What’s at the Heart of Being Human? Brian Christian [reads] ‘Godel, Escher, Bach’
One thing I don't mention often is that the thesis I wrote for my law degree was an attempt to combine my interest in literature with a perspective on law. So I wrote about the phenomenon of plain English: that's trying to write law without the legalese. And I tried to write about it through the lens of literary theories of language.
I honestly did not understand what I was trying to do. And also nobody in law school understood what I was trying to do. What I can see now, with the benefit of hindsight and some self-esteem and some marketing speak, is that I was a boundary rider. I've come to learn that the interesting things often take place on the edges, those intermediate areas where X meets Y and some sort of new life is born. Brian Christian is a boundary rider too. He's just way more successful and interesting than law school Micheal.
He thinks deeply and writes about deep patterns of life through technology and AI and algorithms. He's the author of The Most Human Human, the Alignment Problem, and Algorithms to Live By. After the introduction I just gave you, you're probably going to guess that Brian isn't just a science guy. Get book links and resources at https://www.mbs.works/2-pages-podcast/
Brian reads from Godel, Escher, Bach by Douglas Hofstadter. [Reading begins at 15:10 ]
Hear us Discuss:
Metaphor can be one of the main mechanisms by which science happens. [6:20 ] | Rules that are delightful to break. [24:35 ] | “I have this deep conviction […] we are on to some philosophical paydirt here. There is a very real way in which we are building [AI] systems in our own image, and as a result they come to be a mirror for ourselves.” [28:40 ] | What is the heart of the human experience? [38:10 ] | “Humans are not so special.” [42.50]