Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365

Last updated: Jun 2, 2023

The video is a conversation between Lex Fridman and Sam Harris, discussing various controversial and challenging topics such as Donald Trump, vaccines, Kanye West, and the importance of empathy and reason in making a positive impact on the world.

The video is a conversation between Lex Fridman and Sam Harris, a well-known author and podcaster. They discuss a range of controversial topics, including Donald Trump, Hunter Biden, vaccines, lab leaks, Kanye West, and several key figures in public discourse, such as Joe Rogan and Elon Musk. They also touch on the importance of empathy and reason in making a positive impact on the world. Fridman expresses his hope that people who have stopped talking to each other due to disagreements will start noticing the humanity that connects them. The conversation is wide-ranging and covers a variety of topics related to politics, technology, and human nature.

  • Sam Harris is a pioneering thinker and influential host of The Making Sense podcast, creator of the Waking Up app, and author of many seminal books on human nature and the human mind.
  • The conversation between Lex Fridman and Sam Harris covers controversial and challenging topics such as Donald Trump, vaccines, Kanye West, and the importance of empathy and reason in making a positive impact on the world.
  • There are two kinds of empathy: cognitive empathy and emotional contagion.
  • Donald Trump's behavior during his presidency was deeply concerning and damaging to American democracy.
  • Vaccines are a crucial tool for combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is important for everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
  • Empathy can be a bad guide for ethical behavior and intuitions.
  • Reason is a better tool than empathy when making big decisions about what to do and how to mitigate human suffering.
  • Fairness and justice are important for a normal life and protect the interests of strangers too.
  • Empathy is important in society to understand the perspective of others.

Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 - YouTube

Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 001

Introduction

  • Sam Harris is a pioneering thinker and influential host of The Making Sense podcast, creator of the Waking Up app, and author of many seminal books on human nature and the human mind.
  • The conversation between Lex Fridman and Sam Harris covers controversial and challenging topics such as Donald Trump, vaccines, Kanye West, and the importance of empathy and reason in making a positive impact on the world.
  • Lex Fridman expresses his admiration for Joe Rogan, Elon Musk, and Sam Harris, and emphasizes the importance of respect and love for each other as human beings in a time of division and chaos.
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Empathy vs Reason

  • There are two kinds of empathy: cognitive empathy and emotional contagion.
  • Cognitive empathy is a species of reason that involves understanding another person's point of view and having an accurate theory of mind about them.
  • Emotional contagion is a kind of emotional empathy that involves feeling the same emotions as another person and being affected by their problems.
  • Both cognitive empathy and emotional contagion are important, but emotional contagion can be problematic if it leads to irrational or harmful behavior.
  • Reason is essential for making a net positive impact on the world, but empathy can help us understand and connect with others in a meaningful way.
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Donald Trump and January 6th

  • Donald Trump's behavior during his presidency was deeply concerning and damaging to American democracy.
  • The events of January 6th were a direct result of Trump's rhetoric and actions, and he should be held accountable for his role in inciting the violence.
  • The Republican party has become increasingly radicalized and anti-democratic, and this poses a serious threat to the future of American politics.
  • The media and social media platforms have a responsibility to combat misinformation and propaganda that fuels extremism and undermines democracy.
  • The rise of conspiracy theories and alternative facts is a dangerous trend that undermines the very foundations of truth and reason.
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Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 - YouTube

Vaccines and Lab Leaks

  • Vaccines are a crucial tool for combating the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is important for everyone to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
  • The lab leak theory is a legitimate hypothesis that should be investigated further, but it has been politicized and used to spread misinformation and conspiracy theories.
  • The scientific community has a responsibility to be transparent and honest about the origins of the virus, and to work together to find effective solutions to the pandemic.
  • The politicization of science and the erosion of trust in experts is a dangerous trend that undermines public health and safety.
  • The media and social media platforms have a responsibility to combat misinformation and propaganda that undermines public health and safety.
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The Role of Empathy in Ethical Behavior

  • Empathy can be a bad guide for ethical behavior and intuitions.
  • Emotional social contagion can play an unhelpful role in making big decisions about what to do and how to mitigate human suffering.
  • Stories with a single identifiable protagonist who we can effortlessly empathize with are far more compelling than data.
  • Empathy marshals 100% of our compassion and altruistic impulse, but it can be a bug rather than a feature of our moral psychology.
  • Reason is a better tool when making big decisions about what to do and how to mitigate human suffering.
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The Importance of Empathy in Making Ethical Decisions

  • Reason is a better tool for making big decisions about what to do and how to mitigate human suffering, but empathy is still important.
  • Effective altruism is a concept that tries to maximize the positive impact of one's actions on the world.
  • It's irrational to care more about your daughter and son than 100 people that live across the world, but it's empathetic.
  • The ultimate enlightened ethic is true dispassion with respect to friends and strangers, where the mind of the Buddha would be truly dispassionate and love and care about all people equally.
  • It might be an ethical failing to care more about your kids than the kids of other people, but some prioritization of one's nearest and dearest ethically might be optimal.
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The Limits of Empathy in Ethical Decision Making

  • Empathy has limits in ethical decision making, and it's not always the best guide for ethical behavior and intuitions.
  • Empathy can be superficial and not always lead to the best ethical decisions.
  • It's not always rational to care more about your kids than the kids of other people, but it's empathetic.
  • Some prioritization of one's nearest and dearest ethically might be optimal, but we should also have certain norms, laws, and structures that force us to be dispassionate where that matters.
  • When making big decisions about what to do and how to mitigate human suffering, reason is a better tool than empathy.
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The Role of Reason in Ethical Decision Making

  • Reason is a better tool than empathy when making big decisions about what to do and how to mitigate human suffering.
  • Reason can help us prioritize our ethical decisions and make the best decisions for the most people.
  • Reason can help us see beyond emotional social contagion and make decisions based on data and facts.
  • Reason can help us make decisions that are not always empathetic but are still ethical and just.
  • Reason can help us make decisions that prioritize the most vulnerable and marginalized people in society.
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Importance of Fairness and Empathy

  • Fairness and justice are important for a normal life and protect the interests of strangers too.
  • A fair system is better than a corrupt one in game theoretic terms.
  • Anecdotal data can lead to failure of empathy.
  • Empathy for the perspective of a large number of people is important while discussing ideas.
  • Empathy only takes you so far, it doesn't get you to truth.
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Understanding Trump Supporters

  • Many Americans bought into the myth of Trump as a genius businessman who could get things done.
  • It's understandable that frustrated people who have not had their hopes and dreams actualized would be confused and not see the liability of electing Trump.
  • Trump's supporters bought into the idea that he was a man of the people, even though he's a gold-plated everything in his life.
  • Millions of Americans didn't see what was wrong with Trump or bought into his con.
  • Trump's supporters were victims of globalism and many other current trends.
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The Importance of Reason in Decision Making

  • Reason is important in decision making, especially in controversial and challenging topics.
  • Empathy is important, but it only takes you so far in getting to the truth.
  • Democratic principles don't decide the truth.
  • People believe things for understandable reasons, but those reasons are nonetheless bad reasons.
  • Raw mathematical reason is important, but it doesn't get you to the truth either.
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The Importance of Empathy in Society

  • Empathy is important in society to understand the perspective of others.
  • Empathy helps to build bridges between people with different worldviews.
  • Empathy is important in discussing ideas with other people.
  • Empathy helps to create a fair and just society.
  • Empathy is important in making a positive impact on the world.
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Trump and Empathy

  • Trump's presidency is indicative of a bad state of affairs in society.
  • There are different life experiences, but empathy and compassion are important.
  • Wise selfishness takes into account other people's happiness.
  • Living in a society where people are happy and self-actualized is better than living in a society where only a few have everything.
  • There is no opposition between selfishness and selflessness.
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Trump and Democracy

  • Trump is not a representative of democracy in the way it is idealized.
  • Not everyone's opinion should be given equal weight.
  • There are topics around which one does not deserve to have a strong opinion.
  • It is important to see bright lines in one's life and in the moment politically and ethically.
  • There are no illusions that all institutions are worth preserving.
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Trump's Incompetence

  • It was a bad bet to elect someone who is grossly incompetent and malevolent in his selfishness.
  • Trump is not a public servant in any normal sense of the term.
  • He is missing necessary moral and psychological tools.
  • He couldn't possibly give an honest or sane answer to questions about empathy and reason.
  • Decades of Trump being in the public eye show that he is not a normal politician.
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Empathy and Reason

  • Empathy and reason are important in making a positive impact on the world.
  • Empathy is the ability to wish people well and to wish strangers well effortlessly.
  • Compassion is a better word for what one would hope to embody.
  • Wise selfishness takes into account other people's happiness.
  • There is no opposition between selfishness and selflessness.
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Compassion and Pathology in Politics

  • Compassion and empathy are important in politics.
  • Politicians should be informed, curious, and alert to their mistakes.
  • Normal mediocrities are better than pathological outliers in power.
  • Honesty is important in politicians, even if some lying is necessary in certain circumstances.
  • Trump lied with unprecedented velocity and frequency.
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Information Chaos and Confusion

  • People have limited bandwidth to pay attention to politics.
  • The information space has become corrupted and chaotic.
  • People get inundated with misinformation on social media.
  • The internet's business model further corrupts the information space.
  • People are confused and impatient due to the chaos in the information space.
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Trump's Impact on Rational Minds

  • Trump had an impact on the ability of rational minds to see the world clearly.
  • Trump broke the brains of balanced, calm, and rational people.
  • Trump derangement syndrome is a clever meme that deflects criticism of Trump.
  • Trump's impact on rational minds was disproportionate to his actual impact on society.
  • Sam Harris was one of the beacons of rationality that Trump affected.
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Conclusion

  • Compassion, empathy, and honesty are important in politics.
  • The information space has become chaotic and corrupted.
  • Trump had a disproportionate impact on rational minds.
  • Trump derangement syndrome deflects criticism of Trump.
  • Sam Harris was affected by Trump's impact on rational minds.
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Trump and the Importance of Taking Things Seriously

  • Supporting Trump was dangerous and divisive.
  • Not committing to a peaceful transfer of power was a bright line for democracy.
  • Only a few people held things together during the January 6th crisis.
  • Trump is potentially a viable candidate again, but it's not worth spending much time thinking about it.
  • Some people find Trump entertaining and not threatening, but there's a deeper concern that we're entertaining ourselves to death.
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The Importance of Empathy and Reason

  • Empathy and reason are important for making a positive impact on the world.
  • People need to take things seriously and not just entertain themselves.
  • Institutions have become less trustworthy, but we still need them.
  • We need to value expertise over amateurish speculation and conspiracy thinking.
  • It's important to be aware of when we're just guessing.
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Vaccines and the Pandemic

  • Vaccines are important for ending the pandemic.
  • People who refuse to get vaccinated are putting others at risk.
  • There are legitimate concerns about the safety of vaccines, but they are outweighed by the benefits.
  • The pandemic has highlighted the importance of science and expertise.
  • People need to be willing to change their minds based on new evidence.
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Kanye West and the Importance of Art

  • Kanye West is a talented artist, but he's not a serious political figure.
  • Art is important for expressing ideas and emotions.
  • Artists have a responsibility to use their platform for good.
  • Art can be a way to bridge divides and bring people together.
  • Art can also be used to spread harmful ideas and perpetuate stereotypes.
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Authority in Science

  • There is a paradox in how we value authority in science that most people don't understand.
  • This is the basis for a lot of public confusion and criticism.
  • Sam Harris is a credentialist and believes people with PhDs from Ivy League universities should run everything.
  • People are confused about how we value authority in the service of rationality.
  • Unraveling this confusion is important to cut through to get to daylight.
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Trump and Democracy

  • January 6th and things of that nature revealed that our democracy is actually pretty fragile.
  • Trump is not a malevolent and ultra-competent figure but simply a jokester who created chaos.
  • There are people like Vladimir Lenin and Hitler who are exceptionally competent at controlling power, but Trump was doing none of that.
  • He was creating drama sometimes for humor's sake and sometimes for drama's sake.
  • Trump is not a truly scary, sinister Putin-like or Hitler-like figure.
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Trump as Evil Chauncey Gardener

  • Sam Harris's analogy for Trump is that he's an evil Chauncey Gardener.
  • Trump is someone like an evil Chauncey Gardener who has a certain kind of genius for creating a spectacle around himself.
  • He's got a genius for getting the eye of the media always coming back to him.
  • Trump is not totally without genius, but it's a kind of genius for creating a spectacle around himself.
  • He's not a malevolent and ultra-competent figure but simply a jokester who created chaos.
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Importance of Empathy and Reason

  • Empathy and reason are important in making a positive impact on the world.
  • People need to be able to put themselves in other people's shoes and understand their perspectives.
  • Reason is important in making decisions based on evidence and logic rather than emotions and biases.
  • Empathy and reason are not mutually exclusive, and both are necessary for making a positive impact on the world.
  • Sam Harris believes that empathy and reason are undervalued in our society and that we need to prioritize them more.
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Trump's Presidency and the Vulnerability of the System

  • Trump's self-promotion is pure pornography of attention.
  • Half of the country didn't see anything wrong with bringing someone who obviously doesn't know what he should know to be president.
  • Our system relies on norms rather than laws.
  • Trump did everything he could to try to steal the election.
  • He claimed to have an election stolen from him all the while doing everything he could to steal it.
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The Importance of Empathy and Reason

  • Empathy is important because it allows us to understand the perspective of others.
  • Reason is important because it allows us to make sense of the world and make decisions based on evidence.
  • Empathy and reason are not mutually exclusive.
  • Empathy can help us make better decisions based on reason.
  • Empathy and reason are necessary for making a positive impact on the world.
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The Pandemic and Vaccines

  • The pandemic has highlighted the importance of science and expertise.
  • Vaccines are safe and effective.
  • The anti-vaccine movement is based on misinformation and conspiracy theories.
  • People who refuse to get vaccinated are putting themselves and others at risk.
  • It's important to trust the scientific consensus and follow public health guidelines.
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The Future of Technology and Society

  • Artificial intelligence has the potential to revolutionize many industries.
  • AI also poses significant ethical and societal challenges.
  • We need to have a thoughtful and informed discussion about the future of AI.
  • Elon Musk and Bret Weinstein are both interesting thinkers on the topic of AI.
  • Kanye West's recent political ambitions are concerning and highlight the dangers of celebrity culture.
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Impact of Trump's Presidency

  • Trump's behavior during his presidency was shocking and almost led to the unraveling of the political process.
  • It was deeply embarrassing for the US on the world stage and made the country look like a Banana Republic.
  • There is a nihilism and cynicism to the behavior of some people who cheered on Trump's actions.
  • Sam Harris believes there is no point in trying to reason with people who are captivated by the personality cult of Trumpism.
  • Empathy and reason are important in bridging the division caused by Trump's presidency.
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Trump's Good Qualities and Policies

  • Trump is funny and a good entertainer.
  • Sam Harris agrees with many of Trump's policies, such as taking China seriously as an adversary and having control of the US borders.
  • There is a lot of fine print to Trump's policies and motives that are not supported by Sam Harris.
  • Sam Harris recognizes that many people in the US are victims of immigration and there is a zero-sum contest between the interests of citizens and immigrants.
  • Trump's policy on refugees was terrible.
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The Importance of Empathy and Reason

  • Empathy and reason are important in bridging the division caused by Trump's presidency.
  • Sam Harris believes there is no point in trying to reason with people who are captivated by the personality cult of Trumpism.
  • Showing the good qualities of Trump publicly can help win over people who support him.
  • Reason is important, but there is also power in showing empathy towards others.
  • Sam Harris believes that empathy and reason are important in making a positive impact on the world.
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Criticism of Trump's Behavior

  • Trump's behavior during his presidency was shocking and almost led to the unraveling of the political process.
  • It was deeply embarrassing for the US on the world stage and made the country look like a Banana Republic.
  • There is a nihilism and cynicism to the behavior of some people who cheered on Trump's actions.
  • Sam Harris believes there is no point in trying to reason with people who are captivated by the personality cult of Trumpism.
  • Empathy and reason are important in bridging the division caused by Trump's presidency.
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Trump's Effect on Democracy

  • Trump has a superpower of destabilizing and compromising almost everything he touches.
  • People who served in his administration were trashed by proximity to him and by him when they left.
  • There are bad incentives and entrenched interests in the system that need a proper house cleaning.
  • We need smart, well-informed, and well-intentioned people to rethink government and institutions.
  • The well-intentioned part is hugely important.
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Trump vs. Biden Corruption

  • There is no big story associated with Hunter Biden's laptop as far as Sam Harris can tell.
  • Even if there were obvious corruption, the scale of corruption can't possibly balance out between Joe Biden and Donald Trump.
  • The lives of both men have been visible to the public for almost as long as Sam Harris has been alive.
  • The assumption is that Joe Biden is who he seems to be, a public servant, and not corrupt.
  • The litany of indiscretions on Trump's side outweigh any potential corruption on Biden's side.
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The Importance of Empathy and Reason

  • Empathy and reason are important in making a positive impact on the world.
  • Empathy allows us to understand and connect with others.
  • Reason allows us to make informed decisions and solve problems.
  • Both empathy and reason are necessary for effective communication and problem-solving.
  • Empathy and reason can help bridge political divides and create a more united society.
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The Need for Critical Thinking

  • Critical thinking is necessary to navigate the complex and often contradictory information in the world.
  • People need to be able to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources of information.
  • People need to be able to evaluate evidence and arguments objectively.
  • People need to be able to recognize their own biases and limitations.
  • Critical thinking is essential for making informed decisions and solving problems.
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Trump and Corruption

  • Sam Harris doesn't care about what's on Hunter Biden's laptop because Joe Biden's corruption is infinitesimal compared to Trump's corruption.
  • Trump's corruption is personal and political, while Biden's corruption is political.
  • Trump's corruption is a firefly compared to the sun compared to Biden's corruption.
  • Trump is a robot calibrated to wealth, power, and fame, while not caring about the risks we run on any other front.
  • Trump repeatedly asked his generals why we couldn't use our nuclear weapons and why we couldn't have more of them.
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Corruption and Civility

  • Corruption can masquerade in civility, such as spending trillions on the War in the Middle East.
  • The military-industrial complex is very nice and polite, but it creates hate and kills hundreds of thousands of civilians.
  • Corruption is not just superficial, as some people only care about wealth, power, and fame, and not about other risks we run.
  • Trump repeatedly asked his generals about nuclear weapons, which is a risk we should never run.
  • Bad incentives corrupt even good people, and they corrupt bad people even more.
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Trump and Drugs

  • Trump doesn't drink or do drugs, except for diet coke.
  • There's no scientific evidence of the negatives of aspartame.
  • Trump's lack of drugs and alcohol is one thing he has going for him.
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Military-Industrial Complex

  • The military-industrial complex is a phrase that came from Eisenhower.
  • Bad incentives corrupt even good people, and they corrupt bad people even more.
  • The military-industrial complex spends trillions on the War in the Middle East, which creates hate and kills hundreds of thousands of civilians.
  • Corruption can masquerade in civility, such as the military-industrial complex being very nice and polite.
  • Corruption is not just superficial, as some people only care about wealth, power, and fame, and not about other risks we run.
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System of Incentives

  • Importance of having good people in the system to navigate against bad incentives.
  • Diagnosing and changing incentives to create a system where good incentives are so strong that even bad people behave as good people.
  • Current situation is an inversion of this ideal system.
  • Success will come when good incentives are strong enough to change behavior effortlessly.
  • Discussion on the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Challenges in Nation Building

  • Sam Harris was never a supporter of the war in Iraq and always saw it as a distraction from the war in Afghanistan.
  • He was a supporter of the war in Afghanistan, but in hindsight, it was a highly ambiguous and painful exercise.
  • There are cultural reasons why nation-building failed in Afghanistan, and it's not possible to force a change at gunpoint.
  • It took over 20 years to realize that pouring money into a military effort is not a strong signal that things are not working.
  • There are signs of success, such as girls going to school, but there are also religious maniacs who are willing to die in defense of crazy ideas and moral norms that belong in the 7th century.
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Censorship and Bias on Twitter

  • Discussion on banning Donald Trump from Twitter.
  • Twitter's susceptibility to bias and ideological influence.
  • AI and censorship on Twitter.
  • Twitter is not as important as people think it is.
  • Sam Harris used to think it was more important when he was on it, but now that he's off of it, he thinks it's not that significant.
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Empathy and Reason in Making a Positive Impact

  • The importance of empathy and reason in making a positive impact on the world.
  • Discussion on vaccines and the importance of getting vaccinated.
  • Discussion on Kanye West and his impact on society.
  • Importance of having conversations with people who have different views to understand their perspective.
  • Discussion on the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) and its impact on society.
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Twitter and its impact on attention and life

  • Deleting Twitter account is an unambiguously good thing as it fragments attention and life.
  • Even the good parts of Twitter were bad in the aggregate.
  • Twitter was fragmenting attention and life by diverting attention.
  • Twitter was used as a news feed to follow 200 smart people and read articles.
  • Twitter was used to signal boost articles and opinions.
  • Being on social media at all is being too online as it signal boosts information and kindles the impulse to reach out to the audience.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 063

Problems with Twitter

  • Twitter creates problems for people by deranging life and destroying reputation.
  • Twitter controversies and blowbacks create a sense of urgency to respond.
  • Most of the controversies on Twitter are specious and not worth responding to.
  • Twitter creates a self-perpetuating cycle of podcasts responding to controversies.
  • Twitter can be generative of useful information and engagement professionally and psychologically.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 065

Impact of deleting Twitter account

  • Deleting Twitter account changes the sense of the world and the place in the world.
  • Deleting Twitter account reduces the presence of the phone in life.
  • Deleting Twitter account changes the sense of existence as a person.
  • Deleting Twitter account reduces the impulse to reach out to the audience.
  • Deleting Twitter account reduces the sense of urgency to respond to controversies.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 066

Being too online

  • Being too online means being on social media at all.
  • Being too online fragments time and attention.
  • Being too online signal boosts information and kindles the impulse to reach out to the audience.
  • Being too online creates problems for people by deranging life and destroying reputation.
  • Being too online reduces the sense of existence as a person.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 067

Using Twitter

  • Twitter can be a machine for manufacturing unnecessary controversy.
  • It is possible to use Twitter in a way that doesn't pull you into the whirlpool.
  • One way to use Twitter is as a marketing channel where you put your stuff out there and don't look at what's coming back at you.
  • Twitter's promise is dialogue and feedback.
  • Twitter can be a real tool for communication where you can hear from a smart person who's detected an error or has a great idea about something you should spend time on.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 068

The Insidious Nature of Twitter

  • Twitter can insidiously change the way you feel about people.
  • People are performing, faking, and not being themselves on Twitter.
  • Twitter can deliver subtly false information about how dishonest and unethical normal people are capable of being.
  • Twitter is essentially turning ordinary people into sociopaths.
  • People are coming at you on Twitter in ways they would never behave in real life.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 070

Recalibrating for Twitter

  • It is possible to recalibrate for the nastiness that comes back at you on Twitter.
  • It is possible to ignore the bad faith feedback and malicious feedback for vast stretches of time.
  • It is important to take into account the signal of how people are behaving on Twitter.
  • Twitter can make you lose touch with what is real information.
  • Twitter can be addictive, and it is important to limit your use of it.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 071

The Promise of Twitter

  • The promise of Twitter is to actually talk to people.
  • Twitter can be a real tool for communication where you can have a dialogue with people.
  • Twitter can be a platform for feedback where you can hear from smart people who have great ideas.
  • Twitter can be a marketing channel where you can put your stuff out there.
  • Twitter can be a way to connect with people you would never have heard from in any other format.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 072

Twitter and Social Media

  • People behave differently on social media than they would in person.
  • People who are normally calm and level-headed can be snarky and mean to each other on social media.
  • Sam Harris deleted his Twitter account because it was making him a worse person.
  • Using social media as a one-way channel of communication for marketing purposes can be a healthier way to use it.
  • Twitter can have a negative effect on mental health and faith in humanity.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 074

Elon Musk and Social Media

  • Elon Musk has taken over Twitter.
  • It is unclear if anyone can make a social media platform that is truly healthy.
  • Aggressive innovation may not be conducive to a pleasant social media experience.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 075

Empathy and Reason

  • Empathy and reason are important for making a positive impact on the world.
  • It is important to be thoughtful and kind, even when being critical.
  • Paintballing with friends can be a healthy way to release aggression.
  • It is important to remind oneself that social media is not real life.
  • It is important to reason one's way out of negative effects of social media.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 076

Controversial Topics

  • Controversial topics such as Donald Trump, vaccines, and Kanye West can be challenging to discuss.
  • It is important to approach these topics with empathy and reason.
  • It is important to listen to opposing viewpoints and engage in respectful dialogue.
  • It is important to be open to changing one's mind based on new information.
  • It is important to recognize the limitations of one's own knowledge and expertise.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 077

Contextualizing Remarks on Twitter and Clips

  • Twitter and clips are a dysfunctional way of communicating ideas.
  • People are too lazy and short on time to watch full podcasts or read full articles.
  • Clips are often taken out of context and used maliciously to engineer reputational immolation.
  • People react too quickly to clips without understanding the full context of the remarks.
  • Creating a platform that encourages more thoughtful and nuanced discussions is possible.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 079

Importance of Context in Understanding Remarks

  • Clips are often misleading and taken out of context.
  • People should give others the benefit of the doubt and interpret remarks in context.
  • Even controversial figures like Donald Trump deserve to have their remarks interpreted in context.
  • The "good people on both sides" scandal around Trump's remarks after Charlottesville was taken out of context.
  • People should be more honest and apologize when they misinterpret remarks.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 080

The Importance of Empathy and Reason in Making a Positive Impact on the World

  • Empathy and reason are essential for making a positive impact on the world.
  • People should strive to understand the perspectives of others and engage in thoughtful discussions.
  • People should be willing to change their minds when presented with new evidence or arguments.
  • People should be willing to engage with controversial topics and ideas in a respectful and thoughtful manner.
  • People should be willing to challenge their own beliefs and biases.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 081

The Importance of Science and Reason in Addressing Controversial Topics

  • Science and reason are essential for addressing controversial topics like vaccines and climate change.
  • People should rely on scientific evidence and expert opinion when forming opinions on controversial topics.
  • People should be willing to change their minds when presented with new scientific evidence.
  • People should be willing to engage in respectful and thoughtful discussions about controversial topics.
  • People should be willing to challenge their own beliefs and biases when engaging with controversial topics.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 083

Misinformation Apocalypse

  • The prospect of manufacturing Clips with AI and deep fakes is terrifying.
  • It will be hard for most people to figure out whether they're in the presence of something real.
  • We are right on the cusp of an misinformation apocalypse.
  • People want certain things and they have to have a rational plan to get those desires gratified.
  • We're going to be manufacturing fake Journal articles that are completely fake.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 084

Experts and Authority

  • The truth or falsity of a statement does not depend on the credentials of the person making the statement.
  • It's possible for someone who's deeply uninformed to be right about something.
  • There are middling cases where someone just gets lucky.
  • Truth is orthogonal to expertise.
  • It's important to acknowledge that there's something paradoxical about how we relate to Authority especially within science.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 085

Trump's Approach to Social Media

  • Trump's approach to social media was the right one after all.
  • Nothing is true and everything's absurd.
  • People function on the basis of what they assume is true.
  • You have to know what you think is going to happen or you have to at least give a probabilistic waiting over the future.
  • Humor is the only thing that will save us in the end.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 086

Can Experts Save Us?

  • It's important to acknowledge up front that there's something paradoxical about how we relate to Authority especially within science.
  • The truth or falsity of a statement does not depend on the credentials of the person making the statement.
  • It's possible for someone who's deeply uninformed to be right about something.
  • Truth is orthogonal to expertise.
  • There are middling cases where someone just gets lucky.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 088

The Importance of Expertise

  • Real experts are much more reliable than frauds or people who are not experts.
  • Expertise is important in situations where things really matter.
  • Deferring to experts makes sense in many situations, as it prevents spectacular errors of incompetence and foolhardiness.
  • People who are well-educated are not the worst possible candidates for the Dunning-Kruger effect when going into a new area where they are not experts.
  • There is a difference between someone who has really done the work to understand a domain and someone who hasn't.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 089

The Discrediting of Expertise

  • There are reputational concerns among apes who are talking about the truth.
  • There are experts who are corrupted by bad incentives and who perversely won't admit they were wrong when they are demonstrated to be wrong.
  • Institutions have been captured by political ideology that is not truth-tracking.
  • The concept of expertise has seemed to discredit itself.
  • There is a massive difference between someone who has really done the work to understand a domain and someone who hasn't.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 090

The Importance of Empathy and Reason

  • Empathy and reason are important in making a positive impact on the world.
  • Empathy is important in understanding the perspectives of others.
  • Reason is important in making decisions based on evidence and logic.
  • Empathy and reason are not mutually exclusive.
  • Empathy and reason can be used together to make the world a better place.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 091

The Importance of Humility

  • It is important to be humble and recognize one's limitations.
  • It is important to defer to experts in situations where one is not an expert.
  • It is important to recognize the difference between good and bad studies.
  • It is important to avoid pretending to be an expert in a domain where one has no clinical experience.
  • It is important to avoid going down the rabbit hole on Google for days at a stretch trying to become an expert.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 093

The Paradox of Expertise and Misinformation

  • Expertise is a real thing and we defer to it a lot as a labor-saving device.
  • Specialization is a thing and there are people who specialize in a very narrow topic.
  • When you're talking about facts, sometimes the best experts are wrong.
  • It doesn't disprove the reality of expertise or the utility of relying on experts most of the time.
  • There are people who move the opinions of millions who should not have an opinion on certain topics.
  • It's important to get opinions from real experts and not from individuals who are not relevant experts on the topic.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 094

The Importance of Empathy and Reason

  • Empathy and reason are important in making a positive impact on the world.
  • Empathy is the ability to feel what others are feeling and reason is the ability to think logically.
  • Empathy and reason are not mutually exclusive.
  • Empathy can help us understand the perspective of others and reason can help us make better decisions.
  • Empathy and reason can help us navigate difficult conversations and find common ground.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 095

The Role of Social Media in Society

  • Social media has had a profound impact on society.
  • Social media has the power to amplify voices and spread information quickly.
  • Social media can also be a breeding ground for misinformation and hate speech.
  • Social media companies have a responsibility to address these issues.
  • Individuals also have a responsibility to use social media in a responsible and ethical way.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 097

The Importance of Science and Vaccines

  • Science is a powerful tool for understanding the world.
  • Vaccines are a critical tool for preventing the spread of disease.
  • There is a lot of misinformation about vaccines and their safety.
  • It's important to rely on real experts and scientific consensus when making decisions about vaccines.
  • Individuals have a responsibility to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 098

Importance of Doing Your Own Research

  • Reading different meta-analyzes and blog posts can help you make good faith interpretations.
  • When dealing with depression, it's important to be introspective about the type of depression you have and the different possible solutions you have.
  • With a new pandemic affecting everybody, doing your own research could be exceptionally effective in asking questions.
  • There's a difference between experts doing the research and publishing stuff, and the communicators of that expertise.
  • There's a question of the effectiveness of doing your own research in the context of competing forces and incentives.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 099

Not Making a Virtue of Ignorance

  • Doing your own research doesn't mean you shouldn't be informed about an issue.
  • Authorities can discredit themselves or be wrong, but there's a vast Gulf between truly informed opinion and conspiracy thinking.
  • Most of the time, conspiracy thinking is wrong, but there are real conspiracies and corruptions born of bad incentives within our scientific processes and institutions.
  • Woke political ideology during the pandemic was awful and corrosive of public trust, especially on the right.
  • There are many different modalities in which to interact with depression as a problem, including pharmaceuticals, but there's reason to be concerned about their promise.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 100

Depression and Pandemics

  • Depression is a multifactorial problem and different levels of influence exist.
  • Depression treatments like medication, meditation, and life changes work for some people but not for everybody.
  • Depression makes it difficult to do things that would be good for you, like socializing, exercising, and getting things done.
  • Clinical level depressions are severe and require better tools for treatment.
  • Pandemics are complicated problems but simpler than depression in terms of making choices.
  • COVID-19 is a new virus that is human transmissible and has been a moving target in terms of understanding how it spreads and how effective masks are.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 102

Concerns about COVID-19

  • Sam Harris is concerned about our ability to respond to a truly scary pathogen next time.
  • He worries that we have built informational tools that we do not know how to use.
  • We have enrolled all of human society into a psychological experiment that is deranging us and making it virtually impossible to solve coordination problems.
  • Sam Harris blames incompetence and misaligned incentives for the way COVID-19 unraveled.
  • He is concerned that people like Brett Weinstein have become emotional and dogmatic in their conversations on difficult topics.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 103

Vaccines and Human Challenge Trials

  • COVID-19 vaccines work for some people but not for everybody.
  • Human challenge trials could have been done to get vaccines out more quickly with better data.
  • Sam Harris thinks that challenge trials would make ethical sense to do.
  • He believes that we ramped up the vaccines as quickly as we could but too quickly for some and not quickly enough for others.
  • There is confusion about how COVID-19 spreads and how dangerous it is.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 104

Failed Dress Rehearsal

  • Sam Harris worries that COVID-19 is a failed dress rehearsal for something much worse.
  • We have built informational tools that we do not know how to use to solve coordination problems.
  • He believes that we need to solve coordination problems next time when things are worse.
  • There is so much blame to go around for the way COVID-19 unraveled, but much of it is not a matter of bad people conspiring to do bad things.
  • Sam Harris thinks that we need reasonable difficult conversations on difficult topics to solve problems.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 106

Trump and Pandemic

  • The pandemic made people more emotional than before.
  • Trump triggered the far left to be more active than they could have been without him.
  • The pandemic handed big government a huge platform on a silver platter.
  • Executed poorly, it has created complete distrust in government.
  • There was going to be complete distrust anyway given the nature of the information space.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 107

Conspiracy Theories and Misinformation

  • There is an anti-vaxx cult that just ramped up its energy during this moment.
  • The core of Trumpism is a cult, and Q Anon is a cult.
  • There are layers of bad faith that are hard to fully diagnose.
  • All of this is getting signal boosted by an outrage machine that is preferentially spreading misinformation.
  • It's almost impossible to exaggerate how confused some people are and how fully their lives are organized around that confusion.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 108

Empathy and Reason

  • It's difficult to defend yourself against the claim that you're a pedophile cannibal.
  • You have to use empathy to understand what part of it is real.
  • Real questions of human welfare are in play.
  • There's a pandemic raging and there's medicine to take or not take.
  • Real empathy is the only way to get through to people who believe in conspiracy theories.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 109

Covid-19

  • People are quite confused about what Sam Harris was concerned about.
  • There was a period where anyone who took it seriously was crazy because they had no idea what was going on.
  • It was a moving target and a lot of things done in hindsight around masking and school closures looked fairly dysfunctional.
  • The criticism that people would say about talking about Covid-19 is unnecessary.
  • It's important to take Covid-19 seriously and to be cautious.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 111

Skepticism of the Vaccine

  • There was a point in the timeline where it was rational to expect that the vaccines were both working and reasonably safe, and that COVID was reasonably dangerous.
  • It was a forced choice to get vaccinated given the level of testing and how many people had been vaccinated before.
  • There was a period where it was just obviously reasonable to get vaccinated, especially because it wasn't a personal choice but a civic responsibility to keep those who can't get vaccinated safe.
  • There are safety concerns around the mRNA vaccines, especially for young men.
  • There's now a lot of natural immunity out there, and the virus has evolved to the point where it seems less dangerous.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 112

Cost-Benefit Analysis of Getting Vaccinated

  • It was totally rational for Sam Harris to want to get the vaccine as soon as he could.
  • Now, it's totally rational for him to do a different kind of cost-benefit analysis and wonder if he really needs to get a booster.
  • He questions how many boosters he will need for the rest of his life and how safe the mRNA vaccine is for a man of his age.
  • He wonders if he needs to be worried about myocarditis.
  • All of this is completely rational to consider.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 113

Shift in Safety Concerns Around the mRNA Vaccines

  • There are safety concerns around the mRNA vaccines, especially for young men.
  • There's now a lot of natural immunity out there, and the virus has evolved to the point where it seems less dangerous.
  • Sam Harris is less worried about getting COVID now that he's had it once and has been vaccinated.
  • He questions if he really needs to get a booster.
  • He's going more on the symptoms than on research that he's done at this point.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 114

Civic Responsibility to Get Vaccinated

  • It wasn't a personal choice to get vaccinated, but a civic responsibility to keep those who can't get vaccinated safe.
  • There are people in society who can't take any vaccines, and we should all feel a civic responsibility to be vaccinated against egregiously awful and transmissible diseases for which we have relatively safe vaccines.
  • There was a period of time when it was thought that the vaccine could stop transmission.
  • It was totally rational to expect that the vaccines were both working and reasonably safe, and that COVID was reasonably dangerous.
  • It was a forced choice to get vaccinated given the level of testing and how many people had been vaccinated before.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 116

Experts and Pseudo-Experts

  • Experts have failed at communicating, not doing.
  • Sam and Brett Weinstein have the tools to do pretty good thinking.
  • Deference to experts and pseudo-experts is a problem.
  • You can always find a PhD or an MD to champion any crackpot idea.
  • Some of the people Brett found had obvious tells to Sam's point of view.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 117

Unknowns and Debates

  • There are genuine unknowns in science.
  • We have no long-term data on mRNA vaccines.
  • Confidently saying millions of people will die because of vaccines or that Ivermectin is a panacea is not reasonable.
  • Sam and Brett were both the wrong people to get into the weeds on this.
  • Sam's experts look like crackpots to him.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 118

Trust in Institutions

  • Institutions have lost trust for good reason.
  • It's an open question whether we can get things done with this level of transparency and pseudo-transparency.
  • Can we fight a war when everyone with an iPhone is showing just how awful it is?
  • Everyone is a journalist, scientist, expert, and has direct contact with the facts.
  • Voices like Sam's are exceptionally important.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 120

Empathy and Reason

  • Empathy is essential in making a positive impact on the world.
  • Sam's ability to see the other side and his empathy are important signals.
  • Reason is also important in making a positive impact on the world.
  • Sam and Lex Fridman discuss various controversial and challenging topics.
  • They talk about Donald Trump, vaccines, Kanye West, and the importance of empathy and reason.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 121

Communication of Expertise

  • Experts in various fields have not been effective communicators during the pandemic.
  • There is a lack of clear communication about the safety and efficacy of vaccines, testing, masks, and lockdowns.
  • Humility is necessary in acknowledging that we cannot know everything for sure.
  • There is a need for trusted individuals who can consider both sides of an issue and communicate the most likely truth.
  • Aggregating all the information and conspiracy theories is necessary to arrive at the truth.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 122

Lockdowns and Society

  • Lockdowns would work in theory, but they are difficult to implement.
  • Many people are convinced that lockdowns are a form of totalitarianism and will not comply.
  • Lockdowns were rational in the beginning of the pandemic to bend the curve and spare the healthcare system.
  • It is impossible to demand a lockdown in a society that is not willing to comply.
  • People will only comply with a lockdown if the pandemic is much more deadly.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 123

Professional and Personal Pressure

  • There is pressure to comment on the behavior of friends, acquaintances, or colleagues who have a public platform.
  • It is difficult to navigate the ethical choices of commenting on someone's behavior in public.
  • There is a need to balance personal and professional relationships with the responsibility to speak out against bad behavior.
  • It is important to consider the impact of public comments on personal relationships and the potential for public backlash.
  • There is a need for empathy and reason in making a positive impact on the world.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 125

Behavior on Twitter

  • There are individuals on Twitter who behave like psychopaths due to the incentives of the platform.
  • Some individuals are unreliable sources of information but are signal boosted by others.
  • It is important to consider the context of comments before making judgments.
  • There is a need to resist binary thinking and consider both sides of an issue.
  • Trusted individuals who can communicate expertise effectively are necessary to combat dogmatism.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 126

Private Conversations with Public Figures

  • Sam Harris has had private conversations with public figures before publicly criticizing them.
  • He reached out to Lex Fridman before criticizing his interview with Kanye West.
  • He also reached out to Elon Musk before publicly discussing him on his podcast.
  • However, he failed to reach out to Brett Weinstein before criticizing him publicly.
  • Sam acknowledges that he should have made more of an effort to have a private conversation with Brett before the public criticism.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 127

The Power of Love Philosophy

  • Sam criticized Lex's interview with Kanye for having a "naive philosophy about the power of love."
  • Lex argues that the act of turning the other cheek and showing empathy and compassion towards others has power.
  • He believes that just the act of listening and trying to understand another human being can open people's minds to questioning their own beliefs.
  • Lex applies this philosophy to Brett Weinstein, suggesting that a private conversation should focus on being respectful and sending love, rather than making a strong case against his beliefs.
  • Sam argues that these cases are non-analogous and that the conversation with Kanye misfired for a different reason.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 129

The Importance of Empathy and Reason

  • Sam emphasizes the importance of empathy and reason in making a positive impact on the world.
  • He believes that empathy is necessary for understanding and connecting with others, while reason is necessary for making informed decisions and solving problems.
  • He argues that we need to find a way to balance these two qualities in order to make progress.
  • Sam also discusses the importance of vaccines and the dangers of misinformation surrounding them.
  • He believes that we need to rely on scientific evidence and reason to make informed decisions about our health and the health of others.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 130

Other Topics

  • Sam and Lex briefly discuss Donald Trump and his handling of the pandemic.
  • They also touch on the topic of Twitter and its role in shaping public discourse.
  • Sam shares his thoughts on AI and its potential impact on society.
  • He also briefly discusses the topic of UFOs and the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
  • Lex and Sam discuss the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) and its role in public discourse.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 131

Kanye West and Mental Illness

  • Kanye West's behavior raises questions about his mental health.
  • There are three possibilities: he's mentally ill, he's an anti-Semite, or he's both.
  • It's possible that none of these are likely for either Sam Harris or Lex Fridman.
  • Compassion and love don't always have to be patient and acquiescent.
  • It's not doing Kanye West a favor to stick a mic in front of him and let him go off on controversial topics.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 132

Why the Conversation with Kanye West Should Have Been Private

  • Sam Harris thinks that the conversation with Kanye West should have been private.
  • There's no criticism of what Lex Fridman said, but it would have been better if it had been in private.
  • If Kanye West is mentally ill, it's not doing him a favor to make his thoughts more public.
  • If he's just an anti-Semite, there's not much to say unless you're going to dig in and criticize him in public.
  • Compassion and love can be wielded as a sword to make it clear to someone that they're wrong without communicating hatred.
Sam Harris: Trump, Pandemic, Twitter, Elon, Bret, IDW, Kanye, AI & UFOs | Lex Fridman Podcast #365 134

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