Artificial Intelligence with Led Fridman: Eric Weinstein: Revolutionary Ideas in Science, Math, and Society

Full podcast here

  • Almost everything is good about war except for death and destruction. [8:05]

  • The only thing we have been able to create that is really complex, that has the analog of our reproductive system, is software. [9:07]

  • We do have the ability to allow software to self modify. It’s just not common. [15:10]

  • I don’t think we should discount the idea that having the smartest people showing off how smart they are by what they developed [weapons/AGI etc] may be a terminal process. [18:01]

  • Predators and parasites drive much of our evolution. I don’t know whether to be angry at them or thank them. [23:20]

  • The great mystery of our time is how remarkably stable we have been since 1945 when we demonstrated our ability to use nuclear weapons in anger. [24:52]

  • On globalization: A problem we are facing is the ability for some to profit by abandoning their obligations to others in their system. That’s what we have had for decades. [32:53]

  • I don’t trust Steven Pinker’s optimism. He is looking at a system where more and more of the kinetic energy -like war- has been turned into potential energy -like unused nuclear weapons. Well if you don’t have a potential energy term then everything is just getting better and better. [33:21]

  • If you want to develop truly original ideas - what is the difference between developing these ideas inside academics and outside academics? If you do it inside of academics you are forced to constantly show great loyalty to the consensus. You distinguish yourself with small, microscopic heresies to make your reputation. You have competent and brilliant people working together who form very deep social networks. [43:39]

  • When you go outside of academia you meet lunatics and crazy people. Mad men. These are people who do not usually subscribe to the consensus position and almost always lose their way. [44:43]

  • The key question is will progress likely come from someone who has miraculously managed to stay within the system and take on a larger amount of heresy that is sort of unthinkable? Or is it more likely that someone will maintain a level of discipline from outside of academics and be able to make use of the freedom that comes from not having to constantly affirm your loyalty to the consensus of your field? [45:01]

  • I question almost everything in the string theory program. That’s why I got out of physics. The reason I didn’t become a physicist wasn’t because I fell in love with mathematics- it’s because in 1983/1984 I saw the field going mad.Mathematics, which has all sorts of problems, was not going insane. [47:49]

  • Harvard is functionally insane. The financial crisis made this clear. There was a long period where every grown up with the right degree were talking about how we banished volatility - that we were in the great moderation. They were all crazy. Who was right? Nassim Taleb. They claimed the market went crazy. The market didn’t go crazy. The market had been crazy and what happened is it suddenly went sane. Well, that is where we are with academics. Academics right now is mad as a Hatter. It is absolutely evident. [54:34]

  • All of this madness is necessary to keep the game going. What we are talking about is the danger of an outbreak of sanity. [55:45]

  • There are some ideas that are pre correct but currently crazy. You don’t want to get rid of everybody who is pre correct and currently crazy. [1:00:34]

  • Book recommendation: The Double Helix: A Personal Account of the Discovery of the Structure. You have to read this book. [1:01:16]

  • They have pushed out this cognitive LEGO to us that will lead to madness: “It is good to be challenged with things you disagree with.” No. It is good to be challenged with interesting things with which you currently disagree but that might be true. [1:05:01]

  • I have no idea why people who are capable of building Facebook, Twitter, Google - are having us engage in these low-level discussions. Do they not know any smart people? They are optimizing for things we can’t see. We are involved in a fake discussion. . .We are talking about social control. [1:06:23] 

  • I think hyper-capitalism has to be coupled to hyper socialism. [1:17:15]

  • This is a new situation. An economy that doesn’t have the juice to sustain our institutions has caused the people who have risen to the top of those institutions to get quite brutal and cruel. Everyone is lying at the moment. [1:20:39]