Vaden Masrani, a PhD student in machine learning at UBC and Ben Chugg, a research fellow at Stanford Law School, get into trouble arguing about everything except machine learning and law. Coherence is somewhere on the horizon. Love, bribes, suggestions, and hate-mail all welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This episode begins with a big announcement! Ben has officially become a cat person, and is now Taking Cats Seriously. Vaden follows up with some news of his own, before diving into the main subject for today's episode - Popper's Three Worlds. Click the link and read the essay, it's worth it. If you don't, shame on you.
In this episode we discuss:
We are joined by the great Sam Kuypers for a conversation on physics, philosophy, and free will.
Vaden spends most of the episode preparing for a huge debate on free-will, and Ben spends it worried about what alternate versions of himself are up to in parallel universes. Still, we manage to touch on a few topics:
In this episode, we discuss Peter Singer's famous drowning child thought experiment, the role of moral theories, and the role of thought experiments in moral reasoning. From our perspectives, the conversation went something like this:
Ben's POV: Bravely and boldly trying to think through problems, Ben puts forward a stunningly insightful theory about the role of moral argumentation. Vaden, jealous of the profundity of Ben&...
After a long digression, we finally return to the Conjectures and Refutations series. In this episode we cover Chapter 1: Science: Conjectures and Refutations. In particular, we focus on one of the trickiest Popperian concepts to wrap one's head around - the problem of induction.
Hello and sorry for the delay! We finally got together with Fin and Luca from the excellent HearThisIdea podcast for a nice roundtable discussion on longtermism. We laughed, we cried, and tried our best to communicate across the divide.
Material referenced in the discussion:
- 80k Hours Problem Profiles
- Jon Hamm imprisons us in an Alexa
- The Case for Strong Longtermism
- A Case Against Strong Longtermism
- Nick Bostrom's semina...
Bit of a personal episode this one is! Ben learns how to be a twitter warrior while Vaden has a full-on breakdown during quarantine. Who knew work addiction was actually a real thing? And that there are 12 step programs for people who identify as being "powerless over compulsive work, worry, or activity"? And that mathematics can create compulsive behavior indistinguishable from drug addiction? Vaden does, now.
Well, there's no avoiding controversy with this one. We explain, examine, and attempt to refute the shiny new moral philosophy of longtermism. Our critique focuses on The Case for Strong Longtermism by Hilary Greaves and Will MacAskill.
We say so in the episode, but it's important to emphasize that we harbour no animosity towards anyone in the effective altruism community. However, we both think that longtermism is pretty f...
Vaden comes battle-hardened and ready to debate and is met with ... a big soft hug from Ben. Ben repents his apocalyptic sins and admits that Vaden changed his mind. Again. God dammit this is getting annoying. To his credit, Vaden only gloats for 10 minutes. Eventually we touch on some other topics:
Alright spiders, point this at your brain. Ben and Vaden do a deep dive into the recent Netflix documentary The Social Dilemma and have a genuine debate, just like the good ol' days. Topics touched:
The third in the Conjectures and Refutations series, we cover Chapter 16: Prediction And Prophecy in the Social Sciences. There's a bit more Hitler stuff in this one than usual (retweets ≠ endorsements), but only because he provides a clear example of the motherlode of all bad ideas - historicism. We discuss:
Stephen is back for round two! In this episode we learn that Vaden wants to live in a panopticon and Ben in a high tech surveillance state. Also, we're all going to use Bing from now on.
Stephen Caines is a research fellow at Stanford law school's CodeX centre for legal informatics, where he specializes in the domestic use of facial recognition technology. He received a J.D. from the University of Miami with a concentrat...
In the lead up to the American presidential election, one of the largest and most consequential expressions of public opinion, Ben and Vaden do what they always do and ask: "What does Popper say about this?" The second in the Conjectures and Refutations series, we cover Chapter 17: Public Opinion and Liberal Principles. Largely irrelevant and probably unhelpful, we touch
Vaden's arguments against Bayesian philosophy and existential risk are examined by someone who might actually know what they're talking about, i.e., not Ben. After writing a critique of our conversation in Episode 7, which started off a series of blog posts, our good friend Mauricio kindly agrees to come on the podcast and try to figure out who's more confused. Does Vaden convert?
Mauricio studies political science, eco...
Traditions, what are you good for? Absolutely nothing? In this episode of Increments, Ben and Vaden begin their series on Conjectures and Refutations by looking at the role tradition plays in society, and examine one tradition in particular - the critical tradition. No monkeys were harmed in the making of this episode.
- C&R, Chapter 4: Towards a Rational Theory of Tradition
- Jennifer Doleac and Rob ...
The talented Stephen Caines punctures the cloud of confusion that is Ben and Vaden's conception of facial recognition technology. We talk about the development and usage of facial recognition in the private and public spheres, the dangers and merits of the technology, and Vaden's plan to use it a bars. For God's sake don't give that man a GPU.
Stephen is a legal technologist with a passion for access to justice. He ...
Join Paris Hilton each week as she speaks candidly with her friends and family, the hottest in movies, music, and television, innovators, creators, newsmakers, and icons. Paris will sit down for edgy, in depth conversations with a multitude of unexpected guests. She will interview people in a way that only Paris can. Questions and topics that are surprising and unanticipated. Honest, fun, open, inspiring and unpredictable. Loves it. Paris Hilton is an influencer, DJ, designer, recording artist, philanthropist, host, actress, model and author. Now, you can get closer and more personal than ever with Paris each week. This is Paris.
If you've ever wanted to know about champagne, satanism, the Stonewall Uprising, chaos theory, LSD, El Nino, true crime and Rosa Parks then look no further. Josh and Chuck have you covered.
This is what the news should sound like. The biggest stories of our time, told by the best journalists in the world. Hosted by Michael Barbaro. Twenty minutes a day, five days a week, ready by 6 a.m.
ALL THE SMOKE pairs two of the most outspoken and controversial players of their time. Known as fiery, intense competitors during their on-court careers, Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson are now two of the most widely respected voices by today’s crop of NBA stars. Serving as mentors to numerous players throughout the league and with their hands firmly on the pulse of the game, they have first-hand insight into the minds, lives and pressing issues facing today’s players. Barnes and Jackson, who have played alongside two generations of All-Stars, will dish on the latest news and drama from on and off the court without boundaries.
If you can never get enough true crime... Congratulations, you’ve found your people.