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So it is the most basic truth of biology that the second you reach maturity, you exit adolescence and become an adult, you start dying, you degrade, and then you expire. This is called the aging process, and you maybe first start noticing it in your 40s, long after it's already begun, because there are visible symptoms. You get wrinkly and bald, and if you can't stay away from the pizza, you get a little fat. That's inevitable. Or we have been told it's inevitable. But a man called Brian Johnson has decided it's not necessarily inevitable. He was a very large figure in the tech world, made a ton of dough, and then started thinking about his body and the nature of life and the future of human existence, and has become pretty famous recently for saying that he has, in a way, begun reverse the aging process and maybe even cracked the code that limits the human lifespan. But watch him explain. It's hard to believe tech millionaire Brian Johnson is 46 years old, but no matter his chronological age, he He's striving for the biological age of an 18-year-old.


His team of 30 doctors utilize all the latest tech.


The plan is rigorous. At $2 million a year, a life like this is out of reach for almost everyone.


21. This is what I take on a daily basis of supplements. It's alphabetized, and we have a year's supply of everything we do. He calls his all-encompassing protocol Project Blueprint. Blueprint was born out of trying to fix my own problem, but then taking care of my family, my kids, and my parents, my friends. It's generated a steady churn of shock headlines. He once injected himself with his son's plasma. It's part of his quest to live forever, which he believes may happen in our lifetime.


Seems a little spooky But also interesting. We're doing this interview because one of our smartest friends suggested, I talk to this guy, Brian Johnson. He's genuinely interesting. He seems to be. He is the founder and CEO among other companies, a company called Kernel that creates devices that can monitor brain activity. He joins us now on set. Brian, great to see you.


Great to see you as well. Thanks for having me.


I've got a bunch of different questions, some practical, some philosophical. Let's start with the practical ones. How old are you? 46?




You don't look it, I will say, famously. How, as a practical matter, what's your regimen for slowing or reversing the aging process?


What we do is we measure every organ of my body, my heart, my lungs, my liver, my pancreas, my brain, and we biologically age each organ. You say, How old is the heart? Even though I'm 46, my heart is 37. My left ear is 64. My lung capacity is age 18. My cardiovascular capacity is the top 1.5% of 18-year-olds. You need to know where your baseline is. We've measured my entire body. I've become the most measured person in history. And once you have all those numbers, then you can go to therapies and say, Can you slow the speed of aging? And can you reverse the aging damage that has happened? And that's been the project for the past three years.


You can.


You think? You can. For example, I slowed my speed of aging. So inside your body, there's a clock with how fast you're aging. And that clock is determined by DNA methylation. I have reduced my speed of aging by the equivalent of 31 years. I now age in a more generalized way to say it, 7.6 months for every 12 months that pass. I get the remaining months for free, which is I slowed down my speed of aging, so the damage that accumulates in my body is much slower. We've done this through diet and exercise and sleep and a bunch of other therapies. But yes, we can quantifiably measure how fast my aging, what are the age of my organs, and then we can use therapies to go about it. We do everything according to science and data. This is not me offering an opinion. This is my entire body on display for the world of what happens when you apply the world's best science into a body.


I'm assuming you quit smoking.


Yeah, I never started, but- You never started.


Okay, good. That's like step one, quit smoking. Exactly right. Okay, fine. Just to make sure we have that on the record. What specifically do you eat?


I have three meals a day. Breakfast is broccoli, cauliflower, black lentils, garlic, and ginger. The next meal of the day is pea protein, pomegranate juice, macadamia nuts, walnuts, flax seed, sunflower lexapin. The final meal of the day is berries, nuts, fruits.


Okay. Pizza and Oreo is totally out.


Yeah, they are not in supply at the Yes.


Why? If you could narrow down the foods that actually do reduce your lifespan and the quality of your life, what would they be?


What we tried to do with the diet is we said, If you take the frame that every calorie you put into your body has to fight for its In life, what would that be? We went through, we referenced all the scientific literature. We said, What has the best evidence? Then we put it into my body, then we measure. If a given thing is supposed to do a thing in the body, it stays. If it does it, it stays. If not, it's out. What I told you is where every calorie is precisely designed. These are population-level studies. This is not just me. This could be applicable to you as well. We are very particular about what goes into my body, and not a single calorie goes in that's not backed by science.


What are the ones you definitely would not eat, period?


Basically, the standard American diet. It's bad. I knew it was bad. We all know it's bad. I didn't know how bad. Once you understand the biochemical processes of what happens in your body when you eat these things, it's awful.




I mean, it increases your speed of aging. You've got this clock, and it's saying, How fast until disease develops or something It goes wrong. This clock, it will increase if you don't eat the right things. If you eat the right things, it will slow down. If the wrong thing, speed it up.


Let me just push you a little more on this question. What are the things you just would not put in your mouth specifically?


Pizza, donuts, junk food, fast food, processed food.


Pizza is number one.


I don't eat red meat. I'm vegan, but nothing meat, so people can add meat to their diet. But red meat is not at the top of the things that makes the cut for science of wanting to extend life.


Interesting. How much time do you spend exercising?


One hour a day.


That's it? Yeah. What do you do?


Cardiovascular, weights, and stretching.


Would it be fair to say that someone who followed your diet and your exercise regimen would have similar effects to the ones you've enjoyed? Yes.


I've done this. I've made my entire project open source. It's for free for everybody. I post my data, my recipes, my processes, my therapies. Everything is shared with everyone. Tens of thousands of people around the world are doing this, and they're seeing remarkable results. I've tried to reduce what I do into very simple things that are affordable for everybody.


Those would not include injecting yourself with your son's blood, right? That's right. Okay. Why did you do that?


We were looking into therapy. The way we approach blueprint is we said, What humans have generated a lot of science over the past couple of decades. We said, let's take all the science, let's rank them according to power laws of the best science ever done. Let's grade the evidence, then we'll see what we can apply from those into my body. Plasma infusions were one that was interesting. I was looking at it myself, and one day I was talking to my dad and he said, I need to tell you. I had this really scary situation where he's in the legal profession. He said, I wrote a brief, I walked away, I came back, and I saw that my words were jumbled mess. I was experiencing cognitive lapse, and I wasn't aware of it. He's 71. He said, I'm terrified of losing my mind. Yes. I said, Dad, how interesting that you bring this up because right now the team and I are talking about plasma infusions and that some of the studies are looking at the effects on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's and other kinds of things like that. I said, If you're interested, I'm happy to give you a leader of my plasma.


And then my 17-year-old son was there and he's like, Hey, if you guys are doing it, I'm in. I'm like, great. We'll make this a family affair. And so my son- Sharing the plasma. Yeah. So my son gave me a liter of plasma. I gave my dad a liter of plasma. And the data showed that in me there was no effect, that my biomarkers didn't change. But in my dad, his speed of aging reduced by 25 years. So he was aging at the rate of a 71-year-old. And after the plasma infusion and continued for six months, it lessened to a 45-year-old. So his clock dramatically slowed down.


Interesting. Did he feel better?


He did. And his colleagues were saying, What's up? You're hot, you're on fire. What's happening?


And it was plasma from his son.


It was the only therapy that he did.


Does it need to be a blood relative?


No, it just blood-typed.


Okay, so now we're getting into the theories about taking the blood of children.


I mean, so this is very common. We do organ transplants. We all donate blood. We've had that experience in our life. It's just in a slightly different frame, but it's very much a part of- Well, it's a recognizable frame.


By the I'm not endorsing any of this, but there is a frame, to use your word, on the internet of super rich tech billionaires living forever in the blood of children. Not a super appealing frame, I would say. This is that.


Yeah, and we did it openly. We made a video out of it. We made fun of it. We made a meme out of it. This is how we've done the entire project is everything's open-sourced. It's always discussed. We share all the data. But yes, it definitely feeds into many of of the... There's a lot of theories about what happens behind the scenes with rich people.


Yeah, and not all of them seem baseless, I guess.


That's a lot of people said. We finally got a glimpse. So you're showing us what's happening. The tech oligarch taking the blood of children.


Yeah, I'm just... Interesting. So I wonder, as I was reading about you, the effect on you and your life. What's it like to focus on your body that much?


Oh, I love it. There's one thing about building a product. We oftentimes think of our work as our immortality, what we produce in our careers, our reputation, our accomplishments. When you think about it this way, you are the product. You are your own best creation. It's been energizing. I've loved being consumed by it. I think that it's one of the happiest endeavors I've done life. Really?


I've taken the opposite approach, and I'm not claiming it's superior to yours, but I had my appendix swole up and burst, and I had it, of course, taken out. I never asked what the appendix is because I didn't really want to know. I don't know what a spleen is. I've really made an effort to not focus on those things because it seems like a lot of self-focus, and it seems like a short trip from there to say, narcissism, which is obviously death. Are you worried about that?


My observation really is philosophical. I did this thought experiment where I was... When I was 21, I came back from Ecuador. I had lived among extreme poverty for two years, and I had this burning desire- You're on a Mormon mission. On a Mormon mission, yes. I had this burning desire to be useful to the world. I didn't know what or how. I thought, I'll make a whole bunch of money by age of 30. Then when I'm 30 years old and I have a whole bunch of money, I'll decide what to do then. I've been searching for this mission my entire life. And upon doing that, I organized dinners with my smartest friends, and I said, Let's imagine we're existing in 2050, and this was 2016 at the time. The world is amazing. What did we do in 2016 that would make that possible? Then I listened very intently to everybody's responses, and then I put them in a box, and I made a rule that I can't do anything inside that box. I have to do something outside that box. And what nobody was working on was trying to solve death. That it was always inconceivable that you could try to legitimately conquer death.


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Now, we're at the philosophical part of this. My friend who recommended this interview said he's really interesting on the practical stuff, the serum transfers and all that, but he's much more interesting on the philosophical questions, and I think you will be. Let me ask, you You grew up in a world, a Roman world, that believed and taught you that it had already solved the question of death. Exactly. Through Jesus. Exactly. You no longer think that.


It would be helpful if there was some evidence. Yeah.


Okay. You've abandoned that worldview, or at least your agnostic, I guess, would be the word on that worldview. Not to get too personal, but I'm just interested because a lot of people would say, religious people, Christians would say, Well, we've already solved death. Don't need to solve that. It's solved. But there's also, of course, no evidence that eternal life is possible in a corporal sense, physical sense, because it's never been done. What gives you faith that you can do it.


If you look at the speed in which artificial intelligence is advancing, we are gaining new abilities we've never had before in every domain of society. You pair that with our ability that we now, in this moment, we can predictably design biology and the physical world, atom by atom. You bring those things together for the first time in human history, one can say with a straight face that we may be able to go after death. Now, I'm not saying we can. I'm not saying it's guaranteed. I'm saying that it is rational and reasonable and supportive by where the realities are today. With what I've been trying to do is to show a glimmer of hope. Because what I'm really trying to do is demonstrate age escape velocity. That is, so when one year of time passes, I remain the same biological age. We're never going to arrest aging altogether. But if I, let's say, I age 0.4, and then I can reverse that 0.4 with therapies and stay the same age biologically. Right now, I'm 0.64. So I've already started at one, and I'm all the way down to 0.64. If we keep on inching down, it might change everything.


It's one thing to have a philosophical conversation. It's another thing to say, I can be youthful and have energy and feel great. I think everybody wants that.


100%, live long and prosper, for sure. And that seems like a virtuous goal, and what you're doing to that extent is virtuous. I just wonder, as someone who grew up in a religious community, if part of you, maybe deep inside, fears that when you start to say things like, We can defeat death, that you won't be smote down by the God of the universe for assuming his role. Do you worry about that?


Not in the least bit. Never crossed my mind. You're either very brave or very foolish. Never crossed my mind.


Really? So when you say, I can defeat death, aren't you saying I'm God?


I'm saying that the universe speaks in irony.


That's for sure.


And that the story we've told is that God created us, and the actual story may be that we are going to create God.


What God?


This is the question we face as a species. I mean, right now, we have organized society around capitalism. We strive to make money, have power, and We engage in warfare. Everyone's angling for their best interests. I'm suggesting that this is not about me trying to live forever. This is me trying to answer the most pressing question in existence. What do we do as a species? Now, when death is inevitable, you're going to have an answer like, Well, I'm going to live fast and die young, or I'm going to conquer territories and be immortal for my quest, or I'm going to make up your meaning of life game. But if death is not inevitable, we can extend our lifespands to some unknown horizon. The meaning-making games we have as a species all change.


Of course.


And that's what I'm suggesting where this moment is that.


I mean, many people through history have reached similar conclusions, but not with similar technology to affect those conclusions or those outcomes. But history laughs at those people, and the story of history is men addled with hubris He's being humiliated. Yes. I would say there's a great deal of evidence that you will be crushed and humiliated for saying that. I hope that's not the case, of course, but every other living person who's reached the conclusion that you've reached has been crushed and humiliated in the end, and we laugh at him. So what makes you different?


I think it's likely inevitable that I will die the most ironic death. That is guaranteed It's guaranteed to happen. That is so true.


By the way, that's the message of the new test. That's the sermon on the mount. It's the irony book. The first will be last. The meek shall inherit the early. No, you're totally- So I will- We agree on that.


I'll get hit by a bus, or I will choke Taking a pill or- You'll die of a broccoli OD. Yeah, exactly. It's guaranteed to happen. So me aside, I think the- Okay, now I like you.


I think that's just a wonderful thing to say. You're right. That is wisdom.


It's guaranteed to happen. And so hopefully this lives past me. But I think if you have another, do another thought experiment with me, let's imagine we're hanging out in the 25th century. We're listening to what they're saying about the early 21st century. Now, in the same way we look at the 15th century, we compressed that entire century into 10 things, 15 things. Yes, that's right. 99% of what happened then is just washed away. Of course. We don't care.


It's just 1%. And there's no record of it either.


Exactly. And this At the moment, the same is going to be true. We have more recording, of course, of our existence. They did, but we're still going to be compressed in time. And so 99% of what we do will be washed away. There'll be a small fraction that actually matters to future generations. Yes.


Or they'll even know about or have any way of knowing about. Or they'll care about.


Yes, that's right. If you pose that question from the 25th century, and so that really, for me, creates this clarity of thought. If you try to really clear your head of all the noise happening now, what do they I say right now that we did as a species in this moment that allowed intelligence to thrive in this part of the galaxy? This is what I would say is this is when Homo sapiens realized that they reached a technological threshold where the only objective of existence was to continue to exist at the basic level. So this is don't die. That when we're on the Eve of giving birth to superintelligence, and we have to ask all the basic questions of our existence. Who are we? Why do we exist? How do we operate in society? Do I have a job? Do I don't? What are the answers to these basic questions? And what I'm suggesting is our existence is going to be compressed into one statement we can all say, which is don't die. And don't die is the most played game by everybody on planet Earth every second of every day. We breathe every few seconds.


We look both ways before we cross the street. We throw out moldy food. So don't die is played more than capitalism. Don't die is played more than religion, the most played game in existence. And that's the thing we can rally behind in this moment.


It's interesting, though. I think that's partly true, but the fact that you have to articulate it suggests it's not entirely true. In other words, the way that people, human beings, differ from other animal species is not just language and the imposable thumb. It's that humans are the only animal that kill themselves. They need to be convinced that life is worth living. I wonder what you make of that. I don't have the answer to that. I don't know why, but that has always struck me as the main distinction between people and, say, dogs or pigs or horses or any other animal or monkeys for that matter. Why? Why do people kill themselves? Why do they need to be convinced not to die?


We I mean, in some ways, we're brilliant. In many ways, we are idiotic and insane. I had this problem where I would over eat every night at 07:00 PM. To deal with the stresses of the day, I would eat too much food, junk I was 60 pounds heavier than I am now. Why did I do that? Why did I inflict this harm upon myself every night? And afterwards, I'd say, I'm changing tomorrow. This is my last day. No more. But I did it anyways. I just couldn't stop myself from these self-destructive behaviors. It's such a weird thing. Now what I did is I- But hold on, what do you make of that?


Every person has experienced that, whether it's drinking or sex or food is very, very common in this country. But why does that happen? Because it puts a lie to the, to use your term frame again, to the evolutionary biology frame that we use to explain human behavior. Yes. Why do we act against ourselves? And is it us acting against ourselves or is it a force outside of ourselves acting on us? So what's the answer? Agreed.


And we treat planet Earth the same way we treat our own bodies. Of course. We treat each other.


But why? Exactly. I understand. Look, evolutionary biology, common sense explains why I might hurt you.




To steal your stuff. Exactly. To make it more likely that my kids reproduce in my line continues. It's not hard. It's wrong, but it's understandable. Why do I hurt myself in ways that don't bring me pleasure that are purely destructive? You can see why people believe in demons. I don't think you do believe in demons. So what do you believe? What is that?


Yeah. I mean, on this question, there's probably many answers on why. The solution that I've come up with is I endeavor to build an algorithm that could take better care of me than I can myself.


But you still have to follow it, and you still... You have to want to build it. But you're aligning over, and I am, too. I don't have the answer. I don't want to pretend that I do. I think they're clearly demonic forces. I think they're spirits that are doing this to people. That's my view. Is it That's my view. I've explained it without any evidence at all, other than noticing. But it seems to me that you have to explain it, too. What is that? How could we ever knowingly act against your own interest? Where do those where pulsions come from. You could say they're biological. What does that even mean? It doesn't mean anything. What is the answer?


I don't know the answer. I would suggest it's a flaw. I would suggest that this is what we will solve with our technology.


But it still requires the decision, which is a conscious decision, that that's a good thing that's preferable to self-destruction.


Sometimes, though. Think of this like Ozempic. Let's just put Let's set aside side effect profile. Let's set aside any of those questions. If I can take a pill that turns off my hunger, I don't have to be fat anymore, I'm in.


Well, but if you're approaching... I mean, that's a whole separate conversation. But if you're approaching it, logically, you couldn't turn off the data of, as you put the side effect profile. What's the downside? That's part of the calculation, is it not?


Yeah. I mean, let's assume the drug will get better, will minimize side effects, and In time. But what I'm saying is all of us understand that these self-destructive behaviors are not good.


Why do we assume that? Where's that moral framework come from? There's no God. I don't get that.


I mean, even the basics, we just feel bad in the morning. We feel cloudy, we feel grumpy, we feel depressed, we feel anxious, and it's because we don't sleep well and we're stressed and we eat terrible food and we don't exercise. We don't do the positive things. We know we feel great when we do it and we do the bad things that make us feel bad continually. So we all just know intuitively that this acts.


We do. I'm not... Oh, of course. And we all feel that way. I felt that way this morning, actually, before I would mention it. But I wonder if it's not reductionist to assume that they're all biological in cause. Maybe there's a spiritual component. Maybe I'm not living my life the right way. Maybe I have done wrong and haven't repented of it. I mean, there are other potential causes, no?


Agreed. This is what I'm suggesting that no matter where someone is coming from, whatever your origin, the game to play as a species right now in this moment, is don't die. Right now, we play capitalism and make money and earn.


I'm with you there. That's obviously a hollow, stupid dead end, and it's not actually even working. I mean, it's not working by its own terms. It's not working, right? You don't have a middle class anymore. So clearly that's not working, right? I couldn't agree with your skepticism more when you conclude that the current program is absurd. Clearly it is we need a better way. But I do think it's at the core of your assumptions is an unanswered question, which is why is living better than dying? Why do people seek to kill themselves? What the hell is going on there?


Why Yeah. I have gone through my life in a series of moments that has led me to distrust almost everything, including my mind. Initially, growing up in a religion-wise. I grew up in a religion, and then I found out that that entire thing had been packaged in a way where it's like we're good and everyone else is bad. Then I went through a process of behavioral psychology where I realized that I have all these shortcuts of hypocrisy and the reality that I am a disaster as a human. I'm blind to my own behavior. I went through it with authorities that I trusted in other ways. I don't know what to trust in reality outside of things that I find more stable, like physics and math. And so if I try to ground myself in reality of what can I trust, my mind is very far down the list of things I trust. I agree. And so when I pose a question to myself of, do I want to live or do I want this or that? I don't trust what I have to say ever. I don't know, are we really the authority on what we want?


Have we ever been accurate in making those guesses? No.


Why would- I have to say I disagree, I think, very strongly your conclusions, but I so admire the way you're reaching them because I think it's... I mean, the root of wisdom is knowing not to trust yourself. I always say to my kids that the one guy I don't trust is me because it's true. I really admire your honesty. You seem like you're coming at this as honestly as you possibly can. Anyway, whatever. I have a lot of thoughts, but I don't mean to interrupt you. What would happen if people lived forever? Why would that be good? The accumulated sadness of life is hard to take. Do you talk to old people at all?


I do.


Yeah. There is like ships in a harbor, barnacles attached, and the weight of that over time becomes immense. Yeah. Memories, and there's just a lot in the human life that is hard. And again, it accumulates. And so why would you want to extend that?


Imagine we travel back in time, one million and we're hanging out with Homo erectus. They have an ax in their hand, and we say, Where's shelter? Where's food? And where's danger? We listen. If we say now wax poetic on the future of the species, what is the future of intelligence? We laugh. They have nothing to say about computers or the Internet or that there's a microscopic world or how large the universe is. They have no idea. And in this moment, if we contemplate that we may be just as primitive as Homo erectus, we think we are at the apex of intelligence. Is that true? We're giving birth to superintelligence. Could that intelligence, relative to us, make us caveman-like in a similar fashion or more so? And this is what I'm saying in this moment. It's a absolute invitation for humility that we may know nothing about existence or very little, or that what's coming our way may transform existence to ways that we can't even fathom. That's how significant the change is going to be in the coming years and decades. It's unfathomable to us.


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Aj products made in Sweden for the rest of the world. This is one of the most interesting conversations I've had in a while because you're saying things that I think are almost beautiful in their wisdom. This is an invitation to humility. Yes, all of life is an invitation to humility. That's the root of wisdom and the root of happiness. But then your conclusion is, let's live forever.


I feel like I don't. No, but no, the conclusion is, don't die. That's it. That is the sole objective. I want to live tomorrow. I've got stuff going on tomorrow. I'm excited about tomorrow. It's not to live forever. It's this We understand things on these short time frames. And humans will do things like a person doesn't want to die when walking across the street, but they'll smoke a cigarette while doing so. I've done it, yeah. We have these really weird behaviors where we don't want to die, just not now.


Yeah, I wish, and I'll stop with this, but I just wish we had a better handle on why we have those impulses. I feel like it's very hard to proceed with any assumption at all until we understand what just happened or what's happening now, why we're acting the way that we are. If we don't have a consensus on why people hurt themselves, pretty hard to make any future plans at all based on human behavior.


I do wonder, though, if we could actually look at a self-destruction score across time, would our time and place have a disproportionately high level because of how effective food companies are at addiction to their food? There's no question. How good drug companies are making drugs and how social media that we basically are in this dystopic capture. It's totally true. Of self-destruction.


It's 100% true. Of course. I'm not that much older than you are. We both grew up in a country that was nowhere near this self-destructive. I mean, you grew up in a Mormon community in Utah. Not particularly self-destructive people, actually. I mean that as a high compliment. But the whole country was less self-destructive. Of course, we respond to our circumstances, our environment, and animals do, too. You cage them, they kill each other. I mean, I get it. But the impulse may be exacerbated in certain periods by the environment, but the impulse is constant through time. Yeah.


Okay, so let's ask this through another frame. Here's a thought experiment for you. If you had access to an algorithm that could give you the best physical Mental, mental, and spiritual health of your life, but in exchange for that, you needed to follow the algorithm's suggestions. Go to bed on time when it said, go to bed when it said, eat when it said, would you say yes or would you say no?


Of course, I would say no. I'm not getting bossed around by a machine. Sorry. I also don't think that any philosophy that doesn't include God can improve my spiritual health because what does that even mean? What does that mean, actually? How can your spiritual health improve if you don't acknowledge the supernatural?


I've been holding dinners at my house for the past couple of years. I get 10 to 12 people together, and I pose this question, and then we have a two and a half hour dialog about the future of existence. Your response is perfect. Because you told me, No way you're doing it, and you gave me a list of things.


I'm not letting the toaster oven faust me around the idea. It's not.


Now, so what's interesting is the next question I ask in this conversation is now imagine the 21st century is observing our conversation right now and they observe your answers, what do they observe are the characteristics and morals and ethics of the early 21st century? So it flips people's mindset from the knee-jerk reaction of, I hate this idea, to being observational on what are the characteristics of being human now. I do this because it is so hard to see time and place. We look at the 15th century. That's right.


No, I agree.


It's very clear and clean. We're like, Oh, they're idiots for this. Maybe they were onto this. But we have this blindness to ourselves in this moment. We have to do these thought experiments. You have to tease yourself out very slowly. People's responses, they tell me they experience multiple existential crises in that dinner. They dip down, they come back up for air, dip back down, come back up. It's a really challenging experience because it challenges everything you understand about existence.


Do people keep accepting your dinner invitations? I mean, if I'm going to eat at Brian's house but have an existential crisis before the entree is served. That's a lot.


People say it's the one of, if not the most consequential conversations of their entire life.


Well, that doesn't surprise me, actually, because you have one quality, which I, again, really admire, which is your dedication to seeing things outside of your own, the narrow tube that we all live in, seeing the bigger picture. I love that. I think it's so important and wonderful to hear it. You made a bunch of allusions to superintelligence, presumably the AI we keep hearing about. Since you're in that business and this is what you think about, describe what that means exactly. What will AI mean in 10 years, specifically?


Nobody knows. What we do know is that software can be programmed and mathematical functions can be organized to do things that we humans do, and they can do it much better, and even do things that we humans can't do. We've seen this where they're getting... I just took my first self-driving car ride in San Francisco last week. Held it, got in, entirely autonomous. That's a remarkable feat that is capable of driving a car. It reads medical imagery, it flies airplanes. We know algorithms are very good at doing many things, and they're getting better all the time. What I'm observing is I'm saying that AI is progressing at a speed that is impressive and maybe even unfathomal to how we can observe it much faster.


That's right.


It's doing these things that we humans do, and it's going to increasingly do those things, and it will help us achieve our objectives, so we're going to say yes to it. Now, when these algorithms become as good or better at being us than we are, then it creates an invitation to say, who are we? That's what I'm saying is AI is going to create a series of existential crises for the species. It'll be basic ones like, do we trust our government? Who is in authority? Who verifies identity? All these basic things we've settled as a society, roughly, it's going to call into question everything at a speed that won't allow us cycle time to really fill it out. We're going to have this feeling of bewilderment where it's moving very fast, we can't keep up. How do we stop ourselves from falling into anarchy. Now, when that happens, we say, What games we play as a species? What do we do? That's why I'm saying it's time to rally around this don't die concept. Don't die individually, don't kill each other, don't kill the planet, and align AI with don't die. That our singular objective as a species, even though this sounds unimaginable right now, from our vantage point, that's like, That's no way.


Impossible. You just look at the underlying characteristics of how this is progressing. To me, it feels inevitable. Over some time frame. Is it two years? Is it 10 years? Is it 20, 50? I don't know, but it's basically now.


I mean, there's no question you're right. If the industrial revolution, the steam-powered loom in England, gave rise to Marxism in the first and second World Wars, and Vietnam and Korea, and every other conflict for 100 years, and the deaths of hundreds of millions of people, technological change causes displacement, the fall of religions, the fall of empires, the murder of millions. So what way I do?


Exactly right.


I couldn't agree more. I just wonder, what does it mean to be a A human being, if you have no autonomy, I'm an adult man. What does that mean? It's not just a measure of my age. It's a measure of my ability to make decisions about what I want to do and what I think and how I live and how my family lives. Without that, what is the point of living? In other words, I said I don't want to be bossed around by a machine, which is a pretty shallow answer.


But I understand.


I didn't explain it because I don't fully understand it, how I feel about it. But something in my dog sense, my gut level, tells me, I don't want to live that life. I'd rather be dead.


Does that make sense? It absolutely does. I absolutely empathize with your reaction. And so the thought experiment is to provoke that exact emotion. It's meant to say, I hate this idea, and here's all the reasons why. Then once you get those on the table, you can then have some detachment and say, Why do I think those things? What is this concept of me making decisions? Let's just break that apart. That's why it takes two and a half hours to get through this. You need to hear other people's perspective. I agree. People need to say, I hate it. Some people say, I love it, but hold tight. Here's an example that you do already that challenges your notion on this ability to make decisions. You're like, Oh, damn, good point. It really takes time to work through your own beliefs and understandings because oftentimes it's just packed so deep, you can't get through it. And we give each thought five seconds in our modern society. We can't get deep. I understand your And Tucker, if you come to the dinner, I promise you'll leave with a changed understanding of existence. If this is not an easy topic, it really takes time to just cycle through it, to be open minded, to hear other people.


But everyone gets there. Every single time, everyone gets there.


What do you serve? Is it all broccoli?


I do serve blueprint food. Yeah. So it's the two dishes I told you about.


Yeah. I'm getting in and out before I come. But whatever, that's just me. I said when you asked, Would I be willing to follow the instructions of the algorithm? I blurted out without thinking about it, no. Then I admitted in the interest of honesty that I don't really have any reasons for saying no, other than my animal sense tells me, No, that's slavery. You can't live like that. You'd rather be dead, which is how I feel. That was my instinct speaking, which I regard as a co-equal with my rational sense. I I don't think it's just some dumb impulse. I think it's worth paying attention to. Do you feel that way? Do you have instincts? Do you follow them? Do you attach meaning to them?


I do. Every time I engage in a thought, I observe the first 4-5 thoughts my brain has, that's incorrect. Interesting. They're usually almost always wrong. It's like there's a bias attached to this one. This one's coming out from a preconceived notion. This one has some self-interest. I I'm constantly trying to be aware of what's wrecking my ability to see things clearly at all points of time. I learned this, I was chronically depressed for a decade. A decade? A decade.


The decade that you were succeeding in business?


Yeah, that's right. I was building a startup. I had three little babies. I was trying to leave my religion. I was in a challenging relationship. It just all packed in to a tight... That's when I was over eating every night to try to It was my own- What were you eating, by the way? Well, we always had some sweets in the house. My partner had a sweet tooth, and so it was always brownies or cookies or leftover cake. It was always just one bite and then led to a second bite. Then tomorrow, we'll work out really hard and work off all the calories.


Did that work?


It didn't. I failed every single night. The only thing that gave me liberation is one night, I was just desperate. I mean, I was so miserable. I hated myself. I felt so ashamed that I couldn't stop this terrible behavior. I said, Evening Brian, you're fired. You make my life miserable because in the morning, I would work out. I would eat a really great breakfast. All day, I would be disciplined. Great. Then nighttime would come, I would bathe the kids, get them to bed, tell them stories. Then that moment would come, like the brownies. Just one bite of the brownies because all the pain.


This is like the Mormon version. You know what I mean? You're not like going to the crack house.


Oh, that's funny.


You're eating the brownies.


Yeah. I basically created a character of myself. I would say, All right. When I saw Evening Brian pull up, and he'd give me all these really compelling reasons, like tonight's the last night, like tomorrow morning, we're going to work out extra hard. I'd say, I'm sorry, that's not going to happen. I fired him. So 5:00 PM to 10:00 PM, I remove my ability to eat. He's like, No matter what, it doesn't matter what the occasion is, you cannot eat food. I started playing with my different characters of Brian, like dad Brian, work Brian, Evening Brian. I found it really liberating that I'm not the behavior. I'm not that actual practice. This is when I started doing blueprint as well of could I construct an algorithm that actually improved me? Because I spent all day building technology in my company, Braintree of Emo. You would write the code in the technology and improve it. Then you would improve it again, and again, version 2, version 3, version 4. So all day, my technology got better, and every day, I got worse, and I couldn't fix my own problems. It was such a weird juxtaposition where technology is improving radically, and I'm getting worse.


So it was this difference. I thought, this is wild that as a species, we're so focused on the improvement of our technology, and we are this self-destructive species in every regard. What is happening?


Well, that's the question. That's the question that remains unanswered. Of course, every religion answers it very neatly and sensibly, I would say, and every religion always has. It does strike me if you're looking back into history that this is the only period, postwar, post-World War II, where you've had a society at scale that assumes that there's nothing beyond itself. That raises a lot of questions, but the first is, why did every previous generation assume there was a God, but we don't? Were they all insane? Where did where I come from.


If someone believes in God or not, or an afterlife or not, that's great. I don't think... I personally think everyone comes together on this. We already agree on don't die, all of us do. So whether we have a story about what happens in the afterlife, it doesn't really matter. What we do agree upon right now is none of us want to die right now, not in this moment. So let's build upon what we agree upon in this very second.


No, I don't know that we do agree, actually, because there's no meaning without a power beyond ourself. Is there? I mean, there's only this shallow, silly, or sets meaning that we attach to various things like sex or living longer or feeling good or whatever, but there's no meaning beyond our physical momentary experience, whereas a person who acknowledges a power beyond himself attaches ultimate moral meaning to events. You have no God, no meaning, or am I missing something? It's like, what's the point?


You know what I mean? I guess I try to speak in the world that I can operate practically. And so your thought of meaning is a biochemical process in your brain. It's a thought you have. It's a biochemical state you experience, whether it's love or whether it's meaning making or whether it's belief in death. You're experiencing this thing as a human. We can engineer this with predictability. We can engineer atoms and molecules and organisms. We can do this in the form of creating drugs today. We do this in the way of creating We do this in various medicines. We do this in creating implants. We're getting increasingly good at doing this. And so much of our reality is going to become increasingly engineered.


Oh, I know.


And so we're heading down this path where our digital Our visual reality, our physical reality, all realities, now we have the source code to do this. And this is why I'm saying that if you take any preconceived notion about being human, any ideas we have about reality, their representation of what we've been doing for thousands of years. Some of that may carry over, but maybe not. I'm inviting the conversation to say this moment is not like the previous moments. Very, very different.


But here's It's a practical, and I just want to restate, I respect what you're saying, and I think you seem really honest and open-minded. So this is in no way a slate. But the core problem, however, is that in a moment of technological change, really revolution, unimaginable, everything you said, it sounds right to me, you need a framework by which or with the help of which you make important practical decisions. We used to call them moral decisions.




If there's no acknowledged power beyond people or only the power that we create through these machines and their giant data centers, then how can we say, if I feel like killing you because it pleases me, how can we oppose that? How can we say that's wrong? We can't actually say that's wrong. We can say it's inconvenient or it detracts from GDP or it's unhelpful, but we can't say it's wrong. How could we?


I agree. Basically, we've settled many these questions today. If you want to kill somebody and you actually do it, there's consequences.


But why?


It's the way we resolve the moral and ethical question in our society. On what basis? I agreed. But we've solved it somehow.


We haven't solved it. The government has said you can't kill people. But by your own description, governments are going away. Clearly, they are. I don't even think they really exist now. What are countries? It's meaningless, right? I agree, of course. Some dude in a faraway city says, I can't do that. Well, says who? It doesn't have any meaning at all, except to the extent you can punish me because you feel like it. But there's no way to say it is wrong or right in an absolute sense. There's no way to say anything is wrong or right in an absolute sense.


Okay, I agree. What you're saying is, what I'm hearing you say is the technological revolution or disruption opens up the space for these questions to be asked anew, even though we don't even know where it came from in the beginning.


No, what I'm saying is we're going to have a lot more questions practical questions about how to proceed that need to be answered now. Yes. Without any authority above ourselves, on what basis are we going to answer those questions?


I see. Okay. This is what I am proposing is that Just like when America was founded, it was this concept of, Hey, the monarchy has been doing its thing for quite some time. Not great. We think we can do this really new, weird thing of democracy and vote people in. We have these two representative bodies, and half the people thought, That's insane. Half the body is like, Cool, let's try it. So we chose democracy as a form of governance that was supposedly better than the monarch. And so in that moment, we chose a new form of governance in trying to do that. Now, we've been trying to solve the thorny questions of democracy for over 200 years. In fact, we fight about it every single day. But it's still this basic idea that democracy was superior to monarchy. And what I'm suggesting right now is we are walking into a new phase of existence where we have to answer these questions a new, and we don't know what the answer is, but the foundational observation is, don't die. So don't die individually, don't kill each other, don't kill the planet, align AI with don't die.


After that, we're going to spend the next unknown period of time fighting about what it means to don't die. But as a species, if you take, if you birth artificial intelligence, What do you use it for? Is it to become better at war? Do you become better at killing? At Holland and Barrett, we believe it's time to change the way we think about our hormones.


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Now on 3 for 2 at Holland & Barrett. Offer ends 14th of May, subject to availability. Look, I couldn't agree with your conclusion Christians more. I mean, I strongly agree with them. I'm just wondering about the basis upon which you reach them. Without God, how can we say and why would we say that life is better than death? I mean, the religious person, the Christian says life is better than death because God creates life, and only he can. And by the way, that's still true. For all the tinkering we do to life, we can't create it. There's no evidence we'll ever be able to create it. So that might be a tell that we're not God right there, in my view, but you can disagree. But we still can't create it, and there's no evidence we'll ever be able to. So the Christian looks at this and says, Life is better than death because life is God's creation. But why would the atheist accept that as true? On what basis? If life is better because I've got an awesome life, Some person might say, I've got a shitty life. Death is better. I don't understand if there's no common agreement that there's a force beyond ourselves, why we would reach that conclusion.




Maybe reframed, it's a person's option to life, that they can choose whether they want to have that or not. Whereas right now, death is inevitable. We don't get to choose. We don't get to choose disease or death. It's the option two. In many ways, I'm currently working to create a don't die nation state. If you're serious about not dying, and this, again, not for immortality, but just for the purpose of we're at the dawn of a new era as a species, and we're going to try to create some stable structure for birthing superintelligence, then you can walk into that and no government in the world is helping its citizens not die. Really basic things like blood draws and therapies and medical care, it's very much treat the symptoms when they arise or when you're near end of life, let's keep you alive for some short duration of time. But otherwise, we don't do a good job. I'm trying to figure out how to create a new societal structure that has the sole objective, a nation state, of helping its citizens not die.


Of course, the first order of business would be to construct a military to defend yourselves against people who wanted to kill you anyway, because not everyone agrees that you should get to live, of course. But let me ask you, maybe there's a shortcut to all this. I so admire your energy and your willingness to think about questions that most people don't bother to think about but can feel are important. Everything you've said, I can feel it's important. This is not nonsense what you're saying at all. But why wouldn't it just be a lot easier to blow up all the processing centers, save ourselves the massive climate change-inducing energy draw that AI really is? If you're worried about the planet, we got to stop this crap immediately because we can't generate the power for it. And arrest everyone who's getting rich imposing this revolution on the world. That's a lot easier. You could do that in an afternoon with nuclear weapons. Why wouldn't you if you thought it would help us, quote, not die?


The systems we have as a society today enables those things. The ability to create a corporation, to make money, to use that money to acquire more power. These are systems that humans have created. It's how the world works. Sure.


It was Auschwitz. I mean, so.


What I'm saying is that AI is going to improve at a speed that's going to challenge how these structures are.


I couldn't agree more.


When that happens, there's going to be an opening. There's going to be a power vacuum. It's not going to be very clear anymore who's in charge, who has authority, who can verify identity, where can you keep money, is money secure? Yes. All these basic questions of society. And so what I'm suggesting is, as a species, we increase our probability of surviving. If we can rally around one thing that we can all agree upon, now the don't die, if we disagree one layer above, great.


I get it. I totally get it. And I hate to reduce everything to if you could kill maybe Hitler, would you? But it is a question like that because you would not disagree. If I said, Here's what we know. We know that AI is likely to spawn some improvements, also certain to kill millions of people. Millions will die because of this. There's no doubt about it. The chaos alone will cause that. I bet my house on that. That's going to happen. Why let that happen? Why don't just strangle this puppy in the crib? Seriously, why wouldn't you, as a rich guy, fund a bunch of saboteurs to blow up the data centers and to take out the people pushing this to try and end it? Go full Unibomber. Honestly, why couldn't you justify that?


It would be a question, what path do you think creates a higher probability of survival? Do we think that technology or do we think we humans are a better path? I mean, for example, I look at my own self-destructive behaviors and not trusting myself. Do we really think that we humans are trustworthy to chart a path where we survive ourselves?


I don't know. I mean, it's, of course, hard to know. Potentially not, for sure. I definitely don't trust myself as noted. But I have a soul, and a machine doesn't. That gives me an advantage, I would say, a moral advantage over the machine. Therefore, I'm a preferable father, for example, to my children than my iPad would be because I have a soul and the iPad doesn't. But again, that's It's not a theological distinction, but it's a practical matter. There's no way you can look into the camera and say AI is not likely to kill millions of people because you know that it is. The effect of it will kill people for sure. The displacement that you described, the power vacuum you described, the chaos that you described correctly, you're predicting. That's all that's real, in my view. So millions will die because of that. So why wouldn't you just take your money and try to blow it up in the name of saving millions?


I think the probabilities of our survival are higher with AI.


Oh, even though millions will die.


I don't accept the premise.


You don't? You really don't?


I really don't. Millions are dying because of the food industry. Millions are dying because of environmental toxins. Millions are dying because of... It's certainly death is happening at a societal scale for a lot of things that we humans are doing. Now, Sometimes it's not born of malice. We're just trying to improve. I agree.


I totally agree with everything you just said. That's all true.


Yeah, but I think this is back to your statement of Tucker.


So you actually think AI... I think I've misread what you were saying. I thought you were saying This historically transformative thing is about to happen, and we've got to prepare ourselves for it. The implication would be that's a bad and scary thing. But you're saying actually for all the displacement and suffering it's going to cause, it's still better than if we didn't have it.


Exactly. I'm specifically Basically, I'm saying that when I listen to what the world is saying, so we're giving birth to the superintelligence, what do we do? The only argument I've heard is universal basic income.


It's just childish.


It's not a solution.


That's the midwit solution. I'm running for president as the fake smart tech guy. Maybe we should have UBI.


We have no plan. We've given no thought. I agree. We can't even fully comprehend how big of a problem this is and on what scale. What I'm trying to do is get out in front of this to say it's big, it's serious.


Wait a second. You're contradicting yourself, Brian Johnson. You just said a minute ago, you think it'll be an improvement over what we currently have. Yes. But then you're saying a sentence later that it's such a huge problem that we need to mobilize all forces to fix it.


It's a problem because it's going to create chaos among humans.




And humans in uncertain circumstances are very dangerous. I totally agree. And so what I'm suggesting is if we're trying to improve the likelihood that we survive as a species, that we do, our children do, their children do, and I'm trying to say, how do we optimize that?


Then, yes, we But I still just want to go back to, why not save ourselves? There's something classically American or Western or overfed, too much money, passive. The other side that I live in, and all of us live in, we're just like, it's going to happen. It's like, Why doesn't somebody stop it? Why even go through all this drama? These are just machines. Let's go full Luddite and just take them out. I'm serious. Arrest these creepy people who are trying to impose this dystopia on our children.


There's another way. I understand what you're saying. There's another way to think about it, though.


It doesn't include blowing up data centers and arresting these people.


I mean, okay, so let's just say, at what point in time have humans known all things? We walk back through history and say, what did humans know then? And what do we know now? And there's been a track record of we haven't known all things. In fact, we've known a very shallow set of things. It's like even if you said, how big is reality a few hundred years ago? You wouldn't be able to say, oh, there's a microscopic world down to the nanoscale and beyond. There's this big universe on this scale at this size. You wouldn't say there's an electromagnetic world that's a trillion times bigger than what we can see. You wouldn't be able to say reality is trillions of times bigger than what we experience. And so if you say, what could our conscious experience be? What could existence be in a few decades. It may be orders of magnitude larger than what we have now. So I realize we come at this now with this fear response. We're saying we can pattern things that we've seen, but going forward, we may be cavemen and have no idea what we're talking about.


Right. I mean, I think that's where we are now. We don't have any idea what we're talking about. We can't anticipate the future. We're limited in our foresight, in our knowledge, and particularly in our wisdom. I completely agree with all of that. But the idea that harnessing the computing power of machines will inform us to a greater degree ignores what just happened over the last 30 years, where everyone now has the Encyclopedia Britannica, as we used to call it, in his pocket in the form of an iPhone where all human information is available. People are way more ignorant than they were 30 years ago. Moreover, any machine we create will never be able to answer the questions that actually matter, like why is my wife mad at me? No machine can ever determine that with certainty or even explain how does life begin?


Can AI tell me why my wife is mad at me?




I mean, you-Come on. You give some time and you're going to get a readout of here's her hormone levels, here's her biochemical state, this is her sleep score, this is her diet, here's her exercise protocol. Tucker, given these variables, here's the best course of action.


That's the mechanistic answer.


But it translates to Tucker. What would be nice is, right? Words of encouragement and of softness and of inquiring how- Sure.


But again, I guess we're back to where we started. And I'll stop with this before I make to come to your house for a broccoli dinner and have five existential crises before the dessert. There's no dessert, right?


There's no dessert.


I'll come anyway. But anyway, the point is this ignores an entire universe, which may be the most important universe, which is the spiritual universe. Every civilization that left any trace of itself has believed in that universe. But for the last 80 years, we haven't, and we're proceeding into the future on the basis of no belief in that. It seems like questions of right and wrong, of sin and virtue, of redemption, all this is totally missing. That plays a role, too. It's not just how much exercise did you get, how many hours did you sleep, what did you eat. Feelings are not just the result of biochemical processes. They're the result of forces that exist outside of us. No, spiritual forces, unseen forces.


I agree with you, and this may be the most spectacular spiritual existence in our history. This is absolutely... You and I have the same conscious experience of reality. We may have different ideas about reality, but we experience it in a very similar way. And what I'm suggesting is the promise of this time and point is we may be on the cusp of the most spectacular existence in this part of the galaxy. We don't know that intelligent lives lives anywhere in the galaxy. We can't find it. Maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. We're the only life we can see, and we're now giving birth to superintelligence. This moment may be the time to set aside our petty little things and say, really, it's us in this moment? And we get to experience a spiritual nature that is just mind boggling. This is our moment. Why would it be ?


Is there any I'm so rooting for the future you describe. I really am. You said at the outset that you were no longer a believer because there's no evidence, which I think is a fair thing to say. I disagree, but I respect your evidence-based standard. Where's the evidence that technology has ever brought people closer together, has ever done anything but enable people to be people, which is to use it in part for good ends, better food, more food, and evil ends, nuclear weapons. I just don't think that there's any evidence for what you're saying.


Yeah, it's because humans have been playing the game die. It's not that technology has is virtue or is without virtue. Technology is neutral. Humans have used it for their purposes of war and power acquisition and wealth. It's what we've always been doing. And that's what I'm suggesting. That's what we need to eliminate from society, the causes of death. And that includes warfare. It includes fast food. It includes all the things we do to ourselves and to each other and the planet.


But until we can account for why we do it to ourselves, we're probably not going to change it. But I think the The most obvious explanation is we're being acted on by demons, and this is how every religion I'm aware of has described it correctly, in my opinion, acted on by demons, whose goal is to destroy and kill people, and they're counterbalanced by God. But If you don't agree with that, then you need to substitute another explanation in its place in order to proceed in the hope that we can change. Otherwise, we're just in this cycle with more powerful technology that allows us to do the same evil things, but at a greater scale.


I mean, am I not a demon?


Are you not a demon? You don't seem like one. My demon assessment abilities aren't great.


Have we correctly labeled ourselves angels or the good guys and incorrectly labeled the demons, the bad actors? Am I not the demon?


I don't know. I guess what I'm... I mean, it's all in the definition, but I guess the core observation remains the same, which is people are subject to forces outside of themselves which are unseen. Not all of this is the product of sleep cycles or carbon take. Or maybe it is. I don't see any evidence of that because it's remained constant throughout all time that we're aware of. This pattern has never changed. It's existed in times when people are getting massive amounts of aerobic exercise because they had to walk through the fields all day when they were eating no carbs, when they were hunter-gatherers or whatever. It's always been true. Why?


What's your guess?


Well, my certainty is that we are being acted on by spiritual forces that we cannot see, that there is a war going on all around us, out of our sight, not perceived by our senses most of the time. Between good and evil. That's hardly an original insight.


I'm with you. You're with me. I'm with you. What I heard you say is there's more to reality than we can see. Yes. There's forces which we can't identify, and we should address those. We're on the same page after the same thing.


What are those forces?


That's what I'm saying. That's what we need to figure out. That's the whole objective of this endeavor is to identify what we cannot see and reconcile with and eliminate the forces that deteriorate our life experience in all this capacity, spiritual, physical, all of it. We're saying the same thing after the same.


It's going to take me a day to process that. It does. Brian Johnson, I will see you at dinner. Great. Thank you for that conversation. I really appreciate it.