll go on to complain about something simpheras once again that is podcasting there you tend to tend to trend on Twitter even though you're not on Twitter which is great yeah I don't I haven't noticed I mean I did I did notice when I was on but um you have this concern about uh a g i basically the same kind of thing that we would just look the other way is that something about this time where even like world war three which has been throwing around very casually concernedingly so even that the new cycle website away yeah well I think we have this this general problem that we can't make certain information even you know unequivically certain information emotionally salient like we we we respond quite readily to certain things and as we talked about we we respond to the the little girl who fell down a well I mean that just that gets a hundred percent of our emotional resources but the abstract probability that of nuclear war right even a high probability even just even an intolerable probability even if we put it at 30 percent right you know like it's just like that's that's a Russian roulette with a you know gun with three chambers and you know it's aimed at the heads not only your head but your kids head and everyone's kids head and it's just 24 hours a day and um I mean I think people who who have this pre-Ukraine I think the people who have made it their business to you know professionally to think about the risk of nuclear war and to mitigate it you know people like Graham Allison or William Perry or I mean I think they were putting like the the ongoing risk of it just the risk that we're going to have a proper nuclear war at some point in the you know the next generation people were putting it at you know something like 50 percent right they were living with this sort of damacles over our heads now you might wonder whether anyone can have reliable intuitions about the probability of that kind of thing but the the status quo is truly alarming I mean we've got you know we've got ICBMs on leaf aside smaller exchanges and you know tactical nukes and how that could how we could have a world war you know based on you know incremental changes we've got the biggest bombs aimed at the biggest cities in both directions and it's old technology right and it's you know and it's vulnerable to some lunatic deciding to launch or or misreading you know bad data and we know we've been saved from nuclear war um I think at least twice by you know Soviet submarine commanders deciding I'm not going to pass this up the change a chain of command right like this is this is almost certainly an error is and it turns out it wasn't error and it's like like and we we need people to I mean in that particular case like he saw I think it was five what seemed like five missiles launched from the US to Russia and he he reasoned if the if America was going to engage in a first strike they'd launch more than five missiles right so this this has to be fictional and then he waited long enough to decide that it was fictional but the probability of a nuclear war happening by mistake or some other species of inadvertence you know misunderstand in a technical malfunction that's intolerable forget about the the intentional use of it by by people who are you know driven crazy by some ideology and more and more technologies are enabled at a kind of scale of destruction and misinformation plays into this picture in a way that is especially scary I mean once you can get a deep fake of you know the any current president of the United States claiming to have launched a first strike you know and just you know send that everywhere but I could change the nature of truth and then we that might change the the engine we have for skepticism sharpen it the more yet deep fake. Yeah and they might have AI and digital watermarks that help us and it maybe will not trust any information that hasn't come through specific channels right I mean so like in in my world it's like I no longer feel the the need to respond to anything other than what I put out in in my channels of information it's like there's there's so much there's so many people who have clipped stuff of me that shows the opposite of what I was actually saying in contact I mean the people have like re-edited my podcast audio to make it seem like I said the opposite of what I was saying it's like unless I put it out you know you can't be sure that I actually said it you know I mean it's it's just but I don't know what it's like to live like that for all forms of information and I mean strangely I think it may require a greater siloing of information in the end you know it's like it it's we're living through this sort of wild west period where everyone's got a newsletter and everyone's got a blog and everyone's got an opinion but once you can fake everything there might be a greater value for expertise yeah for experts but a more rigorous system for identifying who the experts are yeah or just or just knowing that you know it's going to be an arms race to authenticate information so it's like if you can never trust a photograph yeah unless it has been vetted by getty images because only getty images has the resources to to authenticate the provenance of that photograph and and a test that hasn't been metaled with by AI and again I don't even know if that's technically possible and maybe the whatever the tools available for this will be you know commodified and and the cost will be driven to zero so quickly that everyone will be able to do it you know it could be like encryption but and it would be proven and tested most effectively first of course as always in porn yeah which is where most of human innovation technology happens first um well I have to ask because Ron Howard the director asked us on Twitter since we're talking about the threat of nuclear war and otherwise he asked I'd be interested in both your expectations for human society if when we move beyond Mars with those societies being industrial based how will it be governed how will criminal infractions be dealt with when you read or watch sci-fi what comes closest to sounding logical do you think about our society beyond earth if we colonize Mars if we colonize space yeah well I think I have a pretty uh humbling picture of that move so because we're still going to be the apes that we are so we when you when you imagine colonizing Mars you have to imagine a first fist fight on Mars yeah you have to imagine first murder on Mars also infidelity yeah somebody extramarital affairs on Mars right so it's it's gonna get uh really homely and boring really fast I think you know it's like only the spacesuits or what the other uh exigencies of just living in that atmosphere or lack thereof uh will limit how badly we can behave on Mars but do you think most of the interaction will be still in meet space versus digital do you think there'll be do you think we're like living through a um a transformation of a kind where we're going to be doing more and more interaction than digital space like everything we've been complaining about Twitter is it possible that Twitter is just the early days of a broken system that's actually uh giving birth to a better working system that's ultimately digital I think we're gonna experience a pendulum swing back into the real world I mean I think many of us are experiencing that now anyway I mean just just wanting to have face to face encounters and spend less time on our phones and less time online I think I think you know uh maybe everyone isn't going in that direction but I do notice it myself and I notice I mean once I got off Twitter I then I noticed the people who were never on Twitter right and then and the people who were never basically I mean I know I have a lot of friends who were never on Twitter yeah and they actually never understood what I was doing on Twitter it's like like they just like it wasn't that they were seeing it and then reacting to it they just didn't know it's like it's like being on it's like I'm not on red it either but I don't spend any time thinking about not being on Reddit right so I just I'm just not on Reddit um do you think the pursuit of human happiness is better achieved more effectively achieved outside of Twitter world well I think all we have is our attention in the end and we we just have to notice what these various tools are doing to it and it's just it became very clear to me that it was an unrewarding use of my attention now it's not to say there isn't some digital platform that's conceivable that would be useful but um and rewarding but yeah I mean we do we just have you know our life is doled out to us in moments and we have and we're continually solving this riddle of what is going to suffice to make this moment engaging and meaningful and aligned with who I want to be now and how I want the future to to look right we're all in this we have this tension between being in the present and becoming in the future and um you know it's a seeming paradox again it's not really a paradox but it can seem like I do think the ground truth for personal well-being is to find a mode of being where you can pay attention to the present moment and this is you know meditation by another name you can pay attention to the present moment with sufficient you know gravity that you recognize that that just consciousness itself in the present moment no matter what's happening is already a circumstance of freedom and and contentment and tranquility like you can be happy now before anything happens before this next desire gets gratified before this next problem gets solved there's there's this kind of ground truth that you're free that consciousness is free and open and unencumbered by really any problem until you get lost in thought about all the problems that may yet be real for you so the ability to catch and observe consciousness that in itself is a source of happiness without being lost in thought and and so what this happens happens have hazardly for people who don't meditate because they find something in their life that's so captivating it's so pleasurable it's so thrilling it can even be scary but it can be even being scared is captivated like it gets it gets their attention right whatever it is like you know Sebastian Younger you know was wrote a great book about people's experience in war here you know it's like like you can strangely it can be the best experience anyone's ever had because everything it's like only the moment matters right like the bullet is whizzing by your head you're not thinking about your your 401k or that thing that you didn't say last week to the person you shouldn't have been talking about you're not thinking about Twitter it's like you're just fully immersed in the present moment um meditation is the only way I mean the word can mean many things to many people but what I mean by meditation is simply the discovery that there is a a a way to engage the present moment directly regardless of what's happened and you don't need to be in a war you don't need to be having sex you don't need to be on drugs you don't need to be surfing you don't need nothing it doesn't have to be a peak experience it can be completely ordinary but you can recognize that in some basic sense there's only this and and everything else is something you're thinking you're thinking about the past you're thinking about the future and thoughts themselves have no substance right it's it's it's it's fundamentally mysterious that any thought ever really commandeers your sense of who you are and and makes you anxious or afraid or or angry or whatever it is um and the more you discover that the half-life of all these negative emotions that blow all of us around get much much shorter right and you can you can literally just you know the the anger that would have kept you angry for hours or days in the last you know four seconds because you just the moment it arises you recognize it and you can get off that you can decide at minimum you can decide whether it's useful to to stay angry at that moment and you know obviously it usually isn't and the illusion of free will is one of those thoughts yeah it's all just happening right like even the mindful and meditative response to this is just happening happening it's just like like even the moments where you recognize or not recognize it's just happening it's not that there this does open up a degree of freedom for a person but it's not a freedom that gives any motivation to the notion of free will it's just a new way of being in the world is there a difference between intellectually knowing free will as an illusion and yeah really experiencing it yeah yeah what's the what's the longest you've been able to experience the escape the illusion of fuel well it's always I it's always obvious to me when I pay attention I mean when I whenever I'm mindful this is the term of jargon we know in the Buddhist and and increasingly you know outside the Buddhist context is mindfulness right but there are different levels of mindfulness and there's there's different degrees of insight into this but yes I mean what I'm calling evidence of lack of free will and lack of you know lack of the self and I get two sides of the same coin there's a sense of being a subject in the middle of experience to whom all experience refers sense of eye the sense of me and that's almost everybody's starting point when they start to meditate and that's almost always the place people live most of their lives from I do think that gets interrupted in ways they get unrecognized I think people are constantly losing the sense of eye they're losing the sense of subject object distance but they're not recognizing it and and meditation is the mode in which you can recognize you can you can both consciously precipitate it you can look for the self and fail to find it and then recognize its absence and that's the just the flip side of the coin of free will I mean the the feeling of having free will is what it feels like to feel like a self who's thinking his thoughts and doing his actions and intending his intentions and the man in the middle of the boat who's rowing that's the start that's the false starting point when you find that there's no one in the middle of the boat right or in fact there's no boat there's just the river there's just the flow of experience and there's no center to it and there's no place from which you would control it again even when you're doing thing this does not negate the difference between voluntary and involuntary behavior it's like I can voluntarily reach for this but when I'm paying attention I'm aware that everything is just happening like just the intention to move is just arising right and I'm in no position I know why I didn't arise a moment before or a moment later or a moment or you know 50% stronger or weaker or you know so as to be ineffective or to be doubly effective or where I lurched for it versus I move slow I mean I'm not I can never run the counterfactuals I can never I mean all this opens the door to a and even more disconcerting picture along the same lines which is subsumes this conversation about free will and it's the question of whether anything is ever possible like what if this is a question I haven't thought a lot about it but it's been a few years I've been kicking this question around um I mean what if only the actual is possible what what if there was what if we we'll see we live with this feeling of possibility we live with the sense that I'm gonna take so you know I have two daughters I could have had a third child right so what does it mean to say that I could have had a third child or is it do you you don't have kids I don't think so not that I know of yes so the possibility might be there so what do we mean when we say you could have had a child or you might you might have a child in the future like what what what is the space in reality what's the relationship between possibility and actuality and reality is there a reality in which non actual things are nonetheless real and so there we have other categories of like non concrete things we have things that don't have spatial temporal dimension but they're nonetheless they nonetheless exist so like you know the integers right so numbers there's a there's a reality there's an abstract reality to numbers and this is it's philosophically interesting to think about these things so they're not like in some sense they're they're they're real and they're just they're not merely invented by us they're discovered because they have structure that we can't impose upon them right it's not like they're not fictional characters like you know I'm a hamlet and superman also exist in some sense but they existed the level of of our own fiction and abstraction but it's like they're true they're true and false statements you can make about hamlet they're true and false statements you can make about superman because our fiction the fictional worlds we've created have a certain kind of structure but again this is all abstract this it's all abstractable from any of its concrete and stanciations it's not just in the comic books and just in the movies it's in our you know ongoing ideas about these characters but natural numbers or the integers don't function quite that way I mean they're similar but they also have a structure that's purely a matter of discovery it's not you can't just make up whether numbers are prime you know if you give me two integers you know of a certain size to let's say you mentioned two enormous integers if I were to say okay well between those two integers they're exactly eleven prime numbers right that's a very specific claim about which I can be right or wrong whether or not anyone knows I'm right or I was like that's just there's a domain of facts there but these are abstract it's an abstract reality that relates in some way that's philosophically interesting you know metaphysically interesting to what we call real reality you know this the spatial temporal order the physics of things but possibility at least in my view occupies a different space and this is something again I my thoughts on this are pretty in code and I think I need to talk to a philosopher of physics and or physicists about how this may interact with with things like the many worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics that's an interesting right exactly so I wonder if discovers in physics like further proof or more concrete proof that many worlds interpretation quantum mechanics has some validity right if that completely starts to change things but even that that's just more actuality so if if I took that seriously sure that's that's the case of and truth is that happens even even if the many worlds interpretation isn't true but we just imagine we have a physically infinite universe the implication of infinity is such that things will begin to repeat themselves you know the farther you go in space right so the you know if you just head out in one direction eventually you're going to meet two people just like us having a conversation just like this and you're going to meet them in infinite number of times in every you know infinite variety of permutation slightly different from this conversation right so I mean infinity is just so big that our intuitions of probability completely break down but what I'm suggesting is maybe probability isn't a thing right maybe there's only actuality if there's maybe there's only what happens and at every point along the way our notion of what could have happened or what might have happened is just that it's just a thought about what could have happened or might have happened so there's no so it's a fundamentally different thing if you can imagine a thing that doesn't make it real so the because that's that's where that possibility exists is in your imagination right this yeah and and possibility itself is a kind of spooky idea because it it too has a sort of structure right so like the fight if I'm going to say you know you could have had a daughter right last year um so we're saying that's that's possible but not actual right that is a claim of the things that are true and not true about that daughter right like it has a kind of structure it's like I feel like there's a lot of fog around that the possibility it feels like almost like a useful narrative but what does it mean so like what does it mean if we say you know I just did that but I might it's conceivable that I wouldn't have done that right like it's possible that I I just threw this cap but I might not have done that so you're taking it very temporarily close to the original like what would appears a decision whenever we're saying something's possible that but not actual right like this thing just happened but it's conceivable it's possible that it wouldn't have happened or they would have happened differently in what does that possibility consists like where is that what it for that to be real for the possibility to be real what do we what claim are we making about the universe well isn't that an extension of the idea of the free wills and illusion that all we have is actuality that the possibility isn't right yeah I'm just extending it beyond human action like it's it this goes to the physics of things this is just everything like we're we're always telling ourselves a story yeah that includes possibility possibly is really compelling for some reason well yet well because it's it's I mean so this yeah I mean this could sound just academic but every backward looking regret or disappointment and every forward looking worry is completely dependent on this notion of possibility like every regret is based on the sense that something else I could have done something else something something else could have happened every disposition to worry about the future is based on the feeling that there's this range of possibilities it could go either way and you know I mean I know whether whether or not there's such a thing as possibility you know I'm convinced that worry is almost never psychologically appropriate because the reality is in any given moment either you can do something to solve the problem you're worried about or not so if you can do something just do it you know and if you can't your worrying is just causing you to suffer twice over right you're gonna you know you're gonna you're gonna get the medical procedure next week anyway how much time between now and next week do you want to spend worrying about it right it's gonna it's the worry the worry doesn't accomplish anything how much do physicists think about possibility well I think about it in terms of probability more often but probability just describes and again this is a place where I might be out of my depth and need to talk to somebody to to debunk this but the do therapy with the physicist yeah but probably it seems just describes a pattern of actuality that we've observed right I mean we have there's certain things we observe and those are the actual things that have happened and we have this additional story about probability I mean is it we have the frequency with which things happen have happened in the past um you know I can flip a fair coin and no I know in the abstract that I have a belief that in the limit that those flips those tosses should converge on 50% has and 50% tails I know I have a story as to why it's not gonna be exactly 50% within any arbitrary timeframe um but in reality all we ever have are the observed tosses right and then we have an additional story that oh it came up heads but it could have come up tails why do we think that about that last toss and what do we claiming is true about the physics of things if we say it could have been otherwise I think we're claiming that probability is true that it just it allows us to have a nice model about the world it gives us hope about the world yeah it seems that possibility has to be somewhere to be effective it's a little it's a little bit like what's what's happening with the laws of it's there's something metaphysically interesting about the laws of nature too because the laws of nature so the laws of nature impose their their work on the world right we see their evidence but they're not reducible to any specific set of instances right so there's some structure there but the structure isn't just a matter of the actual things we the actual billiard balls that are banging into each other all of that actuality can be explained by what actual things are actually doing but then we have this notion that in addition to that we have the laws of nature that are making they're explaining this act but but how are the laws of nature an additional thing in addition to just the actual things that are actually affect costly and if they're if they are an additional thing in how are they effective if they're not they're not among the actual things that are just actually banging around yeah and so to some degree for that possibly possibly has to be hiding somewhere for the laws of nature to be possible for anything to be possible it has to be it has to have to have closets somewhere I'm sure this where all the possibility goes it has to be attached to something so I mean you don't think many worlds is that yeah well because many worlds still exists well because we're in this strand of that multiverse yeah right so it's still still you have just the local instance of what is actual yeah and then if it proliferates elsewhere where you can't be affected by it many worlds as well that you can't really connect with the other yeah yeah and so many worlds are just a statement of basically everything that can happen happen somewhere yeah yeah you know and that's I mean maybe that's not an entirely kosher formulation of it but it seems pretty close so so but there's whatever happens right in fact there's you know relativistically there's a there's an you know the Einstein's original notion of a block universe seems to suggest this and I it's been a while since I've been in a conversation with the physicist where I've gotten a chance to ask about the standing of this concept in physics currently I don't I don't hear it discuss much but the idea of a block universe is that you know space time exists as a totality and our sense that we are traveling through space time where there's a real difference between the past and the future that that's an illusion of just our you know we're the weird the weird the weird slice we're taking of of this larger object but on some level it's like you know you're reading a novel the last page of the novel exists just as much as the first page you would we when you're in the middle of it and they're just you know if that's if we're living in anything like that then there's no such thing as possibility I would it would see in this just what is actual so as a matter of our experience moment to moment I think it's totally compatible with that being true that there is only what is actual and that sounds to the naive ear that sounds like it would be depressing and disempowering and confining but is anything but it's actually it's a circumstance of pure discovery like you have no idea what's going to happen next right you don't know who you're going to be tomorrow you're only by tendency seeming to resemble yourself from yesterday and there's there's way more freedom and all of that than then it seems true to many people and yet the basic insight is that you're not you're not in the real freedom is the recognition that you're not in control of anything everything is just happening including your thoughts and intentions and moves so life is the is a process of continuous discovery you're part of the universe yeah you are you are just this I mean it's it's the miracle that the the universe is illuminated to itself as itself where you sit and you're and you're continually discovering what your life is and then you're you have this layer at which you're telling yourself a story that you already know what your life is and you know exactly you know who you should be and what's you know what's about to happen or you're struggling to form a confident opinion about all of that and yet there is this just fundamental mystery to everything even the most familiar experience we're all NPCs in in a most marvelous video game maybe although my my game my sense of gaming is does not run as deep as to know what I'm committing to there a non-planetary character you're more yeah not oh wow yes yes you're more you're more of a Mario Kart guy yeah I went back I was an original video gamer but it's been a long time since I I mean I was I was there for pong I remember when I saw the first pong in a restaurant in I think it was like Benny Han as there's something they had a pong and it was a table and that was amazing it was an amazing moment when you use samaras my live from pong to the invention and deployment of a super intelligent system you know that that happened fast if it happens anytime in my lifetime from from pong to a GI yeah what kind of things do you do purely for fun that others might consider a waste of time purely for fun because meditation doesn't come because most people say that's not a waste of time is there something like pong that's a deeply embarrassing thing you would never admit I don't think well I mean once or twice a year I will play around of golf which many people would find embarrassing they might even find my play embarrassing but do you find it embarrassing no I mean I love golf just takes way too much time so I can only squander a certain amount of time on it I do love it it's a lot of fun we have no control over your actual performance your your your ever discovering I do I do have I've control over my mediocre performance but it's I don't have enough control is to make it really good but happily I don't I I'm in the perfect spot because I don't invest enough time in it to care how I play so I just have fun I hope there'll be a day where you play around golf with the former president Donald Trump and I would love to be I would bet on him if we play golf I'm sure he's a better golfer I miss the chaos of human civilization in modern times as we've talked about what gives you hope about this world in the coming year in the coming decade in the coming hundred years maybe a thousand years what's the source of hope for you well it comes back to a few of the things we've talked about I mean I think I'm I'm hopeful it I know that most people are good and are mostly converging on the same core values right it's like we're we're not surrounded by psychopaths and I'm the the thing that finally convinced me to to get off Twitter was how different life was seeming through the lens of Twitter it's like I just got the sense that there's way more psychopaths or effective psychopaths than I realized and then I thought okay that's this isn't real this is this is either a strange context in which actually decent people are behaving like psychopaths or it's you know it's a bot army or something that I don't have to take seriously so yeah I just think most people if we can get the if we can get the incentives right I think there's no reason why we can't really thrive collectively like so there's enough wealth to go around there's enough you know that there's no there's no effective limit you know I mean again within the limits of what's physically possible but we're nowhere near the limit on abundance you know on this I forget about going to Mars on this the one rock right it's like we we could make this place incredibly beautiful and stable if we just did enough work to solve some you know you know rather long-standing political problems the problem of incentives so that to you the the basic characteristics of human nature such that will be okay if the incentives are okay we'll do we'll do we'll do pretty good I'm worried about the asymmetries that you know it's easier to break things and to fix them it's easier to to um light a fire than to put it out and I do worry that you know as technology gets more and more powerful it becomes easier for the minority who wants to screw things up to effectively screw things up for everybody right so it's easier it's like a thousand years ago it was simply impossible for one person to to range the lives of millions much less billions now that's getting to be possible so on the assumption that we're always going to have a sufficient number of crazy individuals or malevolent individuals it's it's uh that ace we have to figure out that asymmetry somehow and so there's some cautious exploration of emergent technology that we need to get our our head screwed on straight about it so like so gain a function research like just how much do we want to democratize you know all the relevant technologies there you know do we want really you really want to give everyone the ability to order nucleotides in the male and and give them the blueprints for viruses online because of you know you're a free speech absolutist and you think all PDFs need to be you know exportable everywhere um so I'm much more so this is where yeah so there are limits to I'm not many people are confused about my take on free speech because I've come down on on on the unpopular side of some of these questions but it's been my overriding concern is that in in many cases I'm worried about the free speech of the individual businesses or individual platforms or individual you know media people to decide that they don't want to be associated with certain things right so like if if you own Twitter I think you should be able to kick off the Nazi you don't want to be associated with because it's your platform you own it right that's your free speech right that's the side of my free speech concern for Twitter right it's not that every Nazi has the right to be to algorithmic speech on Twitter I think if you own Twitter you should be you or the you know whether it's just Elon or you know in the world where it wasn't Elon just the the people who own Twitter the the and the board and the shareholders and the employees these people need to just can you should be free to decide what they want to promote or not they're public I view them as publishers more you know more than as platforms in the end and um that has other implications but I do worry about this problem of misinformation and algorithmically and otherwise you know supercharged misinformation and I think I do think we have we're at a bottleneck now I mean I guess it could be the hubris of every present generation to think that their moment is especially important but I do think with the emergence of these technologies where some kind of bottleneck where we really have to figure out how to get this right and if we do get this right if we figure out how to not drive ourselves crazy by giving people access to all the all possible information misinformation at all times I think yeah we could there's no limit to how happily we could collaborate with billions of creative fulfilled people you know it's just and trillions of robots some of them sex robots but there's no other robots that have are running the right algorithm whatever that algorithm is whatever you need in your life to make you happy so um I was the first time we talked is one of the huge honors of my life I've been a fan of yours for a long time the few times you were respectful but critical to me means the world and thank you so much for helping helping me and caring enough and caring enough about the world and for everything you do but I should say that the the few of us that try to put love in the world on twitter miss you on twitter but well enjoy yourselves don't break anything else have a good party without me thanks for the very very happy to do this thanks thanks for the invitation thank you thank you very to see you again thanks for listening to this conversation with Sam Harris to support this podcast please check out our sponsors in the description and now let me leave you with some words from Martin Luther King Jr love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend thank you for listening and hope to see you next time