Nicholas Christakis

Why You Should Feel Optimistic About The Future of the World

Sociologist and physician Nicholas Christakis, named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine, is on the forefront of research into human social networks and the evolutionary and biosocial determinants of behavior, emotions and health. In this conversation with host Tom Bilyeu, the best-selling author of “Blueprint: The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society” discusses everything from grieving elephants to colonies on Mars and future sex robots. He explains why good human impulses are eventually more powerful than antagonism and division, describes experiments where interaction with artificial intelligence improves peoples’ behavior towards each other, and expresses hopeful optimism about our ability to constantly expand the moral sphere and upgrade the social contract.



Why are we cultural animals in the first place? What is the capacity for culture? [1:00]

Nicholas advocates that there is more that unites humanity than there is that divides us [4:43]

People don’t really think that their life experience is dictated by their group membership [7:12]

When travelling, at first people seem so different, but soon it’s clear how similar we are [9:38]

Nicholas discusses the ability of elephants to feel grief, and why faces are different [13:35]

Elephants will teach each other how to raid human crops [18:11]

Nicholas explains the power of grief, and the way it is so different from other emotions [20:26]

Nicholas talks about the rituals surrounding grief, and how they reconnect people [24:20]

Nicholas uses whaling to describe how the human moral sphere has expanded [28:28]

Nicholas shares stories of being a hospice doctor [30:33]

Nicholas talks about how important active listening is, especially as a hospice doctor [37:49]

Nicholas explains how to talk to someone who is dying [41:55]

Nicholas then explains the basic principles on how to break bad news [46:21]

Nicholas discusses colonizing Mars and why he thinks it is inevitable [49:43]

Nicholas and Tom discuss Shackleton and shipwrecks [53:11]

How does artificial intelligence change the way humans interact with each other? [56:43]

Nicholas talks about sex robots, and how we may need a new social contract [1:01:15]

How will we program AI, and how will it affect human society? [1:04:27]

Nicholas describes an experiment where robots encouraged human sociality [1:13:47]







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