Some podcast recommendations


Jason Collins


March 21, 2018

What I’ve been listening to recently:

  1. Shane Parrish’s blog Farnam Street is a favourite of mine. His podcast The Knowledge Project is also worth a listen. I recommend the episodes featuring Michael Mauboussin (1 and 2), Rory Sutherland (if you’ve seen Rory speak before, the half hour gap between Shane’s first attempt to wind up the conversation and the end of the episode will come as no surprise), Susan Cain (my review of Quiet), Adam Grant (I disagree with his perspective on the replication crisis) and Chris Voss (I recommend Voss’s book, Never Split the Difference).

  2. I turned to Sam Harris’s podcast Waking Up after reading the book of the same title (which I need to read again if I am going to write anything about it). There are plenty of episodes worth listening to, including interviews with David Krakauer of the Santa Fe Institute, Stuart Russell on the threats of AI, Tristan Harris on what technology is doing to us, and Max Tegmark on the future of intelligence. I’ve generally avoided the episodes on politics, free speech and the culture wars.

  3. Russ Roberts’s Econtalk is always worth listening to. I particularly enjoyed the episode with Tim O’Reilly. Here’s one great section (in turn pulling from O’Reilly’s book:

Russ Roberts: You say,

If you think with the 20th century factory mindset, you might believe that the tens of thousands of software engineers in companies like Google, Amazon, and Facebook spend their days grinding out products just like their industrial forebears, only today they are producing software rather than physical goods. If instead you step back and view these companies with a 21st century mindset, you realize that a large part of what they do–delivering search results, news and information, social network status updates, relevant products for purchase, drivers on demand–is done by software programs and algorithms. These programs are workers; and the programmers who create them are their managers. Each day, these managers take in feedback about their workers’ performance, as measured in real-time data from the marketplace. And if necessary, they give feedback to the workers in the form of minor tweaks and updates to the program or the algorithm.

End of quote. … And, as you point out a number of times in the book, and as you just said: It’s hard to talk about where the human and where the technology start and end. They are just intertwined. They are augmenting each other.

Tim O’Reilly: Yeah. And you pick a key word here, which is ‘augmenting.’ … just as the technology is the 18th, 19th, and 20th century were about augmenting our muscles, from the 20th into the 21st century we were really about augmenting our minds. And, you augment in a word to increase our capabilities.
  1. Frank Conway’s Economic Rockstar. I’ve only listened to a couple of episodes, but the conversation with Greg Davies is excellent. After listening to the episode, watch the below.