What do you do when you can’t solve a problem? I like to talk to smart people who can help me understand the subject better. I call this process “getting unconfused”—and I think it is one of the best ways to learn something new. In my new podcast, I try to get unconfused about some of the things that fascinate me. Join me on my learning journey as I talk to brilliant guests about Alzheimer’s disease, marijuana, plant-based meat, the evolution of language, and more.
Few people are better at explaining the science of artificial intelligence than Yejin Choi. She’s a computer science professor at the University of Washington, senior resource manager at the Allen Institute for AI, and the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship. I thought her recent TED talk was terrific, and I was thrilled to talk to her about how you train a large language model, why it’s so hard for robots to pick tools out of a box, and why universities must play a key role in the future of AI research.
Yejin’s TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/yejin_choi_why_ai_is_incredibly_smart_and_shockingly_stupid?language=en
Moravec’s paradox: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moravec%27s_paradox
Virtual Insanity by Jamiroquai: https://open.spotify.com/track/24SUWisv2lYQiB3bVpE1sn?si=b290674d2791460d
I recently started learning French, and the process has made one thing clear to me: There’s a lot I don’t understand about how languages work. So, I turned to John McWhorter, a linguist who has dedicated his career to demystifying the roughly 7,000 languages spoken around the world. When he isn’t busy writing books, John is a professor at Columbia University, host of his own podcast, and frequent lecturer for Great Courses. He helped me understand why English is so irregular, what the ideal language would look like, why all dialects are created equal, and more.
John’s books: Books by John McWhorter (Author of Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue) (goodreads.com)
Lexicon Valley: Lexicon Valley with John McWhorter. (slate.com)
John’s Great Courses: John McWhorter (thegreatcourses.com)
Pronoun Trouble from Looney Tunes: Rabbit Seasoning - Pronoun Problem - YouTube
Muldoon the Bassoon from A Child’s Introduction to the Orchestra: https://youtu.be/C_ipa4JzNNc?t=545
Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson is the ultimate multi-hyphenate: He’s a musician, filmmaker, author, entrepreneur, and more. The Grammy and Oscar winner is also a plant-based foods advocate, so when I had some questions about the future of food, I knew I had to sit down with him. We had a blast talking about why he made a meatless Philly cheesesteak, how we make healthy food accessible to more people, Questlove’s insane record collection, how we got our nicknames, and our Wordle strategies.
Quest Loves Food plant-based cheesesteak: Quest Loves Food (goldbelly.com)
Summer of Soul: SUMMER OF SOUL | Official Teaser - YouTube
Impossible Foods: Impossible Foods: Meat made from plants
NotCo: NotCo - Why Not - NotCo
Eat Just: JUST Egg
Right Rice: RightRice – Planting Hope Brands
Magic Spoon: Magic Spoon
Food and Finance High School: Food and Finance High School
Get Out of My Life, Woman by Thad Jones and Mel Lewis: https://open.spotify.com/track/4D3YSqzakGAveLKCBMd2vh?si=de078c96a1694d8c
Sal Khan is a true pioneer of harnessing the power of technology to help kids learn. So, when I wanted to learn more about how artificial intelligence will transform education, I knew I had to talk to the founder of Khan Academy. I loved chatting with Sal about why tutoring is so important, how his new service Khanmigo is making the most of ChatGPT, and how we can keep teachers at the center of the classroom in the age of AI. We even found time to talk about our favorite teachers and the subject we wish we’d studied in school.
Khan Academy: Khan Academy | Free Online Courses, Lessons & Practice
E-Rate: E-Rate: Universal Service Program for Schools and Libraries | Federal Communications Commission (fcc.gov)
Khanmigo: Khan Academy
Schoolhouse World: Free Online Tutoring — Schoolhouse
Redemption Song by Bob Marley: https://open.spotify.com/track/26PwuMotZqcczKLHi4Htz3?si=2d1391ac7c024a59
Sal Khan meets Salman Khan: Walk The Talk with Khanacademy.org's Salman Khan - YouTube
Seth Rogen & Lauren Miller Rogen
Can Alzheimer’s disease be funny? I was skeptical, especially given the devastating experience my family had watching my dad suffer from it. So, I asked two experts in using humor to raise awareness—Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen—to help me see the light. We had a great conversation about their organization Hilarity for Charity, hope for the future of Alzheimer’s research, the importance of a good night’s sleep, and why Seth started a cannabis lifestyle company.
Hilarity for Charity: Hilarity For Charity (wearehfc.org)
Alzheimer’s Association: Alzheimer's Association | Alzheimer's Disease & Dementia Help
Why I’m hopeful about the future of Alzheimer’s research: hope for the future of Alzheimer’s research
HFC’s 5 Brain Healthy Habits: 5 Brain Health Habits | Hilarity For Charity
Oogum Boogum Song by Brenton Wood: Oogum Boogum Song
Seth’s testimony about Alzheimer’s to Congress: Seth Rogen Opening Statement (C-SPAN) - YouTube
Unconfuse Me with Bill Gates | Trailer
What do you do when you can’t solve a problem? I like to talk to smart people who can help me understand the subject better. I call this process “getting unconfused”—and I think it is one of the best ways to learn something new. In my new podcast, I try to get unconfused about some of the things that fascinate me. Join me on my learning journey as I talk to brilliant guests about Alzheimer’s disease, marijuana, plant-based meat, the evolution of language, and more. Episode 1 with Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen will be available starting on July 27, 2023.
Decent insights for those listening
It’s early in the series, but so far the topics are somewhat interesting and the production quality is great. I look forward to the future episodes.
And wow! Haters gonna hate. The existence of the podcast series has apparently upset the community of Facebook programmed conspiracy theorists.
I’m enjoying the variety of topics discussed and format of the show.
The questions Bill raises about topics so relevant to our lives are fascinating. More fascinating, however, are the guests he has lined up to discuss those questions. Well worth the time.