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The future of grief is here
The ethics of using AI to memorialize a loved one in a chatbot, Malcolm Gladwell gets schooled, the 9 best philosophy podcasts, and other podcasts and links that will make you think.
Welcome to Hurt Your Brain #180, the place to get podcasts and links that will make you think.
I'm determined to finish all three parts of the audio adaptation of The Sandman on Audible (each the length of an audio book).
I listened to a good chunk of part one during a road trip last year, but podcasts quickly crowded out my listening time shortly after. I’m finally carving out time to prioritize it again and I’m reminded that it’s really, really good. I highly recommend checking it out. Top notch sound design and voice acting. I read the series, and in similar fashion the audio adaptation just gets better and better.
I’m genuinely interested in how others who have an endless queue of good podcasts also find time to listen to audiobooks every once in a while. Please let me know I need help.
But let’s not shy away from still adding more podcasts to that endless queue…
The Big Idea: Hi-Phi Nation is back with a new season! And it kicks off with an excellent episode focused on the ethics and philosophical considerations of recreating loved ones in the form of AI chat bots or digital avatars of some sort after they die.
Co-reported by Alexandra Salmon, creator of the podcast Six Months of Less (featured below in highlight from the Hurt Your Brain archives).
The episode reminded me in ways of the very first Hi-Phi Nation episode about if we need to listen to the wishes of the dead (an excellent, thought provoking listen).
The Big Idea: This is an episode for both fans and detractors of Malcolm Gladwell. In this episode, he admits to and walks through how he was fully owned/humiliated during a live debate around the state of mainstream media. It will no doubt be satisfying for many.
What I like is that he takes his lumps and then walks through what went wrong with brutally honest debate professionals and he endeavors to genuinely learn from his mistakes. The lessons around effective persuasion are very worth the listen.
The Big Idea: Host Adam Grant plays the unimpressed skeptic to the revolution that ChatGPT is leading, and guests Allie Miller and Ethan Mollick play the cheerleaders. Mollick paints a remarkably compelling picture of how ChatGPT is being embraced and leveraged in his university classrooms. This conversation provides a real life example of the quote: The future is already here, it’s just not evenly distributed.
I also really loved the episode with Andy Weir, author of The Martian. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite interview podcasts.
Transcript to episode.
From the Hurt Your Brain Archives [from issue 151]:
6 Months or Less is a 23-episode series from Alexandra Salmon in which she interviews people facing a terminal diagnosis. It sounds grim but I promise that it's not.
For example, I started with this episode because the title caught my eye, and it was somehow inspirational, not depressing. One thing I learned while listening to this series is that people who are dying feel like the world forgets them when they still have plenty to say.
A quote I loved from Dave Warnock, who was diagnosed with ALS and started an organization called Dying Out Loud. “How can I live in the moment? One way is to let go of the moments that have passed by.”
I recommend the finale as another great place to start. The host talks about everything she has learned, how it has changed her own views on death, and includes highlights from several episodes.
Also, What Do I Say? Talking to Someone with a Terminal Illness is a truly helpful and well-thought out episode.
What’s a one of a kind show in your queue? A great thread full of recommendations on the podcast subreddit.
OTHER LINKS TO MAKE YOU THINK
How ‘The Mandalorian’ Score Found the New ‘Star Wars’ Sound. This is a like a mini episode of Song Exploder, but on YouTube. This composer has a bright future in front of him. What an instantly iconic theme song.
I saw The Red Hot Chili Peppers on Friday, and all I could think of when drummer Chad Smith went on the jumbotron is how much he looks exactly like Will Ferrell.
I always enjoy the Toonstack newsletter. The fourth cartoon down (from Asher Perlman) is just perfect.
That’s it for today, see you next time!
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