Stranded Technologies
Stranded Technologies Podcast
Ep. 80: Naval Ravikant On Why The Future Is Brighter

Ep. 80: Naval Ravikant On Why The Future Is Brighter

A Fireside Chat at the AI & Technological Progress Conference in Vitalia City

“What’s more important than living forever?” 

At Vitalia, Naval Ravikant outed himself as a longevity maximalist. 

This is a compilation article with 7 key takeaways from the Fireside Chat with Niklas Anzinger at the AI & Technological Progress Conference, a summit in Roatán, Honduras.

Prefer To Watch?

#1 | The Future Is *Actually* Brighter.

“It just takes one person to make a breakthrough for humanity.

One person who invents the steam engine, one person who discovers relativity, one person who discovers an anti-aging solution.”

Technology is the scaling mechanism for individuals to benefit the world at large.

People are smart on their own and even smarter together.

We collaborate across cultures by sharing stories and traditions and joining organizations to achieve big things.

#2 | Why Would Someone Want To Live Longer?

“Longevity is not for everyone.” – Naval.

The idea of "making death optional" shows a push to extend life, challenging the established paradigm that death is inevitable.

This seems like common sense. Life is good.

So why do people fear the idea? Naval thinks it could be negative feelings about ourselves. 

#3 | What Comes First: Scientific Theory or Entrepreneurial Tinkering?

Both! They build on each other. 

Theoretical thinkers give us important concepts, but most progress happens when people try things out and solve problems.

AI can help put together information we already have, but real creativity means coming up with new ideas and tinkering in the real world. 

People are really good at connecting different things creatively, in ways in which AI is still very limited (so, no, AI is nowhere near to replacing humans)!

#4 | Be Optimistic On The General Things And Be Skeptical About Specific Things.

David Deutsch talks about the "fun criterion," saying that exploring what excites us leads to better understanding. The general things we care about we can hold with optimism.

But it's also important to be careful and question things, ensuring we're focused on the truth. If you’re not skeptical about the specific details, you won’t execute or pick with precision.

Broadly: remain open-minded.

Narrowly: question everything.

#5 | Regulation and Innovation in Healthcare.

In sectors like healthcare, regulations meant to reduce risks can slow down new ideas and progress.

The problem is that these rules ignore the potential benefits that new ideas can bring, such as life-saving treatments.

As the founder of Angellist, Naval once succeeded with the “voice” strategy to lobby the government to change investment laws. However, now he believes it’s too hard, and it’s better to do an “exit” to make progress on longevity and new medical treatments.

#6 | How Do You Find What's True In A World Full Of Wrong Ideas?

Through trying things and getting real feedback!

Nature and free markets are great examples of systems that give honest feedback.

Even though society sometimes spreads wrong ideas, people must stay open-minded and change their beliefs when they get new information.

Being sure of something but willing to change your mind helps us learn and grow.

Biotech is an especially hard field because we don’t know the first-principle engineering that went into creating the human body. 

That’s why only a system of continuous feedback and rapid innovation can lead to the key breakthroughs in longevity biotech.

#7 | Rethinking Traditional Ways To Do Things.

Philosophy and science is about “ideas having sex”. (Matt Ridley)

Maybe you don’t need a Ph.D. to be a scientist; being curious and careful matters more.

There can be more decentralized ways to fund and organize science, like using the internet to get patron support directly instead of large bureaucracies. 

There are better ways to do things than we're used to always doing.

If you liked this episode or article, please consider supporting the “Stranded Technologies” publication (podcast + blog) to make it possible for us to make high-quality material.

Further links:

Stranded Technologies
Stranded Technologies Podcast
Niklas Anzinger talks and writes about his experience as a VC based in Prospera Honduras, competitive governance and how it can unblock "stranded technologies" that are held back by bureaucracy and overregulation.