May 9th, 2023 | 1 hr 29 mins
ai, murakami, sleep
David and Tamler take the first excursion into the work of Haruki Murakami and talk about his short story “Sleep.” A thirty-year-old woman, the wife of a dentist and mother of a young boy, has a terrifying dream and when she wakes up, she no longer needs to sleep. This isn’t insomnia, it’s something else – she has never felt so alive, strong, and awake. She can swim laps for an hour in the afternoon and read Anna Karenina with perfect concentration until dawn. What is this condition? Is it real? What does it tell us about her past, her sense of self, her alienation from friends, family, and her role? This is a banger of a story folks, check it out.
Plus - if you had to say one word or sentence to distinguish yourself from an AI, what would you say?
February 28th, 2023 | 1 hr 43 mins
ai, bing, personal identity, piranesi, susanna clarke, sydney
David and Tamler get lost in the world of Susanna Clarke’s "Piranesi," a hauntingly beautiful and thrilling novel with echoes of Borges, Plato, C.S. Lewis, and even Parfit. The first part of our conversation is spoiler-free so you can listen to that section if you haven’t read it yet. (But seriously read this book! We both read it in a few days.)
Plus, watch out ladies - Sydney the Bing chatbot is coming to steal your man.
December 20th, 2022 | 1 hr 34 mins
ai, borges, chatgpt, the immortal
David and Tamler wind their way through another Borges story - "The Immortal"- about a Roman soldier who seeks the secret of immortality and, much to his horror, finds it. Plus some thoughts on the utterly shameless ChatGPT.
August 2nd, 2022 | 1 hr 33 mins
ai, existential, meaning, tolstoy
David and Tamler find themselves unable to attach rational meaning to a single act in their entire lives. Let’s say we publish more articles and books. What then? What about our kids? They’re going off to college. Why? What for? We think about the future of the podcast. Let’s say we get bought out by Spotify and become more famous than Joe Rogan, Dolly Parton, and even Yoel Inbar -- more famous than all the podcasters in the world. So what?
And we can find absolutely no reply.
Plus, we take a test to determine whether we can we tell an AI apart from an analytic philosopher. When should we start getting scared of what AIs are gonna do to us, or what we’re doing to them?
*Note: the main segment is on the first half of Tolstoy’s great memoir "A Confession," but you don’t need to be familiar with the text to appreciate the discussion for this one.
December 21st, 2021 | 1 hr 38 mins
ai, david foster wallace, delphi, machine learning, this is water
David and Tamler dive into David Foster Wallace’s celebrated and surprisingly earnest Kenyon College commencement speech “This is Water”. How can we escape the prison and prism of our (literally) self-centered perspective? Can we choose to adjust our natural default settings, take a break from our running inner monologue, and pay attention to what’s in front of us right now? Is DFW appealing to Buddhist ideas or something more general that you can be found across all spiritual traditions?
Plus we ask the AI ethics program “Ask Delphi” some tough moral questions (spoiler alert: "just the tip" is "rude"), and almost get into a big fight about the potential of AI ethical robots (but we’re saving that argument for a future episode).