237 episodes

Welcome to the Cognitive Engineering podcast. Occasionally coherent musings of Aleph Insights. We hope you like listening to them as much as we like recording them.

Cognitive Engineerin‪g‬ Aleph Insights

    • Science
    • 4.1 • 7 Ratings

Welcome to the Cognitive Engineering podcast. Occasionally coherent musings of Aleph Insights. We hope you like listening to them as much as we like recording them.

    Are We Living in a Dystopia?

    Are We Living in a Dystopia?

    Quite aside from a pandemic, a brewing environmental catastrophe and a highly disruptive technological revolution, is the trend for protein shakes the real sign that we have moved into a dystopian nightmare?

    We look at what constitutes a dystopia, how you can categorise different types of dystopia and why we conceive of them in the first place. We also attempt to measure how close we are to dystopia at the moment and explore whether we would be able to spot its arrival. Finally, we consider if there is such a thing as a good dystopia.

    A few things we mentioned in this podcast:

    - Are we living in a dystopia? https://theconversation.com/are-we-living-in-a-dystopia-136908
    - Darren Allen’s ‘four kinds of dystopia’ https://expressiveegg.org/2017/01/03/four-kinds-dystopia/
    - TV Tropes - dystopia https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/Dystopia
    - British Social Attitudes https://www.bsa.natcen.ac.uk/
    - The Economist - Global democracy has another bad year https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/01/22/global-democracy-has-another-bad-year

    For more information on Aleph Insights visit our website https://alephinsights.com or to get in touch about our podcast email podcasts@alephinsights.com
    Image: Wes Candela via Creative Commons

    • 33 min
    Return To Monke

    Return To Monke

    Nasty, brutish and short or the Garden of Eden? We explore the Return to Monke meme and ask whether we are right to yearn for a more primitive lifestyle.

    In this podcast, we examine our origins as hunter-gatherers and explore whether things were better or worse before we became civilised. We look at food scarcity, environmental damage, child mortality rates and a whole host of other fun stuff. We also address the morality of primitivism and consider what would actually happen if we all tried to Return to Monke.

    A few things we mentioned in this podcast:

    - Know Your Meme: Return to Monke https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/return-to-monke
    - The Unabomber manifesto: Industrial society and its future http://editions-hache.com/essais/pdf/kaczynski2.pdf
    - Life expectancy in hunter-gatherers https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-3-319-16999-6_2352-1#:~:text=Excepting%20outside%20forces%20such%20as,individuals%20living%20in%20developed%20countries
    - Are hunter-gatherers the happiest humans to inhabit earth? https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2017/10/01/551018759/are-hunter-gatherers-the-happiest-humans-to-inhabit-earth?t=1608278213042
    - Uncontacted tribes: What do we know about the world's 100 hidden communities? https://bigthink.com/scotty-hendricks/there-are-more-than-100-uncontacted-tribes-in-the-world-who-are-they
    - Holocene calendar
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene_calendar

    For more information on Aleph Insights visit our website https://alephinsights.com or to get in touch about our podcast email podcasts@alephinsights.com

    • 31 min
    Dead Art Forms

    Dead Art Forms

    Some art forms seem to have passed their creative peak, no longer acting as an outlet for human ingenuity and innovation. But how do we know that they are truly moribund and not just having a bit of a rest?

    In this podcast we look at art forms that appear to have stopped generating genuinely novel work, and see if there are any broader lessons we can draw regarding their life cycles. We also consider whether some art forms are better suited to longevity than others. Finally, we discuss the concept of a golden era and wonder which heydays would have been the most fun to have lived through.

    A few things we mentioned in this podcast:
    - The 32 Most Iconic Poems in the English Language https://lithub.com/the-32-most-iconic-poems-in-the-english-language/

    For more information on Aleph Insights visit our website https://alephinsights.com or to get in touch about our podcast email podcasts@alephinsights.com

    Image: Herry Lawford via Wikimedia Commons

    • 30 min
    Who or What is Donald Trump?

    Who or What is Donald Trump?

    As Donald Trump’s impeachment trial continues, we take a dispassionate and analytical look at his personality, motivations and leadership model with guest psychologist, Susie Ballentyne.

    In this podcast we try to deconstruct the leadership style and behaviour of Donald Trump, asking what made him so different from many of his predecessors. We look at Trump’s background and trajectory as a leader and try to understand how it shaped his Presidency, as well as analysing his world view and his approach to consensus and conflict. Finally, we look at the links between narcissism and popularity.

    A few things we mentioned in this podcast:
    - The mind of Donald Trump https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/06/the-mind-of-donald-trump/480771/
    - Politifact - Donald Trump’s Scorecard https://www.politifact.com/personalities/donald-trump/
    - The real reason Donald Trump lies https://www.ft.com/content/b752121c-127a-11e9-a581-4ff78404524e
    - Entrepreneurial personalities in political leadership https://www.researchgate.net/publication/317659012_Entrepreneurial_personalities_in_political_leadership

    For more information on Aleph Insights visit our website https://alephinsights.com or to get in touch about our podcast email podcasts@alephinsights.com

    • 41 min
    Why Are Cocktail Bartenders Annoying?

    Why Are Cocktail Bartenders Annoying?

    What is a show-off and are we right to be irritated by those who display certain types of skills? Be warned, various swear words are analysed in this podcast for their role in categorising annoying people.

    This podcast considers what constitutes a useful talent, and whether overtly displaying our abilities is necessarily pretentious or ostentatious, and therefore worthy of ire. We analyse both the reason we feel that a show off is annoying and the reason that somebody might show off in the first place. Finally, we delve into the use of rude words to describe irritating people and determine whether they represent a useful taxonomy of human behaviours.

    A few things we mentioned in this podcast:
    - Assholes: A Theory by Aaron James https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assholes:_A_Theory
    - Attempts to define the douchebag: https://thoughtcatalog.com/lorenzo-jensen-iii/2016/06/31-hilarious-ways-to-explain-exactly-what-a-douchebag-really-is/
    - Prestige v Dominance, according to Robin Hanson: https://www.overcomingbias.com/2020/11/prestige-is-mob-enforced-dominance.html

    Find more Cognitive Engineering episodes here http://podcast.alephinsights.com and for more information on Aleph Insights visit our website https://alephinsights.com

    Image: Fraser McGruer

    • 28 min
    Pride and Joy

    Pride and Joy

    In the wake of a relatively successful British vaccination programme, we ask what it is to be proud and whether we have any right to bask in the glory of others’ achievements.

    In this podcast we try to define pride, characterise its emotional hue and determine whether it is good or bad. We look at the things we feel proud of (whether individual or group achievements) and try to understand what underlying factors drive pride. Finally, we consider how pride affects decision-making. Quite a good podcast, even if we do say ourselves.

    A few things we mentioned in this podcast:
    - British diplomat saves student: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-china-54961075#:~:text=A%20British%20diplomat%20has%20been,rocks%20into%20the%20deep%20water
    - Britain is a ‘much better country’ than France, Belgium and the US: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-55175162
    - Survey data on nationalism: https://www.cessda.eu/content/download/4150/47019/file/CESSDAWorkshop_Data_nationalism_29.05.18_slides.pdf
    - Sports fans have higher self-esteem https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/23/why-being-a-sports-fan-and-rooting-for-a-team-is-good-for-you.html

    Find more Cognitive Engineering episodes here http://podcast.alephinsights.com and for more information on Aleph Insights visit our website https://alephinsights.com

    • 33 min

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