Monthly Archives: May 2023

EP 186 Charles Eisenstein on Climate: A New Story

Jim talks with Charles Eisenstein about the environment and the ideas in his book Climate: A New Story. They discuss Charles’s involvement with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s presidential campaign, his first encounter with the idea of global warming, the problems with carbon fundamentalism, environmental derangement, the importance of forests to the water cycle, a world of concrete & shit, escaping the mentality of domination, humans as a custodial species, reversing the course of separation, the healing potential of land, developments in regenerative land use, the commodification pressure of our money system, changes in consciousness, the co-evolution of consciousness & systems, diverting resources from the military to restoration, and much more.

Charles Eisenstein is a teacher, public speaker, and author who examines the unspoken narratives that direct our society and our lives. His work covers a wide range of topics, including the history of human civilization, consciousness, economics, spirituality, interdependence, ecology, and how myth and story influence culture. He is the author of The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible, Sacred Economics, and The Ascent of Humanity.

Currents 095: Matt Welsh on the End of Programming

Jim talks with Matt Welsh about the ideas in his essay “The End of Programming,” arguing that coding as we know it will soon be obsolete. They discuss ChatGPT’s ability to perform logical reasoning, whether it thinks, its utility as a programming aid, skipping code entirely, using language models as computational engines, problem decomposition, streamlining the interface between models and databases, complex customer service, the accessibility of fine-tuning, Jim’s LLM scriptwriting project, custom hardware for language models, learning to speak with aliens, democratizing computing abilities, moral conundrums & value-laden choices, training introspection, avoiding an erosion of trust, short-term opportunities for small dev teams, advice for recent college grads, and much more.

Matt Welsh is CEO and Co-Founder at, a startup building a new computing platform based on Large Language Models. Prior to Fixie, Matt was the SVP of Engineering at OctoML, and spent time as an engineering leader at Apple,, and Google. He was previously a Professor of Computer Science at Harvard, and did his PhD in Computer Science at UC Berkeley.

Currents 094: Matthew Pirkowski on Blockchain Consensus Mechanisms

Jim talks with Matthew Pirkowski about the kinds of consensus mechanisms that can be used to secure blockchains. They discuss active inference, proof of work vs proof of stake & the relationship between them, auto-catalytic networks, proof of work in emergent nature, what consensus means & why it needs to be protected, integrity of the ledger, an analogy with clocks, accelerating entropy, photosynthesis, exploring vs exploiting tensions in emergent systems, coordinating central points of reference, energetic openness, the relationship between energy & information, resistance to manipulation, postmodernity & symbols untethered to reality, the evolution of evolvability, adaptive drift, a stable foundation for building infrastructure, the tight relationship between information theory & thermodynamics, whether existing cryptocurrencies exist in a Goldilocks zone vs an arbitrary spot in design space, bugs of global reserve currencies, whether investing in Bitcoin is an anti-social act, currency vs wealth, personal stores of abstract potential energy, and much more.

Matthew Pirkowski works at the intersection of software, psychology, and complex systems. These interests first took root while studying Evolutionary Psychology and assisting with Behavioral Economic research at Yale’s Comparative Cognition Laboratory. From there Matthew began a career in software engineering, where he applied these interests to the development of software interfaces used by millions around the world, most notably as a member of Netflix’s Television UI team, where he worked on experimental initiatives conceptualizing and prototyping the future of entertainment software.

Presently, Matthew is building the underlying modeling architecture at Bioform Labs, a company focused on using the Active Inference toolkit to model organizations as emergent cybernetic organisms. He believes these models can help organizations manage their deployment of and interaction with AI-based agents, as well as more adaptively manage their own emergent complexity.

Currents 093: Rafe Kelley on Natural Movement

Jim talks with Rafe Kelley about the parkour-based movement system he created and teaches, Evolve Move Play. They discuss electromagnetic pulses, combining parkour & martial arts, the importance of nature exploration for children, the historical roots of parkour, using limbs to overcome obstacles, what makes parkour natural, rough play as an antidote to infantilization, healthy play culture, humans as arboreal animals, the quantification of extreme sports, love & amateurism, ekstasis, building selves worth esteeming, the professionalization of sexuality, dangers of AI porn, building alternative communities, building virtues, values, and norms, EMP as virtue development, parkour as an exemplar of GameB, procedural, perspectival, and participatory knowing, the embodiment of virtue, music & community-building, and much more.

Rafe Kelley is the creator of the Evolve Move Play method. A method incorporealatoring elements of play, natural parkour [treerunning], rough-housing, movement games, athletic development, body integrity and antifragility practices for resilience, working with fear and its repatterning, rewilding, ecological knowledge and anthropology, systems theory and motor learning perspectives of skill acquisition. Besides the personal physical feats of high degree and the hard work of art formation involved in EMP, Rafe is passionate about community fostering. He has created what is one of the best movement and related fields podcasts to these ends; and hosts retreats to foster human connection on top of many workshops taught.