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Season 1

Dec. 29, 2023

E39: Balaji Srinivasan and Nathan Labenz on AI's Future, Human-AI Symbiosis, and AI Control

On today's Upstream, we're sharing a recent episode where Balaji Srinivasan joins Nathan Labenz to discuss the future of AI: polytheistic AI and AI gods, human-AI symbiosis, and how AI will be controlled.

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Dec. 22, 2023

E38: Holiday Special: Request for Startups

This week, in a departure from Upstream's usual format, Erik sits downs with friends Nick DeWilde, Sean Linehan, and Justin Mares to exchange startup ideas in a new format called "Request for Startups." Please note that this ...

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Dec. 15, 2023

E37: Noor Siddiqui on embryo screening, the fertility crisis, and parenting

In this episode, Erik sits down with Noor Siddiqui, founder and CEO of Orchid. They discuss Orchid's recent breakthrough in embryo whole genome sequencing, the fertility crisis, parenting, dating, and more.

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Dec. 8, 2023

E36: Beff Jezos on doxxing, e/acc, and why crypto will save AI

Beff Jezos, the anonymous co-founder of the effective accelerationism movement (also known as "e/acc") recently had his identity revealed by Forbes reporters. He gives the inside story to Erik Torenberg, Antonio Garcia Martinez, Dan Romero, his e/acc cofounder bayeslord, and The Cognitive Revolution podcast host Nathan Labenz.

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Dec. 1, 2023

E35: Samo Burja on Sam Altman, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and George Soros

In this episode, Erik sits down with Samo Burja, political scientist and founder of Bismarck Analysis. They discuss Samo's term "live player" and today's live players, including Sam Altman, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and George Soros.

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Nov. 24, 2023

E34: Byrne Hobart on Sam Altman, Meta vs Google, and Effective Altruism

In this episode, Erik is joined by Byrne Hobart, author of tech and finance newsletter The Diff, to discuss Sam Altman's ousting from OpenAI, Microsoft's role in the story, the new competitive landscape for AI companies, and Effective Altruism's past and present.

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Nov. 17, 2023

E33: The Untold History of Nuclear Energy with Packy McCormick and Julia DeWahl

Today on Upstream we’re dropping a special episode of Age of Miracles which dives into the rise and fall of nuclear power in the 20th century, and what we can learn about pushing nuclear into the 21st century.

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Nov. 10, 2023

E32: Balaji on SBF and the Israel-Hamas War

Balaji Srinivasan returns to Upstream for an unfiltered conversation about recent events: SBF's conviction and the conflict in the middle east

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Nov. 3, 2023

E31: Sam Lessin on Why We’re Heading into a New Era of Venture

Erik is joined by Sam Lessin, General Partner at the early-stage VC firm Slow Ventures, essayist, and former VP of Product at Facebook.

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Oct. 27, 2023

E30: Aaron Ginn on the Moral Idea Maze, the GPU Revolution, and US-China Relations

Erik Torenberg sits down with Aaron Ginn, the CEO and co-founder of Hydra Host and the co-founder of the Lincoln Network (now Foundation for American Innovation). They discuss tech and politics, US-China relations, the GPU revolution, and foreign policy predictions.

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Oct. 20, 2023

E29: Sense-Making, a Top 1% Information Diet, and Generation Warfare with Michael Guimarin

Erik Torenberg sits down with Michael Guimarin, a Silicon Valley operator and educator who helps people hone their information diets, to discuss the divide between institutions and networks and how to shift from consensus to resonance.

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Oct. 6, 2023

E28: Richard Hanania Returns | Trump, the Sexual Revolution, and Immigration

Writer and political scientist Richard Hanania is back on Upstream to discuss Trump, Vivek Ramaswamy, the Republican establishment, the sexual revolution, immigration, and his ideological differences with Curtis Yarvin

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Sept. 29, 2023

E27: Robin Hanson on Elites, Experts, and Truths People Resist

Robin Hanson, economist, author ,and futurist, sits down with Erik Torenberg to discuss Robin’s ideas about status, truth, and the outlook for innovation.

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Sept. 22, 2023

E26: Ben Horowitz on AI, the Future of Venture Capital, and Wartime VCs

Ben Horowitz, co-founder of Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) and one of the most influential venture capitalists of the last decade, sits down with Erik for podcast Turpentine VC. They shed light on how Ben thinks about firm-building and where the future is going.

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Sept. 15, 2023

E25: Jon Askonas on 2nd Order Effects of AI, the Media Ecology of Reality, and Conservatism

Erik Torenberg sits down with Jon Askonas to look at the impact of disruptive technology in important areas like the media, religion, culture, and politics. Jon is an assistant professor of politics at Catholic University, a senior fellow at the Foundation for American Innovation and a writer for publications like The New Atlantis and Compact.

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Sept. 8, 2023

E24: Balaji Srinivasan on Social Tribalism, Cloud Cartography, Internet Values

Balaji Srinivasan joins Erik Torenberg and Moment of Zen co-host Dan Romero to share his new theory of the Tribal Lens, why cognitive territories will gain increasingly more power than land-defined territories, why the US is no longer a beacon in the world, and Balaji strategy to fix San Francisco.

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Sept. 1, 2023

E23: Emad Mostaque and Sam Lessin Debate Whether AI is a Good Investment for VC

Erik Torenberg sits down with Emad Mostaque, founder of Stability AI, and Sam Lessin, GP of Slow Ventures and former VP Product at Facebook to debate how paradigm shifting AI will be for the different sectors of the global economy, and whether AI is actually a good investment for Venture Capital.

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Aug. 25, 2023

E22: Vivek Ramaswamy on his Presidential Run, Intellectually Oppressive Culture, Otherism

Erik Torenberg sits down with Vivek Ramaswamy, the Republican presidential candidate rapidly rising in the polls.

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Aug. 18, 2023

E21: Sam Hammond on AI, e/acc, and Institutional Disruption

Samuel Hammond is a DC-based senior economist for the Foundation for American Innovation, a think tank focused on bridging the cultures of Silicon Valley and DC.

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Aug. 11, 2023

E20: Martin Shkreli on Public Vilification, Lessons from Prison, and Getting Back in the Arena

Biotech founder and investor Martin Shkreli joins Erik Torenberg and his co-host Jesse Genet on In The Arena podcast to dissect his controversies and crises through the lens of leadership.

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Aug. 4, 2023

E19: Economist Bryan Caplan on Non-conformity, Sex, Feminism and Homeschooling

Bryan Caplan is a writer and professor of economics at George Mason University, as well as the author of four books, including The myth of the Rational Voter, and The Case Against Education.

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July 28, 2023

E18: Marc Andreessen on AI, Religion, SF, Longevity, and the NPC Meme

Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz sits down with Erik Torenberg and his Moment of Zen co-hosts Dan Romero and Antonio Garcia Martinez to discuss AI, religion, San Francisco politics, Eric Vogelin, and life extension.

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July 21, 2023

E17: Noah Smith's Reflections on Biden's First Term, Foreign Policy, and Industrial Policy - Econ 102 with Noah Smith

We're excited to introduce Upstream listeners to Econ 102 from Turpentine. In episode 1, Noah Smith and Erik Torenberg discuss the highs and lows of Biden's first term, Biden's policies in comparison to previous presidents and other leaders, as well as China - its real estate sector, industrial and manufacturing industries, and its views on tech.

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July 14, 2023

E16: Agnes Callard on Dark Empathy, Being Straussian vs Being Sincere, and Philosophical Progress

In this episode, Erik sits down with Agnes Callard to discuss her views on disagreement and progress, her inclination to question and operate outside of accepted societal structures, and why empathy is not always positive.

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