EA-aligned podcast with Spencer Greenberg

I’ve started a pod­cast called the Most In­ter­est­ing Peo­ple I Know, fea­tur­ing in­ter­views on sci­ence, ethics, and (mostly) poli­tics (found un­der that name or “Gar­ri­son Lovely” wher­ever you find pod­casts). The only other epi­sode that is with an as­piring EA is the first epi­sode with Chloe Cock­burn, but an epi­sode with Lewis Bol­lard is com­ing out soon, and I plan to have more EAs on soon. I’m very open to recom­men­da­tions as well!

Epi­sode link: http://​​bit.ly/​​2M8FWeu

Epi­sode de­scrip­tion: Spencer Green­berg is a math­e­mat­i­cian, so­cial sci­en­tist, and en­trepreneur. He re­ceived his PhD in ap­plied math from NYU and is the founder of SparkWave, a so­cial ven­ture foundry. As we dis­cuss, SparkWave has cre­ated a num­ber of apps tack­ling prob­lems like de­pres­sion, anx­iety, and find­ing par­ti­ci­pants for aca­demic stud­ies. Spencer also cre­ated the site www.clear­er­think­ing.org, which offers free on­line tools and train­ing pro­grams to help users avoid bias and make bet­ter de­ci­sions. This site has a lot of fun and thought-pro­vok­ing ex­er­cises. My fa­vorites that we didn’t dig into: com­mon mis­con­cep­tions, poli­ti­cal bias test, and leav­ing your mark on the world. Spencer has spo­ken at Effec­tive Altru­ism Global and been pub­lished in the New York Times.

We cover: life chang­ing ques­tions you can ask your­self, in­trin­sic val­ues, some hard prob­lems for util­i­tar­i­anism, Spark­wave’s apps for anx­iety and de­pres­sion, how to en­sure so­cial ven­tures don’t be­come evil, Effec­tive Altru­ism, the profound challenge of do­ing good in the world, the con­nec­tion be­tween our hap­piness and the news, gam­ing Face­book for your hap­piness, the best le­gal ap­proach to pros­ti­tu­tion, Spencer’s thoughts on fic­tion and non­fic­tion, why mem­o­riz­ing is un­der­rated, and the best de­scrip­tion of Burn­ing Man I’ve heard.

When I con­ceived this show, Spencer was one of the first peo­ple that came to mind. As you’ll soon see, he has in­formed and well-de­vel­oped thoughts on a huge range of top­ics. He’s changed my mind quite a few times, and I ap­pre­ci­ate his ap­proach to think­ing through the hard­est prob­lems we face as a species.

Spencer’s refer­enced work:

Life-Chang­ing Questions

In­trin­sic Values Test

Spencer’s pre­sen­ta­tion at Effec­tive Altru­ism Global on “Value traps, and how to avoid them”

Mind Ease for anxiety

UpLift for depression

Face­book post on humor

Face­book post on 10 poli­cies Spencer supports


The 36 Ques­tions That Lead to Love

The Repug­nant Conclusion

Cur­rent Af­fairs ar­ti­cle on Wikipedia

Is it fair to say that most so­cial pro­grammes don’t work?

Peter Singer’s es­say Famine, Affluence and Morality

What it’s like to go to Burn­ing Man for the first time