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Clearer Thinking with Spencer Greenberg

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Clearer Thinking is a podcast about ideas that truly matter. If you enjoy learning about powerful, practical concepts and frameworks, wish you had more deep, intellectual conversations in your life, or are looking for non-BS self-improvement, then we think you'll love this podcast! Each week we invite a brilliant guest to bring four important ideas to discuss for an in-depth conversation. Topics include psychology, society, behavior change, philosophy, science, artificial intelligence, math, economics, self-help, mental health, and technology. We focus on ideas that can be applied right now to make your life better or to help you better understand yourself and the world, aiming to teach you the best mental tools to enhance your learning, self-improvement efforts, and decision-making. • We take on important, thorny questions like: • What's the best way to help a friend or loved one going through a difficult time? How can we make our worldviews more accurate? How can we hone the accuracy of our thinking? What are the advantages of using our "gut" to make decisions? And when should we expect careful, analytical reflection to be more effective? Why do societies sometimes collapse? And what can we do to reduce the chance that ours collapses? Why is the world today so much worse than it could be? And what can we do to make it better? What are the good and bad parts of tradition? And are there more meaningful and ethical ways of carrying out important rituals, such as honoring the dead? How can we move beyond zero-sum, adversarial negotiations and create more positive-sum interactions?

Location:

United States

Description:

Clearer Thinking is a podcast about ideas that truly matter. If you enjoy learning about powerful, practical concepts and frameworks, wish you had more deep, intellectual conversations in your life, or are looking for non-BS self-improvement, then we think you'll love this podcast! Each week we invite a brilliant guest to bring four important ideas to discuss for an in-depth conversation. Topics include psychology, society, behavior change, philosophy, science, artificial intelligence, math, economics, self-help, mental health, and technology. We focus on ideas that can be applied right now to make your life better or to help you better understand yourself and the world, aiming to teach you the best mental tools to enhance your learning, self-improvement efforts, and decision-making. • We take on important, thorny questions like: • What's the best way to help a friend or loved one going through a difficult time? How can we make our worldviews more accurate? How can we hone the accuracy of our thinking? What are the advantages of using our "gut" to make decisions? And when should we expect careful, analytical reflection to be more effective? Why do societies sometimes collapse? And what can we do to reduce the chance that ours collapses? Why is the world today so much worse than it could be? And what can we do to make it better? What are the good and bad parts of tradition? And are there more meaningful and ethical ways of carrying out important rituals, such as honoring the dead? How can we move beyond zero-sum, adversarial negotiations and create more positive-sum interactions?

Language:

English


Episodes
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What should the Effective Altruism movement learn from the SBF / FTX scandal? (with Will MacAskill)

4/15/2024
What are the facts around Sam Bankman-Fried and FTX about which all parties agree? What was the nature of Will's relationship with SBF? What things, in retrospect, should've been red flags about Sam or FTX? Was Sam's personality problematic? Did he ever really believe in EA principles? Does he lack empathy? Or was he on the autism spectrum? Was he naive in his application of utilitarianism? Did EA intentionally install SBF as a spokesperson, or did he put himself in that position of his own accord? What lessons should EA leaders learn from this? What steps should be taken to prevent it from happening again? What should EA leadership look like moving forward? What are some of the dangers around AI that are not related to alignment? Should AI become the central (or even the sole) focus of the EA movement? William MacAskill is an associate professor in philosophy at the University of Oxford. At the time of his appointment, he was the youngest associate professor of philosophy in the world. He also cofounded the nonprofits Giving What We Can, the Centre for Effective Altruism, and 80,000 Hours, which together have moved over $300 million to effective charities. He's the author of What We Owe The Future, Doing Good Better, and Moral Uncertainty. Further reading: Episode 133: The FTX catastrophe (with Byrne Hobart, Vipul Naik, Maomao Hu, Marcus Abramovich, and Ozzie Gooen)"Who is Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF) really, and how could he have done what he did? – three theories and a lot of evidence"Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal by Eugene SoltesStaff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:02:01:52

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Why are so many people experiencing homelessness in big cities in the U.S., and what can be done to help? (with Kevin Adler)

4/10/2024
Read the full transcript here. How big of a problem is homelessness in the US? How many people in large cities like New York City or Los Angeles are unhoused? What's the best language to use when discussing this issue? How is "homelessness" defined? We usually don't label people without food or water as "foodless" or "waterless"; so why do we label people without homes as "homeless"? Why do we so often look away from the problem, both literally and figuratively? What are the most common events or circumstances that cause people to lose their housing options? What does research show about how unhoused people actually spend their money? What percentage of an average city's unhoused population is represented by the "visible" portion, the people we see on street corners or in tent camps? What percent of unhoused people struggle with mental health problems or substance abuse? What's the average life expectancy of an unhoused person? How much do governments (local, state, and/or federal) spend on homelessness annually? What's the best predictor of whether or not a person will suffer from chronic homelessness? What help — from government institutions, religious organizations, nonprofits, etc. — is available to unhoused people? How hard is it to meet your basic needs when you don't have a place to live? What should we do about unhoused people who refuse help or treatment for mental illnesses or substance abuse? Which nonprofits are working on homelessness? And what kinds of impacts have they made? What interventions are actually effective at solving homelessness on a large scale? What mistakes have the political left and right (in the US) made as they've tried to address homelessness? Demographically speaking, what kinds of people tend to make up unhoused populations in the US? Kevin F. Adler is a social entrepreneur, sociologist, and author who never learned the word "stranger", and tries to live accordingly. Currently, he is the Founder-In-Residence and Chairman of the Board of Miracle Messages, a nonprofit organization that helps people experiencing homelessness rebuild their social support systems and financial security through family reunification services, a phone buddy program, and the first basic income pilot for unhoused individuals in the US. He is also the bestselling author of When We Walk By: Forgotten Humanity, Broken Systems, and the Role We Can Each Play in Ending Homelessness in America, which Publishers Weekly called "a must-read for anyone interested in solving the problem of homelessness." Kevin's pioneering work on homelessness and "relational poverty" as an overlooked form of poverty has been featured in the New York Times, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour, The Guardian, LA Times, and in his TED Talk. Motivated by his late mother's work teaching at underserved adult schools and nursing homes, and his late uncle's 30 years living on the streets, Kevin believes in a future where everyone is seen as invaluable and interconnected. Learn more about Kevin and his work at his website, kevinfadler.com, follow him on Instagram at @kevinfadler, or email him at kevin@miraclemessages.org. Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:56:03

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Common body language mistakes and how to avoid making them (with Blake Eastman)

4/4/2024
What are some common techniques for quantifying body language? How hard is it to identify poker "tells"? Are there any facial expressions or body movements that have universal meaning? What can be discerned about group dynamics just from watching a meeting over video call? What are the most common body language mistakes people make when going on dates or trying to make friends? What are the strongest indicators of charisma? How do people signal their social status? What are the most effective ways to deal with trolls? How valid is the concept of micro-expressions? Blake Eastman is the founder of The Nonverbal Group, a behavioral research and education company. With a focus on teaching high-level people skills, Eastman has coached executives and teams, and his company is building the world's largest database of contextually coded human interactions. He also founded Behavioral Robotics, an AI deep tech startup teaching machines to read human behavior, and he's known for conducting the largest behavioral study on poker players through his Beyond Tells project. Follow him on Instagram, Twitter / X, and LinkedIn; or email him at blake@nonverbalgroup.com. Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:31:25

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True things, useful things, and the differences between them (with Derek Sivers)

3/27/2024
Read the full transcript here. Is nothing objectively true? What kinds of things are we trying to communicate with the stories we tell? Why do we feel the need to take a side on every issue? Which sorts of issues should be tied to our identities? How can we set the definitions for terms in a conversation, if possible? Should people just believe whatever works for them? Is it better to try to compensate for our biases or to reduce them? Should we strive to have lower confidence in ourselves and our abilities? How should we think about assigning blame when something goes wrong? When should we say yes or no to new opportunities? To what degree should we try to optimize our lives? Derek Sivers is an author of philosophy and entrepreneurship known for his surprising, quotable insights and pithy, succinct writing style. Formerly a musician, programmer, TED speaker, and circus clown, he sold his first company for $22 million and gave all the money to charity. Sivers’ books (How to Live, Hell Yeah or No, Your Music and People, and Anything You Want) and newest projects are at his website: sive.rs Further reading: Useful Not True, by Derek SiversHamas Covenant 1988: The Covenant of the Islamic Resistance Movement Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:16:01

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Should we widen our moral circles to include animals, insects, and AIs? (with Jeff Sebo)

3/20/2024
Read the full transcript here. How did we end up with factory farming? How many animals do we kill every year in factory farms? When we consider the rights of non-human living things, we tend to focus mainly on the animal kingdom, and in particular on relatively larger, more complex animals; but to what extent should insects, plants, fungi, and even single-celled organisms deserve our moral consideration? Do we know anything about what it's like (or not) to be an AI? To what extent is the perception of time linked to the speed at which one's brain processes information? What's the difference between consciousness and sentience? Should an organism be required to have consciousness and/or sentience before we'll give it our moral consideration? What evidence do we have that various organisms and/or AIs are conscious? What do we know about the evolutionary function of consciousness? What's the "rebugnant conclusion"? What might it mean to "harm" an AI? What can be done by the average person to move the needle on these issues? What should we say to people who think all of this is ridiculous? What is Humean constructivism? What do all of the above considerations imply about abortion? Do we (or any organisms or AIs) have free will? How likely is it that panpsychism is true? Jeff Sebo is Associate Professor of Environmental Studies; Affiliated Professor of Bioethics, Medical Ethics, Philosophy, and Law; Director of the Animal Studies M.A. Program; Director of the Mind, Ethics, and Policy Program; and Co-Director of the Wild Animal Welfare Program at New York University. He is the author of Saving Animals, Saving Ourselves (2022) and co-author of Chimpanzee Rights (2018) and Food, Animals, and the Environment (2018). He is also an executive committee member at the NYU Center for Environmental and Animal Protection, a board member at Minding Animals International, an advisory board member at the Insect Welfare Research Society, a senior research fellow at the Legal Priorities Project, and a mentor at Sentient Media. Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:14:21

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How to have a positive impact with your career (with Benjamin Hilton)

3/13/2024
Read the full transcript here. What's the best way to think about building an impactful career? Should everyone try to work in fields related to existential risks? Should people find work in a problem area even if they can't work on the very "best" solution within that area? What does it mean for a particular job or career path to be a "good fit" for someone? What is "career capital"? To what extent should people focus on developing transferable skills? What are some of the most useful cross-domain skills? To what extent should people allow their passions and interests to influence how they think about potential career paths? Are there formulas that can be used to estimate how impactful a career will be for someone? And if there are, then how might people misuse them? Should everyone aim to build a high-leverage career? When do people update too much on new evidence? Benjamin Hilton is a research analyst at 80,000 Hours, where he's written on a range of topics from career strategy to nuclear war and the risks from artificial intelligence. He recently helped re-write the 80,000 Hours career guide alongside its author and 80,000 Hours co-founder, Ben Todd. Before joining 80,000 Hours, he was a civil servant, working as a policy adviser across the UK government in the Cabinet Office, Treasury, and Department for International Trade. He has master’s degrees in economics and theoretical physics, and has published in the fields of physics, history, and complexity science. Learn more about him on the 80,000 Hours website, or email him at benjamin.hilton@80000hours.org. Further reading: 80,000 Hours: Career Guide Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:26:53

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Spencer's takeaways after 200 episodes (with Spencer Greenberg)

3/6/2024
Read the full transcript here. It's our 200th episode! 🥳 What important things has Spencer gleaned from these 200 episodes? What has he learned about how to have better conversations? On what topics has he updated his views? What makes for a great question? Thank you, listeners, for listening, following, rating, reviewing, supporting, and communicating with us! You've helped the show continue to grow, improve, and thrive! Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:00:51:38

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Psychological change in a single session (with Jessica Schleider)

2/28/2024
Read the full transcript here. Is it possible to change someone's life with a really short psychological intervention? What features do turning points in people's lives tend to share in common? What single-session interventions can work well for depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues? What expectations should reasonably be held in advance of a single-session intervention? By what mechanisms do these interventions spark the desire for change in participants? How useful is qualitative research in the social sciences? What can single-session interventions accomplish that longer-term interventions can't? Do single-session interventions for teens work equally well for adults, and vice versa? Are some people more prone to experiencing turning points in their lives than others? Jessica Schleider is Associate Professor of Psychology at Northwestern University, where she directs the Lab for Scalable Mental Health. Schleider completed her PhD in clinical psychology at Harvard University, her doctoral internship in clinical and community psychology at Yale School of Medicine, and her BA in psychology at Swarthmore College. Her research on brief, scalable interventions for youth depression and anxiety has been recognized via numerous awards, including a National Institutes of Health Director's Early Independence Award; the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) President's New Researcher Award; and Forbes's "30 Under 30 in Healthcare." Learn more about her work at her lab website, schleiderlab.org. Further reading: Project YESLittle Treatments, Big Effects: How to Build Meaningful Moments that Can Transform Your Mental Health, by Jessica Schleider Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:07:30

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Academic group think, free speech norms, and the psychology of time (with Anne Wilson)

2/22/2024
Read the full transcript here. How does psychological time differ from clock time? How does a person's perception of time relate to their personal identity? How does a person's view of their past shape how they view their future? To what extent do people differ in the degree to which they feel like a single, continuous person across time? What effects does a person's perception of time have on their assessment of injustices? Why aren't there more adversarial collaborations in academia? Is academia generally politically left-leaning? How does lack of political diversity in academia compare to (e.g.) lack of gender or economic diversity? Are liberal or progressive academics openly willing to discriminate against conservative academics when, for example, the latter have opportunities for career advancement? Is anyone in the US actually calling for legal changes around free speech laws, or are they only discussing how people ought to be socially ostracized or punished for expressing certain viewpoints? And is there a meaningful difference between legal and social punishments for those who make illegal or taboo statements? Are we in the midst of an ideological war right now? And if so, ought we to quash in-group criticism to avoid giving ammunition to our ideological enemies? Academia seems to have hemorrhaged public trust over the last few decades; so what can be done to begin restoring that trust? Anne Wilson is a professor of social psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. Much of her research focuses on self and identity over time both for individual self and collective identities like nation, race, and gender. Her work illuminates the often-motivated malleability of our reconstructions of the past, forecasts of the future, and subjective perceptions of time itself. Her broad focus on motivated reasoning and cognitive bias has also led to more recent research on intergroup misperception, political polarization, and how speech suppression and censorship can inhibit collective bias correction. Follow her on Twitter / X at @awilson_WLU, email her at awilson@wlu.ca, or learn more about her work at her labe website: annewilsonpsychlab.com. Further reading: "Prosocial motives underlie scientific censorship by scientists: A perspective and research agenda", by Cory J. Clark, Lee Jussim, Komi Frey, Sean T. Stevens, Musa al-Gharbi, Karl Aquino, J. Michael Bailey, Nicole Barbaro, Roy F. Baumeister, April Bleske-Rechek, David Buss, Stephen Ceci, Marco Del Giudice, Peter H. Ditto, Joseph P. Forgas, David C. Geary, Glenn Geher, Sarah Haider, Nathan Honeycutt, Hrishikesh Joshi, Anna I. Krylov, Elizabeth Loftus, Glenn Loury, Louise Lu, Michael Macy, Chris C. Martin, John McWhorter, Geoffrey Miller, Pamela Paresky, Steven Pinker, Wilfred Reilly, Catherine Salmon, Steve Stewart-Williams, Philip E. Tetlock, Wendy M. Williams, Anne E. Wilson, Bo M. Winegard, George Yancey, and William von Hippel"The Future of Memory: Remembering, Imagining, and the Brain", by Daniel L. Schacter, Donna Rose Addis, Demis Hassabis, Victoria C. Martin, R. Nathan Spreng, and Karl K. Szpunar"Autobiographical Memory and Conceptions of Self: Getting Better All the Time", by Michael Ross and Anne E. Wilson"When Slights Beget Slights: Attachment Anxiety, Subjective Time, and Intrusion of the Relational Past in the Present", by Kassandra Cortes and Anne E. Wilson"Crimes of the Past: Defensive Temporal Distancing in the Face of Past In-Group Wrongdoing", by Johanna Peetz, Gregory R. Gunn, and Anne E. Wilson"Exploring Gender Bias in Six Key Domains of Academic Science: An Adversarial Collaboration", by Stephen J. Ceci1, Shulamit Kahn, and Wendy M. Williams"Political Diversity in Social and Personality Psychology", by Yoel Inbar and Joris LammersKindly Inquisitors: The New Attacks on Free Thought, by Jonathan RauchBreaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make Our Platforms Less Polarizing, by Chris Bail Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri...

Duration:01:39:28

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How can Stoicism improve your life? (with Bill Irvine)

2/14/2024
Read the full transcript here. Why is Stoicism important and useful today? What are the main ideas of Stoicism? How can you tell if you're "living well"? And if you're not living well, then how can you move yourself in that direction? How can we learn to accept and embrace life as it comes without losing our desire to improve ourselves and the world around us? Do people vary in the degree to which Stoic practices might be beneficial for them? What's the relationship between Stoicism and CBT? What do Stoics have to say about the value or disvalue of emotions? Has Stoicism changed much since its inception? What does it mean to be a "reasonable" person? What are some clear signs that a person is a thinker or a feeler? How might we modify social media and/or ourselves so that our cognitive biases can't as easily be weaponized for political or economic ends? It's easy to see cognitive biases in others; but how can we learn to see them in ourselves? William B. Irvine is emeritus professor of philosophy at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio, USA. He is the author of eight books that have been translated into more than twenty languages. His A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy played a key role in the Stoic renaissance that has taken place in recent years. His subsequent Stoic Challenge: A Philosopher's Guide to Becoming Tougher, Calmer, and More Resilient provides a strategy for dealing, in proper Stoic manner, with the setbacks we experience in daily living. He is currently at work on a book about thinking critically, but with an open mind, in the age of the internet. Further reading: The Enchiridion, by EpictetusThinking Fast and Slow, by Daniel Kahneman Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:21:51

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Is there a grand unified theory of everyone? (with Michael Muthukrishna)

2/8/2024
Read the full transcript here. What is a "theory of everyone"? Do the social sciences currently have enough firm knowledge to synthesize such a theory? Have we been getting smarter as a species over the last few hundred years? Were great historical thinkers smarter than today's greatest minds? Why are governments so prone to corruption? What is the COMPASS framework? What is the "no hyphen" immigration model? What is the "umbrella" immigration model? How can governments change how they think and talk about immigration so that racism is less likely to find its way into immigration policy? Michael Muthukrishna is an award-winning professor of economic psychology and affiliate in developmental economics and data science at the London School of Economics. His research has been featured in CNN, BBC, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Economist, Scientific American, Time Magazine, Fortune Magazine, and many other news outlets. He is the author of A Theory of Everyone: The New Science of Who We Are, How We Got Here, and Where We're Going. Learn more about him at his website, follow him on Twitter at @mmuthukrishna; or read his writings on his Substack. Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:15:18

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The alternate histories and possible futures of nuclear weapons (with Carl Robichaud)

2/2/2024
Read the full transcript here. Has the world been "lucky" so far with respect to nuclear weapons? How many people have died from nuclear weapons? To what extent do nuclear weapons actually deter aggression? How many countries currently have nuclear weapons or are in the process of building them? How can we discourage continued proliferation of (or even the desire to own) nuclear weapons? How tightly linked are the technologies required to build nuclear energy programs and nuclear weapons programs? How does the International Atomic Energy Agency verify that countries have exactly the nuclear programs and materials they claim to have? What are the best nonproliferation or disarmament interventions being considered right now? What can the average citizen do to make a difference on these enormous issues? Carl Robichaud co-leads Longview's program on nuclear weapons policy and co-manages Longview's Nuclear Weapons Policy Fund. For more than a decade, Carl led grantmaking in nuclear security at the Carnegie Corporation of New York, a philanthropic fund which grants over $30 million annually to strengthen international peace and security. Carl previously worked with The Century Foundation and the Global Security Institute, where his extensive research spanned arms control, international security policy, and nonproliferation. Amendments: "Vasily Arkhipov" Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:18:15

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How can AIs know what we want if *we* don't even know? (with Geoffrey Irving)

1/24/2024
Read the full transcript here. What does it really mean to align an AI system with human values? What would a powerful AI need to do in order to do "what we want"? How does being an assistant differ from being an agent? Could inter-AI debate work as an alignment strategy, or would it just result in arguments designed to manipulate humans via their cognitive and emotional biases? How can we make sure that all human values are learned by AIs, not just the values of humans in WEIRD societies? Are our current state-of-the-art LLMs politically left-leaning? How can alignment strategies take into account the fact that our individual and collective values occasionally change over time? Geoffrey Irving is an AI safety researcher at DeepMind. Before that, he led the Reflection Team at OpenAI, was involved in neural network theorem proving at Google Brain, cofounded Eddy Systems to autocorrect code as you type, and worked on computational physics and geometry at Otherlab, D. E. Shaw Research, Pixar, and Weta Digital. He has screen credits on Ratatouille, WALL•E, Up, and Tintin. Learn more about him at his website, naml.us. Further reading: Gandalf: An Educational Game Demonstrating Security Vulnerabilities in Large Language Models"AI safety via debate""Claude's Constitution" Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:20:22

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Schemas, goals, values, and the pursuit of happiness (with Jeff Perron)

1/17/2024
Read the full transcript here. What does it mean to have conflicts between our schemas and our values? What is schema therapy? How do schema therapy's claims differ from the "common sense" view that we develop tools for interacting with the world in childhood? How do our "inner critic" and "vulnerable child" connect to our schemas? How do these things differ from the IFS (Internal Family Systems) model of psychotherapy? How do these things map onto Buddhism, Stoicism, and other religious or philosophical traditions? What are the values that lead to a life of happiness? Why are teachings about embracing impermanence and reducing craving found in ancient religious and philosophical traditions but not in modern psychology? And, conversely, why are practices for building "flow" and healthy self-esteem present in modern psychology but not in ancient religious and philosophical traditions? Jeff Perron is a Clinical Psychologist and Author of The Psychology of Happiness, a Substack with over 15,000 subscribers. He writes detailed guides that explain evidence-based concepts associated with mental well-being and happiness. In his clinical work, he has spent years helping professionals align their lives more closely with their goals and values, supporting them in moving away from unnecessary suffering and towards meaning and fulfillment. Dr. Perron also holds an MBA from Wilfrid Laurier University and in the past has worked in the corporate strategy world. He holds a dual research-clinical PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Ottawa and is a Clinical Associate of the Ottawa Institute of CBT. Further reading: "Values, Practices, and Behaviors Associated with Happiness (a life of relative equanimity, meaning, fulfillment, health, and positive engagement)" by Jeff Perron Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:27:45

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and beyond (with David Burns)

1/10/2024
Read the full transcript here. What was therapy like in the years leading up to the advent of CBT? Has CBT now been over-sold? How does CBT differ from "the power of positive thinking"? How can therapists who use CBT avoid invalidating clients' feelings? When, if ever, should people listen to their negative thoughts? To what extent can a person's good qualities contribute to their depression? Can empathy be learned? Is it possible to cure depression in a single psychotherapy session? What is TEAM-CBT? Is exposure therapy cruel? What are some strategies for silencing the voices in our heads that lead to depression, anxiety, and other negative mental states? David Burns is Adjunct Clinical Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine, where he is involved in research and teaching. He has previously served as Acting Chief of Psychiatry at the Presbyterian / University of Pennsylvania Medical Center (1988) and Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Medical School (1998), and is certified by the National Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. He has received numerous awards, including the A. E. Bennett Award for his research on brain chemistry, the Distinguished Contribution to Psychology through the Media Award, and the Outstanding Contributions Award from the National Association of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapists. He has been named Teacher of the Year three times from the class of graduating residents at Stanford University School of Medicine, and feels especially proud of this award. In addition to his academic research, Dr. Burns has written a number of popular books on mood and relationship problems. His best-selling book, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy, has sold over 4 million copies in the United States, and many more worldwide. When he is not crunching statistics for his research, he can be found teaching his famous Tuesday evening psychotherapy training group for Stanford students and community clinicians, or giving workshops for mental health professionals throughout the United States and Canada. Learn more about him at feelinggood.com. Further reading: Feeling Great: The Revolutionary New Treatment for Depression and Anxiety by David Burns Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:02:21:16

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There are shrinks, and then there are SUPER-shrinks (with Daryl Chow)

1/3/2024
Read the full transcript here. What is a "super-shrink"? Which factors in the therapist-client relationship are most predictive of positive client outcomes over time: the therapist's personality, the client's personality, the therapist's methodology, or other factor(s)? How can therapists use and teach evidence-based practices and behaviors while also respecting and working within an individual client's belief system? What should clients look for when shopping for therapists? Why do clients often choose to be less open and honest with their therapists than would be beneficial for them? How can non-therapists be good, therapeutic friends to others? Originally from Singapore, Daryl Chow, MA, Ph.D. is a practicing psychologist based in Perth, Western Australia. He presents to and trains other psychotherapists around the world. He has authored / co-authored several books, including: The First Kiss: Undoing the Intake Model and Igniting First Sessions in Psychotherapy (2018), Better Results: Using Deliberate Practice to Improve Therapeutic Outcomes (APA, 2021), The Field Guide to Better Results (APA, 2023), and Creating Impact (2022). He is also the co-author of many articles, and is co-editor and contributing author of The Write to Recovery: Personal Stories & Lessons About Recovery from Mental Health Concerns. Daryl's newsletter, blogs, and podcast (Frontiers of Psychotherapist Development) are all aimed at inspiring and sustaining practitioners' individualised professional development. Read his writings on Substack; learn more about him on his website, darylchow.com; or email him at info@darylchow.com. Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMiles KestranMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:19:20

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Bringing conspiracy theorists back from the brink (with Jesse Richardson)

12/29/2023
Read the full transcript here. Have conspiracy theories been more prevalent, more persuasive, or more convoluted in the last few decades than at other points in human history? Is the presence of conspiracy theorists a feature of every society? The phrase "conspiracy theory" usually implies a false theory, even though some are eventually proven to be true; so how can we update our language to better differentiate between disconfirmed and not-yet-confirmed conspiracy theories? How can people who've really gone down a conspiracy theory rabbit hole come back back from the brink? More generally, what conditions need to be met for a person to change their mind about anything? What are the key motivators of conspiratorial thinking? Why do so many conspiracy theories incorporate strong antisemitic elements? To what degree are conspiracy theorists swayed by arguments from the requisite number of co-conspirators in a conspiracy? How should people research a conspiracy theory? Which personality traits are correlated with conspiratorial thinking? What's a good definition of wisdom? And how could wisdom help us combat the epistemic crisis through which we seem to be living right now? When, if ever, is it useful to approach a topic adversarially? Which would better mitigate the epistemic crisis: education reform or cultural change? Jesse Richardson is an internationally award-winning creative director and the founder of the nonprofit The School of Thought, which is dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason, and understanding. The Creative Commons resources The School of Thought has produced have so far reached over 30 million people and are being used in thousands of schools, universities, and companies worldwide. Their latest project is The Conspiracy Test, which is a gamified way to help increase healthy skepticism about conspiracy theories. It can been accessed for free at theconspiracytest.org. Learn more about Jesse and The School of Thought at schoolofthought.org. Resources: The Conspiracy ChartThe Conspiracy TestThe School of ThoughtThe Critical Thinking Alliance Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMiles Kestran Music Lee Rosevere Josh Woodward Broke for Free zapsplat.com wowamusic Quiet Music for Tiny Robots Affiliates Clearer Thinking GuidedTrack Mind Ease Positly UpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:09:48

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Bringing conspiracy theorists back from the brink (with Jesse Richardson)

12/28/2023
Read the full transcript here. Have conspiracy theories been more prevalent, more persuasive, or more convoluted in the last few decades than at other points in human history? Is the presence of conspiracy theorists a feature of every society? The phrase "conspiracy theory" usually implies a false theory, even though some are eventually proven to be true; so how can we update our language to better differentiate between disconfirmed and not-yet-confirmed conspiracy theories? How can people who've really gone down a conspiracy theory rabbit hole come back back from the brink? More generally, what conditions need to be met for a person to change their mind about anything? What are the key motivators of conspiratorial thinking? Why do so many conspiracy theories incorporate strong antisemitic elements? To what degree are conspiracy theorists swayed by arguments from the requisite number of co-conspirators in a conspiracy? How should people research a conspiracy theory? Which personality traits are correlated with conspiratorial thinking? What's a good definition of wisdom? And how could wisdom help us combat the epistemic crisis through which we seem to be living right now? When, if ever, is it useful to approach a topic adversarially? Which would better mitigate the epistemic crisis: education reform or cultural change? Jesse Richardson is an internationally award-winning creative director and the founder of the nonprofit The School of Thought, which is dedicated to promoting critical thinking, reason, and understanding. The Creative Commons resources The School of Thought has produced have so far reached over 30 million people and are being used in thousands of schools, universities, and companies worldwide. Their latest project is The Conspiracy Test, which is a gamified way to help increase healthy skepticism about conspiracy theories. It can been accessed for free at theconspiracytest.org. Learn more about Jesse and The School of Thought at schoolofthought.org. Resources: The Conspiracy ChartThe Conspiracy TestThe School of ThoughtThe Critical Thinking Alliance Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMiles KestranMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:09:49

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Simulacra levels, moral mazes, and low-hanging fruit (with Zvi Mowshowitz)

12/20/2023
Read the full transcript here. Why do we leave so much low-hanging fruit unharvested in so many parts of life? In what contexts is it better to do a thing than to do a symbolic representation of the thing, and vice versa? How can we know when to try to fix a problem that hasn't yet been fixed? In a society, what's the ideal balance of explorers and exploiters? What are the four simulacra levels? What is a moral "maze"? In the context of AI, can solutions for the problems of generation vs. evaluation also provide solutions for the problems of alignment and safety? Could we solve AI safety issues by financially incentivizing people to find exploits (à la cryptocurrencies)? Zvi Mowshowitz is the author of Don't Worry About the Vase, a widely spanning substack trying to help us think about, model, and improve the world. He is a rationalist thinker with experience as a professional trader, game designer and competitor, and startup founder. His blog spans diverse topics and is currently focused on extensive weekly AI updates. Read his writings at thezvi.substack.com, or follow him on Twitter / X at @TheZvi. Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMiles KestranMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:28:47

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Effectively encouraging people to give more (with Josh Greene)

12/15/2023
Read the full transcript here. How can people be encouraged in ways that are more natural and less manipulative to increase the amounts they give to charities? Why are arguments based on the effectiveness of charitable organizations less compelling to most people than we'd like for them to be? What percentages of a social group should be "doves", "hawks", "eagles", or something else? To what extent should our knowledge about our evolutionary history shape our values? Why are children more likely than adults to engage in prosocial behaviors towards strangers? Aside from anecdotal evidence, how do we know that political polarization in the US has been increasing over the last few decades? How can bridges of respect and trust be built between warring political tribes? How can people even begin to undertake the project of building bridges across political divides if they have no interest in understanding or engaging with the other side — especially if they believe that the other side is completely deranged, evil, or otherwise unfit to govern at any level? What is "deep pragmatism"? What might a "psychologically-informed" version of utilitarianism look like? Josh Greene is Professor of Psychology and a member of the Center for Brain Science faculty at Harvard University. Much of his research has focused on the psychology and neuroscience of moral judgment, examining the interplay between emotion and reason in moral dilemmas. His more recent work studies critical features of individual and collective intelligence. His current neuroscientific research examines how the brain combines concepts to form thoughts and how thoughts are manipulated in reasoning and imagination. His current behavioral research examines strategies for improving social decision-making and alleviating intergroup conflict. He is also the author of Moral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them. Learn more about him at his website, joshua-greene.net. Further reading: "Boosting the impact of charitable giving with donation bundling and micromatching" by Lucius Caviola and Joshua GreeneGiving Multiplier (w/ Clearer Thinking promo code)"The Psychology of (In)Effective Altruism" by Lucius Caviola, Stefan Schubert, and Joshua GreeneMoral Tribes: Emotion, Reason, and the Gap Between Us and Them by Joshua Greene Staff Spencer GreenbergJosh CastleRyan KesslerUri BramWeAmplifyMiles KestranMusic Broke for FreeJosh WoodwardLee RosevereQuiet Music for Tiny Robotswowamusiczapsplat.comAffiliates Clearer ThinkingGuidedTrackMind EasePositlyUpLift [Read more]

Duration:01:27:33