“Wealth is not a number. I don’t think it can be characterized very well by a number. It is the set of all transformations that you are capable of bringing about. That is your wealth. And if optimism is true, then there’s no limit to wealth.“— David Deutsch
David Deutsch (@DavidDeutschOxf) is a visiting professor of physics at the Centre for Quantum Computation, a part of the Clarendon Laboratory at Oxford University, and an honorary fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford. He works on fundamental issues in physics, particularly the quantum theory of computation and information and especially constructor theory, which he is proposing as a new way of formulating laws of nature. He is the author of The Fabric of Reality and The Beginning of Infinity, and he is an advocate of the philosophy of Karl Popper.
Naval Ravikant (@naval) is the co-founder of Airchat and AngelList. He has invested in more than 100 companies, including many mega-successes, such as Twitter, Uber, Notion, Opendoor, Postmates, and Wish. You can see his latest musings on Airchat and subscribe to Naval, his podcast on wealth and happiness, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also find his blog at nav.al.
This episode is brought to you by AG1! I get asked all the time, “If you could use only one supplement, what would it be?” My answer is usually AG1, my all-in-one nutritional insurance. I recommended it in The 4-Hour Body in 2010 and did not get paid to do so. I do my best with nutrient-dense meals, of course, but AG1 further covers my bases with vitamins, minerals, and whole-food-sourced micronutrients that support gut health and the immune system.
Right now, you’ll get a 1-year supply of Vitamin D free with your first subscription purchase—a vital nutrient for a strong immune system and strong bones. Visit DrinkAG1.com/Tim to claim this special offer today and receive your 1-year supply of Vitamin D (and 5 free AG1 travel packs) with your first subscription purchase! That’s up to a one-year supply of Vitamin D as added value when you try their delicious and comprehensive daily, foundational nutrition supplement that supports whole-body health.
This episode is brought to you by LinkedIn Jobs. Whether you are looking to hire now for a critical role or thinking about needs that you may have in the future, LinkedIn Jobs can help. LinkedIn screens candidates for the hard and soft skills you’re looking for and puts your job in front of candidates looking for job opportunities that match what you have to offer.
Using LinkedIn’s active community of more than 900 million professionals worldwide, LinkedIn Jobs can help you find and hire the right person faster. When your business is ready to make that next hire, find the right person with LinkedIn Jobs. And now, you can post a job for free. Just visit LinkedIn.com/Tim.
This episode is brought to you by FreshBooks. I’ve been talking about FreshBooks—an all-in-one invoicing + payments + accounting solution—for years now. Many entrepreneurs, as well as the contractors and freelancers that I work with, use it all the time.
FreshBooks makes it super easy to track things like expenses, project time, and client info and then merge it all into great-looking invoices. And right now, there’s a special offer just for my listeners. Head over to FreshBooks.com/Tim to get 90% off your FreshBooks subscription for 4 months.
Want to hear another episode that ponders the nature of reality? Have a listen to my conversation with Professor Donald Hoffman, in which we discuss the science of consciousness, how perception may influence the physical world, the holographic model of the universe, panpsychism (and influential panpsychists), cosmological polytope, the use of hallucinogenic drugs to tap into deeper reality and interact with conscious agents, QBism, the probability of zero that humans evolved to see reality in full, and much more.
What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.
SCROLL BELOW FOR LINKS AND SHOW NOTES…
SELECTED LINKS FROM THE EPISODE
- Connect with David Deutsch:
- Connect with Naval Ravikant:
- The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes — And Its Implications by David Deutsch | Amazon
- The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World by David Deutsch | Amazon
- The Beginning of Infinity, Part 1 (with Brett Hall) | Naval Podcast
- The Beginning of Infinity, Part 2 (with Brett Hall) | Naval Podcast
- David Deutsch: Knowledge Creation and the Human Race | Naval Podcast
- David Deutsch: Chemical Scum That Dream of Distant Quasars | TED Talk
- The Best Theory of Knowledge and Progress | Critical Rationalism Hub
- ToKCast | Brett Hall
- Science | Airchat (Where Brett and Naval Discuss David’s work)
- Philosophy and the Real World: An Introduction to Karl Popper by Bryan Magee | Amazon
- Aaron Stupple’s Chapter-by-Chapter Commentary on Philosophy and the Real World | Airchat
- The Science of Can and Can’t: A Physicist’s Journey through the Land of Counterfactuals by Chiara Marletto | Amazon
- Interviews with Chiara Marletto, David Deutsch, and Others About Constructor Theory | Logan Chipkin
- A New View of Children | Taking Children Seriously
- The Four Strands of the Fabric of Reality | David Deutsch
- The Theory Of Everything: The Origin and Fate of the Universe by Stephen W. Hawking | Amazon
- Computing Machinery and Intelligence by A.M. Turing | Mind
- Church–Turing–Deutsch Principle | Wikipedia
- Multiverse | Wikipedia
- Genetic Evolution Was a Prelude to Memetic Evolution (with Brett Hall) [Clip] | Naval Podcast
- Epistemology | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Scientific Method | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- If You Say ‘Science Is Right,’ You’re Wrong | Scientific American
- Famous Scientific Theories That Were Proven Wrong | Grunge
- 1946 and All That | LSE
- Summary of Popper’s Lectures at the LSE | Critical Rationalism Blog
- Karl Popper’s Falsification | BBC Radio 4
- “Summary: It’s Not Yet Known. But It Will Be.” | David Deutsch, Twitter
- Lamarckism | Wikipedia
- “Lamarckism! 33 Years After It Had Become Untenable.” | David Deutsch, Twitter
- The Many-Worlds Theory, Explained | The MIT Press Reader
- Copenhagen Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics | Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- What is a Qubit? | Quantum Inspire
- ‘Father of Quantum Computing’ Wins $3M Physics Prize | The Guardian
- Shor’s Algorithm | IBM Quantum
- How to Use Occam’s Razor without Getting Cut | Farnam Street
- David Deutsch: A New Way to Explain Explanation | TED Talk
- “The Elephant’s Child” from Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling | Lit2Go ETC
- “Science Must Begin with Myths…” -Karl R. Popper | Goodreads
- Common Sense | The Chicago School of Media Theory
- Iseult Gillespie: The Myth of Hades and Persephone | TED-Ed
- What is Earth’s Axial Tilt? | Universe Today
- The Infinite Optimism of Physicist David Deutsch | Scientific American Blog Network
- Deus Ex Machina Explained | Fandor
- How to Travel Faster Than Light | Fermilab
- Humans vs. Robots: The Difference Between AI and AGI | Becoming Human: Artificial Intelligence Magazine
- Paradox of Tolerance: To Tolerate or Not to Tolerate? | Academy 4SC
- Quarantine by Greg Egan | Amazon
- Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography by Karl Popper | Amazon
- David Deutsch: After Billions of Years of Monotony, the Universe Is Waking Up | TED Talk
- Quantum Computing Expert Explains How Humans Could Control the Whole Galaxy | Inverse
- How Do Crystals Form and Grow? | Geology Page
- The Origin of Atmospheric Oxygen on Earth: The Innovation of Oxygenic Photosynthesis | PNAS
- Antonio Stoppani’s ‘Anthropozoic’ in the Context of the Anthropocene | The British Journal for the History of Science
- The History of England by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay | Amazon
- Wealth is Knowledge | David Deutsch
- The Open Society and Its Enemies by Karl R. Popper | Amazon
- The Logic of Scientific Discovery by Karl R. Popper | Amazon
- 2004: What’s Your Law? | Edge.org
- A New Approach to Formulating Fundamental Laws in Physics | Constructor Theory
- Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin Meet Calvin Meet Calvin | GoComics
RESOURCES PROVIDED BY NAVAL RAVIKANT
- Critical Rationalism Hub: A hub of relevant resources to learn all about our Critical Rationalism.
- ToKCast by Brett Hall: A podcast promoting optimism, unbounded progress and creative critical thinking using the best known explanations from fundamental physics and philosophy.
- Brett and Naval’s Podcasts on The Beginning of Infinity, Part 1, Part 2, and interview with David Deutsch.
- Airchat Science Channel where Brett and Naval discuss David’s work.
- Philosophy and the Real World: An Introduction to Karl Popper by Bryan Magee
- Aaron Stupple’s room on Airchat goes through the book chapter-by-chapter with unique commentary.
- The Science of Can and Can’t: A Physicist’s Journey through the Land of Counterfactuals by Chiara Marletto
- Logan Chipkin’s interviews with Chiara Marletto and other physicists working on constructor theory
- Taking Children Seriously website: Everything TCS related from what to do during a unique situation to the deep underlying explanation binding such a parenting style.
- Talk by David Deutsch: Chemical Scum That Dream of Distant Quasars
- [08:03] The impact The Fabric of Reality and The Beginning of Infinity have had on Naval.
- [10:07] The four strands.
- [13:04] Dispelling common misconceptions about science.
- [19:26] How does knowledge grow?
- [24:26] The benefits of understanding the four strands.
- [32:47] How quantum computing arose from trying to test a multiverse theory.
- [37:40] What a good explanation looks like.
- [42:43] How do conjecture and criticism give us a basis for optimism?
- [48:38] Translating knowledge into action.
- [51:20] Artificial intelligence (AI) vs. artificial general intelligence (AGI).
- [56:54] AGI is people! But how do we ensure it’ll be good people?
- [1:03:03] What’s taking AGI so long to get here?
- [1:08:59] Chemical scum that dream of distant quasars.
- [1:17:47] Are humans central to the universe, or just a sideshow?
- [1:20:17] Wealth and resources.
- [1:25:30] Recommended thinkers.
- [1:28:05] Taking Children Seriously, ToKCast, Critical Rationalists, and Popper 101.
- [1:31:55] David’s most interesting problems right now.
- [1:39:24] Parting thoughts.
MORE DAVID DEUTSCH QUOTES FROM THE INTERVIEW
“In many ways, our institutions are wiser than we are. “
— David Deutsch
“AI [artificial intelligence] has nothing to do with AGI [artificial general intelligence]. It’s a completely different technology, and it is in many ways the opposite of AGI … An AGI can do anything, whereas an AI can only do the narrow thing that it’s supposed to do.”
— David Deutsch
“Even the most careful scientific observation is all theory-laden, and theories are inherently fallible.”
— David Deutsch
“Good explanations begin with bad explanations. And you get there—between the bad explanation and the good explanation—by criticism, by conjecturing variance of the story, and then criticizing both them and the original story, and then choosing the one that survives the criticism. And then you can move on from there to a better thing.”
— David Deutsch
“Knowledge can live inside our DNA and our genes, and the genes that are correct and useful get replicated—not just in the universe, but possibly even in the multiverse.”
— David Deutsch
“Wealth is not a number. I don’t think it can be characterized very well by a number. It is the set of all transformations that you are capable of bringing about. That is your wealth. And if optimism is true, then there’s no limit to wealth.“
— David Deutsch
- Karl Popper
- Richard Dawkins
- Alan Turing
- Alonzo Church
- Hugh Everett III
- Daniel Dennett
- Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
- Charles Darwin
- Stephen Jay Gould
- Erwin Schrödinger
- Niels Bohr
- John von Neumann
- Peter Shor
- Richard P. Feynman
- Rudyard Kipling
- Gregor Mendel
- Adolf Hitler
- Greg Egan
- Immanuel Kant
- Antonio Stoppani
- Michael Faraday
- William Godwin
- Thomas Babington Macaulay
- Bryan Magee
- Brett Hall
- Chiara Marletto
- Logan Chipkin
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.