In this episode of the Waking Up podcast, Sam Harris talks to physicist David Deutsch about the reach and power of human knowledge, the future of artificial intelligence, and the survival of civilization.
David Deutsch is best known as the founding father of the quantum theory of computation, and for his work on Everettian (multiverse) quantum theory. He’s a professor of physics at the Center for Quantum Computation at the Clarendon Laboratory.
Chat sexy deuscht
There is no guarantee that civilization will survive or that our species will survive, but there is, I think, a guarantee that we can, and also we know in principle how to.
SH: Before we get into your claims there, let’s start the conversation somewhere near epistemological bedrock.
He is a Visiting Professor of Physics at Oxford University, where he works on “anything fundamental.” At present, that mainly means his proposed constructor theory. He works on the quantum theory of computation and information, and he is a very famous exponent of the many-worlds interpretation of quantum mechanics, neither of which do we talk about in this interview.
He has written two books – Welcome to the Waking Up Podcast. David has a fascinating and capacious mind, as you will see.
One of the consequences of your view is that the future is unpredictable in principle.
The problems we will face are unforeseeable, and the way we will solve these problems is also unforeseeable.Not much turns on this, because, as you know, you have to make yourself intelligible to our listeners, most of whom will not have read any of the book.But I just want to say it really is a remarkable book.It can exist in books abstractly, or it can exist in the mind, or people can have knowledge that they don’t even know they have.SH: I want to get to the reality of abstractions later on, because I think that is very much at the core of this.And I find that I want to agree with every word of what you say here because, again, these claims are so hopeful. It’s interesting to go into this conversation hoping to be relieved of my doubts about your thesis.