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War of Ideas
42 minutes | Sep 30, 2021
#23 - The Wisdom of Insecurity
Why aren't we happier? We don’t always do voluntary things for enjoyment. Leisure time is spent trying to be productive or trying to keep up with the Joneses. We let somebody else's goals become our goals. Not only that, but we usually aren't connected to the present moment when we do spend our time wisely. Don't forget to think about what it is that you are trying to get out of life. What you're trying to get out of this moment of free time you have. We don't want to let an ad dictate what we consider to be entertaining. We don’t want social media algorithms dictating what we become interested in and to lead us down a rabbit hole. But, we do want to follow rabbit holes we are genuinely interested in. Rabbit holes that feed our curiosity, not our envy or our desire to fit in. We want to fall in love, to be obsessed with, to be engaged with what we’re doing. "I cannot remember the books I have read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me." - Ralph Waldo Emerson Alan Lightman's article from April 2020 - https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/04/coronavirus-is-changing-habits-of-mind/609181/ Email me at email@example.com
70 minutes | Apr 14, 2021
#22 - Winning the Information War
How did the problem of misinformation and disinformation get so bad? Belonging is stronger than facts. How do we fix it? "Extreme opinions inspire loyalty among a minority that is ultimately more valuable than the unenthusiastic approval of the whole crowd. These are unhealthy incentives. But they are powerful incentives. Readers always, always tell me that they just want to see the academic posts, just the serious posts. What they don’t seem to realize is that if I had stuck to writing just those thoughtful essays they wouldn’t have heard of me in the first place." - Fredrik deBoer Election Integrity Partnership report (includes six page summary and option to download full report) - https://www.eipartnership.net/report Article with intro quote from Renee DiResta - https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2018/11/28/the-digital-maginot-line/ Infographic on how narratives spread online (from EIP) - https://i.imgur.com/QA00Yfz.png Article detailing the mail dumping events in Greenville, Wisconsin by Renee DiResta - https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/03/right-wing-propagandists-were-doing-something-unique/618267/ Article explaining why belonging is stronger than facts by Zeynep Tufekci - https://www.technologyreview.com/2018/08/14/240325/how-social-media-took-us-from-tahrir-square-to-donald-trump/ Article on why crowds are powerful by Renee DiResta - https://www.ribbonfarm.com/2016/09/15/crowds-and-technology/ News that Facebook is changing the way it recommends groups - https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/facebook-crack-groups-break-rules-rcna435 Timeline infographic from the EIP that shows what tech platforms did to stem misinformation leading up to the election - https://i.imgur.com/iGLGKHB.png More information on the The Redirect Method - https://redirectmethod.org/ Article on the rise of "content cartels" and their collaboration with one another by Evelyn Douek - https://knightcolumbia.org/content/the-rise-of-content-cartels Freddie DeBoer blog post on why censoring people isn't the answer - https://freddiedeboer.substack.com/p/you-cant-censor-away-extremism-or Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
42 minutes | Nov 20, 2020
#21 - Marketing and Meaning
Attention is one of the most precious things we have. How do we make sure that we're paying attention to the things we really want? Better yet, how do we make sure the things we pay attention to are actually conducive to our happiness and well-being? Companies like Google aren't doing us any favors in figuring this out. Take the time to decide why you want something. Don't let others make the decision for you. Essay on advertising and happiness by Thomas Wells - https://www.philosophersbeard.org/2014/08/if-youre-so-rich-why-arent-you-happier.html Article on "corporate speak" by Molly Young https://www.vulture.com/2020/02/spread-of-corporate-speak.html Email me at email@example.com
37 minutes | Sep 6, 2020
#20 - Their Goals Become Our Goals
The type of content that gets the most eyeballs has psychological effects and changes the conversation. Not just the tone of the conversation, the entire conversation. We read it more often because algorithms push it to the top of our feed. And we think of how best to create it in an attempt to get engagement and followers. The more we expose ourselves to this content, the more it changes what we think about, talk about, and care about. It causes us to think of different goals to reach and to rethink what's important. The diagram/flowchart showing how the five topics mentioned in the episode are intertwined with one another and what the causes and effects are - https://i.imgur.com/25nIdMT.png The Social Dilemma is a documentary that was released on Netflix on September 9, 2020. I recommend that everyone who is interested in this episode go watch it. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
54 minutes | May 31, 2020
#19 - Dataism
The problem we face with social media is not just spending too much time on our phones. We have a much bigger issue to deal with: "The problem is essentially runaway extractive capitalism that's treating human beings as a resource and dumping out externalities in the form of a breakdown of truth, a breakdown of democracies, and an inability to work on existential threats like climate change." - Tristan Harris Many of us have heard of machine learning chess engines that can play moves no human would think of. What if we had a machine learning algorithm that, instead of predicting what the best chess move is, it predicts what the next human move is? What if it predicts what motivates a person to spend money? And what if that algorithm has already been created in an attempt to figure out how to effectively sell as many shoes as possible? We have algorithms that are attempting to decode the human soul. And the attempts are getting more successful every day. Zeynep Tufekci TED Talk - https://youtu.be/iFTWM7HV2UI 3Blue1Brown helps us to understand neural networks/machine learning - https://youtu.be/aircAruvnKk Tristan Harris in a recent conversation on persuasive technology - https://youtu.be/0TZKOuQLMfM Email me at email@example.com
58 minutes | Mar 12, 2020
#18 - The Game Theory of Electability
Electability has become the newest buzzword of the 2020 democratic primary. But, what exactly does it mean? It is a conglomeration of many things, but has no meaning without its constituent parts. A car is a combination of an engine, wheels, metal, etc. For a car to be a "car" it must have all of the necessary parts to get you from point A to B. For someone to be electable they must have all of the necessary parts to win votes. Ted-Ed Video on Game Theory - https://youtu.be/MknV3t5QbUc Maggie Koerth on Electability - https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/youll-never-know-which-candidate-is-electable/ https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/does-knowing-whom-others-might-vote-for-change-whom-youll-vote-for/ Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
61 minutes | Jan 1, 2020
#17 - The Sanctimonious Class
Why is mainstream media unable to get through to people why the president is bad for the country? It doesn't seem to be from a lack of trying. How can so many people trust a known liar more than a reputable news organization? Millennials are turning away from mainstream media for a multitude of reasons, but confusion still remains as to why organizations like CNN and MSNBC are powerless when exposing the truth about the president.
46 minutes | Sep 3, 2019
#16 - Much Ado About White Nationalism
Let's go in depth about the radicalization of today's white nationalists. Not just "it's 4chan's fault" but how and why people get led to 4chan in the first place. What leads people from the moment they are born to the online white nationalist strongholds when they are becoming adults? Why them and not others? And, if a deprogramming of this mindset can be implemented, what is it? I can honestly and uncomfortably say that I feel I was on an adjacent path to the white nationalist indoctrination pipeline and I'm lucky to come out unscathed. I feel like this puts me in an uncommon position to be able to explain this pipeline extensively and know the best ways to carve a way out of it. Email me at email@example.com
21 minutes | May 12, 2019
#15 - The Scarcity Stupor
Managing our free time in a world where there seems to be less and less of it every day becomes more and more difficult to do. The less we have, the more difficult it is to spend it on the things we know we ought to. Understandable? Yes. Is managing our money any different? The less we have, the more difficult it is to spend it on the things we know we ought to. Understandable? Also yes. Let's make the connection that lack of free time causes the same mismanagement problems as the lack of cash and let's remove the stigma we have against the poor.
21 minutes | Feb 19, 2019
#14 - Amazon's Job Extortion
In this episode, I talk about just how much of the bargaining power Amazon has right now. Amazon is changing the playbook of what business expenditures look like. Rather than talking about the specifics of the broken deal in New York itself, I go into more detail about the logic of why a deal like this is not just possible, but begged for by cities across America. How do the American people fight back for a better deal?
26 minutes | Nov 20, 2018
#13 - The First Amendment Problem
In this episode, I talk about the quandary we are in when it comes to the right to free speech. Since most people do their talking on social media these days, can Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) or Jack Dorsey (Twitter) be trusted to allow everyone their free speech? Can we force them to allow free speech? If not, can we trust the government to allow it if they have oversight of social media giants? Is competition between private entities enough to keep free speech as a priority? Am I asking too many questions?
43 minutes | Sep 21, 2018
#12 - Looking Down on Optimism
In this episode, I talk about Steven Pinker's critics attacking him and his new book showing how the world is getting better. I connect these critiques to a larger scale problem in society to help show the raw thought process that goes on where people assign compartments of "hate" and "like" to others and predetermine their attitude toward somebody based on what circles they tend to stay in.
33 minutes | Jul 1, 2018
#11 - Universal Basic Income
In this episode of the War of Ideas podcast, I talk about the concept of universal basic income and discuss the viewpoint of someone that thinks it is a step in the right direction due to where we seem to be headed in terms of wealth inequality (and all of the issues that come with it.) Even if we consider the advancement of AI playing an almost negligible role in job displacement, businesses are still getting more and more productive with their time and energy, lessening the need for the same percentage of workers than there used to be. Article referenced in the episode
43 minutes | May 4, 2018
#10 - Propaganda Machines
In this episode of the War of Ideas podcast, I talk about social media's role in the 2016 presidential election, zeroing in on Facebook specifically. A discussion is held on whether or not we should make changes to the first amendment, or whether we might need to in the future. What do we do now that Russia has shown to the world a new take on what is possible in the sphere of online communication?
28 minutes | Jan 28, 2018
#9 - The Attention Economy
There is a race to obtain an alternate form of currency. It's not bitcoin, it's our attention. And most of us don't know that it's happening. Inspired by Tristan Harris, this episode discusses the problem of powerful companies addicting us to their product and how awareness can help us take back our lives.
42 minutes | Dec 3, 2017
#8 - Job Obsolescence and Tax Cuts
In this episode, I discuss the future possibility of a world without the need of jobs, as well as how we should view the necessity of jobs in the present. Then, on to the idea of working hard to make a living, and tying things in with the new tax cuts it looks like we're going to receive.
47 minutes | Oct 13, 2017
#7 - DACA and the Berniecrats
In this episode, I deliberate over whether we should allow immigrants in our country and what Obama's social media outcry shows. After that, if the Bernie wing of the Democratic party is more trouble than it's worth, the role of the media, and the debate over universal healthcare.
33 minutes | Aug 8, 2017
#6 - Trump Logic
In this episode, I go over Dilbert creator Scott Adam's podcast discussion with Sam Harris. He tries to defend Trump's reasons for doing what he does. I offer quite different explanations as to why Trump wants to keep coal jobs, argue against climate change, boast about the stock market, and other topics.
81 minutes | Jul 6, 2017
#5 - Twelve Steps to Redefine Truth
I go over a couple of Jordan Peterson's podcast interview discussions (Joe Rogan, David Rubin). I talk about how I disagree on Peterson's stance towards social justice warriors, the hero archetype, Trump, and other topics.
12 minutes | Jun 8, 2017
#4 - Are We Here By Chance?
Is it possible that we can have such a perfect planet made just for us by random chance? Brace yourself for a loosely connected analogy and find out!
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