Robin Hanson (@robinhanson)is associate professor of economics at George Mason University, and research associate at the Future of Humanity Institute of Oxford University with a doctorate in social science from CalTech, master’s degrees in physics and philosophy from the University of Chicago. He has spent nine years as a research programmer, at Lockheed and NASA, has 3500 citations, 60 publications, 700 media mentions, and he blogs at OvercomingBias.
Robin is also the author of The Elephant in the Brain – Hidden Motives in Everyday Life and co-authored The Age of Em – Work, Love and Life when Robots Own the World.
Hanson is credited with originating the concept of the Policy Analysis Market, a DARPA project to implement a market for betting on future developments in the Middle East. Hanson also created and supports a proposed system of government called futarchy, where policies would be determined by prediction markets.
Hanson is a man willing to challenge conventional wisdom/norms and has lately drawn criticism for his unconventional economics positions on sex, gender dynamics and problems with today’s society.
In our wide-ranging conversation, we cover many things, including:
- The reasons our culture values and norms are quickly changing
- Why physics forced Robins to become an atheist
- How Robin sees artificial intelligence progressing
- The power of prediction markets and why we haven’t seen more uptick
- Why brain emulation may be the most likely future scenario
- The reason Robin prefers to be more like a historian than a futurist
- Why we’ll never answer the hard problem of consciousness
- Why economics is a great way to forecast the future
- The problem with academia and education
- Why Robin isn’t worried about breakout AI
- Why Robin is sceptical of blockchains
- The reason Robin signed up for cryonics
- What folks should know about AI boom and bust cycles