Introducing The Jim Rutt Show



The Jim Rutt Show is an interview podcast series examining cutting-edge thinking in science and technology and the future of our economic, political and social systems and institutions. New episodes are released weekly, more or less.

Available on Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Pocket Casts, Spotify, Stitcher, or Others.

Follow Jim Rutt on Twitter and/or Medium.

We welcome your comments and recommendations. Thanks for listening!


EP41 Daniel Mezick on the Agile Organization



Daniel Mezick talks with Jim about how he got into business consulting & agile processes, what an openspace organization is & how it scales with business size/type, Jim’s experience with agile, how an agile scrum is structured, the value of DevOps & product managers, types of agile processes & common pitfalls, learned helplessness, what openspace technology is & how it works, managing ambiguity & change management, inviting vs delegating as a leader, understanding authority & its connection to complex system functionality, boundary management, semiotics, and more.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

Daniel Mezick leads NewTech, a business management consultancy keenly focused on Agile transformation and Business Agility. He coaches executives and teams on how to get rapid, effective and lasting improvement. In his books and workshops, he teaches very specific ways to quickly and predictably get real and lasting results, by encouraging self-management at scale.


EP40 Eric Smith on the Physics of Living Systems



Multidimensional thinker Eric Smith has a wide-ranging talk with Jim about the origins of life, monetary systems, language & sustainability. Eric starts by sharing how geochemistry informs the origin of life topic, the dynamics of autocatalytic processes, how little we know about biological systems & what this might tell us about the Fermi paradox. The conversation then goes into the importance of institutions & a dynamic perspective on monetary systems, the subprime mortgage crisis, money substitutes & crypto. They then finish this chat by talking about Eric’s interest in linguistics & what it can learn from modern probability, key areas of focus for ecosystem sustainability, the challenge of reconciling ‘small local’ & ‘global policy’ approaches to sustainability, the role of civil society, and much more.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

D. Eric Smith received the Bachelor of Science in Physics and Mathematics from the California Institute of Technology in 1987, and a Ph.D. in Physics from The University of Texas at Austin in 1993, with a dissertation on problems in string theory and high-temperature superconductivity. From 1993 to 2000 he worked in physical, nonlinear, and statistical acoustics at the Applied Research Labs: U. T. Austin, and at the Los Alamos National Laboratory. From 2000 he has worked at the Santa Fe Institute on problems of self-organization in thermal, chemical, and biological systems. A focus of his current work is the statistical mechanics of the transition from the geochemistry of the early earth to the first levels of biological organization, with some emphasis on the emergence of the metabolic network.


EP39 John Koza on Bleeding Edges



Multi-talented thinker & creator John Koza & Jim start by talking about what led him to create secure lottery ticket tech early in his career. They then go on to talk about how he got interested in genetic algorithms, his pioneering work in genetic programming, how powerful it is, and some of its stand-out applications. Lastly, John tells Jim what led him to create the National Popular Vote bill, how it works, its current state support, how it addresses the prisoner’s dilemma, the role partisanship plays, responses to common concerns about the bill, and more.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

John R. Koza is Chair of National Popular Vote and a member of the Board of Directors. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Michigan in 1972. He published a board game involving Electoral College strategy in 1966. From 1973 through 1987, he was co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Scientific Games Inc. where he co-invented the rub-off instant lottery ticket used by state lotteries. In the 1980s, he and attorney Barry Fadem were active in promoting adoption of lotteries by various states through the citizen-initiative process and state legislative action. Between 1988 and 2003, he taught a course on genetic algorithms and genetic programming at Stanford University, where he was a consulting professor. He is lead author of the book Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote and originator of the National Popular Vote legislation. Koza has visited 29 states on behalf of National Popular Vote.


EP38 Tristan Harris on Humane Tech



Tristan Harris & Jim start by talking about how Tristan’s career & education in design ethics are informed by being a magician in his youth. They then go on to talk about his experience at the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, the history of psychologically informed business, the power of personalized digital/AI targeting, how algorithms can radicalize us & erode societal trust, the game theory of an attention economy, the breakdown of sense-making, impacts of ad-supported business models & possible alternatives, applying the fiduciary model to advertising & potential impacts taxing ads, political & social issues that come from rapid tech innovation, what’s needed for business to orient towards time well spent, the global information war & how we might protect societies from it, deep fakes, social media anonymity, what Tristan is optimistic about and much more.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

Tristan Harris is the Co-Founder & Executive Director of the Center for Humane Technology, and the Co-Host of the podcast, “Your Undivided Attention.” He was called the “closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience” by The Atlantic magazine, Tristan was the former Design Ethicist at Google. He is a world expert on how technology steers us all, leaving Google to engage the issue publicly. Tristan spent over a decade understanding subtle psychological forces, from his childhood as a magician, to working with the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab, to his role as CEO of Apture, which was acquired by Google. His work on the attention economy started in 2013, when he created a slide deck within Google that went viral, warning about the technology industry’s arms race to capture human attention and the moral responsibility companies have for the ways they restructure society. Tristan’s work has been featured on TEDThe Atlantic60 MinutesThe New York TimesThe Associated PressWall Street Journal. and many more. Tristan has briefed Heads of State, technology company CEOs, and members of U.S. Congress about the attention economy.

EP37 Jared Janes on Spirituality



Meditator & thinker Jared Janes talks with Jim about why he still uses the word ‘spiritual’, altered states vs altered traits, the equation & dynamics of suffering, understanding our own intentions, the confabulating mind, embodied intuition, the value & limits of conceptuality, what the self is & its usefulness, attention & awareness, the pleasure of concentration, metaphysics, and more.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

Jared Janes is a podcast producer/host (The Jim Rutt Show, Both/And, & Impactful), a management consultant, and a committed meditator. He’s been a daily meditator for over five years, has completed multiple meditation courses from different traditions, attends multiple meditation retreats each year, and personally coaches meditators in his spare time. Before podcasting & consulting he built a career in digital operations & management, started & ran a nonprofit, played a video game semi-professionally, and spent his spare time learning about personal performance, science & philosophy.


EP36 Hanzi Freinacht on Metamodernism



Hanzi Freinacht, political philosopher, historian, sociologist, & author has a wide-ranging talk with Jim that starts by exploring what postmodern views are, how many postmodernists there might be & how they act. They, then go on to cover effective values memes & how they arise/interact, the dynamics of the model of hierarchical complexity, societal code, the progression from modern to post-modern & metamodern perspectives, how code & cognitive complexity interact, whether post-modernism is valuable, similarities of metamodernism & GameB, the promises & dangers of running metamodern code, why spirituality is important & its value/dynamics, Jim’s experience & ideas about mystical states, the yoga bourgeoisie, and much more.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

Hanzi Freinacht is a political philosopher, historian & sociologist, author of The Listening SocietyNordic Ideology, and the upcoming book The 6 Hidden Patterns of World History. As a writer, Hanzi combines in-depth knowledge of several sciences and disciplines and offers maps of our time and the human condition with his characteristically accessible, poetic and humorous writing style – challenging the reader’s perspective of herself and the world. He epitomizes much of the metamodern philosophy and can be considered a personification of this strand of thought.


EP35 Ken McCarthy on the History of Online Business



Internet pioneer Ken McCarthy talks with Jim about why & how he first got on the internet in 1993, what it was like to be in tech in the 90’s, the walled gardens of the early internet, the birth of email, Well.com, the pre-commercial internet, brand vs direct response advertising & how they made their way to the internet, Ken’s online businesses, the early days of AOL, the timeline of internet media, the state of podcasting today, understanding market potential & targeting, dangers of sleazy marketing & ad-supported business models, the high cost of free services, Facebook & Google’s ad supremacy & what the future holds for them, publishing business models, the .com crash, and more.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

Ken McCarthy was one of the earliest and most effective evangelists of the movement to commercialize the Internet. Ever click on a banner ad? Ever calculate a click-through rate? Ever send an email with commercial intent? These things had an origin. Ken had a hand in all of them and was literally present at their creation. Ken was also one of the first to see the potential of and use the then-new pay-per-click ad platforms back when clicks were uniformly priced at a dime each. He was one of the earliest advocates of Google AdWords which had a lot of trouble gaining traction, let alone comprehension, in its first year.


EP34 Joe Edelman on the Power of Values



Joe Edelman, philosopher, social scientist & designer starts this conversation with Jim by talking about how meaningfulness is connected to values, social norms & ideological commitments. Then, they go on to talk about the pros & cons of pluralism & coherence in today’s digital world, why Joe coined the phrase/metric ‘time well spent’ & its influence so far, pros & cons of ad-supported tech & potential changes to existing models, the trend of more private social media spaces, how to view the Overton window today, the future of ethical advertising, the promise of Notion.so, the goals of Turtleocracy, the Turtling game, and much more.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

Joe Edelman is a philosopher, social scientist, and designer who believes the current political moment demands a change in the way human systems are designed. A change that will require a clearer understanding of individual and group dynamics. Joe’s work has provided the basis for an online school called Human Systems and he has learned directly from people like Alan KayTerry Winograd, and Bill Verplank at Interval ResearchCasey Fenton at CouchSurfing (where he developed the metrics which guided the company), and Howie Shrobe and Marvin Minksy at MIT. He also continues to learn from his ongoing passionate conversations with Tristan Harris, Nathan Vanderpool, and Anne Selke.


EP33 Melanie Mitchell on the Elements of AI



Professor & Author Melanie Mitchell and Jim have a wide-ranging talk about her work in the field of Artificial Intelligence (AI). They explore the differences between deep learning, symbolic techniques & hybrid systems, AI springs/winters & hype cycles, self-driving cars, strong (general) vs weak (narrow) intelligence, the black-box element of human & artificial intelligence, limitations of neural nets, the potential of evolutionary approaches to AI, embodied & social cognition, whether consciousness is needed for intelligence, reinforcement learning, common sense & understanding in AI, the value of metaphors & analogies in intelligence, and much more.

Episode Transcript

Mentions & Recommendations

Melanie Mitchell is Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University, and External Professor and Co-Chair of the Science Board at the Santa Fe Institute. Mitchell has also held faculty or professional positions at the University of Michigan, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and the OGI School of Science and Engineering. She is the author or editor of seven books and numerous scholarly papers in the fields of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and complex systems, including her latest, Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans.