The media is changing. Trust in and competence of many traditional media sources is waining. The root causes of this breakdown are for another time, but the outcome of this downward mutation is the formative birth of new outlets for knowledge and discussion. One of these transformative developments is YouTube.
When YouTube first came onto the social media scene its primary content consisted of dogs fetching sticks, cats sleeping, and humans doing trivial acts with a need to share to the world. In resent years, the powerful communication capabilities of YouTube has been discovered by those thoughtful voices who have either been shunned or ignored by traditional media outlets because their thinking, philosophies, skills, or financial means do not fit the current media narrative thread line.
YouTube, while still containing large quantities of documented trivial acts, has developed a thread of new knowledge sources for which detailed comprehensive information on a wide range of topics are now available. Skilled, intelligent, and thoughtful people, usually experts in their fields, take the time and effort to prepare videos that allow them to share their knowledge with the rest of us. The quality and depth just keeps getting better and better. It really is quite amazing.
This platform is also providing a new forum for some deep social thinkers to more fully elucidate thoughts on deeper social issues and allow the time to explicate their views. In the recent weeks I have been lucky to stumble onto a few of these thinkers and absorb some of their ruminations on our culture and its future. Below is a sample summary of a few suprising minds that I had never heard before, but who’s thinking is quite thought provoking. I don’t always agree but they never fail to open a new door to thoughts and expand perspectives about an issue.
Sam Harris – I first heard Sam Harris talk on TED. During that talk he had a pretty dystopian view of AI’s impact on humanity. That talk is what got me started in both looking at AI’s progression, potential impacts, and also in personal investment strategies. From there I kept hearing his name referenced by other thinkers of both AI and social issues. This led me to explore his website samharris.org where he has a number of podcasts on a broad range of topics from religion (he is an atheist), AI, Politics, and social trends. He also has a YouTube channel simply called Sam Harris.
Dave Rubin – In listening to some of Sam Harris’ podcast I had a chance to hear a conversation with Dave Rubin. Dave has his own YouTube channel called the Rubin Report. Like Sam Harris’ podcasts, Dave Rubin has thoughtful discussions with an extremely diverse list of guests. These discussions can be 2 to 3 hours long and allow deep dives into topics related to the guests expertise and beliefs. Unlike in todays mainstream news segments which may last 6 minutes max, the duration of these YouTube conversations allow the real meat of some very controversial topics to be fully explained without the need to rush it for the sake of time. In my watching experience, the duration never seems interminable or protracted and I often wish they would extend further. The minds that people have is quite amazing.
Ben Shapiro – A young, fast talking, very smart conversative. Ben tells it like he sees and does his homework to back him up. Sam Harris and Dave Rubin are both on the opposite political slant as Ben, but they routinely sit down and talk over today’s hot button issues. When greats minds get together the conversation and learning is always illustrative, even when there are wide disagreements in views. The format allows for thoughtful, comprehensive discussion around these differences and often forms subtle base structures of commonality. Ben Shapiro is another thoughtful thinker who often gets a very hard wrap for some of his views (from both the right and left). His YouTube Channel is The Ben Shapiro Show.
Joe Rogan – Yes that Joe Rogan, the former host of the Fear Factor. Joe is an awesome comedian, and a pretty smart guy to boot. He started his own YouTube channel a number of years back call the Joe Rogan Experience. His channel has grown to one of the most followed on YouTube. His guests range from comedians, MMA stars, to people like Sam Harris, Dave Rubin, and Eric Weinstein. Joe may not be as far up the intellectual ladder as the Sam Harris’ of the world, but he is damn close, and has the ability to drill down on topics that is unique and fun to enjoy.
Jordon Peterson – A Canadian clinical psychologist, cultural critic, and professor of psychology at the University of Toronto. Jordon Peterson has recently come to notoriety for going against the Canadian government when they put into law the requirement that citizens learn and use the sexual specific pronouns de jour. Peterson thought this an infringement of free speech. This issue brought his thinking to the forefront of the social discussion and he has some very profound views on what this signals for society and its direction. His YouTube channel is Jordon B Peterson. He also has a lecture series on key biblical stories that I am looking forward to watching.
Bret Weinstein – Evolutionary Biologist. Bret Weinstein, like Jordon Peterson came to notoriety through political controversy when Evergreen college in Olympia Washington turned on him for a particular political viewpoint. Despite his long term progressive political history, the liberal college turned on him. If you are not familiar with the Evergreen college debacle look it up, it really is quite astounding. Needless to say, this event brought Bret front and and center on the news scene, and along the way amplified his very thoughtful, and deeply researched views on where we are today. Since that event, Bret has since resigned his professorship at Evergreen, received a $500,000 settlement from said college, and started his own YouTube Channel called Bret Weinstein. He also has a comprehensive website at BretWeinstein.net.
Eric Weinstein – Eric is Bret’s brother and is an American economist, writer, and managing director of Thiel Capital, Peter Thiel’s investment firm. He writes on investments, capitalism, science, and mathematics. Eric, like his brother Bret has a huge mind. One of the interesting areas I want to explore is his application of game theory on predictive social activities. Eric is less in the open than Bret, but routinely shows up on the channels of the above folks.
These are some of the more compelling thinkers I have heard in recent months, each of them comes from a different socioeconomic, political, educational, and professional background, but each provide compelling and reasoned thinking to today’s social stage. I would highly recommend listening to any of them. Even if you vehemently disagree with their views I am sure you will walk away more enriched.