Jason Crawford — The Roots of Progress | Episode 162

Jason Crawford is the founder & president of The Roots of Progress, a nonprofit dedicated to establishing a new philosophy of progress for the 21st century.

Jason has written well over 100 essays on the history of technology and the philosophy of progress, and given numerous talks and interviews on the same.

He joins the show to discuss whether humans deserve progress, how to make progress cool, the two types of optimism, and more!

Important Links:

- The Roots of Progresshttps: //rootsofprogress.org
- Jason’s Website https://jasoncrawford.org
- Jason’s Twitter https://twitter.com/jasoncrawford?s=21&t=j6xvHN7yar-nyziV-x6VCg
- Discourse on the Arts and Sciences; by Jean-Jacques Rousseau https://www.stmarys-ca.edu/sites/default/files/2023-03/arts.pdf
- Triumph of the Nerds https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Triumph_of_the_Nerds
- Why I’m a proud solutionist https://www.technologyreview.com/2021/07/13/1028295/proud-solutionist-history-technology-industry/

Show Notes:

00:00:00 Intro
00:01:21 Main podcast
00:02:07 Why do we need progress studies?
00:06:44 Are humans conditioned to resist progress?
00:18:45 Increasing the burden of safety
00:26:49 What the Roots of Progress is seeking to achieve
00:35:19 How can we make progress cool?
00:40:46 Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will
00:52:44 Do we deserve progress?
00:54:38 Progress & politics
01:08:02 Steelmanning the case against progress
01:15:02 How can we defend against bad actors?
01:21:43 Calibrating our approach to risk

Books Mentioned:

- Frankenstein; by Mary Shelley
- Erewhon; by Samuel Butler
- Darwin Among The Machines; by Samuel Butler
- The Beginning of Infinity: Explanations That Transform the World; by David Deutsch
- The Ultimate Resource; by Julian L. Simon
- The Collapse of the Common Good: How America's Lawsuit Culture Undermines Our Freedom; by Philip K. Howard
- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; by Douglas Adams
- The Jungle; by Upton Sinclair
- One Summer: America, 1927; by Bill Bryson