Episode 57: Rose Eveleth on the future, Flash Forward, whether you are your brain, and whether to put that brain in a robot
Image: Milky Way (Source: NASA)
Our new episode is available from our Podcast host here: Episode 57
We’re also listed on:
Flash Forward episodes referenced, more or less in order of mention:
- “THE ULTIMATE SWATTING” (February 23, 2016)
- “THE VERY BIG SICK” (July 3, 2018)
- “FACETIME” (July 28, 2015)
- “EARTH: THE DESERT CREEP” (March 19, 2019)
- “BUZZ OFF” (October 17, 2017)
- “HOME SWEET HOME” (November 24, 2020)
- “BYE BYE BINARY” (October 6, 2015)
- “WHAT IF OUR CITIES WERE SMART?” (April 27, 2021)
- “HEADS WILL ROLL” (June 9, 2020)
- “BODIES: SWITCHEROO” (June 4, 2019)
ASAB episodes referenced:
- Episode 14: Faelan Mourmourakis on Bee Cognition
- Episode 27: Annalee Newitz on “Lost Cities” and the Nature of Self
Other interviews with Rose:
- “Futurology (THE FUTURE) with Rose Eveleth” (Ologies; January 6, 2020)
- “Rose Eveleth: Sex Robots” (Why Are People into That?!; December 13, 2017)
- “Flash Forward: An Interview with Rose Eveleth” (Feminist Book Club; May 6, 2021)
- “Journalist Rose Eveleth Imagines Future Worlds In New Book” (NPR; April 19, 2021)
Other Flash Forward(-y) Projects:
This transcript has not been thoroughly edited for clarity or grammar, but it will be soon.
Charles popping into the beginning of this episode to give kind of a disclaimer and an update. We actually recorded this extremely great interview with Rose Eveleth about a year and a half ago and between one thing and another, it’s just taken us a little while to get it published. As you can imagine, a lot has happened in that time – specific to Rose, they were involved in the production and filming of a show called The Future Of for Netflix, which you can check out now.
And Rose announced that flash forward, the podcast that they’ve been working on for years – years! – is finally coming to a close at the end of this year, and then it’s going to its great reward. Additionally, we do talk to Roe a little bit about gender and Rose’s experience of gender, and they’re going by more they pronouns these days, but I think still she/her-ing it up sometimes. I hope you enjoy the episode. I certainly enjoyed recording it. It was just a thrill. And I think we get into some good stuff. [intro music]
Hello, and welcome to Assigned Scientist at Bachelor’s. I am Charles and I’m an entomologist.
And I’m Tessa and I’m an astrobiologist.
And today is our guest we have one have a very short list of cis people who is allowed to be on the podcast – podcaster, journalist, science fiction fan: Rose Eveleth. Rose, welcome to the show.
I’m so incredibly honored to be on that shortlist. I was so excited to be here.
Yeah, this specific list is like… Avery Brooks.
But we haven’t gotten in touch with him yet. So then the second person on that list is you.
Oh, my God. Well, I’ll take it. I’ll take it.
So Rose, it’s, you will hopefully be known to everybody who might be listening to this as the creator, writer, longtime only producer. Now one of two people working on the show, the podcast flash forward, which I have said in print, in interviews on this podcast is my favorite podcast.
Oh, that’s so sweet.
And I mean it. And so normally to begin with, we ask people what their background is in science but you have done multiple interviews, some very recently where you have talked at length, about how you got interested in science, and then how you made the pivot to journalism. So I think instead of doing that, I’m just going to link to those episodes in the show notes, because they’re quite good, great conversations. And I’m also going to link to the one that you did a couple of years ago on Why Are People Into That?! on sex robots, because that has also come up a lot on this podcast.
You’re just now realizing what you’ve gotten yourself into.
Oh, no, I’m ready. I listen. I listen to your show. I love this podcast. I’m very excited to be here. I knew I knew what I was getting into what I said, Yes, I’m stoked. I’m ready.
One of the best things I’ve literally I’m going to take that to my grave. And just like, in the last moment before I you know, I see the lights and the angels and what you know, we’re very loose on theology on this podcast, because probably not surprisingly. But whatever happens, I’m gonna think, oh, Rose, listened to my podcast,
And loved it and loved it. Yes, yes. This is a great show.
Okay, well, then let’s just jump right into it. I will summarize Flash Forward for anybody who has not taken my repeated calls to listen, and I’ll describe it. So Flash Forward is a podcast that takes a hypothetical future, say we kill all the mosquitoes, and it introduces that with a short audio drama at the beginning, and then it considers how would we get to that future? What would it take to get there? And then what would it be like once we were there? It is the exact perfect podcast for a nerd who loves science fiction and also taking hypotheticals extremely seriously.
Yeah, some may say too seriously.
I never would. watch it I would open it up Tessa Do you have any like opening questions that you’d like to start with
of the futures you’ve covered? Which do you feel seems like the most plausible or likely to happen and for that matter, have any actually come to pass since you you know, recorded an episode about them?
Yeah, this is both like the best and worst question because then I have to admit what I got very wrong. And also things that we got right are also the things that like, I’m not happy about usually which is facial recognition is everywhere now. The pandemic we did a pandemic episode. Four years ago now, so things like that where I mean, it wasn’t particularly, you know, insightful to say like, there will probably be a pandemic, right, or like facial recognition will probably get more prevalent. So none of those feel like real big wins on any axis. But we also did talk an on an episode about face mask and face mask fashion, which has like become a thing. Obviously, during the pandemic, that episode was about a future in which there’s just sort of much more widespread desertification. So like hugely bigger deserts and drier air and air pollution. Everyone wears masks around all the time. And at the time, I was like, Maybe I should start a line of like, flash forward fashion masks, and I didn’t do it, but I should have done it, because then I could have made some money during the pandemic. But I also feel a little bit weird about selling like pandemic merch, I don’t know, some of them. I mean, some of them are very, like, likely because I pick low hanging fruit, right? We’ve done stuff about smart cities, we’ve done stuff about medical technology that like is just on the forefront. So it’s like, very easy to be like this will probably happen. So yeah, those are the ones that are like, it’s easy to be right, because you’re sort of looking at the things that are already happening and being like, what if a little bit more.
I was listening to some of your interviews recently. And it was surprising to me that people didn’t like, oh, it was it called the sharks. But with the snow
globe, this problem? Yes. Very did not like that. Yeah,
I liked them. But I felt like I got that you were treating them with disdain. And I was like, I also regard to the stain. So this works for me.
Yeah, yeah, it was very much a like, and I think that some of the people who didn’t like it did get the joke, but they were just like, I don’t I they still didn’t like it. Yes, it was very, it was very polarizing, that little mini season, because some people, the people who liked it, and what we’re describing as I did a mini season about the future of earth, and the mini season had a linked set of intros. All the audio fiction was from this basically a rip off Shark Tank show called the snow globe. And it’s basically about the ways in which all of the future gets, you know, capitalism just like creates a market for everything, and just people, you know, monopolizing and capitalizing on terrible things. So like going into the snowglobe, and selling like the face masks that will protect you from the horrible things that are happening in the future. And just it’s it was basically a big, like, dig on disaster porn capitalism. And some people got that and thought it was really funny. Some people didn’t get it, and were like, This is horrible. And I was like, Yes, that’s the boy. And then other people didn’t get it at all. And we’re like, This is annoying. I don’t understand why I’m like hearing this or whatever. So it was very polarizing. I’m glad I did it. I had a lot of fun writing them and like getting having the actors work on it. But it was definitely one where people were like, had strong opinions about
it does always surprise me when you talk about on the bonus podcast or on interviews, how negatively people feel about a lot of stuff. Like I can’t imagine a world in which I want less flashforward, like the people saying shorter episode, why?
People, everyone has their own aesthetic, right. And like, I think it’s also very funny. I tried to, like, always be very thankful that there are so many people who are engaged enough with the show that they like spend time getting, I mean, obviously, there are some people who just suck and are like, your voice is annoying. And I’m like, I don’t give a shit, right? Like, I can’t do anything about like, literally, this is this is what I sound like I am not putting on any kind of voice. So those people are easy to ignore. But like even the folks who give feedback that is critical, I do try to remember that it is a privilege in many ways to have a lot of people engaging with the stuff that I’m doing in a really thoughtful way. And many of the people who write in to say they don’t like something they don’t, most of them are pretty nice about it. They’re like, I love the show, bubble blah, I really didn’t like this for XYZ reason and like, that’s totally their their right to feel that way. And I don’t know, I feel like, in some ways, it’s kind of nice to know that someone cares enough to like, write that email, and like, have a strong feeling and opinion about it. Even if I’m like, Okay, I’m going to like, Thank you, thank you for your feedback. I’m gonna keep doing whatever I want to do, which is generally my mode of operation. But yeah, it is. I try like even though sometimes I’m like, Oh, come on. I do try and remember that like, it is like, not everyone gets that kind of feedback. And I also get lost people say nice things. So that’s nice.
Well, it’s it’s interesting. Also, potentially this is related, because flash forward is a completely independent podcast. And it started out as Meanwhile on the future on Gizmodo, and then, after the first season, you took it independent. I wonder, is it ever a difficulty for you deciding what to include or not include because it ultimately all all rests on your own shoulders? There’s nobody on the outs there’s like no external editor saying maybe He cut this maybe changed this? Is that ever difficult? Oh,
all the time. And like, you know, I think there are some episodes. I mean, I’ve, I do think that like, all episodes would be better if I had an editor, right editors are good. I like being edited. But like it is sometimes where I’m like, okay, you know if I get something wrong, it’s on me. But also like if I don’t include something or if I forget, or if I like have a gap in my knowledge and like don’t know what I don’t know. And sometimes people will say like, oh, I’m really surprised you didn’t talk about X on the episode. And sometimes it’s something that I’ve thought about and didn’t get into, because either I couldn’t find a source to talk about it or and I didn’t feel comfortable being the voice to talk about it, or whether it was because I genuinely just didn’t think of it. I am always a little bit afraid that there’s something that I’m missing. So yeah, it is definitely scary. But at the same time, having worked on other shows where there are editors like, that also happens there too, right? Like, everyone has their own gaps in their knowledge. And like, you know, there’s always going to be stuff like that. I think that with an indie podcast, you get kind of the good and the bad of that, right? You get a little I don’t wanna say more leeway. But like, I think people who listen understand, right that like, like you said, for a long time, I was making the show by myself. And it was just me doing it. And even still, like other shows, you listen to the credits, and there’s like 7000 people listed, like, it’s me and one other person. And so, you know, you get a little bit of the benefit of the doubt from listeners who’ve been listening for a long time, but at the same time, yeah, it is like it all falls on me. Like there is no one else. And I also think to sort of the earlier point about people writing in with their questions, complaints, comments, when you are an indie show, and particularly with flash forward, where a lot of the support for the show comes from patrons comes from memberships that comes to people who are directly donating, I think listeners feel a sense of ownership as well and sort of like feel a little bit more I think of that connection and more of that, I don’t know space to give their feedback on literally everything, as opposed to like, if you’re an NPR host, you get a lot of feedback, but like, not as much of the like, I don’t want to it’s not entitlement. That’s not the right word. But like that feeling of like these people think they know you and they kind of will sometimes send overly familiar emails. Or relationships. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly. And like, there is a little bit of that too. So like when you get something wrong, sometimes the vibe of those emails is a sense of like, You’ve betrayed these people who’ve like kept your show alive, right? And like so. Yeah, there’s a lot. There’s a lot of weird emotions that happen.
Well, while I’ve got you here, I’d love to binge here with just a couple of my complaints. Yeah, right. I mean, really, the only thing I would like is just more insects. But that’s because I’m a very narrowly
actually do have an episode coming up. That does involve insect so yes. Oh, well, because this is the
another thing is that one of the things one of the first things that I tell people, when I describe flashforward, and how much I love it and why I love it is the simultaneous thoroughness and open mindedness that you have to a lot of topics. So for instance, a much lesser podcast in the episode of where all the bees are gone would have begun and ended with honeybees. And like no offense to honey bees, and AP ologists. And all of those people. We had somebody who does honey bee research on a previous episode, shout out to Phelan, but honey bees are one bee out of many bees. Yes. And the thing that is so thrilling about flashforward, among many things is that the bee episode was about bees in a real way. Man I really appreciate I appreciate that.
I love that. Yeah, so I one one of the reasons I knew I actually could not become a scientist and go to grad school has to do with bees, actually, because I was doing research in marine ecology in a pelagic invertebrates laboratory, and I was applying for graduate school to get a PhD because I was like yes, I like science, I will go and become a scientist. That is that is the thing that one does. And I had also recently been on a field trip to Costa Rica to do some research in marine ecology, but I had like learned about all I learned about working bees while I was there. And I got absolutely just like obsessed with orchid bees and I was like maybe I’ll go do a PhD on orchid bees and so I had like applied to like multiple, completely different disciplines for a PhD and my advisor was like, This is not a good sign. Not really great for like you don’t you genuinely don’t know what you want. But I was like I made a whole little paper stuff like that motion animation at a paper out of work could be about orchid bees. I was obsessed with them. So I love a good I love a good B
to be fair orchid bees. They’re pretty cool.
Oh my god, they’re so cool.
They’re pretty cool. Yeah. Well, actually, I have another kind of process question that was that occurred to me recently, which is you mentioned I think in one of the bonus episodes, or in an interview, potentially both that you set a goal for yourself to try to meet gender parity and racial parity. In terms of the demographics of the people that you bring on your show to act as experts and guests, and I was curious if that changed the direction of episodes ever kind of a two part question of at what point in the process of researching an episode, do you try to find people who would be willing to come on as guests? And has that approach to finding guests of trying to be very deliberate about not just relying on a bunch of white guys change the direction that different episodes have taken?
Yeah, that’s a great question. So initially, when I set the goal, I felt like, Okay, I’ll set this goal. And I will just sort of like make sure that when we’re booking episodes, we do a lot of you know, we’re very aware, I say, we as if at the time, there’s anyone other than me doing it, but like, well, then we’d be very the royal we exactly. That will be very aware of Yeah, like your racial, demographics, gender, all that stuff. I thought that kind of like just sort of having the goal and being aware of it in the research phase of finding experts would, would work. And then I kept noticing year after year, I was getting a little better on my, you know, racial gender had always even from the very beginning of the show. It was like 5050, basically. So that one, I was like, Okay, I’m already doing that. But on the racial demographics, it was just very slowly getting better, but not nearly close to what I wanted, which was was 5050, I guess it was a year and a half ago, I sort of sat down and spent like, a couple of days just like focused only on this question of like, why is this happening? Right? What is it about the way that I’m making the show that is keeping me from doing this, because obviously, the way that I was doing it was not working? And I identified a couple of different answers. The first one being that there’s a topic choice thing happening where certain fields are very dominated by certain kinds of people. And so if you do any, maybe you have never heard of this
insect taxonomy, you don’t say that certain fields are dominated by certain demographics.
Yeah, and like engineering, right? A lot of the stuff that we cover on the show a lot of the sort of like, sciency stuff we cover on the show tends to be super white, super male dominated. And so partially was realizing that if I want to hit the goal, I need to think about episode selection, not just about, like, once I pick the episodes, who am I going to find within those because also like, to be totally fair, you know, even within fields where there is some diversity, a lot of those particularly like women of color, are asked to do interviews all the time, because of exactly this thing, where it’s like, well, I don’t want to have only white guys. And like the same four women are being asked to do every interview, and like, they don’t have time for that, right. And that’s also not their job, like they have other jobs they have to do. And so I think that a big thing I did, so I did hit my goal last year, and we’re on track to hit the goal this year. And a lot of it is about actually thinking about episode selection, and picking episodes where I know that we’re gonna go into fields where there will be folks of color to talk to, and also, you know, what I used to do, one other thing I identified was that every so often I would build an episode around someone who has a book coming out or whatever it is. And often that would be because I got an interesting press release from their publicist, their book publicist being like, hey, this book is coming out. And I’d be like, oh, yeah, that is really cool. And the people who are most likely to have booked publicists sending out those emails, right tend to be like white men. And so thinking about building episodes around other experts also. So I ended up changing the way that I think about episode selection. So not waiting until I’ve picked the topic. And I’m going to try to find the voices for some topics. It’s like you need someone who like does this super specific thing. And like, I needed somebody who lived in Cooper Petit in Australia, and I don’t think there are any not white people live in Cooper, Betty and Australia, because it’s just like weird underground community. Right. And so in some places, it’s obviously not gonna happen. But that’s kind of been the shift is like thinking about making sure that when we pick the episodes, we’re thinking about this, not just when we start to research them. Well, I wonder
if it’s also connected to something that I’ve noticed more recently, which is that there has been I feel over the past year or two, a shift towards less, what would it be like if we had this specific technology and more? What would it be like if we changed the way that we think about something and the systems that we use to approach that? The first example that comes to mind is the episode that you did pretty recently on? What would it be like if we had like guaranteed housing for everyone, which is a great episode, although it did really stress me out. Because it was so like, hopeful and nice. And I was feeling very pessimistic.
Yeah, yeah. I think also like some of some of that shift has been some of the shift has been about just like thinking about who we’re having on the show. And some of the shift has been about sort of me reframing the show as in my own mind as being less like Gee whiz, cool science and more this idea of like, what does it look like to build a better future? And sometimes that does involve science and technology. And sometimes it involves other things. And so I think I, when we, when I started the show, it was truly just like, it would be cool and fun to do science podcasts. And as some fiction, right, like, I did not have an overarching, you know, vision of what thinking about the future could do for people or what the show’s sort of like goal was right. And over the years, I have also started to shift more towards thinking about okay, flash forward is a show that’s really trying to help show people what better features could look like. And sometimes that means which ones to avoid, right? Not all episodes are like, super happy and hopeful. For a few I would say, yeah, exactly. But like, but like, sometimes it is saying like, Okay, if you want to build a better future, what does that look like? Like? What specifically what would you do? And housing is such a weirdly low hanging fruit even though it’s really hard in like practice because of all sorts of political problems. But like, the solution is actually quite simple, right? Like, it’s one of those weird things where it’s like, no, no, we, in fact, know how to solve this problem. Like, we know, we have data, we know how to solve this problem. It’s just not happening for whatever reason. And so it sort of felt like a place to start to be like, Hey, you want a better future? Here’s an extremely obvious and well proven solution that you could just do if you wanted to.
It is a very obvious solution. It’s like frustrating, how obvious it
is totally. I mean, everyone who works in that field says that they’re just like, I don’t know how many more studies we have to do to show you that this works, because it’s super obvious that it works. And yet, here we are, right? Like this argument,
because the ultimate problem is not that we don’t know what to do, it’s that the people who have the power to enact it are like, I don’t, I don’t want to actually
Yeah, right. Right. It’s like, oh, that sounds like putting people I don’t like on equal footing with people. You know, like, Yeah, I mean, this is a thing that I think a lot about, which is the ways in which the show can avoid falling into this trap of like evidence in some ways, right? This like obsession with proving the point when that’s not what’s really that’s not what the conversation is really about, right? Like, and sort of not fault like not playing into some of those, like rhetorical traps, that gets set when it comes to some of these questions. And at some point, evidence is not going to, like no amount of evidence changes people’s minds, because that’s not what it’s about. Right? And how do you shift your thinking?
Are there any futures that you’ve covered? That you find, like emotionally just that you can’t engage with at all because I read the flashforward book, because of course I did. I had a great time. The animal rights chapter, and the you know, corresponding episode are very difficult for me, because if somebody says to me, Oh, no pets, I’m just like, Get out of here. No, yeah.
I have strong opinions about that as well. Yeah.
Yes. So I’m like a weird person who like when I feel that I’m like, I just like lean in where I’m like, ooh, Ooh, what’s that? Let’s do that. Like, what is that weird thing? Because like, I do find it really I have exactly the same reaction where I’m like, Excuse me? What? Like, no, that’s like the No, no, no, no. But like, I couldn’t really articulate it. And I feel like whenever I find something like that, where the arguments I’m reading, I’m like, Oh, that is interesting. And I don’t understand why I’m having this like, very strong emotional reaction. I can’t quite like, explain it. That’s where I always want to do a lot of like reading and thinking and like talking to people. I am the kind of person who like, hates magic tricks. Because I’m like, I just, I don’t. And the mystery is not appealing to me. Like, I just want to know how it works like I do not it i It makes me very uncomfortable to watch someone do it. Because I know it’s meant I know, it’s like, you know, some sleight of hand thing? And I’m like, no, no, I, you gotta tell me how that works. Because I like it drives me like out of my mind. And so when there is something like that, where I have this thing, I feel something and I don’t really understand why. That’s where I’m like, Oh, I got it. Like, that’s interesting. And I kind of want to get into it. And so that’s part of why I like I’m so obsessed with these questions around animals, because, like, I find some of the arguments really compelling. But then also emotionally really, like, terrifying, and like not, you know, and just like trying to square those things together, I think, is a place where I find it super interesting. And so I’m like, deep in on reading up on like, animal philosophy and cognition and all of that stuff, because I don’t know, I just find that I find that weird emotional reaction. That’s always a place for me where I’m like, Oh, I gotta get in on that. And like, figure out what that is.
Yeah, I feel like this impulse that you’re describing is kind of the secret sauce of flash forward. That made me love it from the beginning. Because the the premise as described is like, it’s perfect for a nerd who loves science fiction, which is what I am and have always been, but the execution is equally important because you could make flash forward with the exact same, like starting parameters and be a terrible show. Oh, absolutely, yeah. But the thing that I always emphasize to people is the thoughtfulness that goes into it and the genuine incorporation of different perspectives, and different perspectives that often don’t get included in these kinds of conversations. And so I’ve mentioned this on ASAP before, I think it was in our episode with Anna Lee. Were the best.
Yeah, they’re so amazing. Yeah,
I’m like, when I grew up, I want to be like them.
Yeah. Because like, I found flash forward. Back in 2017. I was I was like, doing my periodic Google of like, good science podcasts. And it was in a write up, and there was a short description that was talking about bye, bye binary, which is the episode that considers what would it be like if gender were effectively downgraded to like hair color as being a detail about people, but not one that it has the importance that it has now? And I was like, I don’t know about this. burned by sis people before. But then I did listen to it. And I was like, Oh, this, this is good. Actually.
It’s so funny, because that is actually one of the episodes that I really want to redo, not redo. But like, revisit now because it is one of the ones where I my thoughts have changed about a lot of that stuff, like not in huge weights, and I didn’t like I did listen back to it when I was working on the book. And I was a little bit like, Oh, God, like, what did I say? You know what I mean? Like, I don’t know, like, anytime you revisit something? Yeah, I was like, please just don’t let this be like, really bad. You know.
And I mean, also, to be fair, that, because that, I think that was one of the earlier episodes. I think he came out and yeah, he doesn’t say, yeah. And the degree to which the public conversation on transness, and gender has changed in the past five years. Is that has changed? Yeah.
Yeah, for sure. Yeah. And like, I think, uh, yeah, I want to read redo it to kind of like, kind of get deeper. So that was the first season where it was episodes were like, 18 minutes, right. And so we had way less time to really kind of like, talk about it, and kind of like, get into some of that stuff. So it is on the docket for later this year to like, get a re up and like a revisit and sort of reinterpretation of that episode will actually
bring up by by binary might be a great opportunity to slide our way into gender. Oh, more specifically. Sure. Because I follow you on social media, not in a weird way. Kept exactly the right amount of casual attention. That is the amount. Yeah, the perfect amount. And you have mentioned recently a few times, kind of the idea of wouldn’t it be nice if gender were more opt in instead of opt out? Sort of, I guess to begin with, I would invite you to sort of opine on that a little bit.
Oh, sure. Yeah, it’s so funny. Tuck Woodstock. Who does gender reveal another great podcast, this running text message that they will send me wishes, they’ll just text me going? Hey, just checking in how your genders going? And yeah, I feel like I had always thought that the reason I just like didn’t have literally any opinions about gender positive or negative was that you know, when people talk about whiteness is sort of like, treated as the default. And so like, you don’t really think about it, because just kind of like the way that the world is set up because of structural racism and that you’re just like, oh, yeah, like, you don’t think about race because you’re white, right? I had always thought that that was like how most people felt about gender. I did not realize there were people who woke up in the morning and were like, Thank God, I’m a woman, like, you know, I love being a woman like that, like all that. I was like, I did not think that was a thing. And then I was talking to some people and I was like, oh, oh, you like you feel that way about this? And it like, totally blew my mind. And so yeah, I feel like I would like a world where like, if you are all about it, great. Like go for it. Sounds great for you. And I’m just like, I just don’t care. Like, like I can I can muster no feelings about gender in many ways, which I always thought was normal. It turns out, I’ve learned not as normal as I thought. So yeah, that is like my eye like, well, I’ll have these long conversations with like, talk or other people and they’ll like, ask me all these questions. Well, how do you feel about this? Or how do you feel about that? And I’m like, I feel nothing. No feelings about gender, of my own gender at least. So it is very surreal to be like, rummaging around inside me being like, is there a feeling? I can’t find any like, you know, and so that is that has been my more recent like, Hmm, interesting.
Well, you know, I’m actually mentioned this In our list of questions is that there’s a concept that’s bounced around the trans community periodically called sis by default. And it’s this hypothesis, I don’t know if you could ever really prove it without doing some really unethical stuff. But just I think it lasts for one episode, where essentially, there’s some percentage of the population that, you know, you could basically take their brains and drop them in a body of a radically different gender than the one they have. And they’d be they just kind of roll with it, you know, they’re not, that’s exactly how I feel. Yeah. And, you know, as opposed to some people who have very strong attachments to their gender, you know, whether it’s the one that was assigned at birth or not, and which in some respects can be too surprising, I guess, because, you know, most things in biology are a spectrum. You know, the degree of how gendered someone is, is probably spectrum too. But yeah, and you know, again, it’s not really something that there’s been a lot of research on, there’s been a tiny bit on it about people who were assigned male at birth, but had a very severe birth defect called cloacal. Colaco dystrophy, were essentially like, a large portion of their lower internal organs didn’t really fully form, including most of their male reproductive organs. But they still have testes weirdly. And so they just usually got assigned female at birth, you know, with a little bit of surgery. And it’s not it’s not exactly an intersex condition, it’s literally like, you know, the male is just stuffed, didn’t, you know, their intestines aren’t fully formed, either. It’s a mess. But anyways, you know, there’s not a lot of them, there’s just maybe like a, you know, a couple dozen out there in the world. But, you know, of the ones that, yeah, yeah, of the ones that like have been documented. You know, a lot of them did end up later on identifying as male but a, you know, about 20% just kind of went with it, or like, okay, yeah, I’m a girl that that works for me. Which, you know, makes you wonder,
yeah, and I wonder if this is part of what we’re seeing with the youths where, you know, there keep being these reports of like, more and more kids identifying as non binary, more and more kids identifying as trans and it’s maybe less that they’re experiencing new emotions, but they’re just coming up in a time when feeling totally disconnected from your assigned gender at birth means that you can just be disconnected from it.
Yeah, totally. Right. And like, I genuinely do feel that, like, if I had, you took my brain and dropped it into a different body, I’d be like, Yep, sure, fine. Yeah, like, whatever. And like, I, I will say, I did not, I had always sort of been like, oh, well, gender, it’s like, it’s a social construct, right? In many ways. And so I had always thought, like, oh, everyone feels this way. It’s just why we’ve been like, trained to think, X, Y, or Z. And then it was truly just recently in conversations with people where I’ve learned that that is, in fact, not true. And I mean, like, I knew that, you know, and this is why I always talk about that mean, always, because I’ve been recently interested in this idea of like, opt in, right? Because for some people, it is super important. I like would never want to say like, it doesn’t matter, right, like, get over it, or whatever. But like, it wouldn’t be nice to not have to, it feels like opting out as a whole song and dance you have to do so like, you know, people will ask, like, in these conversations are like, oh, like, do you want to like, talk about yourself as non binary. And I’m like, that sounds like a lot of work. Also, like, I just don’t care. I can’t just don’t care. Like, it doesn’t matter to me. And so it just feels like it feels like so much work. I mean, this is like, incredibly privileged for you be like, that sounds like a lot of work. Right? You know, given that I can just like operate.
Here’s the thing, though. You’re not wrong.
Yeah. That’s interesting. Yeah, I totally that makes sense to be like, Well, definitely not that right. Like I’m whatever the not that option is that I will take that right. Yeah, I that’s, that’s so interesting.
Well, because it also gets into the complexity of like, gender, and like gender is not genitals is a very useful kind of snappy way of describing the disconnection between gender and sex to people, especially if they are not well versed in like knowing about the reality of trans lives or whatever. But it does ultimately get to a point where you circle back around and it’s like, well, gender and sexuality and your body are different, but they are not actually fully disconnected from each other. Like all of these are reactions to organic embodiment in some ways. If that’s not a way too pretentious way of framing that.
No, I think it’s it makes sense, right? It feels like when you’re learning any concept, right? Whether it’s like physics or something else that you like, learn it kind of raw. on when you first learn it, because otherwise, it’s like too complicated. You can’t like get all the way like you need like the one on one. And then the two of you got to like kind of get there to the more complicated, nuanced version of it. It’s probably the same for this.
And there’s a meme that gets passed around pretty frequently. That’s like talking about gender with trans people versus talking about gender with sis people. And on the left side with trans people, it’s that illustration of like, all of the Greek philosophers, yeah.
And then on the other school of Athens or whatever, yes.
And then on the other side, it is like a caretaker, helping a toddler with like, blocks. Sounds right. Yeah. Which is not always accurate. But it is not infrequently.
Unknown Speaker 35:44
So leave that for sure. Yeah. Well, so
that established, I think, Tesla, in particular, you have recently listened for the first time to the couple of episodes that are pretty recent, like, switcheroo and heads will roll. And I know that you had a lot of reactions to that. Yeah,
yeah. You know, I was new to the podcast, and Charles, very thoughtfully, you sent me a curated list. I love making very useful. Yeah. But yeah, I found those episodes really interesting. You know, I mean, partially because I get to identity and also into gender. But, you know, it was a challenging, I mean, in the sort of, like, intellectual way for me to listen to them. Because I talked a lot about, you know, deconstructing sort of the Cerebro centrism, and also the board in the wrong body idea for trans people, which I think is a good thing, because like, very few trans people actually use that terminology. And a lot of people misunderstand it. And it’s just generally something our communities kind of really annoyed at. So I’m glad, you know, you did a really good job of explaining why No, this isn’t actually how it works. It’s not how people perceive it, you know, it’s just a really, really crude way of explaining it that was introduced, just to, like, introduce people into the idea that’s not really accurate. But you know, the thing that like, made me a little reluctant to go all in, I guess, on the some of the views presented was, you know, again, deconstructing Cerebro centrism, the fact that the other parts of our body do probably play a very strong role in influencing who we are and how we perceive ourselves and how we perceive the world, which whether that’s, you know, the microbiome of the gut, or immune systems or, you know, like, lower chunks of the nervous system, etc. And that we can’t necessarily assume that, oh, yeah, you know, you could transplant your head on someone else’s body, and you’d still be the same person, you know, talked a little bit about people who’ve had organ transplants, how that’s affected, you know, even things as simple as you know, their food preferences, you know, really, really wild stuff, which I think is really cool, and really kind of mind blowing. But on the other hand, it’s seems a little philosophically fraught, at least from the trans point of view, because while we have abandoned, rightfully so the porn in the wrong body trope, a lot of the argumentation, a lot of the argumentation for why trans people should be treated as the gender they identify as comes from, well, you know, this comes from our identity, our perception, it comes from something in the brain, where specifically in the brain, I don’t even now that really matters. And that should take precedence over other biological factors. And so as a result, we do tend to lean very heavily into Cerebro centrism, because we discovered if you don’t, people are like, well, you know, instead, you know, you’ve got these chromosomes, or you’ve got these genitals or you know, gonads or a big one right now amongst transphobes is the size of the gametes you produce. Oh, my God. Yeah, it’s ridiculous.
That’s not funny, I guess. But it’s like,
I know, it is ridiculous. The appropriate response,
I guess I’m proud of them for like learning the ultimate biological definition of sex. Like they learned something. Yeah. But yeah, they’ve mis applied.
But anyways, you know, as a result, that’s why, you know, it’s so it was kind of interesting hearing that perspective, when you know, within our community, there’s been a very strong push towards the rebirth centrism, because otherwise, you end up dealing with vaca doodles who are like, well, you at one point your life either produced or theoretically, if you’re intersex could have produced small gametes. So therefore, you’re always in my mind, you know, my eyes a man, regardless of what that person identifies as lives as looks like any of the other stuff.
Yeah, I think that’s a really interesting and good point. And like, I think a little bit, it reminds me a little bit of some of the stuff that I’ve read around, you know, there’s like a, there are strategies that you use, right, to your point like about how do you make sure that you’re advocating for sort of like basic human rights and the sort of strategies you have to employ in order to do that? And sometimes those strategies do or don’t line up with like, I don’t want to say react. because that’s not the right word, but like kind of whatever else that we might know from science or whatever it is, I think a little bit about the ways that people are talking about sexuality and the Born This Way version of it, where it’s like I was born gay, right? And then some people like, No, I choose to be gay. And that’s cool. Like, it’s fine. And sort of like, is there I know that there are some folks who do kind of worry that on that front, if you if you go too deep in on there is a gay gene, quote, unquote, or whatever you want to say about that that like, Is that the right way to, even if it’s rhetorically useful in the moment to get X, Y or Z, right, like, is it gonna shoot? Exactly, right? Yeah, yes. And it is a thing I think a lot about when trying to present some of this stuff. And, you know, it goes back a little bit to the point you were making earlier about, you know, conversations within the trans community. And then conversations like to assess people. And when I think about presenting some of this stuff for the audience for flashforward, obviously, both trans and sis people listen. But sometimes I’m trying to think about like, how do I make this clear to people for whom this might be a very new concept, while also not saying anything? That is like raw, like a Yeah, like balancing the audience knowledge levels, kind of in some of those ways. And also not and not playing into some of these. The cards of some of these really horrible people who are trying to like, pass laws and stuff we’re working, we were working on an episode actually got an episode about the future of sports. We started working on it last year. And then like, we were working on like, Oh, what if we did a version of like the future of sports where like, you weren’t divided by gender, you were divided by like height or weight, or like some other thing. And we actually decided to table the episode recently, because I was like, we both were like, We don’t want to play into this like, argument about sports right now. Like it’s not, right, exactly. It’s not about sports. Like it’s not about, like, not about any of that, right? And so like, we were like, do we really want to, like even touch that right now? Because it feels like, you’re just sort of like playing into their shitty argument that they’re making that like, isn’t actually about that, right? They don’t care about protecting women, quote, unquote, or they don’t care about sports fairness, like, I’m fascinated by why sports is the locus for this, right? Like, I used to work at 30 for 30, doing sports documentaries. And so like, I’m a big sports fan. And so I think there’s some really interesting things to say about like, why it is that sports has become the place that this they’re having this moral panic now. But yes, like thinking about how do you present these ideas in a way that like, doesn’t invalidate anybody’s experience, but also doesn’t play into the hands of some of these, or you think I think a lot about and I don’t think I always get it right to be totally clear.
Yeah. I mean, that was just kind of my thoughts on it. Because I mean, it’s one of those things where, like, in an ideal world, you right, cerebral centrism shouldn’t be the way to go. Because it really shouldn’t matter why someone identifies as trans or, you know, what their sexuality is, or anything like that. But on the other hand, because we have these bigots who have seized biology, to rationalize and justify a position that really doesn’t have anything to do with biology, you know, you sometimes you end up having to fight them on their terms, which is not great. But it unfortunately, it’s the reality in which we’re living permanently.
Totally. Yeah, I was thinking about, I was interviewing this researcher, who’s a geneticist who had been called in to do some testimony on some of these sports cases, mostly for intersex folks, not for trans folks, this is a year and a half ago before this particular moral panic sort of really, like whipped up into its current stage and like, make you the they kept asking her like, can you say this? Can you see that? And she was like, you’re asking non science questions like, I’m a scientist, like, You’re not asking me science questions like science does not actually have an answer for you here. Like, this is not a scientific thing. But they want to have these experts coming in and she wound up bailing on it, she was like, this is I don’t want to be involved in this, like, I can’t help you. But yeah, it is sort of this. Like, really, and I think that I think a lot about this, which is that people really want a science answers to hard questions that are not science questions, right? There’s this idea, I think, right now that like science and technology are the way in which we will truly understand the world. And like, they are very useful frameworks, and they can tell us a lot, but they in fact, are not the like, the seat magic eye thing or whatever. I don’t even know if that’s the right analogy. But um, and it feels like sometimes there are, and even with listeners for flash forward, I’ll get people, you know, suggesting episodes and they’re like, well, can’t there be a science solution to like x? And I’m like, it’s not a science problem, right? Like, that’s not what we’re talking about here. But it would be so much simpler and easier, maybe if you could just like write an equation and like, be done. And so yeah, it is I think that’s another thing that has shifted the episodes of the show a little bit is to try and kind of like remind people that sometimes even things that are presented by technology companies as science and technology problems are not in fact science and technology problems, right? They’re like, you know, the smart city episode, right? It’s all about like, What do we want a city to look like? And that’s not a tech question, right? That’s a civics question. That’s a social question. And so just reminding people, I think that like science can’t save us in that way. Like, that’s not how it works a lot of the time. It’s something I think about a lot.
Yeah, the Smart Cities comic is actually my favorite in the book. It’s beautiful, right? It’s really good. And I one thing, because one thing that I struggle with, with kind of utopian or even just broadly hopeful thinking, and I thought about this a lot on this podcast, because we talked about Star Trek, not infrequently. And part of the part of why I think GS nine is the best Star Trek is a, I’m right. And be because the vision of the future that it presents is more complex in a way that to me now feels much more realistic, where you can make things a lot better, but you can never make things perfect. And I think the Smart City Comic really captured this tension where nothing is ever going to work equally for everybody, just because of the reality of the complexity of the world in the complexity of people. And so you have these opposing forces where the partner of one of the characters is disabled, and the smart city has actually increased accessibility for them tenfold versus, you know, other kinds of cities. But then you have other people where, because the recognition software is not perfect, it ends up entrenching the same patterns of like, racial profiling that we already have. And so that tension between things being good and things being bad for different people, and sometimes for the same people at the same time, feels very satisfying to me, in that, if we look towards the future, and we want to build better things, we kind of have to reconcile ourselves to the fact that we’re never going to get to a point where we can just stop working.
Yeah, right. I mean, like, this is the thing I always say, when people ask me like, Can you do a utopian future or whatever? And I’m like utopian, for whom? Right? Like, because right now, it’s pretty great for some people.
There. Elon Musk is out there living his best life. Now.
All of those people are the ones who are funding all that research into living forever, because they’re like, hell yeah, this is great. Like, Sign me up. I’m making compound interest, right? Like, you know, and it’s just like, yeah, so there are people today living in a utopia. And there are people today who are not right, and so have like, there’s no unified version of of any of those things. And I think that one of the things I tried to do on the show is thinking about, like, for some people, this will be great. And for other people, it will not and like, let’s think about that and make sure that we’re like clear on who wins and who loses. And all these situations,
well, then that even gets back to like, the heads will roll slash switch, switch ru and the context of gender specifically, where I think a tension that comes up within you know, the quote, unquote, trans community is sort of the same tension of not everything works for all people. So you have people who have, who are annoyed by the downplaying of like born in the wrong body rhetoric, because that really, really worked for them, where they felt 100%, binary, and 100%. Like they would switch their brains over to assist body tomorrow, versus you have other people for whom that’s really not the case where the locus of their dysphoria is much more if not exclusively social, and they’re completely fine with their body. And then because we’re all kind of operating culturally with this, trying to scramble out, like tiny territories of peace among people who are kind of either actively, if not actively sort of opposed to our existence than just sort of uncomfortable with it and need, you know, relatively simple answers to things where, you know, you have people who are in conflict with each other, not because they necessarily need to be, but because it feels like it’s a very zero sum game of, we can only get people to understand one version of being trans. And the problem is that gender and sex and bodies and sexuality are all very complicated. Yep. Which as the person who is a taxonomist, by nature has caused me know into frustration.
Yeah, I mean, it makes complete sense, right? That like there is this idea that like, we should present a unified front and like make this as simple as possible, when like, that is not the case. Right? It’s not how it works. And I do you know, I think that one of the things that I always worry about for the show is making sure that I’m trying I try not to put anyone for particularly like a trans person in the position of having to like speak for all trans people. Because obviously, like, that doesn’t make any sense. And like, that’s not how it works, that everyone has super different experiences. And I think that same thing when with disabled folks, right? I have a lot of disabled folks on the show talking about, you know, the future and where they are not envisioned in some of these sci fi scenarios. And it’s the same thing where it’s like, you know, within the disability community, there’s a huge set of disagreements about everything from like, person first language or not, right, like how, like how to be referred to how people want to be referred to, you know, different ways of thinking about, you know, inspiration porn, and like, where the line like it, you know, no one, there’s no like, Cabal, where everyone meets and like votes right on, like,
how that would work? As far as you know,
well, that’s true. I have not invited vote one day, one day. So yeah, I do think about that, because like, there is a balance of like, for the show, you know, I can’t I can’t represent every every opinion, right? I have to kind of pick and choose, and I can’t have 9000 people on each episode. But I do try. And I don’t think I always succeed, but I do try to at least have a couple of voices for some of those situations where it’s not. So it’s not that like one person is having to speak for the community, right? Because that’s not that’s not fair to put anyone in that position, because like no one can can do that, despite some people claiming that they can think sometimes. But yeah, it reminded me a little bit of the debate that I was sort of watching a little bit less. So now, I think, but a couple of years ago, there was this kind of interesting tension around body hacking and the trans community. And like, there were some folks who were sort of saying, like, oh, well, like trans people are the original body hackers. And like, kind of, there was a whole session at this body hacking conference where folks are talking about it, and all this stuff. And I mentioned it to someone I know who’s a trans person who was like, I hate that I hate that framing, because it makes it sound like a hobby, and not like a life affirming care. And like, it’s gonna make it harder for us to get, you know, health care to cover it, because they’re not gonna cover body hacking, right? That’s like not whatever. And so it was really interesting tension there that I learned a lot about in talking to folks, because I had kind of been like, oh, yeah, that doesn’t make sense that like, you could refer to that as like a way of body hacking. And then other people being like, Absolutely not. I hate that
well, and it is even we do, like now we see a divide in what insurance companies are willing to cover with things that they are willing to categorize as necessary versus things that they dismiss as cosmetic, right? Like, for instance, a lot of people can’t get Facial Feminization Surgery covered. Even though that is as important to a lot of people as for instance, my top surgery was to me, right, but one of them gets characterized as medically necessary, and then one of them gets dismissed as frivolous.
That’s so interesting. Yeah. Yeah. Right. And like, I, I’m definitely not always gonna get things, right. But I do try to at least not be harmful, right. And the ways that I’m talking about stuff. And so it was really interesting to kind of hear people push back and be like, don’t talk about it like that, that is not going to help us. And I was like, okay, loud and clear, like, so that sort of was an interesting learning moment. For me. Well, I
will say from my part, I’m sure that I’ve disagreed with you on stuff. I in general, I just am so caught up in the elation of like learning fun science, and also hypotheticals that I’m in a very good mood when Well, I’m often in kind of a bad mood when I’m listening to flash forward. But just because I have generalized anxiety disorder, and I’m very worried, just in general, but I’m also I’m enjoying the show. But yeah, but I would say I think you cultivate what at least it feels like you would be open to people saying to you in good faith, this thing that you said, I don’t agree with this thing that you said, I think that you can think about again,
oh, I hope people do that. Right. Like I like, and this is sort of like, I would rather people say something to me than not, right. Like, you know, and it’s not anyone’s job to like, you know, educate me on this stuff. But like, if there is something on an episode, and this has happened once or twice, or people have emailed and been like, Hey, here’s the thing to think about, like, maybe you don’t say it that way, or whatever it is. And, you know, I would much rather people say it and like, tell me, I mean, I am like a very direct person to a fault. Like I’m very literal and very direct. And so I would rather people just tell me if there is something where they’re like, Hey, don’t don’t do that. I’d be like, okay, yep. Cool. Thank you. I mean, this isn’t to say that I’ve never in my life felt defensive, you know, or whatever. But like, you know, I would much rather people push back and say, like, Hey, I think you got that wrong for X y&z reasons and like, that’s much that to me, that’s like an act of care, right? What they think and I do for some episodes, I will run them by friends and be like, hey, is there something weird about this? Or is there anything I should think about? And every so often, they’ll be like, yeah, probably don’t say that. Or like me, you know, whatever. And so I do try and learn I’m not I don’t know, I feel like I am a journalist, like my job is to kind of be wrong and learn things right? Like, I don’t know, not be wrong in stories, obviously, people should in fact check and like, not publish wrong things in their pieces or whatever. But like most of my job is going into something that I don’t know that much about and trying to learn a lot about it. And so like, Yeah, I’d much rather people telling me like, Hey, you fucked up, like, here’s how to not do that.
Whereas I’m extremely conflict avoidant. So if anybody has a problem with anything I say, tell us. Yeah. Or Tessa. Tell it to Rosa, they can relate it to me gently. Now, you can email us at ASAP email@example.com Do you have any ideas or suggestions? Or cat pictures? Oh, good.
Always willing to get cat pictures. So I did read listen to heads will roll recently, which is the episode I believe that is about head transplantation and create episode very engaging. But the thing that most occurred to me listening to it again, was how did you how did you talk to that guy? And not be like, what is happening with you my dude?
Yeah, yeah. So I will say normally, I don’t do interviews like that, where it’s like, if I think someone is just like, 100% full of shit. I just like, don’t talk to them. Cuz I’m like, what? Like, why would I give this person airtime? Right? Like, what’s the point of this? And so I had come across this special issue of the Journal of neuroethics. And they had done a whole special issue about high summer reading. Yes, you know, just the things. extremely cool. And they, they did this whole issue about it. And I was like, it’s weird to me, like, why do people give this person so much airtime? Like, what it like? What is the is it ethical to even spend this much time even in like the academic literature, right, when like, we all know, this is not real, right? Like, he’s, he’s a charlatan? And so I actually emailed the head of the journal. And I asked that question, I was like, Hey, I’ve been interested in this topic for a while, but I I’ve never done an episode about it. Because I’ve always kind of been like a like, I don’t know if it’s ethical to like, give this guy airtime, basically. And I asked, I was like, Why did you do a whole special issue? I’m just curious, right? I didn’t ask I was trying not to be like a dick being like, why would you do this right, but just sort of like, genuinely like, you know, you, I’m sure you thought about this. And he wrote this really thoughtful email back. And he actually was on the episode, where he talked about how like, they had people wanted to write papers, rebuttal papers to this guy kind of Arrow who has been saying he’s going to be able to transplant human heads for a while now. And they’ve had people pitch ethics papers to the journal about this. And they’ve always said no to them, because they were like, sort of similarly, why do we give this guy your time, then he announced that he was going to do this on a human patient, and someone had signed up. And that was when they were like, Okay, if this is actually going to happen to someone we need, we need to like make a clear statement, kind of like have a clear conversation about this, because now there is an actual risk, right, as opposed to just like a guy talking, right? And so I wanted to do the episode, and I don’t always interview like, I don’t interview a lot of tech CEOs, right? Who I could then be like, this person’s wrong, right? But because the idea is so located in this one guy, like he’s like, just he’s the guy. And I actually emailed him thinking he would not do the interview, because he doesn’t actually do a lot of interviews. He does a lot of TV stuff, but he never does radio, because you know, whatever. And so I emailed him thinking, he would say, No. And he said, Yes. And I was like, Alright, I guess I’ll do it. And I knew enough about him to know kind of what was going to happen, right, and what I was getting myself into, and so I just kind of had a list, frankly, and I was like, I need to present him with all these counter arguments, see what he says. But I also already knew what he was gonna say, because people have asked him these questions before so I mean, it was like a little bit of a weird experience, because you just right. He just will say things and you’re like, what? You know, and he held just for every question you have, he has an immediate answer. And he’s very confident sounding right. And so like, if you don’t know anything, you might be like, Oh, wow, he really doesn’t know. But if you’ve read up about it, you’re like, oh, no, this is all just like him bullshitting. Basically. So yeah, by the end of it, I was like, tired of hearing him talk, frankly, because I was just like, okay, whatever. Understandable. Yeah, but like, I guess I don’t know, I felt like I needed to at least offer him and this is like, you know, I My background is in journalism. So I like needed to at least offer him the chance to respond to all the criticism that was gonna be in the episode. And he did and I was like, Okay, I’ve like done my due diligence, and now I will carry on.
Have you heard from him since the episode was probably no,
I actually was. So one of the other reasons I decided that I would interview him is because he is actually not very litigious. So some people who are like that who have this thing that they claim they can do that pretty much everyone else says is untrue, is they will often be very litigious, right? And if you say something bad about them, they will try to sue you. And I am an independent podcast maker. I do not have money for that or time for that. So I did a lot of research to find out if he had ever sued anybody who had been critical of him before. And that had not happened. And so I was like, Okay, that is another reason I agreed to interview. No, he I don’t think he listened to it. I think, you know, maybe his assistant listened to it, but I doubt she doesn’t do it. I did he the one thing he said was that you he said, you have to put the video of the dog running on your website. And I was like, Okay, I will do that. And so there is the video of a dog running on on the on the page for that episode. Sure, it means nothing. So yeah, but yeah, it was. It was an interesting experience for sure. A little exhaust?
I don’t, I don’t think that I could talk to that guy. Without big like,
I mean, I think it just because I knew what I was getting myself into, like, Yeah, nothing. He said, there are a couple of things where I was like, okay, that I’ve no have not heard that one before. But like nothing. Nothing he said was particularly surprising in that, like, you know, I didn’t think he was going to convince me, and I didn’t think that he was going to offer any real response to the critique. Because what he always does is just say, like, well, I offered to have them come and like, you know, do prove me wrong. And I’m like, that’s not how it works. You know, like, you’re claiming you can translate even EDS. People don’t like, you just kept being like, they can’t, they can’t, they can’t prove me wrong. And I’d be like, it’s meaningless.
I mean, the only way you would prove it wrong is if you did it. And then
the other thing, right, that’s like, you know, he was like, well, people Oh, he the thing that I didn’t put in the episode is that he got his current feeling is that it’s a what was it? It’s a conspiracy to stop him. That is a combination of the church and liberalism. And I was like, I don’t really understand what that he had a lot to say about that about how he’s very like a quite a lot of like, you know, the standard like canceled culture is bad liberalism, run amok, etc, etc. No one actually cares about free speech, etc. And I was like, I don’t I don’t know why we’re talking. But yeah, it was it was a trip. It was
a real trip. Yeah. Well, I mean, it made the episode really interesting.
I’m glad. I’m glad. Yeah. Cuz I was I did have some nervousness about like, you even putting him in the episode, right? Because like, you know, at some point, there is an ethical, I have some ethical responsibility to like not put dangerous ideas out there, or like bad people on the show. But for that one, I made an exception, because it was also so clear to the listener, I think that this was like not to
be trusted. Are there any futures that you’ve started researching, and then you had throw them away? Because not because they ended up being too complicated, or sort of, ethically in a gray area, like the sports episode, but just kind of really boring?
Yeah, yeah. Well, there’s one that I threw away, because I interviewed the researchers. And I was like, Oh, you’re full of shit. And I just didn’t like it wasn’t gonna be interesting to debunk them. So I just like, tossed it, it was a lot of like, your brain is a computer. And it’s like, no, it’s not. And the other one that I’ve been we’ve been trying to do has been requested a lot. And I have yet to figure out how to do an episode about this is driverless cars, cannot for the life of me, figure out how to make that interesting to myself, or like, say something that people haven’t already read probably somewhere about them. And it gets requested all the time. And every time I’m just like, I just don’t care about this. I don’t know.
The final thing that we’d like to do on each episode is ask our guests to weigh in on one of our recurring questions. And I did email you these questions. I’m very excited to hear which one that you would like to answer.
Okay. They were all really I was like, this is very hard to choose. Because some of them some of them are easy, because that was like, settlement on the Moon or Mars. No, no problem next, but the one that I will answer that I have thoughts about is the one about total body failure and you have the option to either die outright or put your brain in a robot body. Robot thought a lot about it. I have thought a lot about this in my life also. And I it this is like an incredibly challenging question. Because I do think that there is a potential for if you go with brain and robot body that you are Yeah, absolutely horrifically miserable. And I don’t know that you are allowed to like, end your life in wrote when you’re a robot, like, can you be like, You know what, this is a bad choice.
This is this has come up in talking about this question of like once you’re in a robot body once you are in a body that theoretically will not fail by itself. When do you get to die?
Yeah, right. Exactly. And you could just be like, locked in to something horrible for a like long time. Also like your we got warranties you got to deal with who’s allowed to fix you? Yeah, right. Like, who is allowed to get under the hood? I feel like I would have some thoughts about that. And like, maybe you don’t I don’t know, like, I have a lot of a lot of sub questions. Do I have to charge in someone’s closet? Where do I live? All of that stuff. But I think I’d probably as long as I have a like, you know, in like, Futurama where like Bender is constantly drinking oil and like being like a nightmare character. I don’t actually watch that show. Really ever except for the few episodes I’ve seen. I’ve been like, oh, wow, that robot has problems. Yeah, that seems right. As long as I could have some like off switch on the robot. I would I would go robot just to see just to see what it feels like.
I mean, if nothing else, that is a new experience.
Yeah, right. Right. And we’ve talked
to some people who have suggested or maybe I’ve just suggested this have like, you don’t necessarily have to be in a directly humanoid robot. Oh,
yeah. No, no, I would not. I would want to be like a drone or like a bird. I wouldn’t
go bird. But I would go mantis.
Ooh, that would be cool. Yeah. Or like a giant fish.
So that I can still like interact with the world. Yeah, anglerfish is another good one. Because they’re like
a Pokeyman. I’ve been playing a lot of Pokemon Go. There are many pokemons that I would be, I would be attentive. Cool. That’d be sweet.
They do get to float around. Yeah. And then they
like their eyes light up when they’re mad. That’s so cool.
And with a robot body that is within the realm of possibility, frankly, actually,
in fact, more likely, like a soft jelly robot more likely than a humanoid robot at this point in time, in terms of what we have access to.
I hope would be interesting to be jello. Have you ever read Animorphs?
Okay. One thing that I always come back to with animals and I think I have mentioned this on the podcast before because it is a real sticking point in my brain is after like in the, you know, the epilogue, Cassie, what she did was write a book called like, inside the animal mind, where she contributed this work, where she described the actual experience of inhabiting, and different animals bodies with all of their instincts and tax, etc. And I just think that would that is the I don’t want to be in Animorphs because war is hell, etc. Right? But I do often think about, like, all the time, I will never really know what it’s like to be an insect.
Oh, yeah. And there’s I remember there was that early book in the series where they go into the fly. And then like, they see all the different angles on the eyeball. And like, there’s a whole thing about like, trying to like process that in your brain of like, how do you see? So good. And I wish that had become the Harry Potter. Right? Could you imagine like going to like Universal Studios and you get to go to Animorphs land instead of Harry Potter land
and not to get right exactly like que applicate is so much better. Yeah. She like from all available evidence that I’ve seen. She actually kind of rules.
Yeah, well, yeah, she wasn’t sure. Yeah, exactly. And she’s been like, super vote. Yeah, like, feels like we could have like different universe. We could have had a we had a could have had that.
And let me tell you the ride Animorphs land would have been just utterly terrifying. They would have been so cool.
Well, that’s that’s an episode of a podcast, baby.
We did it. But yeah, I mean, it’s been such a joy to have you on. It’s been really exciting.
Thank you for having me. This is so fun.
Thank you for coming on. Rose. If people want to find out more about you, or the work that you do, where should they look?
Yes, you can find me on Twitter. I’m Rose everless. The I’m the only Rose everless in the world as far as I know, for better for worse. So if you Google me, that’s it. That’s me. And so you can find flash forward, wherever you get your podcasts and you can find it at flash forward. pod.com. You can find me and the show on Twitter and also on Instagram. And yeah, mostly Twitter is for me yelling and Instagram is for me posting about pottery. Really good
little I understand because you’ve posted before about like, I’m not going to sell my little pottery guys because I don’t want to commercialize all my hobby. And I respect that. And I appreciate it. But also I do. I do love those little guys.
Yeah, I just like the idea of having to like ship them. Like, I don’t know,
I don’t want to ship ceramics either. So
yeah, it’s like, it’s just stressful although like we do have to like it is it’s a problem at this point because there’s so many in our house and we have to get rid of them. And so I’ve been thinking about just like putting them out places like hiding them in the park for you to find or something because I was just like, we gotta get rid of some of these.
They’re great. So definitely look at the little guys on Instagram. I am on Twitter at cockroach orals.
I am on Twitter at spacer mais SP AC er ma se the show
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And until next time, keep on science-ing.