68 Ways to Be Better at Life (Ep. 419)
The accidental futurist Kevin Kelly on why enthusiasm beats intelligence, how to really listen, and why the solution to bad technology is more technology.
Listen and subscribe to our podcast at Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or elsewhere. Below is a transcript of the episode, edited for readability. For more information on the people and ideas in the episode, see the links at the bottom of this post.
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Hey there, it’s Stephen Dubner. We have just launched a new, spinoff podcast with my good friend Angela Duckworth. It’s called No Stupid Questions. We take turns asking and trying to answer questions about everything from friendship and parenting to immortality and the classic conundrum of whether dogs are better than people.
DUBNER: I superimpose onto the face of every person who’s annoying me, the face of some dog.
DUCKWORTH: This makes you nicer to them?
DUBNER: Suddenly, I’m empathetic toward every person.
No Stupid Questions is the name of our new podcast. Please subscribe right now, wherever you get your podcasts. I’d like to tell you how hard we worked on it but honestly, we just sit down and unload our brains. But we have a great time making it, and I think you’ll enjoy listening. So: I hope you give No Stupid Questions a try, and let us know what you think. Thanks.
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Who doesn’t love a little wisdom once in a while? We all seek it out — in the people we know, or would like to know; in philosophy and science and religion; in adventure and travel and all sorts of mind-bending encounters. Most wisdom is presented in a manner befitting its ambition, with an important-sounding title and a package designed to impress. But sometimes the wisdom is just sitting there — on a website, with a title like, “68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice.” That’s what Kevin Kelly called the list he wrote on the occasion of his 68th birthday. And he published it on his website: kk.org.
Kevin KELLY: Yeah. It bounced around far more than I thought it would. So it has gone viral.
And why did he compile 68 bits of wisdom?
KELLY: At the beginning of this year, I made a deal with my 23-year-old son, that we would each write something every day or make some art and that we’d try to hold each other accountable. And I decided to write some advice for him as my little thing for the day.
For the day that happened to be his own birthday.
KELLY: Yes. I decided to do what hobbits do. As you might remember, hobbits don’t get birthday presents on their birthday, they give birthday presents.
By now you may well be asking yourself: who is this 68-year-old hobbit by the name of Kevin Kelly? And why should I pay attention to his wisdom?
KELLY: I am officially the senior maverick at Wired magazine, a magazine that I co-founded 25 years ago.
He has founded some other things too.
KELLY: Yeah, things like The WELL, which was the first public access to the internet. Things like the Hackers Conference and V.R. jamborees. And these days, I package ideas.
Most of his ideas are packaged as books — like the 2016 book called The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future. That book was read by many as a blueprint for how artificial intelligence will unfold. We interviewed Kelly back then, too. The episode was called “The Future (Probably) Isn’t as Scary as You Think.”
KELLY: Most of A.I. is going to be invisible to us. That’s one of the signs of the success of a technology — is it becomes invisible.
Kelly is often called a futurist.
KELLY: I don’t use that word for myself.
And how does he feel when other people stick that label on him?
KELLY: I understand where it’s coming from and I don’t refuse it. I think it feels like calling yourself a visionary. It’s like you can’t call yourself a visionary. But I do spend a lot of my time thinking about the future, which is paradoxical in many ways. If I was to come back from the future 100 years from now and tell you things, they would almost be unbelievable. Yet to be useful, you have to be plausible. So if what you’re talking about is too improbable, you won’t have any effect. If it’s too accepted, it’s not going to be useful. So there’s this really weird place in the middle where it’s just about implausible and just about plausible at the same time.
It strikes me that giving advice — especially 68 pieces of unsolicited advice — is similar to thinking about the future. You have to be original enough to be useful, but not so implausible as to be reckless. Kelly says his 68 bits of advice are meant for younger people. And in this age of virtual graduation ceremonies, a lot of them do feel like aphorisms you might hear in a commencement address. But (to me at least) they read like little wisdom bombs that can benefit anyone of any age — at least if you’re still looking to get better at something, or just to be a bit more self-aware.
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In addition to packaging ideas about technology, Kevin Kelly is also a hardcore tinkerer. So a few of his 68 pieces of unsolicited advice are coming from someone who’s plainly spent a lot of time in a workshop. For instance:
KELLY (reading from 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice): Don’t trust all-purpose glue.
KELLY (reading from 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice): If you are looking for something in your house, and then you finally find it, when you’re done with it, don’t put it back where you found it. Put it back where you first looked for it.
But the vast majority of his advice is about dealing with other humans. Some of it’s pretty obvious; but quite a lot is devilishly original, or at least clever.
KELLY (reading from 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice): Being enthusiastic is worth 25 I.Q. points.
DUBNER: This is one of my favorites. It makes my whole body smile to read that. It’s one of those things that in retrospect is so obvious, although I don’t know if it really is, provably, demonstrably true.
KELLY: Yeah, I noticed in looking at the kind of people that I wanted to hang around that often it was because of people’s enthusiasm and not so much because they were geniuses. And I also noticed that I probably thought they were smarter than they were because of that enthusiasm. And finally — this is a self-confession — I’m not the smartest person in the room by any means, but I’m often the most enthusiastic person in the room. And I will get invited back.
DUBNER: And what does enthusiasm produce that’s useful?
KELLY: That’s a great question. It produces — well, improvisation. In improv, there’s this fantastic bit of advice that you always want to say not “no,” but you want to say “and.” You want to add into what someone had built before you and add onto it rather than kind of undermine it. And enthusiasm is kind of — I have never thought about this — but it’s almost a kind of empathy in a certain way.
DUBNER: You know, when I was just starting out in New York journalism, and— I mean, I wasn’t terrible, but I was new at it. And one of the first assignments I had was for a rather high-minded literary magazine. And I wrote the piece. I thought I did pretty well. And the editor wrote back to say, one, we’re going out of business, so we’re not going to publish it. But two, I wouldn’t have published it anyway. He said — which was obviously a little bit on the gratuitous side — but I’ll never forget what he said. He said, “If I were you, I would consider myself less of a writer and more of a writing enthusiast.” And I, maybe it’s the enthusiast in me, I was not at all insulted. I know he was trying to insult me.
KELLY: It’s a compliment. Yeah. Right. I like the term enthusiast. You know, we have this word, “amateur.” But amateur is a little bit derogatory in some ways. Enthusiast is maybe the more dignified term. But it’s about people who are obsessively interested, you know, doing things. They are making things happen. And they have a deep interest that I think is often the fountain in the foundation of new things, big new things.
DUBNER: And is 25 I.Q. points at all a realistic estimation? Because that’s a lot.
KELLY: It is. But let me just qualify that with a caveat. I don’t believe in I.Q. at all. I think it’s a terrible, terrible, misleading idea.
DUBNER: Why do you say that?
KELLY: Well, because this complicated procedure that we would call intelligence — that we’re using right now — is probably made up of at least, I don’t know, 12 — maybe 100 — different types of cognition, ranging from deduction, induction, to memory, long-term memory, intuition. All kinds of things. And I think this is going to be one of the side-products of artificial intelligence as we try to make minds, is we’ll come to understand that there isn’t just a single dimension to intelligence. This idea that you can kind of rank things in this ladder. Up, kind of, a mouse or rat, you know, monkey and stuff, and then there’s us. And then there’s Einstein and then there’s A.I. Well, this is just ridiculous, because it’s a very complicated, multidimensional thing that we’re doing.
And as we make more of these artificially, we’ll begin to actually populate that space and we’ll find out that humans are way at the edge. Just like we are on the galaxy, we’re not the center of anything. We’re always at the edge. And we’re going to be at the edge in the corner of the space of possible thinking. And it’s not a single dimension. It’s much more complicated.
DUBNER: Do you think, therefore — or however, I’m not sure which one — that there are elements of human cognition that are not able to be replicated at all by artificial intelligence, or too early to say?
KELLY: Well, no. What I would say is that the mix would be un-replicable. And that’s because the substrate that you use to make thinking matters. So one of the kind of cornerstones of computation is this theorem, the Church-Turing hypothesis, which says that given infinite time and space, that all computational processes are equivalent. Well, the kicker is the unlimited time and space, which is not reality. So when you are limited, there isn’t the equivalency. And what the platform is that you’re using makes a difference. So the only way that we’ll get this mix of human cognition is if it’s running on the same kind of hardware that we’re running on. And there is really no reason to replicate that because it’s so easy to do with untrained labor in nine months. Okay?
However, the thing about these artificial minds — the benefit is we don’t want them to think like humans. That’s why we’re going to make them. It’s because they’re not thinking like us, because they’re going to think differently, because they’re going to approach problems in a different way. And so we’re going to make 1,000 different species of thinking — all different than us — because that’s where the value is.
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KELLY (reading from 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice): Learn how to learn from those who disagree with you, or even offend you. See if you can find truth in what they believe.
DUBNER: So the value of doing this one seems obvious, especially in a moment where so many people are so quick to take offense, and to be offensive. Can you give me an example of where you’ve actually done this?
KELLY: There are parts of my books where I’ve written something, and somebody will say something very strong, about, “That’s dumb,” or it’s stupid, or wrong. And that’s pretty harsh. But my take is to say, “Let me see if there’s any truth to that.” Sometimes there’s not. Sometimes there may be some sliver of something. And what I’ve learned to do is to respond to that little sliver. To try to get underneath why they’re saying it and where is it they’re coming from. I don’t have to necessarily always agree with them or change it, but I have to pay attention to that signal. And so I’ve learned to treat these things as signals rather than as insults.
DUBNER: And is the goal there to learn more about the idea you were writing about? Is the issue to mollify a potential enemy? Is the goal to make yourself feel more right, perhaps?
KELLY: That’s a fair question. I would like to be right. I should add this to this list, but Esther Dyson says it so well, she says, “Keep making new mistakes.” So, yeah, I would like not to make that mistake again. It’s not to mollify my critics, because I have learned that’s a no-win game. It’s more of, I want my argument to be better. I want it to be right, but for the right reason. And it’s about educating myself, primarily.
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KELLY (reading from 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice): Pros are just amateurs who know how to gracefully recover from their mistakes.
DUBNER: I love that one, because I’m a golfer. And, to me, one of the biggest differentiators between a professional and an amateur, besides putting, is that pros hit bad shots and they recover twice as well as an amateur, if not more. And I was curious whether this had anything to do with golf. I’m guessing no. But where this comes from and if you could give me an example.
KELLY: Yeah, I’m the opposite of a golfer. But I’m a maker, and I watch way too many YouTube tutorials in the making field —people who are working in workshops. And it’s very clear as you’re watching them — if they’re an honest YouTuber — you see that they’re making mistakes all the time. And for the same dumb reasons that all of us make mistakes, where they just forgot. It was upside down. And what’s interesting to me is the way in which they have a set of tools or techniques for recovering, whereas my first impulse would be like, “I’m screwed. I’ve got to start over again.” No. They’re not going to start over again. They’re going to recover from this.
And I also had some experience in the speech-giving, talk business. And I had a couple of times when you have these sort of interruptions, we’ll call them, where the projector fails or the sound goes out or someone starts heckling in the back, whatever it is. And also being in the audience of other people doing the same thing, and the ones that I really admired were those to whom these were not like setbacks or disruptions at all. These were just little quirks in the turn. This was just another little plot twist in the talk itself.
DUBNER: So is that ability to recover about anything more than just experience, however? Is there an actual skill there?
KELLY: It’s both. The pros probably have a bigger toolkit because of their experience. But I think there is a mindset that is an attitude that you can learn, which is that these little things that happen are just part of the journey, that they’re going to happen, and that you should expect them to happen. And that you have to recover from it. And all the entrepreneurs that I know that are successful have also adopted that in the large scale, which is basically, there’s going to be a day when they’re not going to be able to make payroll. That is to be expected. And so they sort of incorporate that as part of what they’re doing.
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KELLY (reading from 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice): Being able to listen well is a superpower. While listening to someone you love, keep asking them, “Is there more?” until there is no more. A rule of three in conversation. To get to the real reason, ask a person to go deeper than what they have just said. Then again, and then once more. The third time’s answer is close to the truth.
DUBNER: So tell me a little bit about you as a listener and maybe something important you’ve learned that it took a lot of listening to get there.
KELLY: So, I’m married. Do I need to say anything more? I’m still married. I’ve been married for 30 years. And I have found that talking to my kids and my wife that the first answer is maybe more superficial, even though it’s genuine intent, and that you have to kind of probe a little bit more to get at a real reason. And that even that second one is not enough; you have to go for a third one. And then the kind of, “Is there more? Is there more?” It’s a very similar kind of a process where you are inviting the person to talk, and your job is to listen. You’re not judging, qualifying, investigating. You’re simply absorbing. And that stance of being open and hearing for some people is difficult. And you can learn to be better at it, is my point.
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KELLY (reading from 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice): Learn how to take a 20-minute power nap without embarrassment.
DUBNER: I was kind of taken aback by this one because I do nap daily and I’m not embarrassed. I didn’t know I was supposed to be embarrassed by napping daily.
KELLY: Well, I am also a napper. In fact, I’m coming up to my naptime. But I— I do exactly a 20-minute nap and found that additional 20 minutes allows me to shave off two hours of sleep. So I go to sleep at 1:30 in the evening and at 1:30 in the afternoon. And the afternoon is 20 minutes. The other one is six hours. And so, that seems to be enough for me.
DUBNER: And you write about the need to do this without embarrassment. Do you have friends, family who ridicule you for this?
KELLY: Well, I’ve been doing it for so long. I guess when you’re like 68 or 70, people are kind of, yeah, it’s old grandpa. But when I was younger, it seemed like cheating or something. I mean, at least I was embarrassed by the fact that I’m taking a nap.
DUBNER: It was just the appearance of, you know, you couldn’t hack it, kind of, was the idea?
KELLY: Yeah. It’s like, okay, like I’m checking out.
DUBNER: Do you have any advice for lessening that stigma? There’s been really good research lately which shows that napping is demonstrably, a good thing for productivity — not to mention physical and mental health. And it makes sense if you look at the history of electric light and how we used to sleep, etc. But the stigma, like in a corporate environment, still seems to be pretty strong. So let’s just pretend that I’m a public-health official and I want to start a movement that everybody on every job around the world feels empowered — and obviously has the circumstances — to take that 20-minute nap. Can you think of the biggest impediments, and any ways to address them?
KELLY: Well, one of the things that I know — because my wife grew up in Taiwan — is in Taiwan, it is a national thing that they do. I haven’t been there in a couple of years, but at least when I was in Taiwan, in the afternoon, everybody in the office had put their head on the desk and was asleep. And the office just closed down.
DUBNER: But how do you make it part of the culture if it’s not?
KELLY: Well, I think going to this word, “embarrassment.” I think today, if you found a coworker asleep with their head on a desk, they’d be taking pictures and you know, you’d be the butt of Instagram or Facebook. I think part of it is we have the sense that it’s undignified to fall asleep at your desk. And so when we were making Wired and kind of inventing the offices, one of the things that we wanted was a nap room, very early on. And in Silicon Valley, there are nap rooms. And I think more nap rooms would be a part of the culture saying, “This is okay. We expect this.”
DUBNER: So what if— let’s say there’s a financial firm and there’s all these young people who are really competitive, really smart, and the C.E.O. says, “You know, I’ve read the research. It’s a no-brainer. Everybody needs to take a nap every day.” But then there’s others who say, like, “Well, you know, I’m going to skip the nap because I’m competitive and I want to use that 20 minutes to do more work and get ahead.”
KELLY: Oh, it’s very, very easy. The C.E.O. has to take a nap. Then the C.F.O. takes a nap, and if all the C-suite are taking naps, you’re going to take a nap.
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Kevin Kelly is an author, a maker, and a sort-of futurist who’s had a hand in shaping our online culture for the past few decades.
DUBNER: And would you say the internet has turned out exactly as you and your fellow pioneers envisioned it would be?
KELLY: I think it’s far more powerful and pervasive than what we imagined. I would say so far, the net gains have exceeded net losses. So I am incredibly optimistic about where we’re going from here.
DUBNER: Say a bit more about that, net gains exceeding net losses. I think most people, if they stopped to think about it, would agree. I think, however, many people don’t stop to think about it, and their attention gets captured by some of the losses, some of the invasions, some of the noise. And they think, “Ugh, internet, what a pain in the neck.” So talk about the balance there.
KELLY: Yeah. It’s very clear that technology does not bring us utopia, that almost as many problems are created by each new technology as problems solved. I’m a little bit techno-centric and differ from maybe the critics of technology, because I believe that the solution to the problems that technology makes is not less technology, but better technology. It’s sort of like if I’m to sit here and utter some really dumb idea, you’re not going to say, “Kevin, you need to think less.” You have to have a better idea.
So I see the problems, whatever it might be — from having phones kind of take over their lives, or the way we have surveillance and we feel uncomfortable — that these things are there and they’re real and they’ve been made by technology. But that the solution to them is not to retreat, to say, “I’m going to give this up,” because everybody who tries it, it doesn’t really work. It’s to say, “Let’s do this better. Let’s figure out a way to civilize this. Let’s figure out a way to tame it, domesticate it, and make it better.” And that will take new technology — which, by the way, is going to make new problems.
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KELLY (reading from 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice): Over the long term, the future is decided by optimists. To be an optimist, you don’t have to ignore the many problems we create; you have to imagine improving our capacity to solve those problems.
DUBNER: So let me ask you this. Many of the optimists I know happen to be people who are rather successful and comfortable in life. And many of the pessimists I know are not. So I’m curious whether you think optimism is a cause of material comfort or a result. And if it’s only a result, then maybe it’s not so trustworthy as an indicator of where the future lies.
KELLY: No, it’s a fair question. But I have noticed that, over time — if you read history carefully — it’s people who have visions about where they want society to go, those ideas, in the end, triumph. And just as there are people trying to make things happen today, there are also people who are concerned about what’s happening today and want to slow it down, to stop it or to change it. But it’s the vision of the builders, of the makers, that actually, in the end, will triumph. And so I see it almost like a car. It’s like, there’s two kind of instrumental parts in the car. There’s this engine, which is running forward. But there’s the brakes. And without the brakes, you can’t steer. The brakes are essential. We need them. But it’s the engine that’s actually going to determine where we go.
DUBNER: Let’s talk for a second about this pandemic. There are some elements of the pandemic itself and the resultant lockdown where technology has been a huge help. I mean, it’s hard to imagine a quarantine like this without the technology and the digital communication that we’re all really used to now. You know, everybody is Zooming and communicating and watching Netflix — and access to email and text and so on. And in medicine, there are multiple technologies, obviously, that are helping to some degree, at least, in the search for therapeutics and a vaccine and so on. On the other hand, technology seems a little bit impotent in some realms, like, “Wait, we don’t do that already? We don’t have that capacity now? How can that be?”
KELLY: Yeah. So my wife is a biochemist. She works for 23andMe genetics. It’s very clear that biotechnology is very different from digital technology. We get used to the speeds of digital technology and how it improves and how we can apply it. And biology is just so much slower. You can’t really speed it up. There was an old joke about trying to speed up the nine months of pregnancy by having two women do it in half the time. It just works at kind of biological time. And that’s sort of what we’re confronting, is we have this expectation of the digital era and we want this thing to happen instantly. This whole thing is happening faster than the speed of science happens, which is slow and requires consensus. And so I think technology’s not letting us down. It’s just that we have to understand that biotechnology operates at a slightly different speed than the digital.
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KELLY (reading from 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice): Anything real begins with the fiction of what it could be. Imagination, therefore, is the most potent force in the universe, and a skill you can get better at. It’s the one skill in life that benefits from ignoring what everybody else knows.
DUBNER: Okay, that’s interesting, an argument in favor of ignorance. Can you explain a bit further?
KELLY: Right. So I’m really interested in the idea of what everybody knows and doesn’t know. Because in the world of Silicon Valley and innovation, there is this belief or this honoring of the hero who challenges what everybody knows. Everybody knows that you can’t have a business of people staying in your bedroom. That’s crazy. Everybody knows you’re not going to have a business where strangers are going to pick you up and drive you around town. But it turns out that, actually, most of what everybody knows is true. And it takes this process we call science to check and have this very long back and forth to determine whether or not something we believe is actually true. And so we have this— we have a way in which we can kind of know things. And I’m really interested in how we— how we know things are true or not true. And I— I just lost my train of thought. I’m sorry.
DUBNER: It really is naptime. I can tell.
KELLY: Right. So — but in looking at how science actually works and trying to come up with a new idea, that’s a moment where you actually don’t want to pay attention to that process of what we know. And that moment of not being blinded by what we know or what we think we know is difficult, because we know what we know because everybody else agrees with it. And that kind of a group mind or that kind of a consensus is very powerful. And I’m not exempt from it. And you’re not exempt from it either. We don’t have the bandwidth to challenge every single statement. We have to accept most of the things around us on faith. We have to accept on the consensus.
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KELLY (reading from 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice): Trust me: There is no “them.”
DUBNER: What’s that about? Is that about paranoia? Is it about discoordination, the fact that people aren’t organized to form a “them”?
KELLY: Yeah, both of those. One is, I’m very anti-conspiracy theory, because generally— conspiracies require a lot of coordination and aptitude that most systems and institutions don’t have. So it’s usually incompetence rather than conspiracy. So I’ve had the privilege to talk to C.E.O.’s of Fortune 500 companies, to be in the highest levels of governments and three-letter agencies and other kinds of things. And when you get there, you realize there is no adult supervision. It’s sort of frightening and alarming. There isn’t a “them” trying to do something to “us.” And I think that kind of a stance is actually harmful and is something that would diminish your chances of accomplishing good things, because that kind of us-versus-them stance consumes way too much resources and energy. And if you can be released from that, you’ll be unleashed in a way that’s very powerful.
DUBNER: So not only do you write, “There is no ‘them.’” In other words, take your paranoia or your conspiracy theory and set it aside. As one of your later aphorisms, you write the following: “The universe is conspiring behind your back to make you a success. This will be much easier to do if you embrace this pronoia,” which I gather is the opposite of paranoia, yes?
KELLY: Yes. Pronoia is exactly what I define as this idea — you have this hunch that “they,” the universe, they’re actually out there to help you. And so this is probably the closest that I have in this list here of disclosing my spiritual and religious orientation, because I actually— I do believe that. That, all things considered, there is a way in which the universe is moving towards goodness, is moving towards all the things that you want, as well.
Now, not everybody is starting at the same place. And for many people, even getting going in that direction is hugely difficult. But even behind that difficulty is a more underlying bias. And that bias is towards the things that we find good, which means diversity, increasing options. It means love, empathy, all those things. And I would make the argument that that bias is visible in looking at the history of the universe, which is moving in this general direction.
DUBNER: You mentioned your spiritual and religious orientation. Can you put some labels on that for those of us who like labels?
KELLY: Yeah, I’m reluctant to put labels on it, but Wikipedia says I’m a devout Christian. Okay. That’s true. But it doesn’t really say very much, because the Christ I follow is a kind of the universal, cosmic Christ. And so I fully endorse the idea of God, that there is a God. And my agenda in life is to believe in the biggest God possible, because I think whoever has the biggest God wins. And so my God, is a God that has unleashed this universe and — he’s unleashed the universe to be surprised by it. And so I think it’s our religious duty to surprise God.
One of the things that we have with our complicated consciousness is a sense of being able to put ourselves into others and make everybody’s life more interesting and better by understanding how they think. And part of this idea of progress, of moral progress, is that we keep widening that circle of things from our brothers and sisters, to families, to a clan, to a state, to other ethnic groups, to other species now. And I believe in the long-term that we’ll also go into machines, and we’ll be able to have empathy for even artificial intelligences. And so, from that empathy, I think then comes good behavior — all the other things that we would want to be, I think in some way stem from that primary step of being able to see the world outside of our own eyes.
DUBNER: Yeah, that’s a really nice way of putting it. And I guess that multivariate empathy you’re describing is a form of enthusiasm really as well.
KELLY: Yeah. And then what I just said would — I don’t think anybody within an organized religion would disagree with. You know, especially the Buddhists have been probably preaching that for a very long time. And I think as we start to change ourselves, we’re going to have to change the vocabulary and the framing of those beliefs. And so I think the surprise brought by, you know, first Darwin and Freud, and now A.I., is that humans are far more malleable than we thought.
And as we understand more about our past, we understand that actually we have invented ourselves. Humanity is our first invention. And that humans are the first animals that we domesticated, okay? And that we are in this process, still, of inventing ourselves. So we’re making up what humanity is. And the question is not so much who we’re going to be as, like, who do we want to be? Which is a much more difficult question to answer.
DUBNER: I had imagined this conversation would be fun, but it was much more fun than even I had imagined, so thanks.
KELLY: Well, you have a great imagination. Thank you, Stephen.
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Freakonomics Radio is produced by Stitcher and Dubner Productions. This episode was produced by Daphne Chen. Our staff also includes Alison Craiglow, Greg Rippin, Matt Hickey, Zack Lapinski, Corinne Wallace, and Mary Diduch. We had help this week from James Foster. Our theme song is “Mr. Fortune,” by the Hitchhikers; all the other music was composed by Luis Guerra. You can subscribe to Freakonomics Radio on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Here’s where you can learn more about the people and ideas in this episode:
- Kevin Kelly, senior maverick and co-founder of Wired magazine.
- The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, by Kevin Kelly.
- “The Future (Probably) Isn’t as Scary as You Think,” Freakonomics Radio, 2016.