How does the will to survive bring clarity to the human experience? What would you sacrifice to achieve social justice? How do we find meaning and purpose in a world dominated by technology? These are the kinds of spiritual, social, and philosophical questions posed by today’s guest in his futuristic novel, Unfettered Journey, which follows the story of an AI scientist who seeks to create true robot consciousness.
We are joined today by writer, philosopher, and technologist, Gary F. Bengier, who has followed a fascinating and uniquely non-linear career path. Before turning to speculative fiction writing, Gary spent nearly 30 years immersed in tech in Silicon Valley, including a stint as eBay’s Chief Financial Officer. He then pursued passion projects, studying astrophysics and philosophy and devoting much of the last two decades to thinking about how to live a balanced, meaningful life in a rapidly evolving technological world. This self-reflective journey infuses his novel with insights about our future and the challenges we will all face in finding purpose.
Key Points From This Episode:
– Critical technologies affecting humankind in the next century, namely bioscience and AI.
– How continued automation will impact jobs, labor productivity, and our economic system.
– Whether or not robots will be conscious and how Gary explores this theme in his book.
– The key to good science fiction: it sticks to the rules of physics.
– Why the biggest long-term challenges for humanity will continue to revolve around climate change and social inequality.
– The relationship between embodied experience, consciousness, and meaning.