The Portal podcast transcription series
- Peter Thiel
- What is The Portal?
- Werner Herzog
- Timur Kuran
- Rabbi David Wolpe
- Jocko Willink
- Bret Easton Ellis
- Andrew Yang
- Bryan Callen
- Julie Lindahl
- Sam Harris
- Vitalik Buterin
- Garry Kasparov
- London Tsai
- Garrett Lisi
- Tyler Cowen
- Anna Khachiyan
- Eric Weinstein – State of the Portal 2020
- Bret Weinstein
- Sir Roger Penrose
- Ashley Mathews (Riley Reid)
- Ben Greenfield
- Agnes Callard
- Kai Lenny
- The Construct: Jeffrey Epstein
Geometric Unity – a First Look
- James O’Keefe
- Daniel Schmachtenberger
- Eric Lewis
- Jamie Metzl
- Ross Douthat
- Ryan Holiday
The following transcript was generated by a machine and not edited by any human – so it’s full of of errors. I’m posting the transcript because the podcast is excellent and a crappy transcript is better than no transcript. Questions/comments: get me on Twitter @mgmobrien.
[YouTube video is not yet available as I publish this but here’s the audio: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/kast-media-2/the-portal-2/e/68383234]
Eric Weinstein 0:06
Hello, this is Eric with a few thoughts for our housekeeping section this week. As this is our second episode to be released during a bizarre and near global patchwork of local quarantines. I wanted to update you on my evolving thinking and understanding surrounding our shared pandemic. But perhaps more importantly, I want to begin putting this response to the virus in the context of what we’ve already talked about on the portal. In particular, the disk or distributed idea suppression complex introduced in Episode 18, appears to be in full swing. So how do we know that this is happening? Well, Twitter and this is just as an example, has now refined their terms of service to broaden their definition of harm itself to address in their words, and I quote, content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information. Rather than reports. We will enforce this in close coordination with trusted partners including public health authorities and governments Continue to use and consult with information from those sources when reviewing content. Under this new guidance, we will require people to remove tweets. Now of course, the pandemic that sounds sensible, at least to my ears. In such a situation who wants marginal gadflies? Like, I don’t know Mike Serna Vich, or the infamous mensches mold bug, aka Curtis urban, contradicting the mayor of New York City, Bill deblasio, or the washington post at a time crying out for coordinated and authoritative response. Well, here’s the awkward part. Many of the people who call this epidemic early incorrectly were the very marginal internet personalities that the legacy media folks love to derive as trolls grifters and gadflies. As for the mayor of New York City, well, after certain eviction mold bug had correctly called for drastic action. Bill deblasio wrote, I’m encouraging New Yorkers to go on with your lives and get out on the town despite Coronavirus and that was an early March. A sentiment that was echoed by the Washington Post viewed concern over the virus as a kind of neurosis that had to be addressed psychologically. In short, the gated institutional narrative or gin was not close to being the first to see COVID as the giant threat requiring a planetary response. It was those outside the jinn that not only saw this early, but proved that it was seeable early by many different individuals who generally seem to sit outside the institutional and respectable worlds. So just why was this? Well, first of all, the portal has argued many times before that we have had an almost universally unworkable leadership class now in place for just under 50 years. And then it arose to disguise the end of the post war economic growth regime. This is a collection of people who have refactored the institutions that they’ve led within our system, specifically to evade the embedded growth obligations or egos that were set in the previous era, and who rewarded each other generally for doing exactly the wrong things in terms of the public good with an end to end torey retirements the same people have been promoted for borrowing against the future and playing games of Russian Roulette with financial markets and health care, while self dealing within the system that they were handed as stewards for the generations to come. serving a false god a fake economic efficiency that reliably and deliberately fails to adequately incorporate actual economics like negative externalities by Norman Morgenstern, sub utility functions, Principal agent problems moral hazard etc, etc. are ubiquitous economists have hidden behind the mask of technocrats working for the public good while merely pretending to practice their own profession. Healthcare mandarins to regularly ignore the warnings coming out of their own literature. I mean, heading over to Google Scholar, which readiness our hospital head could forget titles like mechanical ventilation in an airborne epidemic by Fuad in 2008 or preparing intensive care for the next pandemic influenza by Taylor Kane and Robert Fowler in 2019. Are those back to back hits of Meltzer at all stockpiling ventilators for influenza pandemic. And estimates of the demand for mechanical ventilation in the United States during an influenza pandemic in 2017, and 2015, respectively. In short, we got here not because we couldn’t foresee this future. In fact, we extensively studied it. We got here because we decided to ignore the future that we knew was coming. The specific class of people that we had at the helm of our institutions were constitutionally incapable of putting their foot down and asserting that we needed deeper reserves in order to handle what they called surge capacity. So do I know what’s going on? What I said during this section of our last episode still holds true this week. My continuing discussions with a number of people I respect deeply seems surprisingly inconclusive to me even at this late date. So my mind wanders to the second order question of why it would be so difficult to sketch a straightforward narrative to guide us. In fact, Dr. Peter T. His most recent video evidence is some of this confusion where he shares that as a physician, he feels so spun around by what he is hearing that even he is forced to think and political Rather than medical or scientific terms to explain the situation. to oversimplify slightly, there are three great risks with the COVID virus, one of under reaction, one of overreaction and one of inappropriate reaction. The first threatens an enormous body count from the virus with severe respiratory and other damage to many of the recovered. The second threatens a worldwide depression which could well lead to armed clashes and even wars of various sizes. The last leads to many of our efforts being wasted or even captured by profiteers at a time when we are demanded not to deeply question the coordinating authorities. And oddly, we are being prepared to participate in both under an overreaction simultaneously, just as many of us are worrying about allocations of financial assistance that are now valued in the trillions. I mean, this is crazy at some level now. We are somehow discussing ill conceived multi trillion dollar systems packages at the same time as we’re being ready to go back to work while also hearing that New York is now apocalyptic. I mean, that’s pretty confusing. We’re going to transfer value Estimates of wealth. So please know that everything will be fine when you get back to work shortly. But in the meantime, the borough of Queens is experiencing Armageddon, even by high school dating standards, that’s a lot of mixed and conflicting messages. Now what could explain this odd state of affairs? I found myself compelled by a very simple idea from PostScript, I cannot easily escape. The idea is straightforward. What if our leadership is treating this as much as an accountability crisis as a medical one when it comes to their actions? I mean, what if the issue over which were being quarantined isn’t actually the number of deaths they’re trying to prevent, but the type of deaths perhaps there is one special category of death then that our leaders are more afraid of than all others for reasons of accountability rather than simple loss of life. In order to explore this idea, it might help to make it somewhat concrete. Therefore, imagine that you had drafted a blank tweet on Twitter called New York blue check death list for at least mildly well known accounts that you follow from New York state that are eventually brought low by the COVID virus and that it has no other content. Of course, it would start out blank. But now imagine that every time one of these account owners dies of COVID, you plan to add them to your soon to be growing list. That’s pretty morbid, but hey, it’s now a pandemic after all. Oddly, these aren’t even really the death that I’m talking about quite yet. Perhaps the first few are old people who have lived long and full lives. But as your list begins to fill up, there may come a first gruesome death that happened to a vital younger person who desperately needed a ventilator or an ICU bed or a trained MD or nurse to have a fighting chance. Let us call these triage deaths if they result from a missing resource that could have and should have been stocked for just such emergencies. These losses are beginning to outline the class of deaths that I believe may now be driving this difficult to understand response from our political and medical leadership. While deaths from the virus may be tragic, these specific triage deaths may be considered career ending deaths of accountability for medical, scientific, business and political leaders who specifically failed to heed warnings from the group studying our preparedness. As such, they may have mattered most in determining the shape of our current response as they are all deaths that come from failing to implement copious previous work in identifying our vulnerabilities meant to shape our disaster preparedness. These would be quite bad because they would involve people that we feel we know. But it could actually get much worse for our leaders than that. If you were now to swap out the blue check requirement and exchange it instead for I don’t know the most sympathetic person you could imagine. What happens when death swoops down on a young girl of eight named a Runa? Who needs a ventilator desperately but can’t get one? Or perhaps the entire Gomez family is turned away from a Queen’s er are made to wait for ICU beds that never materialized while there’s still time to save three out of their four members? I mean, what if it is these triage deaths which are actually closer to negligent homicide than mere viral losses that are actually terrifying our leaders into draconian action rather than the total Dead as they say, this hypothesis has the advantage of at least being consistent with the otherwise confusing and seemingly conflicting themes developed before. burdens from our leaders who are caught having utterly failed in their mission to keep us prepared would have to be shifted onto our entire society as a whole. Think about it, the public would be asked for broad participation in something like flatten the curve and why to cover for the lack of the same ICU beds, masks PP, and ventilators that were called for in numerous academic papers over the last 20 years studying just such viral pandemic scenarios. I mean, it’s really quite close, as the authorities now scramble at top speed to finally get the missing resources in place that should have been banked all along. They would also simultaneously be preparing us to go back to work to risk regular viral rather than triage deaths. Just as soon as the shortfalls could be made up. There doesn’t seem to be a highly credible plan to defeat the virus to see the implications of this trio Death avoidance hypothesis, conduct a thought experiment. Imagine that all of the rate limiting resources for efficient ICU treatment or suddenly parachuted out on pallets from helicopters all over the world. The question is, would we continue to shelter in place given that we have no cure or vaccine? Or would we be told to toughen up and go back to work? Now? I don’t know the answer. But I believe the question is not devoid of interest. Think about it. I will as well. The introduction to this week’s episode is coming up after some ads from our sponsors who are sticking with the show during a very difficult time. Please, if you can show them some love.
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This episode introduces a relatively unknown guest to our portal audience. Now many of you are familiar with the concept of true fame versus other kinds of fame. For example, there’s big in Europe or internet famous. Well, in a certain West Coast subculture there is a concept of California famous and such names would include Laura Deming, Michael Vassar, Elliott’s Are you koski Alex green currently in federal prison, Jordan green Hall, Julia gala, Tristan Harris, Daniel barkay, Tom Chee, Grant Sanderson, Rick Doblin, Brett Victor, and many others. My guest on this episode is my friend Daniel smocked and Berger an important node in the system. Now the odd thing about Daniel is that wherever he or I found ourselves riffing with others on topics existential, someone would often tell us about the other and that we needed to become friends as well and I think that was probably a pretty good call on their part. I have sat on this episode for months However, because I was hoping that I would have a Second chance to record with Daniel given that he was on very little sleep from the night before this discussion was recorded. However, we now find ourselves in a viral outbreak and Daniel is one of the few people I deal with trying to make progress on how humans can have a permanent future on the small and dangerous planet, particularly amidst the fatal temptations of nuclear and biological warfare, which I have termed the twin nuclei problem elsewhere. Now, the Coronavirus may or may not turn out to be related to laboratory strains, but the problems it poses and foreshadows are directly within or adjacent to Daniel’s area of focus. Daniel in particular favors the wisdom and design branch of the human fate decision tree, a branch that I think probably deserves the second most attention after my personal favorite, which is the need for new physics with the possibility of escape to the distant cosmos. That is, Daniel is searching for something like the wisdom needed to re engineer a non rival risk or anti rivalries society tool. live in harmony with its newfound godlike powers. Sometimes the search for a so called escape through wisdom goes under the name of game B. Now the idea behind game B is something like the following. Natural and sexual selection must be assumed to have engineered us for a cycle of competition and misery which we might term game a played red of tooth and claw under the law of the jungle. Game B is by contrast, a mythical second state where the agents are originally built within game a teach themselves to do something far less brutal, rivalrous, unsustainable and wasteful, but without themselves getting out competed by those who wish to remain in game a, as such game be falls clearly within the confines of the so called human potential movement. While I have taken an interest in this counterculture, I am not myself a part of it as I fear that it does not fully make sense to me that game B is really a possibility. Nevertheless, the quest for less rival His world is probably a noble one, and one of which I’m at least partially personally supportive. In any event, I thought that this is the episode that is probably most in keeping with the semi apocalyptic mood that many of us find ourselves within during these days of quarantine. I don’t know if it will be everyone’s cup of tea. But I think Daniel has many interesting perspectives. And it is a pleasure to introduce them to our portal community. So please sit back and relax as we bring you in uninterrupted discussion with Daniel Martin burger when we come back after some ads from our sponsors.
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Hello, you found the portal. I’m your host, Eric Weinstein and today we’ll be sitting down with the name that will not be familiar to many of you. My friend Daniel Trachtenberg, Daniel, welcome to the portal Thanks for having me here. So, Daniel, I have to admit that the way in which I came to know you was a little bit odd, I would start to talk about various ideas. And people would simply say to me, that’s really interesting. Have you ever talked to Daniel schmuck burger? And so far as I knew you weren’t affiliated with any famous institution, you did not have a large outreach into the public. And yet, somehow, my network was very attuned to your thinking. Do you have any sense of what it was that caused your name among all names to come up frequently in context that we share?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 18:48
Well, I think we just we do happen to have some good friends in common and people who have similar interests in terms of how to do better thinking how to make civilization better make society You better concerns about civilization risk. And probably mostly have friends that appreciate heterodox thinking but clear heterodox thinking. And my, my goal was never a lot of broadcasts. My goal was to communicate with people that I also thought were earnestly endeavoring to think well and see if we could think better about things and maybe make progress on things together.
Eric Weinstein 19:29
Well, I suppose that the way I view it is that there are very few people at the moment who are really trying to integrate any kind of rigorous thinking across many different disciplines to solve what I would think would be society, wide problems and opportunities for everybody, and I find that very surprising because we keep being told what a prosperous society we are and you would think In a prosperous society, there would be lots of people experimenting with radically new ideas about societal organization at any given time. Given that so much is on the line, whenever we talk about climate or multipolar geopolitical conflict, it seems very strange that there are so few people who are interested in what I would think are, like existential questions for humans. Do you find, first of all that? You think that our world and our society is thinking properly about where it is at this point in human history?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 20:44
No, I obviously don’t think that we’re thinking very well about it.
Most any of the schools
not the kind of environmental reactionary, not the left, not the right not the technic No capitalists Singletary and optimists. I think there is some signal and a good bit of noise. And also, not just epistemic bias but epistemic inadequacy, coming from whatever domain specialty looking at something that’s so much more complex in any domain specialty by itself is going to do a good job of I think you speak well to why there are not more different ideas, trying to figure things out is you end up getting some kind of dominant system that is this automatic self perpetuating. And so then if
Eric Weinstein 21:39
you want to say what you mean, by autopilot,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 21:42
yet self perpetuating self authoring, and so let’s and when we say system, it’s like what system? Are we talking about the academic system? Are we talking about the monetary system? Are we talking about our government system? Are we talking about culture? Are we talking about media and information communication, and it’s Yes, it’s the interview. intersection of all those into a kind of civilizational system. And that I think can be best thought of if we want to think of it in simple terms as the system that confers power to things. And so, of course, everything that supports that system gets more power within the system and everything that would possibly threaten the core relevancy or validity of the system threatens people who are doing well in the system. And so it gets kind of spit out by the system. And so I think
that’s a very strong normative force.
Eric Weinstein 22:37
Alright, so let me let me give a little bit of my frame. We can try to pass things back and forth and feel free to take over if you like, but here’s what I see that I think of as being really interesting and rather mysterious. I see a decision tree in which I think a society wide level I can’t accept any of the major branches. So one branch would be that we have a self extinguishing human event, let’s say an all out nuclear war where people miscalculate and the planet is unrecognizable. Then there’s a different branch that says that there’s some sort of a environmental collapse, maybe with a nuclear exchange or some sort of synthetic biology. Who knows what, where there are survivors, but it’s not. It’s not the world that we see out our window here. Then there’s another one which says maybe we managed to trundle on for another thousand years, somehow, limping along without any major new ideas. We’re still using markets, things are getting incrementally better. Maybe they’re some big breakthroughs here in there. But there’s no big breakthrough in human wisdom. So that we have the same dangerous objects, but we continue to be lucky that nobody weaponize these things and that there’s no broad collapse. Then there’s an escape branch where we we end up on Mars or maybe we escape even farther out in the universe, or maybe we get uploaded into silicon, there’s no part of this tree that looks sensible to me. Every single branch is somewhere in sci fi. Are you seeing something that looks like that? Or do you have some branches that you think are more probable and more hopeful?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 24:17
more hopeful? Yes, probable? No. But I can’t do a probability calculation because they’re unprecedented. So I don’t have priors, you have
Eric Weinstein 24:25
Daniel Schmachtenberger 24:26
Yeah. So the first two that you said existential risk and catastrophic risk, there’s certainly lots of different ways for both of those to occur that get that are getting increasingly likely time goes on as I model it. And I think we should get into that. The idea that it continues relatively similar to how it is 4000 years I don’t see possible at all. And I can say why I think this civilization system is actually self terminating in a much shorter time than that in Tripoli, like, there is no way that it could continue for very long.
the escape models I’m fairly dubious of not because we couldn’t with near term tech, get some people into space, but we certainly couldn’t get something that doesn’t depend on Earth, that if we fucked things up here, it’s doing well within the timeframes that I think will fuck things up on Earth. At least the trajectory as I see it. So then the question you ask, Is there some other thing like progress to a totally different type of social system here, or totally different type of civilization system that can continue for a long time that isn’t self terminating, and that isn’t generating catastrophic and existential risks as the byproduct of the architecture of the system itself is really the only path. So you know, what I spend most of my time working on is what the architectures of a system like that must be and what the transition would look like.
Eric Weinstein 25:56
So I’m quite happy with that description. And that also sort of Have sets up what at least our initial superficial division is that is that of the branches of the decision tree that I can’t accept. The most hopeful branch to me is that we learn our source code and use it to do something that has never been done. Something that has never been done before, which is potentially travel outside the solar system or potentially through some as yet unknown physical possibility. You have an idea about hacking social systems with so far our biology the way it is in our our structures, the way it is in our in our governance, but somehow delivering us to a new structure. I don’t know whether that’s going to be through human enhancement through a cultural change through re incentivizing the world. So am I right? Right that those those those, I think that your branch of the decision tree is very interesting. I just I’m very pessimistic about it and I think you should be pessimistic about money.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 27:09
Well, when you say hacking the source code, you mean the source code of physics so we can get something like a warp drive and I’m down, right? Like I’ll totally work with you on a galactic cruiser. If we can do that.
Eric Weinstein 27:19
That’s a work right? But okay, this is a placeholder, is
Unknown Speaker 27:22
it a placeholder? Okay, um,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 27:25
I think the thing that I’m talking about also requires something like understanding source code at a different level Sure, not source code of physics, but source code of things related to Yeah, psychology and evolution and the nature of tool making and the nature of collective sense making and choice making type dynamics, okay. And, but to start to go into what it would look like, we have to do I would have to have it make any sense describe what I think the problems are, why the current system is self terminating, and why all the systems that we have ever had have been self terminating, because God actually defined the problem properly to be able to say, because that gives me necessary and sufficient criteria for what an adequate solution would have to
Eric Weinstein 28:10
address teeing up my next question, which is, take us through your reasoning as to why we can’t look out over several hundred years and simply kind of Bumble on as before.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 28:28
Okay, a couple different ways of looking at this that all converge.
If we look at the kind of Club of Rome limits of growth type model, I think that this is more fundamental than we’re used to thinking about. So you and Peter, were talking the other day about the need for ongoing just a
Eric Weinstein 28:51
Peter teal for those who haven’t seen the inaugural episode of the show,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 28:56
talking about the need for ongoing economic growth, so that We can stay in positive sum dynamics. Because if we don’t have economic growth and people keep wanting more stuff, then it goes zero sum and that creates conflict.
Eric Weinstein 29:08
So just to make sure that we’re, I’m understanding your terminology, positive sum dynamics means that whatever the mythical pie of
Daniel Schmachtenberger 29:18
it keeps getting bigger, yes. Okay. And I think that obviously, we can go positive sum and still have it all be captured by a few, right, like not actually have anything like appropriate distribution. And we know that wealth has a power law distribution. And there’s some very fundamental things about why it’s always going to have a power law distribution, if it has social architectures like currently have, I’m
Eric Weinstein 29:38
comfortable with this. But by power law distribution, we mean that the winners are so much bigger as winners than than a, let’s say, a normal probability normal bell shaped curve, right would tell us the
Daniel Schmachtenberger 29:51
curve looks like this. You have a few people who have almost everything, and most people have quite little and that as you know, if we look at like the end accretion wealth that has happened since the internet, it has not been pretty evenly distributed over most of the people. It’s been, you know, increasing wealth. And so
Eric Weinstein 30:10
is there a name for the pie that’s growing, but we’re almost ready for a slice, except for a few people’s shrinking?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 30:18
Well, I mean, we could call it global GDP is one very simplified metric. And we can say, okay, so we want global GDP to increase because that represents total goods and services that represent some way of thinking about value. It’s a really bad way of thinking about value and I think we should discuss that, okay.
If, obviously, up until the Industrial Revolution, they were about a half a billion people on the planet at most, okay. And then we go as soon as soon as the Industrial Revolution and our ability to extract resources at fast than their reproduction amounts from the biosphere. We go from half a billion people over whatever, 300,000 years of homosapien history to 8 billion people in almost no time at all. And so that’s like, there’s a real issue there. That is, we are subsidizing our growth with savings accounts that are finite. And there’s a bunch of different ways of thinking about that. But if we look at biodiversity loss, or species extinction, or growing dead zones in the ocean, or any of these issues, not just climate change, we can see that we have we have a linear materials economy that takes resources from the earth unreasonably and produces a bunch of pollution, waste, heat, whatever, in the process of manufacturing transportation, and then turns them into trash on this side. And so we get both accumulation dynamics and depletion dynamics and you can’t keep running accumulation and depletion dynamics on a finite biosphere indefinitely.
Eric Weinstein 32:03
Okay, now, of course, you see the the immediate next argument, which is
Daniel Schmachtenberger 32:08
make a closed loop economy
Eric Weinstein 32:09
well, that you, you needed to burn fossil fuels for a period of time in order to become wealthy enough to figure out how to do something clean, green and sustainable. Right. And so the idea is that these are really just intermediate phases. And it looks pretty dirty and grubby now, but in fact, good news, human human ingenuity is boundless. And so we’ll just think our way out of whatever new problems we’ve created.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 32:33
So we can all easily say we can’t keep running a linear materials economy with exponential growth on the planet. That’s pretty straightforward, and that we’re actually very near limits of our capacity to keep doing that on a bunch of different atomic cycles. So then we say, Okay, well, we have to go close loop where the new stuff that we make come from the old stuff, the old stuff turns into new stuff and that we’re able to do that closed loop cycling. Matter using renewable energy. And so this is one necessary dynamic. But this already doesn’t look like the model that you were mentioning of society hobbling along mostly the same, because that’s actually really, really different. That would already be a significant change, not maybe as significant as a warp drive, but it would be a fundamentally different type of civilization. Okay. And so I would say that that movement to a closed loop materials economy is necessary, but nowhere close to sufficient. One, one thing that’s going to come is, if I want to run anything like capitalism, just from a materials economy basis, where I’m going to have to keep growing the capital supply year over year just to keep up with interest, right, there’s an exponential expansion of the monetary basis that is required for capitalism to exist. So then to not debase the currency we have to keep growing the goods and services And I can’t actually in a closed loop materials economy that is near the carrying capacity, I can’t keep growing the goods and services indefinitely. So then, of course, the argument is, well, we can do it almost all digitally. And this is a bit of a complex argument. But I would say there are some coupling coefficients between how much virtual value we have that keeps being valued, that doesn’t go into diminishing returns, relative to how much physical value that there’s some coupling coefficients between atoms, energy and bits that make up the materials economy, and then also time human attention.
I don’t think that we can keep running a exponential capital expansion, but I’ll make a simpler argument. capitalism and nationalism, but feudalism is also an example. Our rival risks, game theoretic structures, some in group competing against somehow group and we can play coordination games where we’ll coordinate with each other if it’s more advantageous, but we reserve the right to defect and go zero sum on each other if that’s more advantageous, and we have been employing more and more powerful technology to play rival risk games, that means more and more potent warfare more and more potent x extraction, environmental extraction, and more and more potent information tech that can do narrative and information warfare, narrative control. Something I would say is that rivalry game dynamics necessarily are causing some harm in the system. Either I’m harming you directly, you’re harming me or were externalizing harm to a comments and information or an ecological comments. You can’t keep externalizing harm exponentially. And so rivalrous game dynamics multiplied by exponential tech end up self terminating we can’t do exponential warfare, exponential extraction or exponential disinformation. We’ve already gotten so far with exponential disinformation that we are Almost can’t make sense of anything, because you have a system that incense this information.
Eric Weinstein 36:06
Okay, well, this is the first place that I start to hear an argument that has a hope of dealing with the congenital institutional optimism. Sure, there are naysayers, but I say that America’s greatest days are in front of her. Have we not always found solutions to our problems and you know, you cue the brass band and everybody feels enlivened. And I always found these arguments kind of bizarre. Not that things haven’t worked out. I think things have worked out, to be honest, quite a bit better than I would have ever predicted. If you’d put me down in 1945 and said, what’s gonna happen over the next 50 years? Let’s be honest, we’ve been pretty lucky. And it’s been pretty, pretty terrific on balance. That said, I also can’t figure out a way in which we just become more powerful in our ability to extract direct our ability to confuse our ability to mete out harm from the strong to the weak. So my guess is that, even if I guessed wrong again, and we could get another 50 years out of it, sooner or later, either something like what you’re talking about a change in the basic structure of rival risks into interaction, maybe we should talk a little bit about what what that means. But I think people probably intuitively, or, you know, just requires an increasing amount of luck. As we get farther away from the events that may have caused the last 50 years. I think that people who had direct experience of the Depression and World War Two and maybe World War One, they weren’t fooled into thinking that this was an easy game, and that life was simple. They had enough primary experience with really catastrophic events that They knew that they were playing with the full stack.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 38:04
Okay, there’s a, there’s a bunch of directions that I’m interested in going. So one is World War Two was the first time that we actually had existential level technology as a species in our recorded history. That’s a big deal because we couldn’t have actually blown ourselves up before then. And in evolutionary time, or even civilization time. That’s just like a few minutes, right? Like this. Not very long that we’ve had that. I agree. And if you read like, if you read Ellsberg Doomsday machine, it is kind of lucky that we haven’t blown ourselves up because there were a lot of just mistakes that should have blown us up, right. But it’s really hard to build nukes. Right? It really takes nation state level capacity, and mostly only a few nation states, so could do it. Yeah, this is the point is that if you only have a few actors that have nukes, everybody can monitor each other and have something like mutually assured destruction to force an equilibrium. But this is the thing about exponential tech is we don’t just get exponentially more powerful tech, we get exponentially more distribute distribution on powerful tech.
Eric Weinstein 39:10
Daniel, I want to keep going with this. But I’m going to keep slowing you down when you use a term that may not be familiar to a sufficient number of our listeners. What do you mean by exponential tech?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 39:21
So tech that
helps us make better tech. So we get a return curve on the technology. So we see this kind of exponential, the very famously Moore’s law in computing, we see this kind of exponential rate of growth of computing power, because, like nuclear bombs don’t actually give us better insight into how to make nuclear bombs directly. But computers give us better insight into how to make better computers. And so there are different areas of exponential tech where the technology itself increases our capacity to make more of the technology or some underlying dynamic where we get some exponential increases in our capacity. So we can see For varying reasons exponential increases in compute power, exponential increases in certain types of biotech, like specifically things associated with, like CRISPR, genetic engineering gene drives, nanotech, and those things, all you get exponential is also because they’re we’re dealing with things that could self replicate. Right? And so, a nuclear bomb is a big deal, but it doesn’t self replicate. But a synthetic biology device can self replicate or a genetically engineered thing can and so we can have exponential growth of the effect of something. And so
if we, if we take a look at the growth in
biotechnology capacity, and we specifically look at breakthroughs like CRISPR tech, and the capacity for things like gene drives to be able to modify foundational biology Well, that makes it to a Where, by a warfare capacity like very high level by a warfare capacity becomes much, much, much simpler. So things that nation states used to be able to do. Non nation states are gaining the capacity to be able to do even drone tech like we had the the first everybody’s who’s thought about it has been like when are we going to have a really big problem with drones and a couple years ago is the first time in the Ukraine where a commercial drone with a homemade thermite bomb, dropped it on a munitions factory. And because they hit a munitions factory and detonated the whole thing, you get a billion dollars of damage from just gonna be one person doing a very simple thing in their garage with out any kind of really traceable exotic materials. But we can do we can, we can do much worse thing than that, with exponentially increasing technological power. So the main thing when I say exponential tech is just we’re getting an exponential increase in how powerful the choices we make can be. And that’s a good way to think about technology as well. On our choice making, right so no technology at all, I can make different choices. If I want to be violent, I can hit somebody stone tool allows me to extend my hitting capacity and hit much harder, right? A gun takes that much further and an intercontinental ballistic missile takes that much further, which is a similar type of choice to make, which is solve this problem through violence extended by a much, much bigger lever. And what I would say is, if you look at the kind of people we have ever been, like, look at the Romans, look at the Sumerians. Look at the mind, look at any kind of people we’ve been and look at the distribution of ways we’ve made choices, take any of those people and give them exponentially more power factoring, how they’ve used their power, and they self terminate, like they don’t use they’re not good stewards of power.
Eric Weinstein 42:48
And well, I agree that we’re not good stewards of power. I think that there is a mystery here that if we don’t make eye contact with it, it’s gonna dog the conversation. We’ve got a A lot of missing Stinger missiles, I believe from the Afghan theater during the time that we were arming the Mujahideen. I don’t know how many but I think I heard that it was in the hundreds. yet. We didn’t see a ton of use maybe you know TWA Flight 800 had something to do with it. Maybe not. We don’t know. It’s a mysterious situation. There are plenty of reservoirs to poison People always talk about that. We haven’t seen that behavior. It seems to me that these terrible shootings that we experienced, I’m always astounded that the numbers are as low as they are. And you could make an argument that said that in general, people who are not in a position to benefit are engaged in some sort of self terminating activity. People who are planning to go out with a with a bang, if you will, are not very successful. Usually in doing huge amounts of damage Now that may change. So like, we know that from the Murrah Federal Building that fertilizer is a pretty potent bomb ingredient, and yet we didn’t see a huge string of copycats. After that, is there something in us that is sort of capable in an act of desperation and depression of killing 10s of people that struggles to kill thousands or millions, right, you understate the way I do the mystery. Yeah.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 44:39
I think there’s some positive things we have going for us, which is there generally tends to be an inverse correlation between people who are really good at Tech and people who want to blow things up. Like typically those the people who want to blow things up. Mostly. Don’t figure out how To make really good bioweapons, right, and the people who are really engaged and how to make more powerful breakthroughs in science and tech, are usually engaged in some creative enterprise where they’re not oriented to blow things up. That’s actually like really important. I think that’s going well for us. I think that depends upon certain social things staying in place that we can’t guarantee you’re going to stay which is a relatively viable society for the people who have the technological capacities.
Eric Weinstein 45:31
I this is something that fascinates me. I we seem to be very willing to destroy the lives of very capable people these days. Yeah. I always wonder like, Are we going to be surprised when somebody whose life we’ve ruined over nothing comes back at us and saying, Wow, you really you wrote me off and you destroyed my reputation, my ability to earn a living, I can’t have a security clearance. I can’t Do what it is that I enjoy doing. And now I’m on the outs. I am terrified, for example, then, you know, the famously the James d’amour situation, where you start going after very bright sort of spectrum IE people. And you tell them that they’re horrible and you ruin them publicly. That’s a very bad recipe. I think it is
Daniel Schmachtenberger 46:23
a bad recipe. And,
Eric Weinstein 46:25
of course, James d’amour is not a particular risk. But there are a lot of people who are very capable. Yeah, who took one look at that situation said Oh, so now no longer can I be. Can I count on getting things? largely right. Maybe I get some stuff wrong around the edges, but no longer Can I count on making interesting points and having a job when I get up the next morning.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 46:54
Well, like when you’re mentioning shootings, if I can just go buy an AR 15 even if I don’t know how to Make one, right, then I can kill a lot more people than I can with a knife. Right. And so the that’s an increase in technological capacity that can empower someone who is psychologically damaged somehow to be able to do things they couldn’t do without it. And I think as more powerful technology requires less scientific insight to be able to modify, then you’re certainly going to see more of those types of dynamics increase. I think one of the other things is that when we think about the Cold War, we really had two nuclear superpowers that could be locked in mutually assured destruction, because with just two forces, you kind of have an easy Nash equilibrium. But as soon as you have a lot of forces, and it’s more multipolar, it’s a much, much harder thing. This
Eric Weinstein 47:48
is the thing that terrifies me, which is that I would much rather have two very skilled hyper lethal powers in some kind of weird community game theoretic communication with each other, then lots of less skilled players with much less power but significant ability to do damage
Daniel Schmachtenberger 48:10
right? Which we have now we have increasingly so. Right so we went from one country’s nukes at the end of World War Two to the two quickly Cold War type dynamics to you know, whatever nine on record if you don’t count where all the missing uranium from the USSR that is in whatever places that it’s in that and that we’re not just talking about nukes we’re talking about lots of other things. So I think
I think the gist is that
rival risk type dynamics whether we’re talking about a rivalry that’s a kinetic warfare like this right like a physical warfare, right or an economic warfare, or an information warfare in the resulting in progressively more harm as we have more power because the gist is, if we’re in some kind of war warfare of whatever kind, then I need to figure out some asymmetric capacity to be able to beat you. But the moment I deploy that asymmetric capacity it gets reverse engineered by all sides and up ratcheted. So we get this exponential up ratcheting of the game to power itself. Yeah, if it doesn’t in the game, right? And and that’s what we see is we see an exponential increase in destructive capacity without a fundamental change in the basis of how we use it. So let’s just look at information tech for a moment. And I think this is really key to the how we change civilization part. If information about reality is a source of competitive advantage, like from I know where the water is, and so but we don’t think there’s enough for everybody. So not only do we want to withhold that information from the other tribe we want to miss inform them as to where it is so they don’t accidentally find it. Right. You see Every competitive game, whether it’s a poker Bluff, or a football game, where you fake one way and go the other way, a incentive to dis inform, right? And as we start having exponential information tech so we can intentionally misinformed specific audiences in ways that are much more believable to them. So you talk about retro conjugation. Russel conjugation is you want to
Eric Weinstein 50:23
I don’t know that we’ve talked about it too much on this program. You do a great job with it. I, since you’re going to take it somewhere when he when he say a little bit what it is,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 50:32
I can misinformed without even lying. Yeah, right. I can formally lie. But I can also just make someone more likely to interpret something in a particular way by couching a question or couching an idea in a way that’s likely to bring a reaction. So you gave I think, a great example of if I talk about illegal aliens the problem of illegal aliens versus the need for amnesty for migrant workers
Eric Weinstein 50:59
on document Were
Daniel Schmachtenberger 51:00
undocumented workers, then just the nature of the wording choice on the exact same reality evokes very different kinds of sensibilities and people. So they’ll vote differently, they’ll pull differently. So it’s pretty easy to influence what people think and how they feel through Of course, lying but also through not just lying, but sharing partial data. So the preponderance of data gives them a sense of things that is other than it really is, and through things like wrestle conjugation where we’re really just kind of hijacking their
Eric Weinstein 51:31
limbic system, a very fun, very funny one is the use of the Democrat Party, where you emphasize the word rat, rather than saying the Democratic Party. And so it’s great fun for Republicans to say, yes, the democrat con, you know, whoa, that doesn’t sound good. And yet, it’s a defensible position. What are you talking about? It’s just the way I say it, right. Okay,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 51:58
so plausible deniability. on engaging in a kind of narrative warfare, right? And it’s supposed to be that we’re both on Team USA, right, working together to make the best country possible, maybe in rivalry with other countries, but hopefully even in some kind of economic trade, prosperous relationship, right. But we’re obviously not both on Team USA, we’re actually engaged in really dreadful zero sum dynamics with each other well, intentionally confusing and misinforming the public and increasing animosity even towards the point of civil conflict, for some game theoretic win for our team. And we see that that’s not just true with Republican and Democrat, but even like multiple intelligence agencies, it should be sharing intelligence perfectly with each other, but they’re actually competing for who gets a larger percentage of the black budget. So they’ll withhold information and maybe even engage in internal espionage, all the way. It’s just like corporate politics where people aren’t really making a choice in a big corporation. of what’s best for the corporation as a whole. They’re making choices that are best for them and their boss their fealty relationships in and then engaging in corporate politics that might actually be hurting the company so long as they can have plausible deniability to get away with it.
Eric Weinstein 53:14
So whenever we have perverse incentives, we’re gonna have some situation by which we’re being incentivized by a system of selective pressures to do certain things that may not be in the stated interests, or the, whatever the directive is of our of our institution. So the the directive is to do the business of the country. But in fact, you’re loyal to the team that you’re on, because that’s what brought you to this place. And were you to lose your team inside of this internal game. You couldn’t really function.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 53:47
Yeah. And it’s actually not even the fault of some bad people. It’s a fault of a system where it’s like, I say, Okay, well, if I don’t do that, then I lose the game to the other guys that are doing that. I actually think I’m more qualified to get that promotion than he is. So this is compromise I have to make, which is, which is this thing we think of as politics, right?
Eric Weinstein 54:05
My brother is called does I think he did a beautiful job describing this. He called this the personal responsibility vortex. Where if you start behaving, if you listen to people to say, Well, you know, even if you’re incentivized to do the wrong thing, you should still do the right thing. Yeah, Brett’s point was, if that becomes self extinguishing, then you’ll simply be replaced by something less ethical than you are, right? So it’s actually incumbent upon you not to be so virtuous, that you remove yourself from the game, leaving open a niche for some less scrupulous person to swoop in. So
Daniel Schmachtenberger 54:40
this is how an unethical system convinces ethical people to compromise their ethics to become a tool for the system.
Eric Weinstein 54:49
Well, he’s so this is this, this big division that’s coming up, which is that what we call, you know, democracy and capitalism. And the enlightenment and all of these things that we’ve been able to do up until this point. Some people in our mutual world that might be vaguely affiliated with the human potential movement, that’s the closest giant umbrella rubric that I can put over. Some percentage of those people refer to this world that we have now as game a. And then there’s this hypothetical game B, which might not be rivalrous and hopefully isn’t self extinguishing. And it might not be entirely market based or maybe the markets taking better account of things like resource questions and negative externalities. Are you Are you hopeful about game B? Is that a good way of phrasing it? Is there a better way of talking about
Daniel Schmachtenberger 55:53
e? Yes. And to be able to define what game be Criteria must have understanding the thing that is self extinguishing in game a, like, let’s take a couple of examples you just gave and go a little further because there they were right along lines connected to where we were. You talk about internalizing externalities, right? So if I, if I am figuring out how to externalize some cost of the thing that I’m doing to the commons, and so
Eric Weinstein 56:26
for example, you’re polluting as part of a furniture plant that employs lots of people and make something people need,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 56:33
right? So there’s a real cost, right? There’s a cost to a whole ecosystem into the people into the future generations will be affected by the pollution, but I don’t pay the cost. And because I’m not paying the cost, I get to have the profit margins that I have if I had to pay the cost, which means I had to employ a technology that currently exists to clean all that up and whatever that costs, my business might be radically not profitable, right. Now, so so then maybe Maybe we’ll try and create a law to make it to where I can’t do that pollution. But I’m not doing the pollution as a person, I have some corporation that has some liability limiting functions of any of the people within the corporation. So the corporation is breaking the law, and you can’t put a corporation in jail. So there’s a fine. But if the fine is less expensive than processing, the waste would be then it’s just a cost of doing business. And then the corporation will employ lobbyists to go change the law, because laws are going to be created by lobbyists that are paid for by somebody, and they’re going to be created by politicians who have a campaign budget that is controlled by somebody. So basically, economics has perverse incentives. We tried to create law to bind it. But economics is deeper in the stack of power than law is so you end up getting this legal system that is supposed to bind the perverse economic incentives. It mostly ends up legislating in, in the benefit of it. So, but this is a fundamental problem with the liberal democracy idea.
Eric Weinstein 58:09
When things get really visual, things can actually change if you start being able to point to Oh, I don’t know, let’s say children with malformed limbs that happened with thalidomide the visual on that was enough to push that up the the attention stack to say, Hey, we got a serious problem here and we’ve got to talk about this right now because the the externality of this pharmaceutical is is horrific. Do you have anything better than waiting for absolutely horrendous things with the with visuals that that hit? Oh,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 58:52
yeah. So you know, it’s funny, right? Like, we see ads from the 50s where better living through chemistry and people are spraying DDT on the kids to keep the mosquitoes off. And then we recognize how lethal the DDT is. So then we sell it to Mexico that doesn’t have the law, and then we buy the produce back from Mexico. But then we come up with some new chemical that we say is less toxic, just because the long term studies on its toxicity haven’t come out yet. And mostly, they don’t look as visible as thalidomide
Eric Weinstein 59:25
is that that we? Sometimes I say this as we keep searching for own blind spots, so that we can do business there. Right. And so what it is that we can’t measure very often becomes a place to do business because almost everything produces negative externalities, and so it has to be disguised.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 59:48
Now this is a concept I wanted to bring up in terms of what you’re saying about your brother. And so there’s this idea of a multipolar trap, which is some scenario Where some agent in the system whether the agent is a person or a nation, or a tribe, or a corporation does something that is really bad for the whole over the long term, but it’s actually really advantageous to them over the near term. And if they do that, they will get so far ahead of and use that power against everybody else that now everybody else has to race to do that thing and you get a race to the cliff. So an arms race is a classic example, right? We really don’t want a world with AI weapons, too much less good world with AI weapons. But we would have to ensure that nobody makes it we’d have to make an agreement where if anyone doesn’t join the agreement and says, No, we’re going to make the a weapon then everybody has to not only make them, but also make the countermeasures and race to make them faster. Mm hmm. And even if we make the agreement, we’re pretty sure the other guy is secretly defecting on the agreement in the basement. So we make the agreement while secretly defecting on in the basement while spying on them and trying to confuse their spouses. And it’s like, fuck do we get out of that and the same is true of the tragic of the commons if I figure out how to externalize some of my costs, and so my margins go up, all of my competitors have to figure out how to externalize some cost, or we have to try and figure out how to make some law behind it. But it’s very hard to make laws to bind these things. And so the same is true with ethical issues, right? If I am perfectly ethical, I’m going to lose in politics because I won’t be able to get anybody to support me, whatever. So I make certain kinds of compromises. And so one thing I would look at is, if we want to look at catastrophic risk writ large, we can look at multipolar traps drive as a general game theoretic phenomena, driving lots of different ways that catastrophic risk can happen. So another thing game B has to do is solve multipolar traps.
Eric Weinstein 1:01:49
So in other words, look at the universal class of such things, rather than begin than getting bewitched by any particular instance.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:01:58
Correct. But we have to solve For the class of multipolar traps writ large because it’s not just we don’t want an arms race on AI weapons. We also don’t want an arms race on bio weapons or nanotech. Well, I think it’s
Eric Weinstein 1:02:08
well phrased, does it buy us anything?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:02:12
Does it biasing? No, sorry, I want to be clear, not bias bi A. ‘s, but by bu Why us? Is it bias anything in the sense of does that avoid catastrophic risk by itself? No one actually knew formulating
Eric Weinstein 1:02:23
deciding to work over the class. Yeah, of really dangerous to use your language multipolar traps? Does that actually point us to some game theoretic thing that all all of our friends who did the game theory of the Cold War might have missed?
I’m not aware of any major game theoretic advance in what you’re calling multipolar traps.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:02:54
It’s not a major game theoretic advance, what we’re saying is that we have That, that phenomena creates a lot of different race to the bottom type scenarios. But with exponentially more power, the race to the bottoms are much deeper bottoms. So in the past, we’ve had boom and bust cycles associated with those. Right, right. And so everybody starts doing the pollution thing until you get a bus that’s associated, which creates some new market advantage to clean the pollution up at a certain point because people are willing to pay for that. And so you’ll get these kind of boom and bust cycles. That’s kind of the best that a market can give you with regard to multipolar traps. But the level of busts that we get with exponential technologies, and this many people, basically is unreliable. And so we’ve never figured out how to solve for that class. And I’m saying that that’s one of the things you’re asking, Is there a game B that I believe in, it would have to solve for a number of things it would have to actually remove rival risk dynamics, which is, which would solve for multipolar traps? Because multipolar traps are a situation where the well being of each agent can be optimized independently of and even at the expense of the other agents in the comments. As long as that’s the case, we have an incentive to do fucked up stuff with increasing power. That is one way of thinking about an underlying generator of all the catastrophic risks
Eric Weinstein 1:04:19
was, let’s assume that I buy in because, quite honestly, this has been always been my problem with game B is that I look at the look at the game theory. And I look at our history in terms of what has brought us to this this point. And I would say that if you believe any version of the theory of natural and sexual selection, you’d have to say we are the product of an arms race. And the idea that we would be wise enough to stop the arms race when I can hear in my mind’s ear, all these people saying, Wow, chicken littles added again, everything’s great. We, you know, Steven Pinker tells Is that we were in a much more peaceful world. We won the Cold War. What are you guys going on about? I mean, things are a little bit screwy in politics, and suddenly it’s all gloom and doom. I just, I hear that voice. And then I hear this other voice, which is this optimism about maybe we could become wise maybe we could become the people wise enough to have synthetic biology and nuclear weapons, and instant communication and data warfare and all these things and survive and thrive. And I don’t see how help me out where’s the hope here?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:05:43
Hey, I think the you and I probably don’t need to talk about this much. But that what I would call a naive techno optimism
Eric Weinstein 1:05:53
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:05:54
cherry picking data is easy from a big data set
Eric Weinstein 1:05:57
well in the great negative extra analogy is potential violence. As long as you don’t see potential violence has having increased.
Unknown Speaker 1:06:07
Eric Weinstein 1:06:09
then you don’t see the problem. The one argument you could make is that sub lethal technology has increased our ability to shoot beanbags at protesters means that you don’t actually have to kill protesters. You know that there are some weird arguments, but what you never lost the ability to kill them, you just may have not outfitted. Riot police with lethal technology in their first in the first wave of things that you send against an unruly crowd.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:06:41
And the most awesome thing about the current system is we don’t even have to deal with protesters with tear gas or beanbags or whatever. Mostly because mostly addiction and student debt and information overwhelm and those things deal with the people adequately So they they don’t actually understand enough or care enough or have the capacity to organize very meaningfully.
Eric Weinstein 1:07:10
We just legalize weed and make porn free and everyone’s demotivated.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:07:15
Those are a couple examples. Okay.
Eric Weinstein 1:07:16
I think we need to talk about sound like a good thing. Maybe it’s keeping this number going critical. No, no, no.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:07:29
I’m saying that
every dominant system has an intrinsic propensity to figure out how to stay being the dominant system, which means that it has a intrinsic propensity to get better at being able to deal with dissent. And we can look at different kinds of conflict theory you and Peter we’re talking about Gerardi in conflict. We can look at this as kind of a Marxist class type conflict. But I think it’s it’s deeper than that the system that is self perpetuating is inanimate.
Eric Weinstein 1:08:07
The system, which is self perpetuating, is not itself animate or sentience,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:08:13
but it is auto poetic,
Eric Weinstein 1:08:14
but it is auto poetic.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:08:16
And this is the fascinating thing to get his it’s like it. Let’s take let’s take Nick Bostrom, paperclip Maximizer as an analogy, so I know you know this but for the people who don’t when looking at concerning AI risk scenarios, one of them is this, you know, kind of funny idea of a paperclip, Maximizer paperclip is representative any widget so make an AI that basically can do two things, it can optimize the production of something here a paperclip, and so it can use its intelligence to do that. So it can make more efficient supply chains, whatever, and it can use its intelligence to increase its own intelligence. So you’ll get a exponential curve on intelligence, which also then means an exponential curve on its capacity to optimize whatever Narrow metric is optimizing. And so of course, after it just makes increases in efficiency, which are awesome. Then it starts making so many paperclips that it needs new substrate to make paperclips and it eventually turns the whole world into paperclips. Because it can, it can grow its intelligence to outcompete whoever’s competing for those paperclips faster than they can. That’s a very short version of it. You’re gonna say something?
Eric Weinstein 1:09:23
Well, just I guess what I find very bizarre about all this is that I live in multiple social worlds and intellectual worlds. And in some of my worlds, this stuff strikes people as loopy. Oh, here comes the stuff about the AGI. The robots are gonna kill us all. And in some other portion of my world, it’s like, Well, clearly we’re on the verge of AGI. And that’s going to be the existential risk. And this is in part to go back to your original point, something that you and I share a failure at catastrophic failure of communal sense making, right? So what I’ve claimed is, is that the revolution that we’re in is, is based around the idea that we don’t have what I’ve called semi reliable communal sense making. We can’t all agree now, even if it’s slightly wrong, or maybe even deeply wrong as to what it is that we’re seeing where we are in human history, what our issues are. And so the first part of this decision tree that goes really wrong, is that a lot of people think that we’re in great shape.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:10:36
Okay, so this is, I’m actually gonna come back to the paperclip Maximizer because it explains why we don’t have communal sense making. If instead of thinking about an artificial intelligence that can increase its capacity, well, optimizing something we think of a collective intelligence that can some way that humans are processing information together in a group. A market is a kind of collective intelligence, right? The whole idea of What’s the Invisible Hand of the market that the market will figure out what stuff people really want to expressed as demand? And then which version of the various supplies as best that
Eric Weinstein 1:11:10
wouldn’t say it’s a it’s an intelligence.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:11:12
It’s not a central intelligence. But the idea is that there is kind of an emergent
Eric Weinstein 1:11:17
intelligence is an emergent property of this thing. And, you know, it computes things like prices and allocations, and if that’s what you mean by intelligence, that is what I mean. Yeah.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:11:30
So it’s, it is a bottom up coordination system that does end up having new information emerge as the result of the bottom up coordination, okay. And I can take a market as a, as kind of at the center, I can take capitalism at the center of the more general class of what I would call rival risk dynamics as a whole as a kind of collective intelligence. Okay, because the thing that wins at the game of rivalry gets selected For and so there is this kind of learning of how to get better at rival risk games, learning across the system as a whole, which which things when in war, which things keep more people believing the thing, which keep people from getting out of the thing like that. That makes sense. Yes. And so I would say that we have if we just take the capitalism part, capitalism is a paperclip Maximizer that is converting the natural world and human resources into capital, well, getting better at doing so. So it goes from barter, to currency to fiat currency to fractional reserve process to complex financial instruments to high speed trading on those. Those are like the increase in its capacity to do that, but specifically now it is a incentive for all the humans to do certain things. So if leaving the whale alive in the ocean confers no economic advantage on me. But killing it and selling it as meat is a million dollars of economic advantage. And if I don’t kill it, the whales still won’t be alive because somebody else is going to kill it anyways. And then they might actually even use that economic power against me. Now I’ve got, I have an incentive system that is encouraging all the humans to behave in certain kinds of ways. And now not only do we need to kill the whales, we need to race at getting better to do it, and making better militaries and extracting all the resources. And so I see this as a kind of,
Eric Weinstein 1:13:28
so if I’m understanding where you’re headed, what you’re saying is is that the market is kind of a precursor to an AGI.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:13:38
It is a collective intelligence that is
eventually self terminating in the same way that a cancer is right. The cancer cells are self replicating and they’re growing faster than normal cells, but they end up killing the host which kills themselves. And so the The reason I’m bringing this up in terms of collective sense making is those who do the will of capitalism, like those who do the will of the paperclip, Maximizer mo locks or on whatever kind of analogy we want to use here. Those who do well at the game of power, get more power. And then they use that legislative power media power, capital power to make systems that to modify the systems in ways that help them more, right. Those who oppose the system of power also oppose those who are doing well at it. So even though the system is an animate, the people who are doing well at it are animate. So then they take those people out, which is we see how Martin Luther King and Gandhi and Jesus and etc, died, people who actually opposed to the system of power, right? And so you end up having a system that is selecting for, or is conferring more power to those who are good at getting more power which ends up meaning who we’re selecting for conferring power to sociopathy.
Eric Weinstein 1:15:03
Got, I don’t find this part of the argument. Well, maybe I’m just stuck somewhere. Okay, let me be be. I think I’m on your side. So I want to help make a different part of this case. I think a lot of this comes down to magical thinking because of the non use of nuclear weapons against humans since 1945. I think that one thing, if 911 had been a nuclear attack, rather than a weird conventional attack, we would know where we were in human history. And by virtue of our luck and our luck alone, we are completely confused as to how perilous the present moment is because our luck has been amazing. And if you believe
Unknown Speaker 1:15:52
Eric Weinstein 1:15:55
If you believe that somehow it can’t be luck because it’s this good. Then you believe that there’s some unknown principle keeping us safe. And if you don’t know what the name of that principle is, maybe it’s human engine ingenuity, maybe it’s some sort of secret collective that keeps the world sensible. Maybe it’s that markets tie this all together. I don’t know what your story is. Yeah. But whatever your story is, it’s wrong. And it’s, it’s obviously wrong. Right, the idea that we didn’t have anything like 911, and then we had a sudden 911 kind of attack is itself paradigmatic that these things with which you have no data, familiarity? I mean, look, there was no suicide bombing in the modern world before the 1980s.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:16:49
And I think this is the point is that
it’s generally more advantageous within a market to believe that markets are good in the world is healthy and things are awesome, right? I’ll usually do better in academia. If I say academia is good, right? Which a point that you make if I really criticize it heavily, I’m going to get less tense is
Eric Weinstein 1:17:07
Peter’s point more than my point? Okay?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:17:09
Yeah, I will usually do better in markets, if I say they’re awesome and do better in a corporation. If I say it’s awesome. And so there is kind of an incentive for optimism about the dominant system, if I want to do well in the dominant system. And if I have critiques of the dominant system, I’m usually going to do less well in it, which means less power will get conferred to those ideas. And so there’s kind of a mimetic selection, right, like the memes that that do well, and that being the memes that propagate, but do well within a current system.
Eric Weinstein 1:17:40
Well, look, this is why I’ve called for a return to above ground nuclear testing, because my belief is, is that we, you laugh, but I’m not kidding. I mean, if we don’t get our amygdalas really engaged with where we are this magical thinking which by the way, I suffer from this magical thing. I’m not I’m claiming everyone else has. I have the idea that nothing too bad can can come. That, you know, I always ask this this weird question, which is how many foreign nuclear devices are currently on US soil? People always think about the nukes will have to come through an ICBM. I’m not at all convinced that that would have to be true. People just don’t think about these things. Because we’ve been in such a rare period of time that these things haven’t. Like everybody who’s talked in these terms, sort of to me, like there’s a part of me that sounds like okay, well, that’s the kind of a conversation you have on on a dorm floor during a bowl session. Like grown ups realize that something is keeping the world together.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:18:44
Which is funny, right? Because it’s basically saying
grown ups have bought into magical thinking. Exactly. Yeah. And
Eric Weinstein 1:18:52
so, by the way, a lot of the people that I think of as being the smartest most interesting people have not bought in To this magical thinking, right, what has happened is, is that those people have been pushed out of the institutions that form this sort of weird conversation that I refer to as the gated institutional narrative in the DEA population of dissenters, right, like really serious dissenters from inside the institutional complex is one of the defining features of our age to me, but something that you can’t get any commentary on. Because the commentary you’re really looking for is, is that conversation so what I just try to do is to show people that no matter what you do, the gated institutional narrative cannot look at certain very basic facts.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:19:43
Right? So you get a very dangerous kind of groupthink there. And even if someone disagrees with it, they have a lot more incentive to not publicly disagree with it. within that group
Eric Weinstein 1:19:55
of people, I mean, this is why we’re doing the portal podcast which is Let’s be honest, this is pirate radio. Yeah. And I don’t know why it hasn’t been shut down. At the moment, the best thing that the gated institutional conversation has going for it is that all of these interesting people are simply humans and you can destroy any human reputation. And so the cheapest thing to do is not to kill anybody. Right? But just as somebody starts to accumulate mindshare, the gated institutional narrative goes into into hyperdrive, and it just starts pumping out. fear, uncertainty and doubt, which is the, you know, Fudd is the major tool for destroying an individual’s ability to communicate reality.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:20:44
Yeah. Something I think about is
the people who went through what happened in Syria recently, or say, collapse in Libya or wherever, where you had an actual pretty developed nation. That didn’t also expect that it was going to go through war and collapse. And then it did. I bet that if we talk to those people, they would have a very different intuition for the state of the fragility here because they actually have first person experience at something that seemed really stable and like it wasn’t going to collapse actually did. And most of us haven’t actually been through anything like a collapse in our life. And we don’t have a good intuition for things that are only in history books. And so this is a place where intuition by itself, like our intuition is informed by our experience, but our experience is very short. Right? And if we study past civilizations, one of the things we know and you know, we can read tainter and the collapse of complex societies or, you know, other kind of good insights on how civilizational collapse works, but none of the previous civilizations are still here. Like that’s, that’s one of the important things to get is that they go through a life cycle and that they mostly collapse for Self induced reasons, and that even if someone else over took them oftentimes the group that overtook them was smaller than rivals that they had fended off previously, because they had already started going through institutional collapse or civilizational collapse. And if we look across all of them, there are some things we can generalize about what leads to civilizational collapse, but I think the difference now versus any of those other times is that due to globalization, yeah, in some ways, the US and China are different civilizations, but both of them would fail without each other currently. And like we don’t make our own computational substrate, we don’t make our own lots of things right. Like they don’t do their own fundamental well, but the some
Eric Weinstein 1:22:39
of the the architects of many of these systems believed that a kind of economic mutually assured destruction was the best way of producing.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:22:54
I think that’s been true.
Eric Weinstein 1:22:56
You will, so I was gonna bring up the case of Europe. So one of the argument For the European experiment, is that you? Europe is actually arguably the world’s most dangerous region. People are very competent, and there are long standing rivalries and hatreds. And you had some desire to create something that seems impossible, which is the United States of Europe. And nobody was going to sign up for that. So how do you do that? Well, you back you back them into a financial union without political union, you give them their ability, the ability to issue their own debt, but not an ability to print their currencies. And then you wait for the collapse to come. And and then you hope in this storyline Anyway, you create a federation, which becomes a political Federation, the United States of Europe is created because of a sovereign debt crisis and we sort of went through Through that, which I believe was a was sort of a sought after outcome, which is maybe hopefully people will print their own their own debt, and they’ll issue debt and they won’t be able to print their own currencies in order to inflate their way out of it or go, something positive will have to happen. That seems to me to be also a recipe for disaster and that the architects of these plans seemingly died. And everybody’s on autopilot not understanding. You know, I’ve seen this in the in terms of certain us policies, where people create a policy for reasons that nobody’s really understanding. And a short time later, nobody even knows why the policy was created. The real reason is to begin with, do you see that this kind of a world,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:24:49
I think that’s actually one of the meaningful dynamics and institutional decay and then civilizational decay is that a new civilization is formed coming out Coming out of a war or after a migration or through a famine or after, like some really difficult thing. Yeah. And to really be able to build something new took real capacities, what you’d call the contact with the unforgiving, right, like real empirical capacities, and just
Eric Weinstein 1:25:18
added my lingo, sir.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:25:20
A bit. Yeah. And I think that’s really good lingo because like the I can’t, I can’t lie to physics and have it reward me for it, right like, either I can grow corn or I can’t grow corn either I can win the war or I can’t but there’s a real situation. And so oftentimes when we go from non wartime or the generals or politicians to wartime where the politician generals who may be stuck at war, start losing battles and we cycle through looking for ones who are good at that then we get some who are actually good at war. Those difficult situations select for real empirical capacity, but when you don’t have those difficult situations You’re actually selecting for who can do politics best, which means convince everyone of something whether it’s true or not,
Eric Weinstein 1:26:04
well, this is what I call sharp minds versus sharp elbows.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:26:07
Yeah. And so you have the people who are at the beginning of figuring out how to do some new civilization. And those people had some capacity to be in direct contact with reality and figure stuff out. And then oftentimes, what they pass on is the stuff they figured out, but not the psychology in them and the capacities to figure stuff out to the generator function of the civilizational models lost. And so now we start getting copying errors. And people are hopefully trying to at least copy it earnestly. So now we’ve got a constitution or a set of law or a set of market practices or whatever it is, but we don’t really understand how we generated that effective thing. And so that also means that as the environment changes, we won’t be able to adapt it adequately. And that also means that we’re not going to know how to deal with failures of it. So then some people recommend thing that start realizing that they can do better by defecting on the system and kind of preying on it then by participating with the system. And so, and this is what we think of as corruption, right, where they can start maximizing their own bonus structure or do a back end deal or whatever. And so long as it’s adequately hidden, they can get away with it. And now that collapses the civilization even further. So it goes from loss of generator function to copying errors to incentive for internal defection and disinformation. And, you know, like, I think that every civilization has faced this a loss of intergenerational knowledge transfer because it’s not just the knowledge, it’s the generator function of Hawaii, but it’s also the case that
Eric Weinstein 1:27:47
real knowledge I think, has become too dangerous to transmit and real knowledge doesn’t know what social norms are. And, you know, certainly the biological world is so disturbing. I mean, there’s no corner of the biological world and you can look at where and not come away thinking, wow, that’s incredibly disturbing. And what we’re seeing right now a situation in which we can’t cope with any discussion of biology, every single attempt to have a real biological discussion, given all of the social issues that it would bring up, immediately ends in madness. I’ve just seen no ability to talk real biology in public. And so this is the earliest place where I can see here’s a subject of science that actually can’t be discussed. I don’t have anything in particular in mind. There’s just, you know, like, you know, Bob Trevor’s work on Parent Child conflict. We have a beautiful story about her mothers would do anything for their children and somebody comes along and says, No, it’s actually a struggle where mothers want to hold on to their resources. Because they’re going to have many children, and the child attempts to gain as much resources as possible without regard for the mother. That’s so against the Hallmark card version of motherhood for Mother’s Day, that we can’t have a discussion about Parent Child conflict in biology. It’s not that one isn’t about gender. It’s not about race. It’s not about you know, power dynamics, it’s about it just immediately runs into one of our cherished, nonsensical points of view. Or is it the market is self correcting? The market is always self correcting and knows best that the leading thinkers are all sitting in institutional chairs
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:29:38
that every previous civilization was the Hobbesian bias brutish, nasty, short, dreadful lives and that everything is awesome just in the last little bit because of this system. So don’t criticize this
Eric Weinstein 1:29:48
system to actually so this is the the weird thing that I’m I’m finding is that you can’t start interesting conversations not only about the pessimism of the end pending collapse if we keep this up, but about the optimism that well what might we do differently? Like we can’t get energized to actually use this kind of time to do something novel and interesting and
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:30:13
hope Okay, so think about this, the,
you know, the definition of infidel for kind of a jihadist ideology as anybody that’s not supporting the jihadist ideology, the definition of which to the Crusaders was kind of a similar thing, right? The I have a friend who went looked at a bunch of the intelligence agency documents in Yugoslavia in some of the Baltic nations that had been declassified after the USSR collapsed specifically regarding how the intelligence agencies influenced the definition of psychiatry and their equivalent of the DSM. And so there was something like their definition
Eric Weinstein 1:30:49
of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for psychology, which tells you when somebody is meant to be has a personality disorder, neuroses,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:30:57
you remember the previous definition of female mania during In the Victorian period, right, which basically translated to she had a sex drive. And so that was like a mental illness and but so they their definition of something that translated to schizophrenia, the first symptom was had negative feelings about the state. And the second symptoms might take a while to show up. And so what I think happens is that the dominant system ends up eating psychology, and saying that the psychology that supports the dominant system is healthy psychology, and anything that is dissenting to it’s not healthy. It ends up eating spirituality and virtue and ethics and academia and whatever to basically say, the, the behaviors that support the system are good. So the thinking that supports those behaviors is good. And anything that’s dissenting is bad and like, it’s so easy to see it in the crusades, or in jihadism, or even in Victorian time period. It’s just very hard for us to see it about ourselves now. But I think that’s actually like one of these fundamental things in terms of your saying like, why don’t we have group sense making is because you have a, you have a self perpetuating system that includes the self perpetuation of the means that support the system.
Eric Weinstein 1:32:13
I understood Well, look, I also have I asked it not because I have no ideas why we don’t have communal sense making. What I’m confused by is why we are not more successful people in our group. And I mean this in a relatively large and inclusive sense because you and I come from different corners of this large collection of people. I think people are relatively well spoken. Some of them have fancy degrees, some of them have made money, some of them have become relatively well known for their their thinking. And yet, that institutional conversation I mean, I was liking it a bit to the difference between wrestling and professional wrestling where The institutional conversation, you need to know what’s going to happen ahead of schedule. so that you can know whether you’re going to have that part of the conversation or not, or whether it’s going to be that the private conversation that we can’t talk about, versus the public conversation and this concept that I’ve called split level argument other people have called Martin Bailey style tactics where you have some version of the argument that you can make in public. And then you have some other argument that you really have to is governing why you’re saying and doing what you’re doing. All of these things lead to this very unhealthy situation whereby there is no communal sense making there is a gated institutional narrative. It seems to be decaying. progressively year by year, nobody’s suddenly coming up to me and saying, Wow, I think CNN and Fox are doing a great job this year. Where’s the hope we’re where does this get fun and when did We get the chance to, to find a portal to a to a better world, as you see it most likely,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:34:06
yeah. But I want to start by saying I think this is important, right? I think that you’re doing this as a portal to a better world where you are supporting earnest thinking that is outside of institutional context and maybe heterodox, but at least earnest and seeking to be well grounded. And the fact that people are interested in it, I think is really important. When we come back to the difference between personal incentive and collective incentive, right? You say why aren’t we more successful, obviously, it’s like, Okay, so what is the incentive for someone to agree with us? That, for the most part, expressing these things would make them do less well at politics and their job, and maybe even their social club and maybe even be part of the in group that they’re part of whether it’s the left or the right or the whatever it is, because then they would be Saying things that there’s almost no in group that they would be aligned with are very, very small. And so you still end up having that there’s more selective pressure for the individuals to continue to be part of institutions even and institutional thoughts.
Eric Weinstein 1:35:15
Doesn’t make sense. Here’s the part that doesn’t make sense to me and very kind of you to say what you just said. Let’s imagine that you have perfect LSAT scores, you kept your nose clean your whole life. You’ve gone to Harvard and Yale, you’ve got a position where you’re commenting as a professor with a column in a major publication. If that person for example, calls me All right, you know, or I don’t know. I mean, like I have a Jewish last name. I voted for Bernie. There’s some point With that person’s self esteem, I would imagine they would be so embarrassed to put their life’s accomplishments at risk by just being obviously stupidly wrong. Like that they just there’s there seems to be no bottom at the moment.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:36:17
Okay, so this is, this is important about obviously stupidly wrong.
Eric Weinstein 1:36:23
I understand obviously stupidly wrong, when your ability to demonstrate your power is to go out in the public square and say the dumbest, most ridiculous, most obviously incorrect thing you can think of. And nobody says a word.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:36:40
Yeah, one of the things I find interesting is, you know, if we ask, question like, even what’s actually causing coral die off, how much of it is temperature versus pH versus nitrogen messing up the phosphorus cycle versus trophic cascades? How long do we have before the coral die off? What are the consequences of that, you know, like really important questions, right? Or what are the actual what really happened in North Korea? Like why there was such a change just recently? And what are the actual tactical nuclear capabilities that they have? Or, or how much leakage actually occurred at Fukushima or like any of these things, nobody fucking knows. And you’ll hear different narratives. And you’ll hear kind of equally compelling, disagreeable narratives on those Yeah. And almost no one has the time, or the will or the epistemic capacity to really figure that out. So one point is the sense making is actually hard. You have a situation in which a lot of these things are complex enough. And there’s so much disinformation, that when people try to actually figure it out, they just get a they get a information overwhelm, and then it’s very hard for them to continue. So when you’re saying like, obviously stupid Well, there aren’t. There’s a lot of places where people can Hold a train of thought that seems cogent enough, even if it’s in direct opposition with another cogent train of thought and like just the plausible deniability that it might be one of the true ones, since nobody can really sense make seems to be enough. And so this is one of the really tricky things is in a world where if I have the incentive to dis inform, yeah, at various different levels, right. And then I have exponential information tech, so I can do exponential disinformation. Now,
Eric Weinstein 1:38:30
this is when I say that the system’s inanimate I need give this example. Everybody who’s seen Tristan Harris stuff will know this. But if we think about disinformation, via the nitrous on Harris, his mutual colleague, he heads a movement called time well spent, and he’s trying to show you that your attention has been effectively weaponized against you where the big tech platforms are figuring out how to keep your eyeballs on their system right to your detriment right?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:38:59
Center for humane technology, you can see stuff. But like I think, I think a lot of people know that news stations. As for profit companies have to make money, right. And they make money by monetizing attention. And basically, they, they sell advertising. And advertisers pay more, the more people who are watching for more total minutes. So the incentive of the news station is to make stuff that is both in flaming and scary and entertaining and whatever will engage people to spend a lot of time watching it. And to not say things that would not be to the advantage of the advertisers that can afford to pay for them. Right. So they have like, they have an incentive to not share really complex, nuanced things that will have most people click off but to share things. If I see
Eric Weinstein 1:39:49
I’m saying I really don’t. Okay, let me give you an argument. One of the things that I say that I think people find interesting is is that I believe the National Academy of Sciences in the National Science Fair foundation effectively conspired against American scientists and engineers on behalf of scientific and engineering employers. That’s a fascinating story. I shot it in the public square. now. You know, I’ve been asked four times to the National Academy of Sciences to discuss this. So they are certainly taking this quite seriously. I’ve talked to the actual people who are involved with this. It is amazingly interesting, you could sell clicks, you could just get advertisers to buy through the clicks on the story. Nobody’s gonna run the story. Nobody has run the story. And I don’t know, more than 20 years. It’s sitting there on servers. I don’t believe that this is all being driven by profit. I believe that there is some force that we don’t understand. That keeps the gated institutional narrative gated.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:40:54
Yes, I think profit is one part of it. That’s why I say we have to think of profit as one aspect To kind of power or rivalrous dynamic more largely because it’s I think, government, or academia or religious or cultural groups or profit can all influence the nature of narrative and information.
Eric Weinstein 1:41:17
I think there’s an economy of shame and terror.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:41:21
say more about that.
Eric Weinstein 1:41:22
I believe that the real reason that this works the way it does is we have not even gotten to a very basic point where it is considered acceptable to say, I want immigration restricted. Now, I point this out because I think it’s very funny. Most people who want immigration restrict, enjoy food from other cultures. They they have friends who come from other places, they enjoy travel. There’s nothing Zena phobic about them in general. They’re Xena, philic Yeah, and the idea is You can be both Xena philic fascinated and interested in the world’s cultures and want immigration to your country restricted, and that this is the generic position that the average person holds this position is a story that appears nowhere. So nobody has an idea that Xena philic restriction lists might be a plurality or a majority in the country. Because there is a rule that says anyone who calls for restriction of immigration must be tarred as a xenophobe. Right. And I think it’s time to double dog dare the people who are keeping this level of discipline and say why cannot Why is it impossible to be a Xena philic restrictions. What I think is is that the economy of shame is such that whoever acts first to make this point is in such danger for their livelihood, their reputation. They are going to be tarred and feathered. And one of the things that I’m trying to show people is is that you can you can make these points now I can’t do this on CNN. But I can do this on pirate radio. This is basically audio some is it to take the the Russian underground mimeograph movement as a template. We can say things here, but there’s only a matter of time before this starts to become problematic to the institutional structure, and it responds by debiting. My Account. Oh, well, that that’s that all right guy. Yeah, he seems disgruntled or you know, he seems gloomy and out of touch and then the fear uncertainty and doubt campaign starts. And that’s what is actually keeping everybody in line. It’s not that there isn’t money to be made. There’s tons of money to be made. What’s happened is is that it’s been too Easy to pick off the initial adopters.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:44:06
I agree. And I’m curious what your explanation of how that phenomenon emerged.
Eric Weinstein 1:44:13
Well, that’s a really. So let’s really get into it. We did have a dissension suppression unit inside of the FBI, which was called cointelpro. And it tried to induce Martin Luther King, Jr. to suicide through a letter from Sullivan, who was I think, number one or number two, maybe under Hoover, and this thing lived inside of the FBI. It probably tried to tell john lennon that he was traitorous. It tried to humiliate Jean Sieberg, who is a black panther supporter by planting false information inside of Maine. stream media Newsweek in the Los Angeles Times it tried to get la Cosa Nostra to kill Dick Gregory, the famous comedian, and black civil rights leader. So we did have a dirty tricks unit inside of the United States that needs to be known broadly, which was pretty thoroughly investigated in the mid 1970s. And once we saw that we were engaged in these dirty tricks against our own people. We were kind of shocked and flipped out and the economy wasn’t in great shape. And then ronald reagan came writing in and I think he pardoned Mark felt, who had been the head of cointelpro, after Hoover, but he was also deep throat. And so you had this very strange situation that we got this reboot during the Reagan years, where we went back to some sort of more traditional, more patriotic, imagined version of our country. And my belief is that In part, when Bill Clinton decided that he couldn’t take yet another loss to the Republican Party, he was going to start experimenting with republicanism inside of the Democratic Party. By that point, we had two parties that more or less, were two flavors of the same thing. I refer to the collective as the looting Party and the looting party, the Neo liberals, the neoconservatives sort of intergenerational warfare within the country in the US, and my take on it is that the common ideology is that Prophet had to be found abroad, and so you had to loosen the bonds to your fellow citizen. And that’s where all of this kind of the market always knows best. We need to offshore and downsize and securitize what I’ve called the new gimmick economy. So that right now, we’re waking up From the new gimmick economy and having never lived in anything really authentic unless we’re quite old. So my belief is is that during that period of time, there was very swift retribution for anyone who dissented, famously, a prominent trade theorist who was talking about the benefits of restriction of trade restrictions for infant industries, let’s say, apparently, he got a call from one of the people high up in the field say, Oh, you seem to be a very bright young man. It’d be a shame if anything happened to your career. And so this kind of idea suppression is the the Hallmark. Well, it is what I think these two generations the baby boomers and the silent generation may become best known for in the future. This was a period in which new corrective ideas had to be suppressed. Because of the fragility of the system. We saw the fragility breakout in 2008. We saw how vulnerable we were in 2001. And we see that the whole sense making apparatus is breaking down from the Trump election. So these have been the three moments when the gated institutional narrative has broken because it just got overwhelmed by events. But other than that, the key was making sure that people like you or like me, or like Peter, are not mainstream. The cost of listening to us has to be driven to astronomical levels. So we have to, we have to look wild eyed, we have to, you know, they can’t call me uneducated, if I have a Harvard PhD, which is one of the funny parts of the system. But the idea is that you have to say, Well, you know, maybe he used to be smart. But he’s gotten fringe. So the the social cost and
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:49:03
similar, it’s amazing how effective such small amounts of that can be.
Eric Weinstein 1:49:09
Well, it’s also just funny. I mean, it just, there’s so many hours of audio of us. And I was just astounded, for example, with the number of people who would try to portray, let’s say, my brother as right wing. I mean, from my perspective, can you imagine making that decision that you guys as far left as Brett and you’re going to spend your credibility pretending that he’s like, allied with the Nazis I just died doesn’t even make sense to me because it’s, it’s simply to me a way to incinerate your credibility and yet, the way the system works is you incinerate people’s viability. It’s economic warfare that if your reputation is damaged, you can’t be trusted, you know, and that’s how that’s how this this enforcement has worked. So you asked me the question, how does it work to keep this in line? It’s to trivially easy to destroy individuals. And my question has always been, is there a program which I have tentatively called no living heroes.
Unknown Speaker 1:50:20
If you’ve heard this riff before
Eric Weinstein 1:50:24
Charles Lindbergh, who was not a great human being almost kept the us out of World War Two. He said, Why is this? Why is this America’s problem? And if you think about it, he had self minted credibility in that he got into a plane any fluid over an ocean solo and became a hero. And that level of visibility allowed him to compete with the state. Okay, I think that there was a program after Lindbergh that said individuals should not be able to amass sufficient mindshare to affect the course of government policy. And this is a question in my mind, is there a program that got started that said, we’re going to wait and see if anything starts to bubble up? It seems to have integrity seems to have mindshare. It seems to be opposed to our policies. And if and when we find such a thing, it has to be redirected, co opted, destroyed, reputational Lee, or made ineffectual. And the phrase that I really appreciated. That was used about Jean Siebert, who was you know, one of Hollywood’s great leading ladies of the time. was we have to cheapen her image. Yeah. This is the federal government talking about cheapening the image of a Hollywood star because she was interested in in radical black politics.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:51:55
Sorry Penner, but now kind of reminds me when you were saying, if when we look at biology, it’s disturbing when we look at history to and we realize that those people that did the Crusades were genetically identical to us. And we think about the kind of civilized way that we want to think of ourselves that we wouldn’t do something like have a government try and discredit someone, but then we look at just how we have behaved as people throughout most of history. And it’s been like it’s been pretty draconian through most of it. And I think we’re at a time where having it more hidden has been useful. But that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t still been happening
Eric Weinstein 1:52:37
was very interesting to me as we go from we have these two phases. The first phase is like, you think people are still doing that you have an overactive imagination, then when it’s discovered, I say, what you think that governments don’t do this, they’ve always done this. And I’ve always watched as people get their cognitive dissonance to zero using two totally different Mental strategies do you find? Of course, yeah. All right. Yeah. So if we agree that there’s something a little bit bizarre about the extent to which there’s been disciplined in this gated institutional narrative, and it’s been hard to get kind of a different message out to people that they need to start exploring new systems of organization, maybe beyond market democracy, who knows what, what are the most hopeful systems that we currently have to use that can be used to build even better systems? And how do we get that message out? Where do you see the hope in trying to confront the real problems we face to find an exit into our our next stage of human development?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:53:49
So we’ve been talking about where there is incentive for disinformation or information suppression or narrative suppression, the last chunk of things you were sharing Regarding shames kind of a narrative warfare tool, so a way I think of it, and say there was a group that seemed like it didn’t have power of one kind, then it tries to find power of some other kinds. So reconfiguring in groups competing with whatever tools they can against out groups. But imagine if we could create a situation where there was no incentive for disinformation. I’ll talk about in a moment how I think we could do that. And not just no incentive for disinformation, but also no incentive for information withholding. And something pretty unique about humans is how good we are at being able to add intention to signal Ly, but all the subtle versions, right, which is most of the signal that is coming to me is just bouncing off of stuff and reflecting and doesn’t have that much disinformation in it. And obviously, animals have camouflage, camouflage and strategies like that, but every Anytime we’re communicating, we are usually communicating towards some intention that we have. And so I want you to think certain things where you thinking those things, I think will advantage me. But then to the extent that you take what I’m saying as adequately informing you, like accurately informing you about reality, I not be right. Like there’s a discrepancy between why I’m communicating to you and what would be maximum benefit to you. So and even if we’re not doing spin in rustle conjugation, disinformation, even if it’s just IP and trade secrets and information, withholding, this lowers our coordination capacity to do interesting things tremendously. And then there’s so much coordination cost that goes into the competition. So we say, well, let’s imagine and we I think we can say, up to a tribal scale. People did could do. I’m not saying they always did. I don’t want to be romantic people could do a better job of accurate and Information Sharing because there was less incentive to dis inform each other inside of a tribe because it would probably get pounded out. And we actually depended on each other pretty significantly. But the Dunbar limit seems to be a pretty hard limit on that kind of information. So you mean, this supposedly Dunbar number that is the limit of our ancestral
Eric Weinstein 1:56:21
minder group to track the number of interactions we have? So it’d be maybe I can keep track of 200 or 300 people? Yeah, not much more.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 1:56:31
Yeah, whether whether it’s 150, or 50, or 200, or whatever it is. And, you know, I think we’ve attributed this to different things, why tribes never got beyond a certain scale within a certain kind of organization. And if they would start to they would cleave. And then if they were going to get larger, they had to have a different kind of organization. I think how one thing that we commonly think about is that kind of a limit of care and tracking right up to that number up to 150 people or whatever. I can actually know everybody pretty well, they can all know me. And if I were to hurt anybody, I’m hurting the people that I’ve known for my whole life. So something like universal interest of that group or almost like a communist communalist idea makes sense if there’s no anonymous people, and there’s no very far spaces where I can externalize harm, I basically can’t externalize harm in the social commons when I know everybody Well, I also probably can’t lie and have that be advantageous. I think there’s another thing, which is there’s a communication protocol that anyone who has information about something within that setting can inform a choice where that information would be relevant that the tribe would be making because they can actually communicate with everybody fairly easily. And if there’s a really big choice to make, everybody can sit around a tribal circle and actually be able to say something about it. And as you get larger, you just can’t do that. And I think there’s a strong cleaving basis for not wanting to Be part of a group that would make decisions that I’ll be subjected to that I don’t get any say in it unless it’s really important to do that, like we’re gonna have, there’s a situation where tribal warfare is starting to occur more often. And so having a larger group is really important or you know, some something like that, in which case the bonding energy exceeds the cleaving energy. But let’s say that we could actually have a situation where we had incentive to share to not dis inform and to share accurate information with each other and that could scale beyond a Dunbar size. So now we have something where we don’t have fractal this information inside of a company. We don’t have people competing for cancer cures that aren’t sharing information with each other. I think that system would out compete, all the systems that we’ve had in terms of innovation and in terms of resource utilization resource per capita utilization so much that if we could do such a thing, it’d become the new attractive basin. Which civilizations would want to flow? And I think the limit of Dunbar dynamics were communication protocols. And I think we do have technological capacity. And I’m, I mean, both social technologies and physical technologies to develop systems and, and so like this is kind of at the heart of it to develop systems where there was more incentive to share honest information. And obviously, this is a example of anti rivalrous where I had my well being and your well being and the well being of the commons more tightly coupled to each other.
Eric Weinstein 1:59:44
Yeah, that’s the first part of it. Okay. So
try to figure out how to get very large scale human collectives to behave like small scale human collectives. Well, let’s,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:00:00
yeah, if we think about two groups of people
Eric Weinstein 2:00:03
that sounds to me like TripAdvisor, where I traveled to some country, and I’ve never been to, and I’m never going back again. And there’s some sort of reputational cost that a hotel would have had, if it gamed their guests. So it becomes a bad idea to game your guests, because you have a fractional relationship with the world in some sense, or somebody has left a review that says, you know, be careful, they try to upsell you on the Wi Fi, and it’s a scam and here’s how to look out for it. And suddenly you’ve got a problem if you’re a dishonest actor, because there’s the sort of reputational game that is technologically enabled.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:00:50
So I think this is why people like blockchain is the idea of an uncorruptible ledger is that this information and information withholding or would be really bad If it beneficial to the public in any kind of bad acting does less well, with good accounting systems, I have to be able to kind of corrupt the accounting in some way to be able to have it be advantageous. And so can we make? Can we make systems that make the accounting much better as part of it, but it’s not the whole basis, because then, of course, you still have incentive to figure out how to game the game, whatever it is, as long as we still have separate interest and the separate interest, which is that any in group can advantage itself at the expense of an out group or any individual can advantage itself at the expense of other individuals, which is grounded all the way down to like a private balance sheet, I do think is an inexorable basis of rivalry. And I do think that rivalry in a world of exponential tech does self terminate. And given that I don’t think we can stop the progress of tech. I do think we have to create fundamentally anti rivalries systems and I don’t think you can do that with capitalism or That, or private property ownership is the primary basis to how we get access to things. I don’t think you can do it with communism or socialism or any of the other systems we’ve had. But I don’t think that if we look at how the coordination system of cells or organs inside of the body works, I don’t think it’s capitalist or communist. I think there’s a much more complex way of sharing information and provisioning resources within the system.
Eric Weinstein 2:02:23
You know, this is how the famous anarchist Peter, Prince Peter kropotkin, got in trouble, that I think he was like, kind of an amateur net naturalist. And he would observe things like ant colonies say, Well, look, look how well the ants cooperate. And of course, you didn’t know that it was a hypo diploid system where sisters are more closely related to each other than to the offspring and you had, you know, a breeding Queen and then effectively mimicking some kind of body division into Soma and germ where you’re somatic cells have no possibility of leaving a permanent trace of themselves, but for their ability to aid your germline cells that can become a fertilized
Unknown Speaker 2:03:13
egg and embryo.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:03:16
I don’t think there is an adequate biomimicry example. Okay. And I think there’s an important reason why is I think that technology creation is something that we don’t see happen in nature anywhere else. And of course, animals will use a tool, but they don’t evolve better tools or develop better tools, the way that we develop better tools and the distinction of technology creation or toolmaking as a process by which new stuff comes to exist as opposed to evolution as a process by which new stuff comes to exist, is at the heart of a lot of the things that I think about here, because I think it fundamentally changes our thinking on like social Darwinism and why markets are kind of a viable inexorable idea is if we think about evolution as a process by which new things come about, defined by mutation, survival selection, and then mate selection within an environmental nation and of course, there’s recursion on nice creation. In, in evolution, we see rivalry everywhere. As you were mentioning, in like biology, there’s a lot of really painful things to look at. And I think we’ve, especially since Darwin modeled ourselves as apex predators for a long time. And but I think, and I think that we actually even reified the theory of markets with evolutionary biology to say that demand is like a niche, and that the various versions of a product or service are like mutations, and the company that survives because it’s able to supply the demand. Well, those ideas and those technology Just make it through. And then if there’s a couple that are mutually good, we’re merging would be good. So you get a merger and acquisition that’s kind of like mate dynamics, right, like recombinant torque dynamics. And this is why competition is good and drives innovation. And same as happens in nature. I think that’s kind of the way that a lot of people think about markets in relationship to evolution. And I think the reason we can’t think about it that way, and also the reason why we don’t see whether it’s ants or whether it’s cells in the body or anything, we don’t see examples of the kinds of coordination in nature that will apply to humans, is I think that the development of technology both language and social coordination technologies and physical technologies, but our capacity for abstraction, and then things that increase our power via abstraction, as opposed to their power increases via some instantiated thing like a gene is a fundamentally different process. Because, in nature, you will see rivalry you’ll see, obviously one. If the lion catches the gazelle the gazelle dies. If the gazelle gets away, the lion might die, right? And yet all lions and all gazelles are symbiotic with each other meaning if there were no lions, the gazelles might eat themselves to extinction. If there were no gazelles, lions might starve. So there’s this process by which micro rivalry leads to macro symbiosis. And both of them evolving supports each other to evolve as the lines get a little bit faster. The more the slower gazelles the faster ones genes recombine, and you get faster because
Eric Weinstein 2:06:33
else Yeah, but how I mean, you know, mathematically, I think, a lot of Volterra equations is this predator prey simple predator prey dynamics, with like, let’s say two species, I understand how that can be stable. Right. I don’t understand that in the presence of exponential tech, I mean this okay. So the first thing that I got to be concrete here is that Maybe something like the technology of reputation might allow us to leverage up small group dynamics towards large group dynamics. The idea that I don’t have to know you to know something about your reputation. I see some hope there, but then it’s open to reputational warfare.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:07:22
I think reputation systems will be gamed.
Eric Weinstein 2:07:25
I agree. Right. Look, I’m very think as long as about game B. Yeah. Not because I don’t understand our need for it is that I can’t imagine the system that gets us out of our nature and our nature. You know, rivalry abounds. Within nature, cooperation is found everywhere. I don’t see a way of getting everything towards universal disclosure cooperation. But I’m, I hear you are one of the people who was the farthest along thinking about how we might pull this off.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:08:09
Yeah. And, and no, I told you earlier, I have to apologize for a strange night that had me not sleep, so upgrading it, low capacity. So I think I’m less clear than ideal. But now I want to say a little bit more because just saying make large groups work like small groups like, that doesn’t help at all. I want to actually say a little bit more about how we would do that. But specifically why the toolmaking thing is such a big deal and why the biomimicry examples don’t work because it specifically then plays into what does have to work. The mutation pressures that are happening in nature are relatively evenly distributed across the system. If we think about mutations, survival selection, and then breeding selection, and so you don’t get a situation where one speed CS gets 1000 x advantage in a single, quick jump independent of all the other ones, right? The mutation is only going to be so big. And the mutation forces that are happening on the lions are also happening on the gazelles. Right. So they’re all experiencing gamma rays or oxidative stress or copying errors or whatever, similarly. So that’s one thing. And then the other thing is that there’s co selective pressures as, as the line gets a little bit faster, then the gazelles end up getting faster because the slower ones get eaten, and the faster genes recombine. And so because of the pair because of the even distribution of mutation, and because of the CO selective pressures, there’s a certain kind of symmetry of power that happens, right? The gazelles get away as often or more often than the lions get them. And so you only get the situation where micro rivalry leads to macro symbiosis when you have and also the situation meta stability of an ecosystem, when you have something like a cemetry of power. within the system is cemetry
Eric Weinstein 2:10:02
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:10:02
Yeah, if the lions got 1000 times more predatory in one generation, they would end up eating all the gazelles and then going to their own collapse that they get, they get, they increase their per day as they increase their predictive capacity, the environment increases its capacity to respond to the predictive capacity symmetrically. Similarly,
Eric Weinstein 2:10:29
I mean, this works up to a point. I mean, part of the problem is is that gazelles are not the only thing that dying on lions, the lions dine on, right? Well, and furthermore, you know, lions are not the only even even if lions are a top some predator hierarchy, one lion and 20 hyenas is not a reputation for not a recipe for lion happiness. So, you have You have very complex dynamics with, with many species interacting.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:11:07
And that’s what I mean you have meta stability of the whole ecosystem, not stability, because some species will die off and other species will emerge, but you have an increase in orderly complexity. But there is a parallelism between lion and lion, between lion and hyena between lion and Gazelle, right. And if there wasn’t, you would have you wouldn’t end up having meta stability, you’d have something have a runaway dynamic that was unchecked by the dynamics of the environment. So basically, the the forces the evolutionary forces that are happening are happening across the whole solution, the whole system and co affect each other. But with tool making, tool making didn’t occur for us with a mutation tool making was us consciously understanding this sharp rock that maybe a chimp would experientially use a sharp rock and then use another sharp rock and realize this rock was experiencing sharper, but it wouldn’t understand the app. abstract principle of sharpness to make sharper Flint things, our capacity for abstraction leading to tool making like that made us increase our predatory capacity radically faster than the environment could become resilient to our increase productive capacity. And that was the beginning of a curve that has, you know, started to verticalized exponentially recently. But because of that tool making, we could put on clothes and go to the Arctic and become the apex predator there in a way that the lion or the cheetah couldn’t leave its environment. We could we could go become the apex predator in every environment and over hunt the environments. And then when we would over hunt environment, rather than have our population come to steady state, we could go move to insert over hunting another environment and then figure out agriculture. That’s super different than every other animal. And so you don’t have a situation anywhere in nature where like a single lion could do that much damage to its environment. But you do have a situation where a single person Like Putin or Trump or whatever, could do massive damage because of technology to the total biosphere. You don’t have a situation where a single cancer cell can propagate cancer genes instantly to the whole system, it’s gonna affect the cells around it, which have a chance to then correct it does a lot of corrective mechanism. So the exponential tech increases our leverage so much, that if we, that individuals and small groups have the capacity to influence the rest of the human space, but also the bio space in a way that nothing else has, so there is no example anywhere in biology have a system that can that has the kind of asymmetry relative to its whole environment that we have.
Eric Weinstein 2:13:43
So, yeah, if I understand correctly, I mean, the, the slight adjustment I would I would give is that orcas get you part of the way there because they’re broadly distributed Apex predator, they occur in southern northern seas, they have all sorts of different strategies. The thing that that you’re coupling it to, which I think is very interesting is that nobody has seen a 10,000 fold increase in Orca efficiency as a predator. So it may be, we could,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:14:20
because as they start eating too many of the fish then they can’t keep breeding. No, no, I understood that
Eric Weinstein 2:14:24
point. So my, my point is that you said you were trying to indicate that you could just keep changing your environment, like your clothing becomes a microclimate so that you’re able to become the eight. The polar bear is no longer the a prick apex predator of the Arctic, right? And you could make the argument that the Orca is not the apex predator of the Seas because we’re in the seas.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:14:47
And I think the example there is just think of an ocean trawler with a mile long drift net, and the number of fish pulls up compared to an orca. And you realize that we can’t model ourselves as apex predators that are competing with others to see who’s better. maximally dominant but that much power without destroying it, this is a very interesting point. And I think
Eric Weinstein 2:15:07
the idea that we are without precedent, many of us, except we don’t know of any other species that has language ability to coordinate the way we do all those certain social species from African dogs to orcas, what have you, you know, are pretty impressive and their ability to coordinate in one form or another. So what I hear you saying is that tool use and the extended phenotype, if you will, to use Richard Darwin’s concept, like, for example, these microphones are part of our extended phenotype because they are tools that allow us to do something. Yeah. Okay. That changes the picture.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:15:46
And it also ends up introducing both a fundamental thing about the problem and the solution I’d recommend.
Eric Weinstein 2:15:53
Tell me about the solution. Okay, and then tell me about the problem I want to have, well, which order would be better logically, I just I would love to get to the positive, uplifting.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:16:03
so we can say that what’s particularly a primary thing that’s particularly unique adaptively about homosapiens yeah is our capacity for technique right our capacity for tool and that’s social tools like language and democracy and, but also physical tools and they are all abstract pattern replicators rather than instantiated pattern replicators, right, so means rather than genes. So you can say that what humans selected for our genetic selected for mimetics our genetics selected for radical neuroplasticity, and the capacity to have much more significant software upgrades that could change our capacity without needing hardware upgrades.
Eric Weinstein 2:16:52
And so, and I would argue that this is partly why we have such a long period of neonates Right, why we have such a long period of being totally helpless on the outside, is because I’m going to give up on trying to get you to redefine the words that are going to cause people to have to go to their dictionaries. I think one of the one of the things that I’ve said about this, this podcast is that we may miss misspeak, we may use language improperly, but we should at least play with it and invite people to look things up on their own.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:17:26
Hey, I only was doing that because I listened to the half hour thing that you said that said, you’re gonna let people go look at their dictionary.
Eric Weinstein 2:17:32
Yep. So I broke my rule. You’re, you’re playing me against me. I love it. Alright, so we have an extended period of need and then go on.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:17:40
Yeah, so we’re embryonic on the outside, meaning we’re helpless for a super long time compared to anything. And obviously there are some animals like birds that are more helpless than other ones for longer periods, but nothing like us, but we don’t if we came hardwired, how to be fit to our environment. That wouldn’t make any sense because we change our environment. So fast. Most creatures emerged, evolved to fit an environmental niche. But as niche creators as significant as we are both because we moved to places, then, you know, like this is not involved environment. And it’s not that adaptive for me to throw Spears, but I do need to be good at texting. So we had to come to be able to learn language, whether I’m learning English or Mandarin, whether I’m learning spear throwing or texting or whatever. And so what I would say is that essential to human nature is the depth of nurture capacity relative to other species. And so when I look at the thing we call human nature, I look at how much I think the social sciences don’t factor that there is ubiquitously conditioning that we’re doing the social science within that is ubiquitous conditioning. And there are outliers that are actually relevant that aren’t just genetic.
Eric Weinstein 2:18:50
Alright, so if I understand you correctly, and now we’re going to just totally geek out. We are the most case selective of species that is that we put the largest event into our young. We delay reproductive maturity for 12 or 18 times around the Sun seems crazy. And therefore, your point is, we have got an unparalleled opportunity for teaching for adaptation because we unlike the will to beat us to be more or less ready, good to go almost from the moment of birth minutes. Yeah, right. The idea is that we are in the luxurious position of having a long period of development and knowledge transfer, because we are more about the extended phenotype. I mean, look at this anthill. It’s pretty amazing.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:19:39
Yeah, so what that tells me is, I look at some outliers on both sides of the bell curve, various dimensions of the human condition. And let’s say we take Buddhism for instance. We have something like three millennia of 10 million flexing, give or take people who mostly don’t hurt bugs. across different bio regions and across different languages. And that’s really significant when we think about the durability of violence in humans. And then we look at say the Jonjo weed or some group of child soldiers, where by the time someone’s a teenager, they’ve all hacked people apart with machetes. I think that the human condition can do both of those. Human nature can be conditioned to do both of those. But then I see that we have a system where in general, the as soon as a tribe figured out, as soon as a couple tribes were competing for resources, it was generally easier to move than it was to war, until we had moved everywhere, in which case it was it started making sense to war and then as soon as any tribe militarized, as every other tribe has to militarize, or they lose by default, and the game of power has begun in in earnest in that way, the human non human game and I think we I’ve seen that the peaceful cultures largely got killed by the warring cultures and the warring cultures learn from each other, how to be more successful at it. And so the thing that we have now is something that has emerged through iterations on power dynamics, and its conditioning everyone within it and then we do all of our social studies within that and say this is human nature.
Eric Weinstein 2:21:24
Well, so this is a very weird place to get brought back to because I’m, I’m on the escape branch of our decision tree. And what you’re talking about is possible when you can do better by investing in peaceful and kind alternatives. I don’t know what to call it exactly, but non violent alternatives. And as soon as things become kind of steady state zero sum You start eyeing other people as protein sources, because that’s the way to grow a slice. And I don’t know how you get out of this in a finite world. So maybe the idea is that you’re you have a concept of escape. Yeah, that isn’t physical escape.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:22:17
I think Malthus was right at the time, but wrong, fundamentally, where he said resources are reproducing geometrically are humans reproducing geometrically resources aromatically. So there’s either not enough of there’s not going to be enough certain point. Well, he hadn’t got to the point that some cultures went into negative population amounts and lower birth rates without an imposition. It’s not just China’s, you know, one child in position that did that. But we’ve seen birth rates low enough in some of the Nordic countries and in Japan, and he hadn’t got to the point of seeing the phenomena that bring that about, or the ability to recycle effectively. Which means not a linear materials economy. And so I’m starting as I’m starting to
Eric Weinstein 2:23:03
guess where you’re gonna go. So if I, if I understand you correctly, the idea is that you’re going to look at all of the places we’ve been a little bit sloppy, like recycling wasn’t a place that we put too much attention. And increasingly, as we understand that stuff is limited. We, we have more of a reason to be careful about our land use rare, rare resources. I think I get that part of it. And you have another idea here about development is kind of unused, and we could do something far greater. And then you just had another one that’s slipping my brain population, oh, that we would start to see fertility below replacement rates, so that you would actually go into population decline as a means of taking pressure off of the system.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:23:58
So I see the possibility For a steady state population, that is within the carrying capacity of a closed loop materials economy. But that is fueled by renewable energy. So you basically have a finite amount of atoms. So you circle the atoms, you don’t have a finite amount of energy, because you’re getting more energy every day, but you have a finite amount per day. And so you have to be able to cycle the atoms within the energy bandwidth. And you’re cycling it from one bit pattern into another bit pattern, right, like from one form into another form. And the forms are stored as bits. So you have atoms, energy and bits. And you don’t really have a limited number of the bits that you can have. And so we can have a economy where it’s getting continuously better, but not by getting bigger, but by getting better, we continuously make more and more interesting things with the same
Eric Weinstein 2:24:48
always had the possibility of decoupling economic growth, from let’s say, burning fossil fuels. We just haven’t gotten around to doing very well. Okay. What I’m starting to hear is that you believe potentially that maybe we should embrace declining populations as a means of either. And I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but I’m just trying to guess ahead. One possibility is is that we need to amplify the people who can live peaceably. And that maybe the idea is that people who can’t live peaceably need to be incentivized to maybe have fabulous somatic lives but without reproducing, I don’t know so that we can drive certain traits towards zero. Maybe the idea is we just need to take ambient pressure off the system. And so we need to go into a world where 8 billion becomes 6 billion becomes 1 billion, and we start dropping down again.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:25:57
I think we see that
Obviously birth rate is higher where there’s poverty and we might lose some kids, right? And so as we just get out of abject poverty, birth rates go down. And then as total economic quality of life and the choice possibilities for women and education and other things go up, we start getting to much lower birth rates. And no, I’m not concerned that the birth rate will just collapse forever, we’ll come to some steady state birth rates. But those are happening as a function of increased good things, increased quality of life.
Eric Weinstein 2:26:39
So in other words, if you make the opportunity cost for child bearing enormous by making sure that let’s say females have outrageously great career prospects, and it starts to become much more fulfilling,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:26:56
and she doesn’t want to spend her whole life pregnant.
Eric Weinstein 2:26:58
Well look, I mean, they The there’s different issues with women not realizing that most of their children will survive which is happening in the demographic transition. So people miscalculated for a period of time leading to fears about runaway population booms. So that’s that’s one effect. And then there’s another one about if you give people education. If you give, if you educate women, the opportunity costs of staying home and raising children starts to impress itself and so people will have fewer children. Yeah, but I think where you’re where you’re headed, is super interesting. And part maybe it’s one of the reasons that people might find it rather disturbing. Making life awesome for females might mean having far fewer children. Yeah. Alright, so that’s a good thing in shmotkin burgers.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:27:53
Well, yeah, this is so both, I mean the Malthusian trap, right, the Malthusian situation is both geometric production, reproduction of humans and the arithmetic reproduction of resources. And I think neither of those are true, inexorably true, I think we can keep cycling the resources. And so basically, we can have a steady state human population within a renewable materials economy carrying capacity, but where we’re keep, but we keep innovating on bits. So we keep making more and more positive and interesting things. So we keep getting an increase in quality of life, but not by increasing the quality, the quantity of the pie and the quantity of people consuming it. But the quality of well in the world of atoms.
Eric Weinstein 2:28:37
I can’t have Bill Gates home in Washington State, but in the world of bits, maybe I can live there in my virtual reality, and even have much more fantastic places. And so I agree that bits have some ability to create wild abundance that goes non rivalrous, but I brought up a very different concern which you may be familiar with, which is, abundance can kill you. If you have if you look at these windows and you see all of these people engaged in activities without being told to do so, by a central authority, what is it that ties that together for the most parts markets with some amount of state control of violence in the form of policing? Okay, so now you create abundance. Abundance has this weird effect that it turns private goods and services into public goods and services, where price and value are no longer equal, and suddenly, you have people who are producing things that are very valuable and can’t get paid. Right? And so how do we handle the takeover? In this hypothetical world where we get to an economy of abundance, that doesn’t actually cause a collapse of civilization you can you can die from abundance though.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:29:58
A market can die from abundance But I’m not proposing a market society I okay,
Eric Weinstein 2:30:03
so I like that. So the idea is that we welcome the destruction of the markets, yeah, to be replaced by.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:30:11
And it’s important to say, obviously, if I have a situation where valuation is at least largely proportional to scarcity, then I have a basis to continue to manufacture artificial scarcity. And if something becomes abundant enough, it loses value then of course, abundance and markets don’t
Eric Weinstein 2:30:31
go together. I’m very excited about any credible thing that is better than markets because markets well, laden with problems have been pretty amazing and what they produced.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:30:45
Yeah, I’m not gonna criticize though illusionary path here to say, we can argue straightforwardly why this path can’t continue. Why the nature of it
Eric Weinstein 2:30:54
self turned, I agree, but the big problem here has always been that we have so little experience With self terminating art rival risk desires.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:31:05
Well, so this is why I bring the Buddhists up. All right. And I think the Buddhist got past one part of the Dunbar number.
Eric Weinstein 2:31:12
If we think about it, think of a couple of Buddhist countries for our listeners at home that they can keep in mind while you’re talking about but this
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:31:22
mostly they don’t have countries anymore. They are Buddhists in a lot of Southeast Asian countries. So there are Buddhists in India, there are Buddhists, there’s a lot of Buddhists in Nepal. Obviously, Tibet was Buddhists before Tibet stopped existing in that form. But and, you know, I could bring up Jains or others, but there are so few of them that it’s a little bit easier to throw it out as an outlier, but basically cultures that were widely peaceful, but it is important to say the widely peaceful ones did largely get either killed by warring cultures. or somehow taken over by them, or they became warring at a certain point. And this is why your escape hypothesis which your escape hypothesis only works, if we can make a much better civilization, but it needs to not have proximity to the thing to external sources of rivalry so that it can develop.
Eric Weinstein 2:32:17
I want to say, Dana, that one of the reasons I keep pushing you on these things is not because I’m trying to do a gotcha style interview. The concern, let me just be open about it is that there are so few people who are thinking we’re attempting to think rigorously, about what we actually are, and what we must become, if we are to have a long term future that I’m not, I believe that you are somebody who is trained not to flinch when it comes to a description of how we got to this place from the arms race that is read of tooth and claw called called nature. And yet your point is, maybe we can hack ourselves into a situation with a future where with exponential tech as you call it, we don’t have a future. And here’s the basis for rigorous idealism and hope. And so that’s what I’m trying to
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:33:12
tease out. No, great. Yeah, I don’t think that we are inexorably rivalrous.
Eric Weinstein 2:33:21
Can we take this weirdly into the realm in which it is hardest to imagine that we are not rivalrous? Which says sex as the precursor to reproduction?
The floor is yours. Are you okay?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:33:37
This is gonna make the conversation weird.
Eric Weinstein 2:33:39
Look, I think that where you’re heading
Unknown Speaker 2:33:47
let me rephrase this.
Eric Weinstein 2:33:50
Every branch of the decision tree has gotten hyper weird. And anybody who’s not looking at the fact that there is no non weird branch of the decision tree is missing the story of who we are and what time it is in human history. So I think, to not explore the weird to not dream about what might be, is the least responsible, least adult thing we can do if we don’t dream and we don’t explore the weird, we’re doomed. Yeah. All right with that the floor is yours. Okay.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:34:28
I wanted to go somewhere with Buddhism and why not inexorably rival risks. And that then if they were to actually get the other side of the Dunbar number, which is not just getting care beyond the Dunbar number, which they could do through abstract empathy, but also the ability to calculate and coordinate which they couldn’t, because they didn’t have the tech to do it. And I’m basically going to say we can get something like abs. Well, okay, I’ll do the sex thing and the Buddhism thing together actually go together. I think we get something like Have a certain level of empathy up to the Dunbar number just through mirror neuron type effects through the fact that I know these people they know me we’ve lived together, if they’re hurting, I am going to see it because they aren’t somewhere far away. And similarly, I’m less likely to pollute in an area I’m in than through an industrial supply chain that pollutes somewhere that I’m not so just proximity where the cause and effect has a feedback loop. As we start to get to much larger scales where I have a cause and there’s an effect but I don’t get a feedback loop on it. The broken open feedback loop is a problem. So I think the Buddhists were able to train abstract empathy, not just empathy for the people who I see hurting, but empathy for all sentient beings throughout time and space, right feeling their connectedness with them. That’s the nature of the vows of the Bodhisattva. And they’re not the only one right, this is. different religions have tried to do this, but it’s an example of a group succeeding at it where they were able to have a sense of positive coupling of my well being and the well being of another rather than inverse coupling, they get ahead and it’s decreasing my ability to get ahead. What they the other side of the Dunbar number was not just who we care about, but also our ability to coordinate. And I don’t think they were able to figure out coordination mechanisms that are adequately effective at scale. Okay, I think if we do both of those things, we can make a fundamentally different kind of civilization. And rivalry mostly comes down to today, private balance sheets, which is I can get ahead economically and that money equals optionality for most of the things that I want. And I can get ahead economically independent of you getting ahead and even at the expense of you getting ahead or the expense of the commons, right. And so my near term incentive can oftentimes be a long term disadvantage to others or the whole so now, this basis of where my well being and the well being of others with a commons, the delta between those is the basis for rivalry. But then dealing with that rivalry keeps increasing coordination costs keeps creeping, you know, creating disinformation systems where we can’t coordinate effectively. So, how we deal with the balance sheet part? There’s a few things.
Right now for me to have access to stuff, I have to mostly with a few exceptions possess the stuff, right, so possession and access are coupled. And if I possess something, I don’t have to be using it. I’m just reserving the optionality to use it the drill it’s at to my garage that I might not have used in a couple years, but at least it’s convenient that when I want it, it’s there, right? But me possessing something means that I have access to it and means you don’t have access to it. And so with a finite amount of stuff, the more stuff you possess, the less stuff I have access to rival risk basis. But We all know library type examples or shopping carts where if I have enough shopping carts at the grocery store for peak demand time, I don’t have to bring my own shopping cart, which would be a pain in the ass and would require 10,000 shopping carts per grocery store rather than 300. Everybody bring them. So what matters is you having access to the shopping cart doesn’t decrease my access. And we start to see a potential for this if we think about something like an Uber, and then we think about self driving Uber that then has a blockchain that disintermediate that being a central company, and being a Commonwealth resource where those were you having access to it doesn’t decrease my access, so we’re not rivalrous anymore. But then we take the next step and say if you having access to transportation, then also allows you to go to the maker studio that you have access to, to the science studio, to the educational places to the art studios, where you then have more access to be creative, but the things that you create, you aren’t creating for you to get more money and get ahead Because you already have access to all the things that you want and you don’t differentiate yourself by getting stuff, you differentiate yourself by the things that you offer, because you already have access to stuff. So there’s a fundamentally different motive structure, then you having access to more resources creates a richer Commons that I have access to. So now we go from rival risk not just to non rival risk, which is uncoupled, but anti rival risk, meaning you getting ahead necessarily equals me getting ahead. And so when we look at getting out of the Malthusian type dynamics, part of it is that we can actually get out of the population dynamics, part of it is that we can actually get a closed loop materials economy with renewable energy that can continue to upcycle. And part of it is that we can utilize our resources much more effectively and much less rival riously, where we start decoupling access from possession that’ll start easily in some areas be harder in other areas, but we start with that In the areas that it happens, and so we start getting more and more of a situation where I want you to have access to more things because as you’re more creative than I get access to more things that are the result of your creativity. So, where So, this is an example of removing some of the basis of rivalry associate with balance sheets, okay? I can go to sex underneath that. Now if you want me to
Eric Weinstein 2:40:25
usually go Where is most natural to take the conversation? Okay.
I will just try to fall.
And the problem is if you go to sex directly from where you are, you are describing the value, let’s say of prostitution, which is that people do not have to make a commitment to a sexual partner. Many people can have the same sexual partner. You start to get into all of these variations. Funny areas where status for example, is a very weird commodity. Do I want you to have more status? Because somehow that will give me more status? Do I stop caring about status? If there is exactly one parcel of land, which has a unequivocally the best view? Is that something that I want you to have rather than me having it?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:41:29
let’s talk about status for a moment.
If I’m comparing you and me in terms of who has more dollars, or who’s taller or who can run faster or some, I can compare us on the same metric right now and if status is number of followers on Twitter, then whatever Kim Kardashian is most interesting human being that’s ever lived. And so I, I think we know that reductionist metrics on status are also gamified and inappropriate. But if we say like MC Escher or Dolly, like what was more brilliant art? I think it’s a meaningless question. Because they both offered something completely novel to the world, and something meaningful and beautiful that the neither of the other ones offered or could offer and I can’t compare them because I can’t Metro size them. And the reduction of this, the thing is, I can’t reduce totally unique things to a fungible metric. So one of the problems I think, is actually fungibility and metric reduction. And so if you have status associated with unique things that you offer to the world, awesome, I’m not competing with you writ large for more status. I’m going to people are going to have A relationship to me for the things that I offer. And those are really the people that I want to have a relationship with me. And if you’re offering things to the world that people have relationship to you for. And I see that the world is getting better as a result of what you’re offering, and I have access to more a better world as a result of it. I’m totally stoked on that.
Eric Weinstein 2:43:22
This is where it starts to feel not real to me. And no,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:43:28
But let’s but let’s go through this. So here’s why it sounds not real. All right.
I think so. Do we have a slowing in technological progress? Yes. And, you know, less so in some areas than in other areas. But do we still have exponentially growing technology in terms of both cumulative amount to associate with number of people in globalization and in terms of just technologies that are still continue to grow? Yes, of course we do. So is it 50 years or 100 years? We don’t know. But I really like I have to think of this in a kind of a mythopoetic frame. That’s how it occurs to me is that as we as technology is empowering our choices, and we are getting something like the power of gods, you have to have something like the love and the wisdom of gods to wield that or you self destruct. And so when I think about, I think about the rapture story, or the Mayan calendar or any of those stories in a metaphoric sense, as just like, let’s say you and I were in the Bronze Age, and we had just seen a larger war than had ever happened, because there were some new, better weapons and we did shoot further distance. And there were deserts where there didn’t used to be deserts because we had gotten new, better access and saws and had been able to cut down more trees. And we just thought about and we said, we’re still developing better weapons and we’re developing better economic extraction tools. We’re using our power in ways that are constructive In a narrow sense and destructive in a larger sense, but everybody is doing that this doesn’t get to happen forever. So this phase defined by increasing power on all sides used in destructive ways, constructive narrowly, but destructive broadly, that phase comes to an end. And there’s something like a hard fork where if we keep doing anything similar to that it’ll come to an end cumulatively, whether existential or catastrophic, more likely catastrophic, right? Not full everything in the law. And to be able to have that much power and not use it in ways that destroy the system requires being actually good stewards of power. So then the whole question for me becomes, how do we make a social system like what is the the Bodhisattva engineering? How do we make a social system that is conditioning not just individual humans but also collectives to do good choice making nominee positive kind of choice making? Well, I have to have a sense making system Something that can factor things like externalities ahead of time better. And that doesn’t have things like multipolar traps where if anybody is doing the fucked up thing that everybody has to do it. And so I can start to think about what architectures such a system would have to have to be able to do sentence making as to what externalities would be and be able to internalize them. And where then I can actually confer resources to those right choice making and that we’re developing human. So again, think about the education associated with some religions, bringing about less violence, the education associated with some cultures, bringing about higher average cognitive capacity, and being able to bring those together. As much as I know this sounds like hippie and silly. I don’t actually see anything other than a radical increase in our good stewardship of power that makes it
Eric Weinstein 2:46:57
I love the idea that you think that there might be something here, but let me come back at with my and again, I’m not trying to be negative. I did experience at some point your answer requires a warp drive.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:47:12
So we we both recognize the durability of this thing and then are saying, Okay, so what is the fundamental thing? No,
Eric Weinstein 2:47:19
I’m not making fun of you, because what you’re saying is insane. What I’m saying is insane. And the people who are saying the most common, supposedly adult things are the craziest of us all. So I at least accept the idea that we have to be here and I want you on that branch. And I want other people on other branches because we need to fan out and start exploring at least start to care. But I guess what I what this makes me think of was a particular moment in my life where one of my closest friends brought his father to dinner. And his father was a guy was legendary in the film industry. And one of the things he taught his son was never let the other guy get the first punch. And I thought, wow, first strike you teaching your child to strike first. Nobody had ever suggested anything remotely like that in all of my upbringing. I never heard anything like this. And I instantly recognized it for what it was somebody was going to Paris to ties whatever I had been taught. And say, Well, great. Eric’s been taught self restraint. Eric’s been taught to turn the other cheek to make sure that you de escalate a conflict. And goody-goody more for me your multipolar trap, right?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:48:54
There’s a way out of it.
Eric Weinstein 2:48:56
Tell me I’m dying to hear it.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:48:57
Okay. So do we retrofit the system. No impossible foundational axioms are all the wrong axioms. Can we? Can we make a situation in which we can raise children quite differently? Yes. Go to see kids who grew up in an Amazonian tribe or you know, some very different conditioning environment, you’ll see very different types of human behavior. Can we change already set adults much harder? Not impossible, but harder. So, can we could we find adults that are that would be the most likely to be fast adopters of a new system like this and capable, so both kind of at the cutting edge of their capacity to have abstract wide empathy and bind that to their action. And, you know, deeply considered about actual cause and effect dynamics, factor complexity and work with other people. well can we find the ones that are closest there, and then train them up. Additionally, in some systems that are developed for how to do a different process of collaboration that doesn’t lead to one way of talking about it is that when we go to command and control hierarchy systems to get beyond the Dunbar number, we get diminishing returns on collective intelligence as a number as a function of the number of people, which creates an incentive to defect against that system, even internal defection. And so then we get a problem. If we could get collective intelligence scaling linearly, we get something radically different. So we get just the number of people that are needed to be able to do something like that. trained to do that, and we build a civilization, a full stack ground up civilization, because obviously, I’m talking about not private balance sheets and private property as the dominant system. I’m also going to talk about not democracy because the nature of voting is inherently polarizing to populations, because we make propositions were both voting for it and voting against it suck for somebody for something because they’re based on theory of trade offs, where we didn’t even try to figure out what a good proposition for everybody would be in the first place. So better systems of sense making and choice making which we could get to. And so let’s say you have a full stack civilization of people who are capable and oriented to implement it. And you have not only much higher quality of life for the people who are there, but innovative capacity to solve certain problems the world can’t currently solve well, because of no disinformation in the system and better coordination. Well, then that system can export solutions that other places in the world that would normally have an entity relationship with it actually need that they can’t solve for themselves. So it can create a dependence relationship rather than an enmity relationship. And then they’re like, Well, why the fuck are you figuring out these pieces of tech and we aren’t. We’re like, well, we figured out a better social system and if you want it, you’re welcome to use it. We’re open sourcing the technology. Here’s how here’s how it works. But given that the technology as a social technology is a social technology of how people share information and share resources, and coordinate differently, it can’t be weaponized because it is kind of the solvent to weaponization itself. And so any other group using it is just now that kind of social architecture starting to sport or to scale. And so yeah, I think you get out of the multipolar trap by you don’t have to win at the game of power against some external force to avoid losing at the game of power. So far, if people didn’t focus on militarizing they lost whoever militarized. And if they didn’t lose to ever militarize, it’s because they militarized, which means their culture became a culture that supports the ideas of militarization, right? But if I focus on being able To have whoever would militarize against me be able to offer them things that are particularly valuable that are novel to a collective intelligence that can do better innovation. Yeah, you get out of a multipolar trap that way.
Eric Weinstein 2:53:13
I want to try aggregating all the little bits that I’m getting from you and seeing whether I’m coming anywhere close. Okay. All right. So the way I’m seeing it, Danny, is, first of all, you’re going to point out to me, that there are all sorts of interesting things that have not been really effectively scaled up. So your point about Buddhism and Jains and what have you, it might be possible to use this enormous and luxurious developmental period for something radically different and that something you haven’t said but I’ll throw into the mix and see whether you rejected is that man’s capacity for self that is sematic eradication through fanaticism tells you how powerful the software can be that you can teach people to die for a cause, let’s say and which is obviously against genetic comparatives? No, it’s obviously against
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:54:18
individual genetic imperative.
Eric Weinstein 2:54:20
But the genetics doesn’t work at the level of the individual. It’s obviously against the somatic, the assumed somatic imperatives. It could actually benefit inclusive fitness. I think there’s a very good reason to imagine that you actually benefit your clan if your deed is known. So I don’t want to get into that but fanaticism exists. And maybe fungible I think the Tamils for example, probably showed us that fanaticism can be used at a political level as long as you get access to children in three lock.
Unknown Speaker 2:54:55
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:54:58
So, access to children was a key
Eric Weinstein 2:55:00
I think so. Yeah. Right. So the idea is that you, in effect, and I don’t mean to put words in your mouth, one of the lessons of human history is that the develop developmental process, if not used for the traditional Darwinian imperative is available for other uses. And it is of arbitrary power. Yeah. Now, I’m going to get into the ethics of it. But first, I just want to get into feasibility. So first of all, there’s an enormous, I’m going to keep going back to square zero if I if I don’t get this, right. First thing is you’re pointing out we’re not on the efficient frontier. We’re screwing up everywhere, we could be doing a lot better. Appreciate that. Next point is there are a ton of different things that we haven’t really looked at pushing and we could afford to push on all of these things. Principle among those things, is we should be using development for something radically different and studying cultures. Which have an intrinsically sort of non rival risk ethos to them to see what have we already been able to do and then we can engineer on top of that. Atoms is different than bits atoms have a some somewhat finite field to them, bits fields effectively infinite. So to the extent that we can move things from atoms to bits and not be coupled to a market system, where you have this problem of that abundance creates public goods and services, which causes markets to fail, but then something else succeeds. And instead, that we can start to have abundance, particularly where we decouple and learn more about recycling, so that finite resources are much better appreciated for what they are, that we can get to a point where we can start to take pleasure in each other’s pleasure. Particularly if somebody is producing something that is extremely positive. For that society. I want to see Jackie Chan given more money to make j Jackie Chan films. So I’m not angry about that. So now we’re scaling up all of these things, the things that haven’t been noticed hacks, this that the other thing. I like it. Maybe it’ll buy us some time. Here are the things that really disturbed me about it. One, you’d have to grimace. I mean, I want
Unknown Speaker 2:57:23
I’m not grimacing and smiling, okay?
Eric Weinstein 2:57:27
One is the, the, what is the minimal level of violence and coercion needed to bring about some of these changes? So this was something that I brought up in my discussion with Peter teal, and his in my sort of, somewhat mutual framework. Really, I learned something from him, but I tried to put my own thing back into it is take take a beautiful dream. Ask what the minimal level of violence and coercion needed to accomplish it. add that in as part of the cost and ask yourself is it still beautiful? So that’s one of the questions I would ask you, and then I get to the issue of certain things like lakefront property, in the atomic world anyway, are valuable and unique. And it becomes problematic to imagine a world in which all of our previous experience was about competing for these things. To imagine 100% adherence to this new way of thinking,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 2:58:37
well, let’s go pro topia not utopian, let’s go that there are some Zillow pro topia moving in the right direction, all right. Let’s say that there are some things that are harder to make adequately abundant than other things, but there’s a lot of low hanging fruit that we can start moving and as we do it, we will get there’s good reason to think that there is The basis to do that in more areas. So in a system where when something is more scarce, it is worth more than if I’m on the supply side of that I have an incentive to manufacture artificial scarcity and to definitely prevent abundance that would debase the value of the thing that I have in a world where we remove the Association of value and scarcity. Then where there are actual scarcities, the goal is to engineer the scarcity out of the system. And so if we’re talking about limited amount of ocean front, then this is where we say, Well, can we do seasteading, and I’ll create a lot of ocean front that is really awesome. Where there is actually more to there’s just like more people are shopping at the store than we need more shopping carts. And so part of the answer is how do we actually increase the abundance but not an exponential abundance because we’re talking about also steady state population and using an A lot of shared resources and it’s that coupled with Psychologically healthier, more mature people that relate to these things differently. Both of those are necessary and neither would be sufficient on their own.
Eric Weinstein 3:00:07
Well, I like that a lot. And I, I do, quite honestly take some hope, in that. I’m finding that what people are now rivalrous about has changed a lot. I think over the course of my life. I think Millennials are much more interested in what what experiences have you had recently rather than what have you bought and purchased recently? In part because the economy kind of turned against them, but travel got cheap. Right. And so that that’s been interesting to see. Do you believe that we have a huge, nearly universal level up in maturity and wisdom available to us through development hacking?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:00:53
so it is both how we develop Have that socially, which I don’t think will happen uniformly, I think will happen in pockets that becomes strange attractors that other groups want to then implement once seen because they’re so clearly better at both quality of life and innovation. And how long that takes to develop widely is a while like this is a multi generation thing.
Unknown Speaker 3:01:23
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:01:26
I think that that would not be sufficient on its own, but it’s necessary. Better sense making systems where we can actually solve problems without causing worse problems, which we’re not historically good at is also necessary. And this is both some evolution in our epistemic sand our actual processes of collective sense making and collective coordination.
So yes, I see level ups and both of those
Eric Weinstein 3:01:56
possible. Now I’m gonna ask a very difficult question, but We have to get to
Unknown Speaker 3:02:01
Eric Weinstein 3:02:03
I’ve got a riff, which I don’t think I’ve said publicly, which is the biggest problem with discussing sexuality is is that sex sex is sexy. And if you have something that’s central to the world that is almost impossible to talk about. Yeah. It’s a very strange state of affairs. Assume that we solve all of these problems that don’t have to do with status, sex and reproduction, according to your most optimistic scenario, but we have trouble over here that there’s one last little pesky problem. Yeah. Does this situation work?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:02:46
Yes. Now I will speak to it because as you said, it is central and
Iran is central Of course, okay.
But my speaking to it is probably going to change the comment section. of this video, but Soviet,
Eric Weinstein 3:03:02
you know what, if they don’t want to come along for the ride they, I think that the most important thing is to just try to do this. I don’t mean to say this to be horrible, but let’s try to take some of the stupid fun out of discussing sexuality by talking about it for what it is and his central system that has to be discussed because it is the engine of human behavior.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:03:32
So your brother and I had this conversation when we met and obviously with his background in evolutionary biology and primate mating and whatever. I was very interested in his perspective and it took a little while
Eric Weinstein 3:03:46
but for what it’s worth, and let me just jump in one second. Brett, where he here Yeah, would break the theory of selection into two pieces. That would be the stuff that falls natural selection the way we expected from Darwin. And then he would break it into a second piece, which is the stuff that goes completely counterintuitive due to sexual selection. Right? And that division is actually part of the standard evolutionary toolkit. He does it a little bit better and a little bit differently. But that division into natural and sexual selection is part of the territory.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:04:27
And it really matters for when we think about resource scarcity because the resources that people need to deal with the first part, the survival part are not that much, right, actually. But the resources that people need to deal with the mating part is more than the other guy historically, which is why the guy with 150 foot yacht might feel bad when the 200 foot yacht
Eric Weinstein 3:04:47
Well, this is up and let’s say this is closed. You’re not an evolutionary theorist. I’m not but we can do our best. There is a version of evolutionary theory, which still It’s that there needs to be
Unknown Speaker 3:05:05
Eric Weinstein 3:05:07
There needs to be a function for showing that you are better in order to keep individuals. Max, you know, sort of on that Razor’s Edge of of performance and mating opportunities means that there’s always a crisis. There’s never enough abundance. Because somebody with 13 Homes is more desirable than somebody with nine homes if you’re just trying to figure out if there were a crisis, right? Who would do better,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:05:37
right? So we have to overcome that because that drives a Malthusian situation of no amount of resource ever brings sufficiency about right and drives a fundamental rivalry which is why you said we have to address it.
So what I’m getting my take on this as I explored it, my process with myself has been asking, okay. As soon as I saw that the dynamics of this world that seemed intuitive and natural to most of us as we kind of grew up in it, we’re conditioned by it, right? We’re self terminating. And I said, any of the things that we think of as normal, I’m willing to question deeply. And so how do I think could I imagine a high tech civilization that doesn’t implode? Could I imagine a kind of enlightened planet? What would life be like? They’re all the different things, conflict, emotion, resources, and sexuality is obviously one of the big questions. And I think I think the book sex at wrong sex at dawn obviously gets plenty of things wrong. It’s trying to make a strong antithesis to the standard evolutionary history of Homo sapiens thesis, but I think there are some key parts to it. When they look at the most white people are the Canella people are people that did not have that had a stable society that was not Primarily pair bonded, but had multi male multi female dynamics. It’s not to say that’s how humans mostly were, that doesn’t matter, it’s to say that it’s a possibility. If it’s within the possibility set same in Buddhism, I’m not saying that’s how people put it in sort of,
Eric Weinstein 3:07:16
it doesn’t have to win just needs to establish proof of concept. And then we can try to scale it
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:07:21
up. Yeah, it’s a positive deviant analysis for proof of concept to then say, Can we make that actual? Is that a viable model for a new center? And is that a possible thing to make? And the fact that it didn’t make it through evolution so far, like evolution has a blind quality to it, right, where it’ll make an adaptation that makes sense in the moment determined by something like warfare, that is actually not that good long term or is even self terminating long term. So the argument if it would have been a good system, it would have made it Well, the thing that has made it is continuing to up ratchet rival risk passing out that self is going to self terminate metaclass hacking
Eric Weinstein 3:08:03
that somehow we’ve hacked ourselves to a position that we can keep surviving. Yeah. And so when one Version says that we can never escape the evolutionary imperatives, the other says, We will always we have always escaped whatever our last problem was. And so we should be expecting that even if there’s only the sliver of hope we should exploit it to the fullest.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:08:21
Yeah. And so generally, this situation happens that we have a near term incentive to pursue some advantage, but where the disadvantage of that thing might happen over a much longer term. And that’s like one of the fundamental problems, right, the externality might show up over hundreds or thousands of years, but the benefit occurs over this year, so I have to do it. So we have to get over that. Actually, if we’re affecting the world in such fundamental ways over the long term, we have to actually be factoring that into our decision making. Now that’s one of the minimum requirements of a game be if it’s going to exist, which also means a viable civilization at all.
When it comes to status, because I think status and sexuality go largely together, it’s not exactly one for one, but there, there’s a strong correlation. I was listening to you on a few podcasts and you were talking about E prime and talking about spinners and you’re kind of geometric unity. And I was just fucking loving it. And I was loving even the status of like you describing theoretical physics and mathematics well, which are topics that you know so much better than I do, but that I’m fascinated by and educating the public about it. And there was no like, status competition impulse in me that was like overweight. He is being seen as smart for these things. I was like, wow, this is fucking awesome. I hope that he gets more status doing that, because it’s obviously good for the world
Eric Weinstein 3:09:49
to have such different intuitions about this. I mean, you know, to be blunt about it. I didn’t really talk about this stuff. For ages, and there was a part of me that cared about status. But this was always a part. In fact, I really, to the extent that I think that I have anything interesting and new, it is a very uncomfortable feeling. I could show you all sorts of cool things on, you know, if I came up with a new lick on the guitar, I would enjoy showing it to you. This is something I feel very, I have felt very uncomfortable about and there are ways in which
it’s very apart from me from the status game. I’ve been fascinated looking at some of the comments where people say, you know, so and so’s in it for the grift and they just want money and this is an ego trip. And I have to say the least fun part. The reason I didn’t do a podcast for a long time and the reason that If I didn’t commercialize this, and I left a lot of money on the table, and I’m intending to commercialize this, is that I was very uncomfortable with all of these issues. I didn’t like it. And I think people imagine that their first few increments of status are fun, so that getting more and more status must be awesome. And I actually don’t think that that’s true. I think it’s a little bit like, Wow, my first my first taste of heroin was pretty sweet. I should do this all the time. It goes into some completely different place.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:11:37
that is counter to the narrative that we’re all seeking maximum status and in competition with each other for status.
Eric Weinstein 3:11:46
What do you Yeah, I think that there is a that is a low resolution narrative, right? I think that you know, it’s like, it’s, we make fun of the fact that everyone narrowly, you’re crazy for sugar and the fact that they give it away for free at Starbucks. You know, there’s some part of you, that’s a three year, three year old kid just wants to eat as many packets of sugar as you possibly can. It’s not going to be a good thing right now. Keep going. Sorry about that.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:12:16
Well, so this is the thing, I think. I think it’s actually true, that there’s a lot of status that is not really that fun. This is also my experience. But I think it’s also true that we can feel good about rather than bad about where someone else is doing socially. Well.
Eric Weinstein 3:12:34
Well, if we Yeah, I mean, if we, if we have a kind of love and trust, and we have an idea, like, you know, I’m friends with Andrew Yang, and I disagree with a bunch of his policies. But I have a feeling that he is a guy who’s just earnest, you know, I knowing knowing him socially, I have the sense that it is not an ego trip for him to want to steward the country. It’s a you know, you’re taking on position that puts you in a life and death situation with the number of attempts on presidents lives, let’s say, it’s a very solemn responsibility. And I think that, in part, we want people who we feel are grounded. And by the way, I’m not always grounded, you know. So I’ve, I’ve drunk my own status, you know, to access at times, but it’s a very tricky thing. Who do I want to have status? Who do I not want to ask that is do I trust I’ve a friend who is the nicest person in the world, except when he’s doing well, and then it becomes very difficult to deal with, you know, so that like, there’s the person who’s fine on one glass of alcohol. And you don’t want them to have three. Yeah.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:13:50
I think status as a hyper normal stimuli, were in a evolutionary environment. We couldn’t necessarily have more than 150 people. Pay attention to us. Yeah. And now we can have a huge number of people pay attention to us and have it Metro sized with likes or whatever I think it is like sugar, a hyper normal stimulus that is very hard for it not to be bad for us. And we actually have to have a very mature relationship to it. And addiction of any kind, any hyper normal stimulus that decreases normal stimulus is going to end up being that bad for us. I think one of the metrics for how healthiest society is is inverse relationship to addictive dynamics. That’s a healthy environment conditions people that are not prone to addiction, which means have actual more authenticity of choice, because addiction compulsion writ large is less authenticity of choice. And what’s interesting is the hyper normal stimulus what porn is to sex with sugar and salt and fat concentrated in a frappuccino or a McDonald’s is to food right? devoid of the actual nutrition or two void of the actual invalid
Eric Weinstein 3:15:00
concentrates admits that betray the ultimates that originally the proximate stimulus was tied to the ultimate nice the brain keeps track of the products events. And then you can disconnect some of these like birth control disconnected sexuality from procreation,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:15:20
right. And in the same way if there was a healthy status relationship of in a tribal environment where I can’t really lie and people really are watching me and know me if I’m thought well if it’s because I’m actually doing well by everybody and I have authentic healthy relationships, as opposed to I can signal things that aren’t true. And not in a fan even get more status through negative signaling about other people and things like that and get a lot of hits from it. It’s that is the same kind of thing as the fast food to the corners. And so I think we have a hypo normal environment Have the healthy stimulus that actually creates a baseline well being. So, most people, I find that when they go camping with their friends, and they’re in nature and they’re actually in real authentic human relationships, they’re checking their phone for dopamine hits from email or Facebook less. And they’re also looking, opening the fridge just blindly looking less often, because they’re actually having an authentic meaningful, engaging interaction. But in a world where I have a lot of isolation, nuclear family, home structures, etc, and not connected to nature and not necessarily connected to meaningfulness, that much that hypo normal environment creates increased susceptibility to hyper normal stimuli. Hyper normal stimuli happened to be good for markets. Because on the supply side if I want to maximize lifetime value of a customer addiction is For lifetime value of a customer
but it is very bad for society as a whole.
Eric Weinstein 3:17:08
This I really like so if I understand you correctly,
I mean, this actually starts to solve a puzzle. I think I heard that somebody asked Matt Damon, whether he enjoyed being famous. And he said it was, if I have the story, right, and maybe somebody else forgive me if I’m wrong. He said, it wasn’t even fun for 15 minutes. And this is the hardest thing to convey is that if you’ve never had any kind of status at all, right, that, you know, I think I said to Tim Ferriss, that you only wanted to be famous to 3000 hand chosen people. You want your calls returned, you know, you You want to be taken seriously when you have something to say you do not want to be universally known. And that was the hardest decision and starting this podcast was I didn’t think I had another option. I mean, part of the point of it is to get out ideas that I worry, are not institutional. There’s no institution that’s embracing these ideas. And I couldn’t figure out Metroid for four months. Is there a way to do this without becoming part of the story? Right. And because I think that privacy and an individual life is so much more important, and I don’t believe that every time you bring something up, you know, it means that you should have your life ripped open and be dissected and discussed. It’s very unnatural. I think what you’re trying to tell me is that people think that they want to be fabulously rich. They think they want to be famous. They think they want unlimited sexual access. And in fact, it is the first few tastes of these things that convince them that there must be no limit to how wonderful the world can be, if only that can be mine. And in fact, there is something. I mean, it’s sort of, you know, like rosebud at the end of citizen K.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:19:18
Yeah, those are much more like addiction than fulfillment.
will give me a spike and then a crash. And then because of the crash, I’m more craving something that will spike me because I feel really shitty and but then I get an erosion of baseline over time from the effects of that. And so of course, the chocolate cake is going to make me feel good in the moment. But as I have a mostly chocolate cake diet, my life feels shittier. As I average, right, as I do the integral under the curve, it gets worse. Whereas the salad doesn’t really give me that spike. But as I get healthier, my baseline of pleasure throughout not just when I’m eating, but all of the time goes up because I have the capacity to engage in more interesting meaningful things in my body doesn’t hurt as much and whatever. So I think the interesting thing is that it is actually just like a healthier relationship to, or a more effective relationship to pleasure is anti addictive. But I think most of these things that people think they want are hyper normal stimuli, that is the dopaminergic parts separated from the substance.
Eric Weinstein 3:20:21
I don’t know how much I believe this, but I like it a lot. So if I understand you correctly, there is a world of pleasure. I don’t even want to call it pleasure. I don’t even know what to call it. Maybe it’s much more on fulfillment, that we would give up. That No, let me say it differently. What you’re really saying is, we are blind to the effect that somatic pleasure and status pleasure is crowding out fulfillment in our lives, and that were we to actually understand the cost of pleasure of rivalry that there is an individual reason to abandon somatic pleasure as the be all and end all how we how we Grade A life. I mean, this is how many how many awesome trips to Vegas? Did I did I have? Is that the thing that’s going to matter most to me on my deathbed?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:21:18
Yeah, I don’t think it ever has.
And I don’t think it’s ever what people would be most hopeful that they’re
Eric Weinstein 3:21:27
let’s give it a name because I don’t think I’ve ever been down this particular route. Let’s call it deathbed mindset for the moment just to play with it. See if it works. And if it doesn’t work, well, we’ll trash it. So people on their deathbed become focused on did i do enough for my community? Do my children think well of me? Well, I think what happens is people realize that everything they got dies with them. Like all in the end, it’s lineage only.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:21:56
And the way I touched the world continues and it’s not just my Bible. Logic kit. No, no,
Eric Weinstein 3:22:00
it’s always a lineage of my thoughts. Yeah, like memes, along with genes. And so
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:22:08
I think when when we really start to think about this, clearly, we recognize that this direction is self terminating the need to get stuff from the world that when I die, it ends with me that there is actually only a kind of self transcendence and permanence in the way that I touch the world, which does ripple ongoingly. But there’s also this thing where, yeah, again, I feel almost a little bit shy talking about it even even more than the sex topic in some ways, because I’m proposing that there is something like spiritual growth, I think it’s actually necessary for civilization to make it and so people affirming that they are these kind to themselves, needy things that need stuff from the world. Yeah, that need other people’s validation and attention and etc, and living life that way where the more of it they get what they’re still getting as a self, the affirmation of that sense of self, as opposed to coming from a place of wholeness, and the desire and actual love for the beauty of life, and the desire to have their life be meaningful to life, that my life ends, but life with a capital L doesn’t end and that life starts to be central to my awareness more than my life is and my life becomes meaningful and it’s coupling to life. This answers the sex question it also it answers all the other questions, but I don’t think
Eric Weinstein 3:23:44
there is a there to break through to Yeah, and the problem that we’re having conceiving of it in your mind. Now again, I don’t think this gets us out of all the issues that I’ve raised. But I think it’s the first point at which I start to see that there’s something really there. About your perspective. So just as a slow learner, if we take the
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:24:05
kind of journey and idea of all desire is mimetic, and I’m oversimplifying it, but just meaning I want what other people have, and then that inexorably causes conflict and then the conflict will inevitably cause violence. I think there is statistical truth to all three of those steps but not inexorable truth any of them Hmm.
I don’t only want things that other people have.
Unknown Speaker 3:24:33
I, you know, or that I
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:24:37
that I learned from other people, there’s there there are things that are just intrinsically fascinating to me. Or there are wanting for other people it is not wanting for myself anything in particular just actually caring about wanting for other people. There are innate creative impulses, right? don’t actually need to see any like, I have a friend who is a savant pianist, brilliant pianist. He almost never will play for anybody. Because his experience of playing is so beautiful that he doesn’t want to cheapen it by having somebody else hear it and move into a performative place. And it just is his own communion with music itself. So I think there is desire that emerges from our connection to life, not just the social layer. And then even if you’re doing something that I’m inspired by, and I want to do something like that, too, they don’t have to create conflict. I can be okay with you having something and want to share it or share in that type of phenomena.
Eric Weinstein 3:25:35
Yeah, okay. Now I’m starting to you know, I have a friend, for example, who is a fantastic guitarist. And I noticed that when we play together, he doesn’t play at his peak ability. Because he wants the pleasure of playing together. Yeah. To to be That the thing that we share if I was a better guitarist, it would be more fun to trade things back and forth. But the danger of going out of shared experience is far greater. And so, you know, yeah, I know the things that you’re saying are true. And perhaps what I’ve been saying back to you could be re translated as the transcendent beyond the proximate somatic pleasures that we have is so rarely experienced. at scale.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:26:33
It’s not experienced at scale. Well, little bits and religions
Eric Weinstein 3:26:38
in religion that happens I think that in in families, there are things that people don’t want to share outside of the family because they bond the family. Yeah. And, but it’s just, it’s hard to imagine a world in which people stop covering their own name in lights. You know, people being impressed by them. By their car, their yacht, their house this than the other. And I think that what you’re talking about,
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:27:05
not hard for me to imagine,
Eric Weinstein 3:27:06
well, this is the thing. I mean, you know, the odd thing that I have in being the friend and the employee of a billionaire is that I sometimes get to borrow his life. Yeah. And he’s made his home available to me. In Hawaii, for example. And it’s absolutely astounding to be in control of an asset like that. I have another friend who lent me his Island year after year. But I also found that I didn’t want or need that, and that both of these gentlemen that I’m referring to, were much more focused on ideas than they were on Faberge eggs or displaying a Picasso or anything like that. Because ultimately, they found they wanted to go there association with me was let’s talk about things that might move the needle in human history, rather than Do you have any idea how much this bottle of wine cost?
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:28:04
And remember, I was saying earlier that I think dominant paradigms Co Op psychology to define healthy psychology is supportive of the paradigm. So what I’m about to say in terms of what I think healthy psychology is not the current definition of healthy psychology. It is one that would be fit to a to an accurate, viable civilization. I think psychologically healthy humans are emotionally coupled to each other. So hundred percent. So when you’re happy, I’m happy. I’m stoked for you. If you’re hurting, I feel that I feel compassion and empathy. I think the worst psychology is the inversion of sadism. Where I feel joy at your pain rather than joy, your joy and your pain
Eric Weinstein 3:28:49
is a French expression is not sufficient. That one succeed in life, one’s friends must also fail.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:28:57
Yeah, so that is a perfect statement. Do what is most wrong with the world. Right? That’s that that is the heart of the worst part of gaming. But I think jealousy is one step away from sadism because of sadism is I feel joy, your pain, jealousy is I feel pain that your joy or your success, or envy, right? And I don’t think that is a psychologically healthy place for people I think it is a largely we condition this because we watch movies where we celebrate when the bad guy gets it right and we conditioned the fuck out of we celebrate when the bad guy gets it, we celebrate when our team wins and the other team loses so we can collectively decouple our empathy from other human beings arbitrarily, so that we can then feel good in a war supporting you know, when that type of thing wreck occurs, and we get conditioned that second places the first loser and all those types of things. But this is conditioning again, and conditioning of a highly neuroplastic species. So I think our intuitions are all bad if we haven’t spent time really questioning these things. And then also So looking at cultural outliers, because I don’t think any of this is inexorable, is it? Is it ubiquitously? Yes. Is it a negligible? No. But I think what is ubiquitous is psychopathology? Well,
Eric Weinstein 3:30:12
Daniel, I think what I’ve gotten from our conversation is, is that you’ve got a lot of examples that are at the proof of concept level of things that are under exploited, you’ve got an observation that we’re far off the efficient frontier, that there’s one giant overlooked opportunity, which is that we are so radically case selected that our developmental period from age zero to 13, could be used for something radically different, which I think is the biggest hope in your whole complex of ideas, together with the idea that there are realms beyond somatic pleasure that most of us spend our entire lives not knowing what it’s like to break through the status. wealth and security games and effectively. We have no idea what the top of Maslow’s Hierarchy when fully realized is, and that it might be possible to at least begin the game to buy us some time to try to figure out what we would do at scale. Now, I still don’t see any world in which we can defeat all these multipolar traps. But I think what you’re really saying to me, again, always correct me if I’m wrong, is that we could potentially change what winning feels like. And that when we do that, then this prisoner’s dilemma is don’t look right any longer because I no longer want to be the one who defected while you cooperated so that I get off scot free and you wind up with a 20 year jail term.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:31:49
And we have to remove the context of the prisoner’s dilemma as our model for the world. Right like actually change the nature of the context and Because that is a fundamentally inexorably rival risk dynamic,
Eric Weinstein 3:32:05
right? I just I don’t think you’re going to get rid of all rivalry. I just, I see opportunities for decreasing it, I see opportunities for changing the culture. The weakest part of your argument to me at this moment, and again, I’m just learning about it is the need for universality with respect to this evolution. I think that’s the one part of it that I find the hardest to imagine we can actually get done.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:32:31
So if I have a system like a corporation, where my playing by the rules fully gets me ahead, less than me defecting on the system internally and doing corporate politics or a back end deal, or whatever it is, then I have the incentive to defect on the system. And it doesn’t have the collective intelligence to notice it. Right? Because there’s a diminishing return on the collective intelligence of the system as a function of more scale. If I quit, Make a system. And now, I will claim that we can and that there are architectures that can achieve it, we could make a system where the collective intelligence scaled with the number of people, then I would always have more incentive to participate with it than to defect. And if I did defect, because I had a head injury, the system would have the intelligence to be able to notice that and deal with it. Now, this is the place where I’m saying the Dunbar number was both care and sense making. It was a limit on both, you know, our values generation and our sense making too informed choice making. So if we want better systems of governance, ie better systems of choice making, we need to get both collective values generation and collective sense making down that conditioning gives us ways to start to work with things like very different value systems. But I can’t have a very different value system, while still incentivizing meaning a value equation economically The whale is worth a lot dead and nothing alive, right? And I and it doesn’t have adequate sense making even inform what good choice making for everyone so we can participate with the system is. So
that’ll have to take more time.
Eric Weinstein 3:34:16
Well, I look forward to continuing our discussions and I want to thank you very much for coming and sharing your ideas with us here on the portal.
Daniel Schmachtenberger 3:34:27
And just briefly I want to say i think that i think that you’re doing this is awesome. I appreciate you know, there. There are people who say we need divergent ideas and heterodox ideas but that don’t have grounded clear thinking and you know, critical thinking and I think, for you to bring heterodox thinkers and have but not just agree with him but have real dialectic conversation that is earnestly seeking to bring about better understanding is beautiful. I’m really excited about that. I wish that it could have communicated clearer having had better sleep last night, but hopefully it wasn’t completely unintelligible Well,
Eric Weinstein 3:35:12
I traveled from San Francisco to do this. And so I think I was probably a little off my game, particularly at the beginning. But we can do this again. And I just want to say, those are incredibly generous and kind words. I’ll take them to heart. I’m trying to get courage myself to do a little bit more in this space. And so far, I got to tell you, the audience for the show has been second to none in terms of behaving really admirably and positively. On the internet. I can’t tell you how much great feedback we’ve gotten super constructive, and I hope that they will, they’ll embrace what you’ve said, and the same spirit. So thanks, Daniel. You’ve been watching or listening to the portal with Daniel Schumacher Berger, and I’ve been your host, Eric Weinstein. Thanks for coming. Drew, we’ll see you next time.
The Portal podcast transcription series
- Peter Thiel
- What is The Portal?
- Werner Herzog
- Timur Kuran
- Rabbi David Wolpe
- Jocko Willink
- Bret Easton Ellis
- Andrew Yang
- Bryan Callen
- Julie Lindahl
- Sam Harris
- Vitalik Buterin
- Garry Kasparov
- London Tsai
- Garrett Lisi
- Tyler Cowen
- Anna Khachiyan
- Eric Weinstein – State of the Portal 2020
- Bret Weinstein
- Sir Roger Penrose
- Ashley Mathews (Riley Reid)
- Ben Greenfield
- Agnes Callard
- Kai Lenny
- The Construct: Jeffrey Epstein
Geometric Unity – a First Look
- James O’Keefe
- Daniel Schmachtenberger
- Eric Lewis
- Jamie Metzl
- Ross Douthat
- Ryan Holiday