The 80,000 Hours podcast should host debates

by jackmalde1 min read10th Jul 202013 comments


Personal Blog

This is just a thought I had today listening to the most recent episode with Ben Garfinkel. There are times when listening to 80,000 Hours episodes when I wonder what an expert on 'the other side of the argument' would say to a particular point made. Hosts like Rob Wiblin and Howie Lempel do a good job in challenging guests in this way, but it's not quite the same as having two experts on opposite sides of an argument respond to each other in real time with a moderator.

An example of such a debate was a recent episode on The Future of Life Institute podcast where Stuart Russell and Steven Pinker discussed the dangers of AI. Personally I think there could have been a better choice than Steven Pinker who isn't really an AI expert, but it was interesting to hear Stuart and Steven respond to each other. Whilst neither changed the other's mind, which is rare in debates, I think it's useful for listeners to hear both sides of an argument. Also, such podcast discussions seem more efficient than posting online back and forth like Stuart Russell and Yann LeCun did a while back on AI and Will MacAskill and Toby Ord did on how influential the present might be, granted this method of communication does give each party some time to carefully form their response.

There are quite a few ongoing debates in EA circles and I think it would be interesting to hear some podcast debates on them. What do you think?