I’ve been on a podcast heater lately and a lot of it has been my newly discovered Lex Fridman podcast.
Lex is a 30-something Soviet-born American who researches artificial intelligence at MIT. He has a very genuine feel to him, as in he truly believes there is good in everyone, and that the world can be a good place. He’s also humble in the sense that he feels his guests are typically smarter than he is, which honestly, they all probably are.
His earnestness, very dry sense of humor, and intelligence make him a great interviewer. Additionally, his podcasts are usually 2-3 hours long. So they’re super deep dives into whatever the guest specializes in.
As for his guests / the topics of his podcast… These will not be for everyone! Here are a couple I’ve listened to and really enjoyed to give you a feel:
Sam Harris: A scientist discussing consciousness, free will, the Big Bang, and outer space / alien life. A lot of podcasts go over these exact topics but every time the guest has something different to say that blows my mind.
Richard Dawkins: An outspoken atheist who discusses if humans need religion and the ‘meaning’ of life. I’ve read the God Delusion twice and can’t support it enough.
Cumrun Vafa: A leading expert in String Theory. I’ll be honest, I understood like 35% of this podcast, but the idea of 10 dimensions, how they interact, and that this could answer some really difficult questions in physics is fascinating.
Jaron Lanier: A computer scientist about how AI will integrate into society, how social media is destroying everything, and how virtual reality might impact the future. I actually didn’t like Jaron that much, but the discussion was great.
Rick Doblin: A specialist in psychedelics, for both recreational and medical use. This seems to be an ever-expanding field of how useful drugs like MDMA and LSD can be. Only one way to find out!
Richard Wrangham: A Harvard professor focusing on how violence shaped human evolution (sex, culture, etc) over the last few million years. This one was one of my favorites.
At the end of each episode, he asks every guest two questions. 1) What do you think about death / do you contemplate your own mortality, and 2) What’s the purpose of life?
They’re the most generic big questions you can ask, but to hear dozens of answers from some of the smartest people on the planet is eye opening.
Lastly, he’s interviewing Mark Zuckerberg shortly. I don’t know what type of podcasts Zuckerberg has done in the past, but I can’t wait for this one, as Lex will surely (hopefully) not go easy on him.
I highly recommend the podcast. Cherry pick which topics / guests seem interesting.