Exclusive Interview: Michael Vassar
Michael Vassar is a futurist, activist, entrepreneur, and the president of the Singularity Institute. He advocates safe development of new technologies for the benefit of mankind. He has held positions with Aon, the Peace Corps, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. He was a Founder and Chief Strategist at SirGroovy.com, an online music licensing firm. He has co-authored papers on the risks of advanced molecular manufacturing with Robert Freitas, and has written “Corporate Cornucopia” for the Center for Responsible Nanotechnology Task Force.
Michael joins us to talk about The Singularity Institute and about how you can use rational thought to take advantage of modern technology without undue risk. He will also share his thoughts on both “enlightenment science” and “scholarly science”, both of which you will learn about in the interview. If you are curious about how to balance the benefits of technology with the drawbacks for maximum performance, this show is for you.
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What We Cover
- What the Singularity Institute is.
- What would happen if an “intelligence explosion” occurred?
- What are the differences and similarities between “Enlightenment Science” and “Scholarly Science.” Are they mutually exclusive?
- Have there been any cases of machines becoming self aware or too smart?
- How do you balance pushing the limits of new technology with restrictions on what engineers and technologists can do?
- Do you ever see the machines and computers used by the military doing damage to the population?
- What are the biggest misconceptions about The Singularity Institute?
- What is your favorite piece of technology you use on daily basis?
- What are the top three biggest challenges faced by The Singularity Institute?
- What is the Singularity Summit?
- Where you can go to learn more about The Singularity Institute or LessWrong.com.
Links From The Show
Food & Supplements
Whey Protein Isolate (Grass-fed)
Listener Q & A Summary
- Does Cissus Quadrangularis aid in fat loss and muscle growth?
- Does a high protein diet cause kidney damage?
- Is coconut water a good post-workout drink?
- Can you lower ferritin levels with calcium supplements?
- How does Armi convince his parents to buy grass-fed meat?
- Do you have any tips for a budding entrepreneur?
- What do you think of Athletic Greens?
- What supplements should you take after a gall bladder removal?
- Can steroids be good for you?
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Questions for the podcast?
Leave your questions and responses in comments section below.
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I’ve heard that a high protein diet can damage your kidneys. I’ve never met someone who had this happen, but I was wondering if you think its a valid concern.
Dave what do you think of cissus quadrangularis as a supplement to help build muscle?
I’ve been drinking coconut water post workout. After reading your article, I am not sure if I am doing the right thing. Is a cup of Coconut Water post workout ok?
Hi guys, great podcast! Wanted to share my idea on hacking a higher than optimal Ferritin level in the blood should you ever get one. I eat meat most days of the week, and my last blood test showed slightly elevated levels of Ferritin, and instead of dialing down on it, I decided to try and hack it by taking a calcium supplement with the meat meal: according to some sources, calcium supplementation would partially inhibit iron absorption. What do you think?
I’ve been a fan of the blog and your podcast for a while now.
I’m 17. Since I still have some development left to do, I was wondering if there was anything in particular I should be doing now that will lead to better overall health in the future. I know it is easier to change your body while you’re young, so is there anything I could be doing beyond just following the bulletproof diet?
As you might have guessed, as I am still living with my parents, I am not the one who gets to do the shopping. I have convinced my parents to start buying grass fed butter for bulletproof coffee, but have been unable to sell them on grass fed beef. They acknowledge that it may be healthier than grain fed, but do not think that the benefit is enough to justify the cost. What do you think the best way is to pitch grass fed beef to someone who remains unconvinced.
Also, this may not be the right place to ask, but I’m very interested in entrepreneurship as a career path. I know that Dave has had some experience in that field. Do you have any recommendations for someone interested in going into that field?
Thanks so much for all the great work that you guys do!
Dave and Armi,
I *love* your podcast. I like your mix of interviews with fitness experts as well as productivity/lifestyle experts like Linda Bernardi and Bill Andrews. I’ve learned a ton from your shows and hope you’re able to keep the podcast going for many more episodes.
Under the influence of Tim Ferriss’s “4 Hour Body,” I started taking Athletic Greens. I can’t tell if they’re actually making a difference because I’ve made so many changes (including introducing Bulletproof Coffee as my daily breakfast) over the last few months that it’s impossible to attribute the positive changes I’m experiencing to any one thing (with the exception of the Bulletproof Coffee — those changes have been immediate and profound, I don’t know how I functioned pre-Bulletproof Coffee).
Do you have any recommendations for a daily multivitamin supplement. What do you think about Athletic Greens or similar products?
During the a previous show you mentioned anyone without a gallbladder who isn’t taking ox bile “won’t live long.” I had my gallbladder removed at age 28 (now 31), and docs gave me no directions to take any supplements. I feel fine, and have felt no symptoms. About a year ago I noticed that my blood glucose levels were quite high at a physical (105 fasting, 5.5 a1c). I’ve been eating high-fat/protein diets and avoiding carbs for this reason, but now I’m a worried all this fat intake could be detrimental w/ no gallbladder. I also recently tested very low for vitamin D at 17 ng/ml, despite supplementing at 2000 Iu per day.
Any thoughts or other tips for those missing a gallbladder?
What are your thoughts on steroids? It seems that, in moderation, they can bring a lot of benefits with minimal side effects.
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