The After On Podcast

The After On Podcast
Deep Dives into Tech & Science with Author Rob Reid

51: On Consciousness | Annaka Harris
Jun 25 • 80 min
The baffling and fascinating mysteries connected to the phenomenon of consciousness are explored in this conversation with the deeply thoughtful science writer, Annaka Harris.
50: About that TED Talk | Kevin Rose
Jun 18 • 81 min
This morning, TED posted a talk I just gave at their annual conference (on 11 days notice!). Kevin Rose interviewed me about my talk for his podcast. I’m posting his interview here as well.
49: Canceling PTSD with MDMA (part 2) | Rick Doblin
May 28 • 60 min
The drug known as Molly, Ecstasy and MDMA may soon get regulatory approved for therapeutic use, thanks to a 34-year campaign waged by Rick Doblin. Rick and I discuss all of this, plus his own unique story.
48: Canceling PTSD with MDMA (part 1) | Rick Doblin
May 21 • 66 min
The drug known as Molly, Ecstasy and MDMA may soon get regulatory approved for therapeutic use, thanks to a 34-year campaign waged by Rick Doblin. Rick and I discuss all of this, plus his own unique story.
47. AI Boom, or Doom? | Stuart Russell
Apr 30 • 90 min
Stuart Russell’s textbook is used to teach AI in over 1,400 universities and 120 countries. If AI scares him, it should scare you too.
46: Defeating Food Allergies | Kari Nadeau
Apr 9 • 107 min
The food allergy epidemic is mysterious, volatile, and growing fast. Kari Nadeau and her Stanford team are trying to halt it.
45: End Games (part 2) | Naval Ravikant
Mar 21 • 66 min
A rampage killer with a knife can kill a few. With a gun, dozens. With a jetliner, way more. What might future tech enable? In Part Two of our conversation, Naval and I discuss “The Ender.”And how to preclude this monstrosity.
44: End Games (part 1) | Naval Ravikant
Mar 19 • 73 min
Naval & I discuss a horrifying risk. We questioned whether to post this. Might it give someone ideas? Well, the bad guys already HAVE ideas. And cataclysms are only averted if we face them. There’s still time.
43: Synthetic Neurobiology | Ed Boyden
Mar 1 • 82 min
Not yet 40, Ed Boyden has already concocted a panoply of tools, which are revolutionizing neuroscience research. He tells us all about optogenetics, expansion microscopy, and more.
42: Live from Gainesville + the 2019 Plan
Dec 29, 2018 • 56 min
We start with a review of this podcast’s 2019 roadmap. Then – recorded before a live audience in Gainesville, Florida – I’M the interviewee for once!
41: The Medical Potential of Video Games | Adam Gazzaley
Dec 19, 2018 • 89 min
Both a recap and extensive update of last summer’s conversation about neuroscience, consciousness, and the medical potential of video games.
40: Our Interstellar Visitor | Avi Loeb
Nov 28, 2018 • 70 min
Did the product of an alien intelligence make a near-Earth approach last fall? Harvard Astronomy Department Chair Avi Loeb believes this is possible.
39: Restoring Sight to the Blind | EJ Chichinilsky
Nov 14, 2018 • 84 min
Amazing work at Stanford could restore vision to the blind. Then later become a gateway some mind-blowing neural augmentation! We discuss the astounding neuroscience and engineering behind all this, with the professor who’s making it happen.
38: The Science & Practice of Happiness | Laurie Santos
Oct 24, 2018 • 85 min
This spring, Yale evolutionary psychologist Laurie Santos debuted a course about happiness, almost as an experiment. It became the most popular course in the university’s 300+ year history. Listen carefully, because this episode could make you happier!
37. On the Future | Astronomer Royal Martin Rees
Oct 1, 2018 • 80 min
Can humankind survive this century? Great Britain’s Astronomer Royal Martin Rees shares some of his profoundly original thinking on this fraught question.
36. Mapping the Heavens | Priya Natarajan
Sep 13, 2018 • 83 min
Dark matter, dark energy, and black holes are the universe’s three most massive mysteries. Literally! Yale astrophysicist Priya Natarajan takes us on a fascinating tour of them all.
35: Empowering the Acre | Andrew Youn
Aug 22, 2018 • 73 min
Andrew Youn’s One Acre Found is bringing food security to hundreds of thousands of families throughout Central Africa. Now THAT’S an inspiring startup!
34: Ancient DNA | David Reich
Jul 31, 2018 • 91 min
The genetic code of Neanderthals, archaic humans, and other elders is reconfiguring much of our understanding of human history. And it could just save hundreds of thousands of modern human lives per year.
33: The Evolution of Beauty | Richard Prum
Jul 16, 2018 • 85 min
A bold and brilliant refutation of the common wisdom about sexual attraction, aesthetics, and more. Rick Prum is an evolutionary heretic. And the wellspring of his unorthodox ideas is … Charles Darwin himself.
Announcement | On the Future of this Podcast
Jun 30, 2018 • 20 min
The full lowdown on where this podcast is going from here.
31: Expanding DNA’s Alphabet (by half!) | Floyd Romesberg
Jun 26, 2018 • 80 min
Floyd Romesberg added two letters to DNA’s ancient four-letter alphabet. He got this running in cells. And coding proteins. His cell lines have passed it down hundreds of generations. Now what?
30. De-extinction, The Whole Earth, and Way More|Stewart Brand
Jun 12, 2018 • 102 min
Over six consecutive decades, Stewart Brand has impacted society, tech and science in outlandishly diverse ways. This truly unhurried conversation explores the scope of his intensely original American life.
Jordan Harbinger | Bonus Episode
Jun 7, 2018 • 87 min
An examination of the science of psychopathy from my buddy Jordan Harbinger’s terrific podcast. This bonus episode is in addition to the two new original episodes I’m creating this month.
28: Exponential Medicine | Daniel Kraft
May 29, 2018 • 68 min
Key aspects of medical technology are improving even faster than computers. What are the ramifications for our health? For our lifespans? Dr. Daniel Kraft has tremendous insights into all of this - particularly as it relates to cancer.
27. Depression: The Psychedelic Cure | Katya Malievskaia & George Goldsmith
May 15, 2018 • 65 min
The largest-ever clinical trial of a psychedelic drug will soon begin in Europe and North America. The drug is psilocybin - the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. The target is treatment-resistant depression.
26: Reality Isn’t | Don Hoffman
Apr 30, 2018 • 81 min
Quantitative Psychologist Don Hoffman has a head-spinning take on the true nature of reality vs. what our senses report to us. Is it the most counterintuitive insight since Pythagoras figured the Earth is round?
25. A Night at the Battery
Apr 17, 2018 • 63 min
In this very atypical episode, the tables turn and I’m the interviewee! We discuss all of my creative projects, including this podcast series. Recorded live at The Battery in San Francisco.
24: BioEngineering |George Church
Apr 2, 2018 • 80 min
George Church helped found 22 companies, and co-invented the paradigm-shattering gene editing technique CRISPR. In our interview, he delivers a sweeping survey of the world of synthetic biology, and makes some astounding predictions
23: AI & Robotics - Their Present and Future| Rodney Brooks
Mar 20, 2018 • 82 min
Rodney Brooks is a founding luminary of TWO vital domains in tech: robotics and AI. He’s the father of the Roomba, the long-time head of MIT’s AI lab, and a serial entrepreneur. Few can rival his breadth & depth in technology.
22: Creating the 6th, 7th & 8th Sense | David Eagleman
Mar 6, 2018 • 59 min
Neuroscientist David Eagleman has done groundbreaking work on how we perceive time. Now he hopes to radically expand the pantheon of human senses.
21: Neural Imaging and … Telepathy? | Mary Lou Jepsen
Feb 20, 2018 • 67 min
After stints at Google and Facebook, serial entrepreneur Mary Lou Jepsen is ready to upend the worlds of medical imaging and … telepathy. Yup, TELEPATHY. Give it a listen!
20: Radical Life Extension | Aubrey de Grey
Jan 17, 2018 • 67 min
Aubrey de Grey is a highly credentialed scientist who believes it’s within our grasp to REVERSE human aging in the next few decades. Dozens of scientists are now executing on his plan, funded by extremely smart backers like Peter Thiel.
19: A Lightning Tour of the After On Universe
Jan 1, 2018 • 74 min
A wide-ranging set of excerpts from the After On audiobook, read brilliant folks including John Hodgman, Felicia Day, Jesse Cox, Tom Merritt. Back to “normal” episodes next week, promise! :-)
18: It’s Really After On
Dec 21, 2017 • 85 min
This week, Broadway’s own January LaVoy and legendary fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss read/perform the the opening of the After On audiobook (plus quite a bit more). With some notes & observations from the author.
17: The Past Present & Future of Cryptocurrency | Coinbase Co-Founder Fred Ehrsam
Dec 12, 2017 • 104 min
Whether you’re a cryptocurrency novice or expert, this episode will teach you a ton. My guest, Fred Ehrsam, founded the world’s largest platform for storing & trading Bitcoin and more. Just us for a full crypto education!
16: The Promise & Peril in YOUR Genes | Robert Green
Nov 28, 2017 • 96 min
You will soon have access to a dizzying battery of facts about your health. Some could be life-changingly horrid or positive! But most will be wildly ambiguous. Should you peak? NOTE: This is NOT just hypothetical.
15. Music Piracy | The Extraterrestrial Threat
Nov 20, 2017 • 83 min
A vast alien civilization is so into American pop music, it recently committed the biggest copyright violation since the dawn of time. Against us! How should humanity respond? A special (and rather playful) episode with John Hodgman.
14: The Future (if any) of Jobs | Andrew McAfee
Nov 14, 2017 • 77 min
Andrew McAfee of MIT is a leading thinker about how robotics and other automation will influence the future of work and jobs. We touch on some scary stuff - plus some delightful notes of optimism!
13: Medium, Twitter, and Networked Words | Ev Williams
Oct 31, 2017 • 77 min
Ev Williams co-founded and ran both Twitter and, and is now the founder/CEO of Medium. He’s a deep thinker about ideas morph & travel, and is carving out a place for thoughtful, serious writing online.
12. TED Talks + Organization | Chris Anderson
Oct 24, 2017 • 80 min
You’ve probably seen a TED Talk or two (or 500!) online. Chris runs the TED organization, and has some fascinating thoughts both on how we’re wired to process oratory, and how we might build a better world.
11. Space Archaeology | Sarah Parcak
Oct 17, 2017 • 97 min
Sarah Parcak is a pioneer in the emerging field of space archaeology. In 2016 she won the TED Prize to launch a “citizen science” platform, which is finding lost sites and fighting archaeological looting throughout the world.
10. Tech’s Past & Future | Tim O’Reilly
Oct 10, 2017 • 78 min
Technology’s pre-eminent publisher, Tim O’Reilly helped trigger the rise of the commercial Web, the open source community, the Web 2.0 era, and the maker movement. I discuss tech’s past and future with one of its most original thinkers.
9. Drones |Chris Anderson of Wired & 3DR
Oct 3, 2017 • 83 min
Chris Anderson was Wired’s editor-in-chief for 12 years, then started one of the world’s great drone companies. We discuss all this – and his origins as a high school dropout living in a squat and playing bass for a band called REM (no, not that RE
8: Fermi’s Paradox (or, where are all the aliens?) | Stephen Webb
Sep 26, 2017 • 110 min
Our universe’s vastness and age has given alien intelligence ample space and time in which to arise. Why can we detect no sign of it? This is actually a momentous and scientifically serious question. Yes, really! With British astronomer Stephen Webb.
7. The Dangers of Superintelligence| James Barrat
Sep 19, 2017 • 56 min
James Barrat’s book “Our Final Invention” helped touch off a public debate about the possible dangers of superintelligence, which continues to this day. We discuss these dangers in depth in our interview. For those who are reading the novel After O
6. On Terrorism | Sam Harris
Sep 12, 2017 • 136 min
Sam Harris is one of the most visible and controversial commentators on terrorism and its roots. Our interview dives deep into this subject, as well the personal journey that made Sam into the public intellectual he has become. For those who are reading
5. Quantum Computing |Steve Jurvetson
Sep 5, 2017 • 68 min
Quantum computers could be almost farcically powerful compared to classical computers. Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson and I discuss how & why this is – and whether this potential will ever be realized. For those who are reading the novel After
4: Synthetic Biology | Andrew Hessel
Aug 24, 2017 • 78 min
It took 13 years and $3 billion to read the first human genome in 2003. Now takes #$1K and just hours. What happens when we can WRITE DNA as easily as we now read it? For those who are reading the novel After On, Tom Merritt and I discuss pages 180-241 i
3: Privacy + Govt Intrusion | Cindy Cohn (EFF)
Aug 17, 2017 • 76 min
In this episode, we discuss patent trolls, government hacking, privacy in the digital age, and other vital issues with Cindy Cohn, who runs the Electronic Frontier Foundation. For those who are reading the novel After On, Tom Merritt and I discuss pages
2: Consciousness & Neuroscience | Adam Gazzaley
Aug 10, 2017 • 81 min
In this episode,we discuss the roots of consciousness and other vital topics with UCSF neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley. For those who are reading the novel After On, Tom Merritt and I discuss pages 51-109 in the very last section of the podcast.
1: Augmented Reality | Meron Gribetz
Aug 3, 2017 • 78 min
In this episode, we discuss augmented reality (AR) with the CEO of AR pioneer Meta, Inc. Meron Gribetz. For those who are reading the novel After On, Tom Merritt and I discuss pages 1-51 in the very last section of the podcast.