Feb 20, 2022 • 1HR 13M

Peter Sterling: Decision Evolution

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Artificiality is dedicated to understanding the emerging community that is humans and machines. We combine AI and big data with decision science, psychology and design to help you understand how to work better with machines and your fellow humans.

This week we talk with Peter Sterling, the author of What is Health.

Peter has had a long career in medicine and neuroscience. He has recently published in Jama Psychiatry, with Michael Platt, on Why Deaths of Despair Are Increasing in the US and Not Other Industrial Nations with many Insights From Neuroscience and Anthropology. While that might not sound like AI, we do wonder what the role of technology might be for all of us to make better personal decisions about our health.

Peter caught our attention with his concise and understandable description of how evolution, by optimizing for energy efficiency, has built human brains. We care about this for a couple of different reasons.

First, his work is relevant to how we make decisions as modern humans. This tells us the things that matter to us, where there are evolutionary mismatches and what we might do about it.

Second, here at Sonder Studio we care about how humans create meaning and how we learn and cohere with our communities—other brains and by implication, other intelligences. This leads us to be naturally curious about how brains work as well as how AI works. We are obsessed with understanding and designing for this interaction. We start our decision-making workshops with key insights from Peter’s book because it really matters to understand something about how our brains are built and what makes them so different from AI.

We really enjoyed this conversation and appreciate Peter’s time with us. We think you’’ll enjoy it too.

Links to things about Peter:

Lecture: What is Health? Cornell University Sept 2021

Interview by Andrew Keen: Homeostasis vs. Allostasis

Webinar: What does our species require for a healthy life

Interview: What does our species require for a healthy life?

Essay: Q&A in Current Biology

Lecture: What is Health?: NEI. Oct 27 2020.

Lecture/Interview: Conversatorio sobre racismo

Essay: Human design in a post-COVID world

Essay: Attention! One morning with a roving mind

Essay: Covid-19 and the harsh reality of empathy distribution Scientific American

Essay: How neuroscience could explain the rise of addictions, heart disease, and diabetes in 21st century America TIME

Twitter: Peter Sterling @whatishealth21