unSILOed is a series of interdisciplinary conversations that inspire new ways of thinking about our world. Our goal is to build a community of lifelong learners addicted to curiosity and the pursuit of insight about themselves and the world around them.
Beliefs Are Real For Those Who Hold Them feat. Agustín Fuentes
“Belief” as a word can take on so many meanings. Most people only think about it in terms of religion. But our guest says belief plays a central role in many other critical distinctively human things, including economics, love and politics. He further defines belief as the “capacity humans have to commit wholly and fully to this mix of experience, imagination, ideology, thoughts, and ideas.”
Agustín Fuentes is a primatologist and biological anthropologist at Princeton University whose research focuses on the biosocial, delving into the entanglement of biological systems with the social and cultural lives of humans, our ancestors, and a few of the other animals with whom humanity shares close relations. From chasing monkeys in jungles and cities, to exploring the lives of our evolutionary ancestors, to examining human health, behavior, and diversity across the globe, Agustín is interested in both the big questions and the small details of what makes humans and our close relations tick.
His written works include “Race, Monogamy, and Other Lies They Told You: Busting Myths about Human Nature,” “Why We Believe: Evolution and the Human Way of Being,” and “The Creative Spark: How Imagination Made Humans Exceptional.”
Greg and Agustín dig into the world of believing, discussing how human niches differ from other organisms, tolerating heterogeneous cultural beliefs, and the physiology of our beliefs, and what we are getting wrong about human nature.
Bernoulli’s Fallacy: Statistical Illogic and the Crisis of Modern Science feat. Aubrey Clayton
Greg says our guest's book, “Bernoulli’s Fallacy: Statistical Illogic and the Crisis of Modern Science” is “a bombshell in a sense,” making some very, very bold claims.
Aubrey Clayton is an applied mathematical researcher, lecturer, and writer. He currently teaches graduate courses in the philosophy of probability at the Harvard Extension School, and has written for publications like the New York Times, Boston Globe, and Nautilus. Additionally, Aubrey says he technically “worked on Wall Street” but only in the same sense that a hot dog vendor does.
Greg and Aubrey dive deep into the radical ideas behind Aubrey’s book, the merits of the scientific method as a process, Bayesian Statistics, and the replication crisis in this conversation.
We Must Stay Curious feat. Ian Leslie
The last time you had a definitive question about something: an actor in that movie, or maybe something your friend did at a party last week. Did you try to figure it out on your own and think over the answer, or head to the internet to confirm your quandaries? Are we losing our ability to be naturally curious by always having concrete answers available in mere seconds?
Ian Leslie is a writer and author of acclaimed books on human behaviour. Ian’s first career was in advertising, as a creative strategist for some of the world’s biggest brands, at ad agencies in London and New York. He now writes about psychology, culture, technology and business for the New Statesman, the Economist, the Guardian and the Financial Times.
Some of his books include “Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It,” and “Conflicted: Why Arguments Are Tearing Us Apart and How They Can Bring Us Together.”
Ian and Greg debate the pros and cons of classic curiosity in this episode, delineate the different kinds of curiosity, as well as marriage & “good” disagreements.
Understanding Human Creativity feat. Marcus du Sautoy
As machine learning and AI mature and adapt to the humans that created them, it's important we think carefully about not only what is creativity, but what is uniquely human about creativity.
Marcus du Sautoy is the Charles Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science at the Oxford University, a chair he holds jointly at the Department of Continuing Education and the Mathematical Institute, as well as a Professor of Mathematics and a Fellow of New College.
His many books dive deep into the world of machines and creativity, and include “Thinking Better: the Art of the Shortcut,” and “The Creativity Code.”
He sits down for this stimulating conversation with Greg covering generative adversarial networks, Ada Lovelace and machine generated music, crediting the code or the coder, and what the future holds for art & AI.
It’s Never Too Late To Examine Your Philosophy of Life feat. Massimo Pigliucci
When Greg found out that Massimo Pigliucci had a PhD in biology and a PhD in philosophy, he knew that this was somebody he had to get on the show.
Massimo Pigliucci has a PhD in Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Tennessee, and is currently the K.D. Irani Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York. His research interests include the philosophy of science, the nature of pseudoscience, and practical philosophies like Stoicism and New Skepticism.
At last count, Prof. Pigliucci has published 176 technical papers in science and philosophy. He is also the author or editor of 16 books, including the best selling “How to Be A Stoic: Using Ancient Philosophy to Live a Modern Life,” “Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk,” and the most recent “The Quest for Character: What the Story of Socrates and Alcibiades Teaches Us about Our Search for Good Leaders.”
Massimo and Greg dig into where morality might come from in a scientific way, the decisions that lead to our lifestyle choices, and “doing your own research.”
The Surprising History of How We Are Born feat. Tina Cassidy
When Tina Cassidy set out to write her book “Birth: The Surprising History of How We Are Born,”in 2006, it was the first time in about 50 years an extensive work had been written on the subject, and the first by a woman. Birth is such an essential and important part of every life cycle, and all of us have been through it. Why haven't we seen more on the topic?
Tina Cassidy writes about women and culture. In addition to “Birth,” she is the author of “Mr. President, How Long Must We Wait? Alice Paul, Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the Right to Vote,” as well as “Jackie After O: One Remarkable Year When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Defied Expectations and Rediscovered Her Dreams.” A former journalist who spent most of her career at the Boston Globe covering business, fashion and politics, Tina is also the Chief Marketing Officer of GBH.
She sits down with Greg to discuss the medicalization of the birthing process, birthing in different cultures and the uniqueness of human birth.