Category Archives: Jim Rutt Show Podcasts

EP 225 Bruce Damer on a New Path for Psychedelics

Jim talks with Bruce Damer about the new Center for MINDS and the ideas in his essay “Downloads from the Modern Dawn of Psychedelics.” They discuss alternate ways psychedelics could have been introduced, Aldous Huxley & Humphry Osmond’s speculative Outsight project, convergent vs divergent thinking, Bruce’s mushroom trip with Terrence McKenna, concrescence into novelty, the stoned ape theory, the unreported influence of psychedelics on breakthroughs, Bruce’s coming-out as a psychedelics user, psychedelic-assisted innovation, Bruce’s naturally trippy brain, endogenous tripping, the Eleusinian Mysteries, the late Bronze Age collapse, the possibility that hallucinogens powered civilization, alcohol & the poison path, the decline in breakthrough research, the disincentivization of grand thinking, how the Center for Minds is beginning research via surveys, Jim’s use of occasional heavy doses of THC, Bruce’s set, setting & setup approach, finding the others, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy, the state of ketamine research, and much more.

Dr. Bruce Damer is Canadian-American multidisciplinary scientist, designer, and author. In his role as a world-renowned Astrobiologist at the UC Santa Cruz Department of Biomolecular Engineering, Dr. Damer collaborates with colleagues developing and testing a new scenario for the origin of life on Earth and where it might arise in the universe. As a designer he has provided innovative spacecraft architectures to NASA and others which could provide a viable path for the expansion of life and human civilization beyond the Earth.

EP 224 Samo Burja on Geothermal Energy

Jim talks with Samo Burja about the ideas in his recent article “Geothermal Energy Turns Planets Into Power Sources.” They discuss the heat beneath the earth’s surface, contributors to the heat, technological dependency between fracking & geothermal, the math of electricity, earthquake risk, the limits of current geology, the value of better drilling tech, new approaches to drilling, gyrotrons, plasma torches, whether our civilization actually needs more energy, the local optimum of fossil fuels, bureaucratic incentives in energy, investment of social surplus, scientific welfare, metascience, giving academic tenure to brilliant 25-year-olds, a defense-favoring military epoch, the math of geothermal vs other combinations of energy sources, visions of a clean-energy future, and much more.
Samo Burja is the founder and President of Bismarck Analysis, a consulting firm that specializes in institutional analysis for clients in North America and Europe. Bismarck uses the foundational sociological research that Samo and his team have conducted over the past decade to deliver unique insights to clients about institutional design and strategy. Samo’s studies focus on the social and material technologies that provide the foundation for healthy human societies, with an eye to engineering and restoring the structures that produce functional institutions. He has authored articles and papers on his findings. His manuscript, Great Founder Theory, is available online. He is also a Research Fellow at the Long Now Foundation and Senior Research Fellow in Political Science at the Foresight Institute. Samo has spoken about his findings at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Y Combinator’s YC 120 conference, the Reboot American Innovation conference in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. He spends most of his time in California and his native Slovenia.

EP 223 Jordan Hall on Cities, Civiums, and Becoming Christian

Jim talks with Jordan Hall about the ideas in his essay “From City to Civium” and about his recent conversion to Christianity. They discuss scaling laws, superlinear scaling in cities & Metcalf’s law, technologies of density, virtualization of space, ephemeralizing of communication, a tipping point in the virtualization of relationality, cities as killers, reaching the limits of the institutional forms that got us out of the 20th century, decoupling of body & mind, returning to the mesoscale, tech hygiene, reciprocal opening, what makes GameB hard, Jordan’s experience with civiums, hierarchies of values & their inevitability, regaining functional cultural toolkits, pouring water on plants vs creating from scratch, how civium led to Christianity, distinguishing good & bad in religion, Jordan’s lifelong agnosticism, the virtual, becoming an integrated self, ensoulment, egregores, whether egregores have agency, the origin of liturgy & liturgical practices, the challenge of bringing already-embedded individuals into embodied community, visiting & moving to Black Mountain, North Carolina, the ease of meaningfulness in the right context, being invited to church, Jordan’s transition to believing in a personal God, a crisis of conscience, the Orthodox sensibility of “beauty-first,” a relationship with goodness, understanding the Trinity, relationality as the essence of the triune God, a dimensional opening, faith as a faculty, the idea of being created by God in His image, adopting traditional gender values, the idea of abortion as murder, the hermeneutics of presence, Biblical inerrancy, why the kingdom of God is not theocracy, soul sovereignty, orienting toward a universal Good vs coherent pluralism, post-tragedy, growing community organically, the question of vocation, and much more.

Jordan Hall is the Co-founder and Executive Chairman of the Neurohacker Collective. He is now in his 17th year of building disruptive technology companies. Jordan’s interests in comics, science fiction, computers, and way too much TV led to a deep dive into contemporary philosophy (particularly the works of Gilles Deleuze and Manuel DeLanda), artificial intelligence and complex systems science, and then, as the Internet was exploding into the world, a few years at Harvard Law School where he spent time with Larry Lessig, Jonathan Zittrain and Cornel West examining the coevolution of human civilization and technology.

EP 222 Trent McConaghy on AI & Brain-Computer Interface Accelerationism (bci/acc)

Jim talks with Trent McConaghy about the ideas in his recent essay “bci/acc: A Pragmatic Path to Compete with Artificial Superintelligence.” They discuss the meaning of BCI (brain-computer interfaces) and acc (accelerationism), categories of AI, how much room there is for above-human intelligence, whether AI is achieving parallelism, the risks of artificial superintelligence (ASI), problems with deceleration, AI intelligences balancing each other, decentralized approaches to AI, problems with the “pull the plug” idea, humans as the weak security link, the silicon Midas touch, competing with AI using BCIs, the need for super-high bandwidth, the noninvasive road to BCIs, realistic killer apps, eye tracking, pragmatic telepathy, subvocalization, reaching adoption-level quality, the arc between noninvasive and full silicon, near-infrared sensors, issues around mass adoption of implants, maintaining cognitive liberty, the risk of giving malevolent ASIs the keys to the kingdom, whether humans plus ASIs might compete with ASIs, and much more.

Trent McConaghy is founder of Ocean Protocol. He has 25 years of deep tech experience with a focus on AI and blockchain. He co-founded Analog Design automation Inc. in 1999, which built AI-powered tools for creative circuit design. It was acquired by Synopsys in 2004. He co-founded Solido Design Automation in 2004, using AI to mitigate process variation and help drive Moore’s Law. Solido was later acquired by Siemens. He then went on to launch ascribe in 2013 for NFTs on Bitcoin, then Ocean Protocol in 2017 for decentralized data markets for AI. He currently focuses on Ocean Predictoor for crowd-sourced AI prediction feeds.

EP 221 George Hotz on Open-Source Driving Assistance

Jim talks with George Hotz about running Comma, an open-source driving assistance company. They discuss breaking the carrier lock on the iPhone at seventeen, Google’s Project Zero, zero days, Mobileye & proprietary perception algorithms, cameras vs lidar, 6 levels of self-driving automation, the reliability of human driving, self-driving cars as “demo complete,” why corner cases aren’t the issue, integrated world models, the challenge of defining lane lines, recognizing the right part of the road, behavioral cloning, the hugging test, Comma’s data set, the small offset simulator, how to install Comma in a car, what it does, why high-precision maps aren’t useful, problems with Waymo’s approach, “trackless monorails,” why current systems still use remote-control driving, hyper-fragile centralized systems, Tesla’s approach, against magical inflection points, self-driving as a stepping stone to artificial life, why Comma doesn’t do marketing, the regulatory environment, eyes off vs hands off, why self-driving cars are easier than general robotics, liability, functional safety, the Tinygrad machine learning framework, who’s using it, and much more.

George Hotz is the founder of and the tiny corp. He is working on self driving, robotics, and ML infrastructure with the goal of creating an operating system for silicon-stack life.

EP 220 Lene Rachel Andersen on Polymodernity

Jim talks with Lene Rachel Andersen about the ideas in her book Polymodernity: Meaning and Hope in a Complex World. They discuss the meaning of polymodernism, working with four cultural codes, polymodernism vs metamodernism, the flaw in combining stage theories with cultural history, the problem with postmodernism’s deconstruction of guidance & boundaries, 3 factors leading to modernity, the beginnings of alienation, postmodernism as a critique of modernism, the danger of reifying theories, why a post-modern society would fall apart, learning from indigenous prehistoric cultures, the influence of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Lene’s relationship to Christianity and conversion to Judaism, being a practicing doubting Jew, long-term consequences of having good narratives that people believe in, Jewish law vs Hammurabi’s Code, reading the Pentateuch, using post-modern tech to implement a pre-modern order, Emily Wilson’s translation of The Iliad, mining the social learnings of the past with discernment, why religious people have often led the resistance to authoritarian regimes, true encouragement, the bildung rose, the problem with hypermodernism, the eternal misery of hypermodernist success, learning as one of the essences of being human, and much more.

Lene Rachel Andersen is an economist, author, futurist, philosopher and Bildung activist. She heads the think tank Nordic Bildung in Copenhagen and is a member of the Club of Rome. After studying business economy for three years, she worked as a substitute teacher before studying theology. During her studies, she wrote entertainment for Danish television until she decided to quit theology, become a full-time writer, and focus on technological development, big history, and the future of humanity. Since 2005, she has written 20 books and received two Danish democracy awards: Ebbe Kløvedal-Reich Democracy Baton (2007) and Døssing Prisen, the Danish librarians’ democracy prize (2012). Among her books are The Nordic Secret (2017, new edition 2024), Bildung: Keep Growing (2020), What is Bildung? (2021), Libertism (2022), and Polymodernity (2023, previously Metamodernity (2019)).

EP 219 Katherine Gehl on Breaking Partisan Gridlock

Jim talks with Katherine Gehl about her and Michael Porter’s book, The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy. They discuss Jim’s past familiarity with Michael Porter’s work, Porter’s five forces, the “what the hell is water” phenomenon, the Schoolhouse Rock problem, political industry theory, political payback for unhelpful activities, why political competitors are doing better as “customers” become more dissatisfied, the current American party system as a protected duopoly, nonprofit investments in things that have no chance, non-constitutional problems, the reversible accident of plurality voting, whether more parties are essential, how Ross Perot’s 1992 election pressured the two parties to balance the budget, reforming the primary system, final-five voting, Alaska’s experiment in final-four voting, instant runoffs, freeing players to make good strategic choices, lowering the barrier to entry for new thinking, and much more.

Katherine Gehl is the originator of Final Five Voting (FFV)—a new election system designed to positively transform the incentives driving our dysfunctional politics. In 2020, Gehl published The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy (with co-author Michael Porter of Harvard Business School). Her work applied a competition lens and classic tools of industry analysis to politics for the first time. Today, Gehl leads the national Campaign for Final Five Voting which she co-founded with leaders across the political spectrum.

EP 218 Max Borders on Christopher Rufo’s New Right Manifesto

Jim talks with Max Borders about the ideas in his two-part essay series responding to Christopher Rufo’s recent manifesto “The New Right Activism.” They discuss the commentary form of the essays, pillar saints vs boy Pharoahs, the Gray Tribe, Rufo as a rockstar gladiator, the white-paper industrial complex, the Gramscian model of capturing the institutions, the tit-for-tat approach to politics, recapturing the power of the state to indoctrinate the youth, the wartime point of view, the means & ends problem, subversive innovation, the University of Austin, public universities as indoctrination factories, a Handmaid’s Tale vision of virtue, why Rufo is more Machiavellian than Aristotelian, the danger of rejecting an open society, changing the language & the case study of “equity,” defending abstract principles in politics, how Rufos misses the point about real power, re-enlivening the U.S.’s founding principles, and much more.

Max Borders is the author of The Social Singularity (2018) and The Decentralist (2021). His latest book is called Underthrow (2023). Currently, he is working on two major projects: a cosmopolitan constitution designed to open the era of open-source law, and a global fraternal society dedicated to the mission, morality, and mutualism of the “Gray Tribe.”

EP 217 Ben Goertzel on a New Framework for AGI

Jim talks with Ben Goertzel about a paper he co-wrote, “OpenCog Hyperon: A Framework for AGI at the Human Level and Beyond.” They discuss the way Ben defines AGI, problems with an economically oriented definition, the rate of advancement of a society, the history of OpenCog, mathematical models of intelligence, Jim’s early use of OpenCog, a distributed Atomspace, Atomese vs MeTTa languages, knowledge metagraphs, why Ben didn’t write a custom programming language for the original OpenCog, type theory, functional logic programming, moving from weirdly ugly to weirdly elegant, technical debt, grounding of Atoms, interfacing Hyperon with LLMs, nourishing a broader open-source community, hierarchical attention-based pattern recognition networks, heuristic induction, cognitive synergy, why scalability requires translating declarative representation into procedural form and vice versa, retrieval-augmented generation, predictive-coding-based learning as an alternative to back-propagation, the possibility of an InfoGAN-style transformer, and much more.

Dr. Ben Goertzel is a cross-disciplinary scientist, entrepreneur and author.  Born in Brazil to American parents, in 2020 after a long stretch living in Hong Kong he relocated his primary base of operations to a rural island near Seattle. He leads the SingularityNET Foundation, the OpenCog Foundation, and the AGI Society which runs the annual Artificial General Intelligence conference. Dr. Goertzel’s research work encompasses multiple areas including artificial general intelligence, natural language processing, cognitive science, machine learning, computational finance, bioinformatics, virtual worlds, gaming, parapsychology, theoretical physics and more. He also chairs the futurist nonprofit Humanity+,  serves as Chief Scientist of AI firms  Rejuve, Mindplex, Cogito and Jam Galaxy, all parts of the SingularityNET ecosystem, and serves as keyboardist and vocalist in the Jam Galaxy Band, the first-ever band led by a humanoid robot.

EP 216 Kevin Dickinson on A Short History of the F-Word

Jim talks with Kevin Dickinson about the ideas in his recent essay “A Short History of the F-Word.” They discuss the mystery of the F-word’s origins, a damn fucking abbot in the sixteenth century, the hierarchy of curse words, religious profanities, the poet William Dunbar’s use of “fukkit,” the case of Roger Fuckedbythenavele, folk etymologies, false acronyms, movies with the most fucks, fucks per minute vs absolute number of fucks, a high Ngram watermark in 2017, the Lady Chatterley’s Lover obscenity trial, senses of fuck, veiling words, John McWhorter’s research, the history of fuck in the dictionary, language as fashion, and much more.
Kevin Dickinson is a staff writer and columnist at Big Think. His writing focuses on the intersection between education, psychology, business, and science. He holds a master’s in English and writing, and his articles have appeared in Agenda, RealClearScience, and the Washington Post.