Visionary technology and business leader Nathan Myhrvold just might be the most interesting person in the world, and in this episode of The Knowledge Project he dives deep into some of the most pressing questions facing our world today. Where will technology take us in the future? Should we trust artificial intelligence? Where have we gone wrong in protecting our planet? How do we reverse the effects of what we’ve already done? Myhrvold answers all these and much, much more.
Myhrvold is a prominent scientist, technologist, inventor, author, food photographer, and the former Chief Technology Officer at Microsoft. He’s also the co-founder of patent portfolio developer Intellectual Ventures, the principal author of the culinary book Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking, part of a team that won first place at the World Barbecue Championships, and he completed his postdoctoral fellowship under legendary theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.
Here are a few highlights from our conversation:
So there’s another factor, which is jealousy and human nature. I think we understand what’s causing the problem. It’s a whole variety of things around modern life.
This is brilliant. Whether he really thought all this upfront, I don’t know. But it’s a brilliant analysis, even if it’s after the fact, because what you would have to do is break everything you [know], yet you still care a tremendous amount about safety and all these other issues.
And the classic metaphor for this is [the] greenhouse. If you’re in a greenhouse, the visible light of the sun goes through the glass or the plastic that makes the greenhouse. The infrared radiation from the things inside that are heated up doesn’t pass through. It gets trapped. And that’s why a greenhouse can be so warm, even if it’s the middle of winter in Alaska.
I would hope so, because it would mean I hadn’t grown as a person if there was nothing that I wished I knew.
00:00 – Intro
01:25 – Nathan’s background (Stephen Hawking, Microsoft)
03:19 – Why Nathan started cooking
04:28 – How Nathan made decisions at Microsoft
06:15 – Nathan’s predictions for the future
09:20 – The flaws of autonomous cars
14:04 – On space travel
16:25 – How we’ve broken Earth
40:30 – The science of geoengineering
52:00 – The “global” problems with global warming
55:07 – Outro