Mar 14 • 1HR 58M

The Many Worlds of John von Neumann (Robert Wright & Ananyo Bhattacharya)

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Robert Wright
Conversations with a series of people who have nothing in common except that program host Robert Wright is curious about what they’re thinking.
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0:25 Ananyo’s book, The Man from the Future, about game theory inventor and polymath John von Neumann
6:38 Early life as a mathematical wunderkind
10:16 Von Neumann’s foundational contributions to quantum physics
24:39 Was entanglement as "spooky" to von Neumann as it was to Einstein?
33:46 Building—and reckoning with—the atomic bomb
47:22 Did von Neumann really want to nuke the USSR?
52:30 Why was early game theory so zero-sum–focused?
1:05:44 Influence on Turing, the open source movement, and modern computing 1:22:27 How brushes with totalitarianism shaped von Neumann’s views
1:28:56 Programming pioneer Klára Dán von Neumann
1:33:26 The duality of von Neumann’s social life
1:39:58 Did von Neumann grok incompleteness before Gödel?
1:42:45 Unfinished work comparing computers and the brain
1:50:23 Von Neumann’s deathbed conversion: Pascal's wager or something more?

Robert Wright (, The Evolution of God, Nonzero, Why Buddhism Is True) and Ananyo Bhattacharya (The Man from the Future). Recorded January 17, 2023.

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