Apr 20, 2021 • 1HR 22M

#55: Brian Christian on AI as a Human Problem, Part 1

Cognitive Revolution | How Brian combined his training in computer science, philosophy, & poetry to shed new light on artificial intelligence

 
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Welcome to Against Habit. My name is Cody Kommers, and in this show I talk to experts, authors, and scientists about the ways we can rethink the habits, ideas, and assumptions we take with us through daily life. Mainstream productivity culture tells us that optimal habits are the best way to solve any behavioral problem. But I think in our veneration of habits, we've overlooked something crucial. Many of our deepest experiences of creativity, connection, and meaning come from breaking out of our habitual rug and engaging in life in a new way. Exploring that idea is what this show is all about. (Note: This show was previously "Cognitive Revolution")

This is Cognitive Revolution, my show about the personal side of the intellectual journey. Each week, I interview an eminent scientist, writer, or academic about the experiences that shaped their ideas. The show is available wherever you listen to podcasts.


Brian Christian probably has a better handle of the human aspects of artificial intelligence than any other writer today. He recently published The Alignment Problem, his third book on this theme. His first was The Most Human Human, an exploration of what AI can tell us about what makes us human, and his second was Algorithms to Live By (co-authored with cognitive scientist Tom Griffiths), an exploration of what AI can tell us about how to be better humans. Brian's latest installment explores how humans can make better AI. That is, better not in the algorithmic sense, but in the societal sense. At any rate, I loved talking to him. We have lots of overlapping interests, as my academic training has mostly been in computational cognitive science and my interests mostly skewing towards the more humanistic aspects of it. Brian also has an MFA in poetry. Which I think is super badass.

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Like this episode? Here’s another one to check out:

Part 2 to follow in January 2022.


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