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I’ve wanted to talk to Harari since reading Sapiens. I’ve had one big question about him: what kind of mind creates a book like that? And now I know. A clear one.
Virtually everything Harari says in this conversation in fascinating. But what I didn’t expect was how central his consistent practice of vipassana meditation — which includes a 60-day silent retreat each year — is to understanding the works of both history and futurism he produces. We talk about that, and also:
-His theory on how all large-scale collaboration is based on fictions, from mythologies and religions to nationalism to human rights
-Why he sees money as one of the greatest stories human beings have ever told
-Why he reads only 5-10 pages of a huge number of books
-His theory that human beings have moved from venerating gods, to venerating themselves, to venerating data — and what that means for our future
-How we treat other animals and what that might imply for how artificial intelligences could treat us
-Whether wide swaths of human beings will be rendered useless by advances in computing
-The ways in which a narrow idea of what intelligence is — and the way it relates to consciousness — is holding us back from understanding AI
This is one of my favorite conversations we’ve had. Enjoy!
-Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, & Steel
-Frans de Waal’s Chimpanzee Politics
-Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World
75 episodes available. A new episode about every 6 days averaging 78 mins duration .