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Podcast recommendation: Balaji Srinivasan on the dystopian present and the decentralised future plus plus plus

This long (long!) episode of the Tim Ferriss show is full of thought provoking stuff on all sorts of topics related to technology, cryptocurrency, online education, international realpolitik and much more. It’s an interesting and mostly fun ride.

There’s a great line early on about how “if code scripts machines, media scripts human beings,” which ties in to this interesting riff on dystopian movies:

There’s an interesting flip you can do with the dystopian movie. They key trick is, it’s like at the beginning of Terminator: the present is all idyllic, everyone’s gamboling through the fields… and then this crazy scientist invents some horrible new terminator and messes it all up, and now the future is worse. So the premise is that the present was fine, and this tech guy, tech bro, made it all worse, like Miles Dyson in Terminator.

But it’s easy to actually invert that. And the inversion is, the present that is the dystopia. It’s the present where we’re all wearing masks, it’s the present where the power’s going out, it’s the present where random fires rage and cold snaps hit in the middle of nowhere and politics is dysfunctional… so it’s the present that’s dystopian, and there’s a small group that might be able to carve out a better future. They’ve just invented, for example, a better form of nuclear power, but they’re getting hemmed in by these power hungry regulators, and these NGOs that just hate nuclear power, and press that’s just trying oppress them for clicks, and these guys need to figure it out and actually build something better.

… Now what I just described actually has a lot of oomph to it because that’s actually reality. Every single startup founder has to go through what I just described…

Balaji Srinivasan – The Tim Ferriss Show #506

Recommend (on 1.5x speed).

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