Episode 47

Published on:

30th May 2022

Jaron Lanier: Fear of an Algorithmic Planet

The season of tech is upon us! Hold on to your hats and press those non-fungible tokens tightly to your bosom, because we are getting into the thick of it.

Matt and Chris kick things off with an exploration of tech pioneer Jaron Lanier. Sometimes referred to as the father of virtual reality, Jaron is a promising candidate for gurudom given his foreboding warnings of a bleak algorithmic future and a penchant for opening tech lectures barefoot with impromptu performances of exotic instruments. In short, he's a groovy guy and Matt digs that! Chris, being the sour lemon that he is, takes a little while to adjust to Jaron's particular style.

Some Weinsteinian warning signs might be flashing but there really are eccentric and very clever people in the world... and Lanier might just be one of them? He certainly has a track record of critically commenting on techno-optimism and social media platforms for at least two decades. But some of his pronouncements seem a tad OTT and some recommendations a little hand-wavy...

So how do the decoders square this particular dread-locked circle? Well, you're going to have to listen all the way to the end to find out. So, get yourself comfortable. Drink some coffee and pop some no-doze, and strap yourself in.

Smash the Duck!


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About the Podcast

Decoding the Gurus
A psychologist and an anthropologist try to make sense of the world's greatest self-declared Gurus.
An exiled Northern Irish anthropologist and a hitchhiking Australian psychologist take a close look at the contemporary crop of 'secular gurus', iconoclasts, and other exiles from the mainstream, offering their own brands of unique takes and special insights.

Leveraging two of the most diverse accents in modern podcasting, Chris and Matt dig deep into the claims, peek behind the psychological curtains, and try to figure out once and for all... What's it all About?

Join us, as we try to puzzle our way through and talk some smart-sounding smack about the intellectual giants of our age, from Jordan Peterson to Robin DiAngelo. Are they revolutionary thinkers or just grifters with delusions of grandeur?

Join us and let's find out!
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About your hosts

Christopher Kavanagh

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A Northern Irish cognitive anthropologist who occasionally moonlights as a social psychologist. Chris has long standing interests in the psychology of conspiracy theorists and pseudoscience. His academic research focuses on the Cognitive Science of Religion and ritual psychology. He lives happily in Japan with his family.

Matthew Browne

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An Australian psychologist and numbers-guy. He does research on all kinds of stuff, but particularly enjoys looking into why people believe the things they do: religion, conspiracy theories, alternative medicine and stuff. He's into social media in the same way people slow down for car accidents.