#5 Brian Tomasik on Expanding our Moral Circle

Brian Tomasik writes about ethics, animal welfare, and far-future scenarios from a suffering-focused perspective, all of which you can find on reducing-suffering.com.

He helped to found Foundational Research Institute, a think tank that explores crucial considerations for reducing suffering in the long-run future. (Full-disclosure, Holly is currently a contractor for FRI.)

Previously, Brian earned to give as a programmer at FlyHomes, and before that at Microsoft.

#4 Josh Greene on our Moral Brains

#4 Josh Greene on our Moral Brains

Joshua Greene is a professor in the Harvard Department of Psychology where he runs the Moral Cognition Lab. He received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard and then a PhD in philosophy at Princeton where he was mentored by many bright lights of analytical philosophy, including Peter Singer, who served on his committee. After doing a post-doc in a a cognitive neuroscience lab, Greene returned to Harvard to begin his own lab, the Moral Cognition Lab, which studies both descriptive and normative psychology and philosophy.

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#3 Adam Marblestone on the Incentives in Science and Innovation

Adam Marblestone is Chief Strategy Officer of Kernel, and a part-time research scientist with the Synthetic Neurobiology group at MIT. His PhD was in Biophysics at Harvard, under George Church. There he co-authored experimental and theoretical papers on molecular recording devices and road-mapped approaches for whole-brain mapping.

He also participated in the development of new genome engineering and nanotechnology methods. With Ed Boyden at MIT, he helped to initiate the field of optical connectomics, the mapping of connections between neurons, using the combination of expansion microscopy, in-situ sequencing, and machine learning., which you’ll about in today’s episode. He is ALSO the co-founder of BioBright, a company aiming to create a “smart lab” to improve biological experimentation and a scientific advisor to the Open Philanthropy Project.

#2 Irene Pepperberg on Animal Cognition and Ethics

In episode 2, we test Irene Pepperberg on animal cognition and symbolic communication. Dr. Pepperberg worked with Alex the African Grey Parrot for 30 years, until his untimely death, and continues to work with other African Greys (Athena and Griffin) to explore the limits of their congnitive abilities. Long story short: she still hasn’t reached the edge. The more we look, the more fascinating avian capabilities we find. Irene is an unconvential scientist in many ways, from her wrist bangles (which you’ll hear) to her background in theoretical chemistry (!), and she’s great at telling her story. Enjoy!

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#1 Larry Summers on his Career Lessons and Effective Altruism

Larry Summers Turing Test Photo.jpg
I’m here because I believe in [effective altruism] and I admire the idea that you can both count and care. I think too often people who care think that that removes from them the obligation to count and be rigorous and be evaluative and be tough minded. And I’ve always thought that the morally important something is, the more important it is to be brutally analytical and clinically calculating as you go about making decisions. And I think that’s part of a philosophy of effective altruism, and that’s something I admire.
— Larry Summers