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80,000 Hours Podcast with Rob Wiblin

Education • Technology • Science

Unusually in-depth conversations about the world's most pressing problems and what you can do to solve them. Subscribe by searching for '80,000 Hours' wherever you get podcasts. Produced by Keiran Harris. Hosted by Rob Wiblin, Head of Research at 80,000 Hours.

Popular episodes

#117 - David Denkenberger on using paper mills and seaweed to feed everyone in a catastrophe, ft Sahil Shah

Nov 29 • 03:08:12
If there's a nuclear war followed by nuclear winter, and the sun is blocked out for years, most of us are going to starve, right? Well, currently, probably we would, because humanity hasn't done much to prevent it. But it turns out that an ounce of forethought might be enough for most people to get the calories they need to survive, even in a future as grim as that one.


#116 - Luisa Rodriguez on why global catastrophes seem unlikely to kill us all

Nov 19 • 03:45:43
If modern human civilisation collapsed - as a result of nuclear war, severe climate change, or a much worse pandemic than COVID-19 - billions of people might die.

That's terrible enough to contemplate. But what's the probability that rather than recover, the survivors would falter and humanity would actually disappear for good?

It's an obvious enough question, but very few...

#115 - David Wallace on the many-worlds theory of quantum mechanics and its implications

Nov 13 • 03:09:46
Quantum mechanics - our best theory of atoms, molecules, and the subatomic particles that make them up - underpins most of modern physics. But there are varying interpretations of what it means, all of them controversial in their own way.

Famously, quantum theory predicts that with the right setup, a cat can be made to be alive and dead at the same time. On the face of it,...

Maha Rehman on working with governments to rapidly deliver masks to millions of people

Oct 22 • 01:42:54
It?s hard to believe, but until recently there had never been a large field trial that addressed these simple and obvious questions:

1. When ordinary people wear face masks, does it actually reduce the spread of respiratory diseases?

2. And if so, how do you get people to wear masks more often?

It turns out the first question is remarkably challenging to answer, but it's w...

We just put up a new compilation of ten core episodes of the show

Oct 20 • 03:01

We recently launched a new podcast feed that might be useful to you and people you know. ...

#113 - Varsha Venugopal on using gossip to help vaccinate every child in India

Oct 19 • 02:05:43
Our failure to make sure that globally all kids get all of their basic vaccinations leads to 1.5 million child deaths every year.

According to today?s guest, Varsha Venugopal, for the great majority this has nothing to do with weird conspiracy theories or medical worries ? in India 80% of undervaccinated children are already getting some shots. They just aren't getting all...

#112 - Carl Shulman on the common-sense case for existential risk work and its practical implications

Oct 6 • 03:48:39
Preventing the apocalypse may sound like an idiosyncratic activity, and it sometimes is justified on exotic grounds, such as the potential for humanity to become a galaxy-spanning civilisation.

But the policy of US government agencies is already to spend up to $4 million to save the life of a citizen, making the death of all Americans a $1,300,000,000,000,000 disaster.


#111 - Mushtaq Khan on using institutional economics to predict effective government reforms

Sep 10 • 03:20:25
If you're living in the Niger Delta in Nigeria, your best bet at a high-paying career is probably 'artisanal refining' - or, in plain language, stealing oil from pipelines.

The resulting oil spills damage the environment and cause severe health problems, but the Nigerian government has continually failed in their attempts to stop this theft.

They send in the army, and the ...

#110 - Holden Karnofsky on building aptitudes and kicking ass

Aug 26 • 02:46:05
Holden Karnofsky helped create two of the most influential organisations in the effective philanthropy world. So when he outlines a different perspective on career advice than the one we present at 80,000 Hours - we take it seriously.

Holden disagrees with us on a few specifics, but it's more than that: he prefers a different vibe when making career choices, especially ear...

#109 - Holden Karnofsky on the most important century

Aug 19 • 02:19:01

Will the future of humanity be wild, or boring? It's natural to think that if we're trying to be sober and measured, and predict what will really happen rather than spin an exciting story, it's more likely than not to be sort of... dull.

But there's also good reason to think that that is simply impossible. The idea that there's a boring future that's internally coherent is...

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