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#292 - How Much Does the Future Matter?

A Conversation with William MacAskill

August 14, 2022

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Sam Harris speaks with William MacAskill about his new book, What We Owe the Future. They discuss the philosophy of effective altruism (EA), longtermism, existential risk, criticism of EA, problems with expected-value reasoning, doing good vs feeling good, why it's hard to care about future people, how the future gives meaning to the present, why this moment in history is unusual, the pace of economic and technological growth, bad political incentives, value lock-in, the well-being of conscious creatures as the foundation of ethics, the risk of unaligned AI, how bad we are at predicting technological change, and other topics.

William MacAskill is an Associate Professor in Philosophy and Research Fellow at the Global Priorities Institute, University of Oxford. He is one of the primary voices in a philanthropic movement known as “effective altruism” and the co-founder of three non-profits based on effective altruist principles: Giving What We Can, 80,000 Hours, and the Centre for Effective Altruism. He is also the Director of the Forethought Foundation for Global Priorities Research and the author of Doing Good Better: Effective Altruism and a Radical New Way to Make a Difference.

Website: williammacaskill.com

Twitter: @willmacaskill

 

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