Bit of a Tangent

004 | Don’t Ask a Genie to Cure Cancer

July 5, 2019

Gianluca and Jared speak about absurdism, existentialism, and an antidote to becoming bored with the world. They then think out loud about direction versus random walks as well as their visions for the long term future of humanity and how to even think about these kinds of massive questions. They also touch on attention and what it would mean to use it well, all things considered, some of the basics of Transhumanism, and what single thing each of us would wish for to give humanity its best chance at thriving!

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Shownotes:

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Absurdism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/camus/

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy - Existentialism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/existentialism/

Some great videos from The School of Life about Existentialism: ‘Philosophy - Sartre’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bQsZxDQgzU and ‘Existentialism and Dating’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AcniOW0wc5k 

Kurt Vonnegut books: ‘Slaughterhouse Five’: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4981.Slaughterhouse_Five and ‘Breakfast of Champions’: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4980.Breakfast_of_Champions

Bonus: Jared’s favourite article introducing a key concept related to Transhumanism: https://waitbutwhy.com/2016/03/cryonics.html

80 000 Hours on why we should value the long term future: https://80000hours.org/articles/future-generations/ as well as a podcast episode (from the 80 000 Hours podcast) on a similar topic: https://80000hours.org/podcast/episodes/why-the-long-run-future-matters-more-than-anything-else-and-what-we-should-do-about-it/ and a strong argument for thinking about existential risk: https://80000hours.org/articles/extinction-risk/ 

Book ‘The Art of Doing Science and Engineering’: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/530415.The_Art_of_Doing_Science_and_Engineering

‘The Last Question’, a short story by Isaac Asimov: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4808763-the-last-question P.S. a great reading can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojEq-tTjcc0

‘Do Spoilers Change a Person's Enjoyment of a Television Show?’ https://digital.usfsp.edu/masterstheses/166/ and ‘Story Spoilers Don’t Spoil Stories’ https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797611417007?journalCode=pssa - two studies suggesting maybe spoilers aren’t as bad as we think? (that being said, don’t try me - Jared)

Jared’s current favourite explanation of the Buddhist concept of ‘emptiness’ comes from this book: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32895535-why-buddhism-is-true

A great, short video explaining some aspects of the Fermi Paradox: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNhhvQGsMEc (part 1), https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1fQkVqno-uI (part 2) and a bonus on the Great Filter hypothesis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjtOGPJ0URM 

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