Hear This Idea
Hear This Idea
Jan 30, 2023
Bonus: Damon Binder on Economic History and the Future of Physics
Play • 4 hr 1 min

Damon Binder is a research analyst at Open Philanthropy. His research focuses on potential risks from pandemics and from biotechnology. He previously worked as a research scholar at the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, where he studied existential risks. Prior to that he completed his PhD in theoretical physics at Princeton University.

We discuss:

  • How did early states manage large populations?
  • What explains the hockeystick shape of world economic growth?
  • Did urbanisation enable more productive farming, or vice-versa?
  • What does transformative AI mean for growth?
  • Would 'degrowth' benefit the world?
  • What do theoretical physicists actually do, and what are they still trying to understand?
  • Why not just run bigger physics experiments to solve the latest problems?
  • What could the history of physics tell us about its future?
  • In what sense are the universe's constants fine-tuned?
  • Will the universe ever just... end?
  • Why might we expect digital minds to be a big deal?


You can find more episodes and links at our website, hearthisidea.com.

(This episode is a bonus episode because it's less focused on topics in effective altruism than normal)

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