A Future on Waxen Wings
Getting Ahead of Future Catastrophes - Jeffrey Ladish

Getting Ahead of Future Catastrophes - Jeffrey Ladish

June 27, 2020

In this interview, I sit down with Jeffrey Ladish to discuss future existential and catastrophic planetary risks and what we can do to stop them / mitigate their effects.

Jeffrey is a fellow at the Foresight Institute, a research organization dedicated to assessing the risks and opportunities presented by emerging technologies. Jeffrey's research focuses on nuclear risk, bio security, and cybersecurity - working to map out the catastrophic and existential risk landscape as thoroughly as possible for both himself and organizations dedicated to preparing for future crises.

Jeffrey's Medium: Absent Coordination Future Technology will cause Human Extinction
Foresight Panels
Mastering the Dance: Rebooting Society with Testing and Tracing | Jeffrey Ladish

The play-by-play:
0:00 - Introductions
1:12 - Christian upbringings, ethics, and humanities capacity for self-destruction
4:40 - Developing a intuitive respect for the gravity of nuclear risk
8:00 - Valuing the latent potential of our collective future
11:00 - Which risks are most impactful, urgent, overlooked, and prone to bifurcation
14:00 - Mapping the existential risk landscape
16:00 - Biorisk
17:30 - "A deep and difficult understanding is what's required to make progress"
18:45 - Incentives and disincentives for bioterrorism
22:00 - State-sponsored bioweapon research
24:00 - Synthetic biology risks and destabilizing ecosystems - mirror life
30:00 - Institutional Reform to Combat Existential Risk
31:00 - Importance of international institutions
33:30 - One World or None - https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1681403.One_World_or_None
35:00 - Nuclear treaties
37:00 - "Everyone's incentives in the longterm are aligned"
39:00 - Optimizing for long term planning as an overlooked strategic lens
40:30 - Institutions working on the cutting edge of Existential Risk research and systemic resiliency
44:30 - "-we have to have healthy functioning institutions... we can do very broad things in social movements, but social movements can't do very fine grained or long term planning type things. So we need institutions to do that."
45:10 - Institutional senescence
48:30 - Blockchain governance methods
50:00 - Futarchy
52:00 - Cryptosecurity, Post-Quantum Cryptography and Trustable Trustless Institutions
54:00 - Hard Forks to address Quantum Security
56:00 - Book Recommendations - Strategy and Conflict, The Selfish Gene, Glen Weyl - Radical Markets, Samo Burja - Great Founder Theory
58:30 - Thinking long term about risks/resiliency in your own community

Vision and Strategy - George Lakey

Vision and Strategy - George Lakey

April 30, 2020

George Lakey is a renowned activist and scholar who has been a leader and founder of numerous movements over the past half century from civil rights to the modern climate movement.

In this interview, George and I discuss the revival of vision on the left, the opportunities polarization provides, the inner-work in becoming an agent of change, and how to initiate attractive and resilient social movements.


How we Win - George Lakey

Viking Economics - George Lakey

A Manual for Social Change - George Lakey

Why We Can't Wait - Martin Luther King

Selma (2014 film)

Bringing Down a Dictator

Gunnar Myrdal

Andrew Cornell - Oppose and Propose

Herman Daly - Steady State Economics

Don't Forget to Sing in the Lifeboats

Mahatma Gandhi - Experiments with Truth

Alice Paul: Claiming Power

Swarthmore Nonviolence Databas

E3. Stephen Zunes - The Future of Civil Resistance

E3. Stephen Zunes - The Future of Civil Resistance

September 15, 2019

I speak to scholar, author, and activist Stephen Zunes on his work with liberation movements around the world and discuss his thoughts on revolutionary strategy, global cooperation, and the world wide impetus for action that gives him hope. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Zunes

E2. Obi Kaufmann - Charting Myth through the Anthropocene

E2. Obi Kaufmann - Charting Myth through the Anthropocene

September 1, 2019

Obi and I discuss the intrinsic value of art and aesthetic arrest, the psychosis of industrial alienation from the cycles of the biosphere, the concurrence of scientific and social shifts, and how we might re-imagine the story we tell ourselves towards circularity and reciprocity with the rest of life. For more details and a selection of Obi's artwork, check out the description here.

E1. Without Nature - A Meditation by Ethan Smith

E1. Without Nature - A Meditation by Ethan Smith

September 1, 2019

Ethan dives into the western conceptualization of "nature" as being something somehow separated from "the human." He reflects on our romantic othering of wilderness, imagines a prairie formed from a single blade of grass, and reflects on the split between nature and artifice. These ideas build into our next episode with Obi Kaufmann, wherein he explore how it's only through reexamining our relationship with a romantic-and-alienated world that we might save the biosphere and ourselves.

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App