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John Robb: “Networked Tribalism, AI, and Asteroids”

February 22, 2024

(Conversation recorded on December 4th, 2023)

Show Summary

On this episode, Nate is joined by author and technology analyst John Robb to discuss how geopolitics, information warfare, and technology are shaping how we understand the world and interact with each other. With the recent rise in global tensions and violence, plus an escalating threat of catastrophic scenarios, more and more people sense that the system is unstable. Coupled with accelerating developments in artificial intelligence, we live in an environment where interpretation and sensemaking – especially at an individual level – are more difficult than ever. What do these trends and challenges mean for governments and corporations trying to control the flow of information and data? How will near-term technological advancements affect the trajectories of politics, science, and journalism – and is it possible for individuals to be aware of and mitigate their influence? During a time where communication and collective problem solving is more important than ever, will it be possible to navigate between tribes and ideological groups amidst increasing polarization and fractured information systems?

About John Robb

John Robb currently publishes the Global Guerrillas Report, which covers the intersection of War, Politics, and Technology. He served as a tier one special ops, after which he went on to be a popular internet analyst, entrepreneur, the COO of a software company that open sourced the current RSS standard, and much more. He also published the book Brave New War on the subject of the future of warfare.

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Show Notes & Links to Learn More

PDF Transcript

00:00 – John Robb Works + Info

01:59 – Brave New War

02:40 – Three Realms of Warfare

02:50 – John Boyd

06:19 – Marshall McLuhan

06:55 – Entropy and Collapse

08:24 – Microaggression

09:10 – Limits to Growth, Update

09:55 – Social Contract

11:15 – Negative effects of too much inward reflection

12:04 – Economic growth over time

12:12 – Meaning Crisis

13:48 – Long Night Scenario

14:14 – Open AI, Sam Altman

15:15 – Chat GPT

16:42 – AI alignment

20:36 – Nate’s Frankly’s

22:26 – Simulation Hypothesis

22:55 – WestWorld

26:55 – Black Mirror

27:03 – Luddite

27:55 – Effects of black hole on human body

29:41 – Data Ownership

30:35 – Synthetic data, issues with bias 

31:02 – Large language models

34:01 – Surveillance State

34:41 – Metcalfe’s Law

35:21 – Europe data protection law

35:35 – Privacy vs data ownership

37:32 – Energy use of AI, Consumption-amplifying effects of AI

38:14 – Smartphone adoption rate

38:20 – Augmented Reality

39:41 – Matrix

41:57 – Art Berman podcast, peak oil

43:11 – Increasing middle class

46:34 – DAI, Disney lost half its value

46:55 – Debt requires growth

49:28 – Musk, Bezos

51:41 – Rates of mental illness

52:13 – Jonathan Haidt + TGS Podcast

52:28 – Schools that don’t allow phones have better mental health outcomes

54:11 – Anti-Israel movement among young people

54:41 – Tribal moral warfare

54:52 – Russian-Ukraine information warfare

56:01 – People under 50 don’t watch TV news

1:01:22 – Fictive Kinship

1:03:08 – George Floyd

1:03:19 – Mirror Neurons

1:13:03 – Archduke Ferdinand

1:22:45 – 8 million people migrated in over last few years

1:25:28 – Corporate trust is higher than government trust

1:26:26 – Trends toward Facism

1:26:33 – Networked Facism 

1:30:08 – Tristan Harris + TGS Episode, AI regulation

1:31:24 – Polarization

1:35:36 – Dissipative system

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens

Nate Hagens is the Director of The Institute for the Study of Energy & Our Future (ISEOF) an organization focused on educating and preparing society for the coming cultural transition. Allied with leading ecologists, energy experts, politicians and systems thinkers ISEOF assembles road-maps and off-ramps for how human societies can adapt to lower throughput lifestyles. Nate holds a Masters Degree in Finance with Honors from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. He teaches an Honors course, Reality 101, at the University of Minnesota.