Made You Think Podcast

Feb 24, 2024
Fear of Oozification
Part of

"Oozification is the process of recursively replacing systems based on numerous larger building blocks, governed by many rules, with ones based on fewer, smaller building blocks, governed by fewer rules, thereby increasing the number of evolutionary possibilities and lowering the number of evolutionary certainties."

Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In this episode, we're discussing Fear of Oozification, an article by Venkatesh Rao. Get ready to explore the concept of ooziness in technology, learn the signs of oozification, and uncover why the ooze should (or should not) be feared.

We cover a wide range of topics including:

  • How oozification applies in technology, nature, and more
  • The contrast between progressification and oozification
  • Challenges in preserving our knowledge over time
  • Humans' natural fear of unpredictability and uncertainty
  • Why authority and trust may be victims of oozification

And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow NatNeil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.

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(0:00) Welcome back to Made You Think! We kick off this episode by sharing our reading progress for the upcoming books on the podcast as well as anything else we’re reading (or re-reading) outside of it.

(5:32) Nat notes his experience with re-reading The Three-Body Problem series, the different pacing of each of the books, and other minor details that stuck out while going through it a second time.

(6:43) Today, we're covering Fear of Oozification, an article by Venkatesh Rao. Nat, Neil, and Adil dive into the author's definition of oozification, and more specifically, how it applies within certain technologies such as the computer and phone.

(10:52) What makes something more or less oozy? We think of the ooziness of nature where we frequently envision stable environments such as a forest or meadow. However, when a major change or catastrophe takes place, the landscape has to evolve and its trajectory changes.

(14:36) Progressification vs oozification: In contrast to oozing, you can make steady and predictable progress within technology, for example.

(16:50) We share our main takeaways from the article, debate what the author's view on oozification is, and how the author got his argument across. 

(23:18) How oozification will happen regardless of the natural linear progression that we're on in the world of technology. As we progress and create new technologies, each new piece of tech will ooze in its own way.

(26:27) Naturally, we fear the unpredictability of the future. What is it about oozification that we are more fearful of than just the unpredictability of the future? Plus, the new era of the internet vs. how things used to be in the world of blogging and social media.

(31:43) Decentering and simplifying. We talk a bit about an individual health blog written in just plain text. Check it out here if you're curious!

(37:39) Trust and authority, and how that links in with oozification. Nowadays, it's nearly easier to verify truth and accuracy in individuals rather than in large accredited institutions.

(41:06) When something is oozed so far away from the fundamental state that we won’t know how to recreate the original anymore. Plus, what really is the best way to transmit human knowledge?

(46:07) How memories have traditionally been stored through photographs, both digital and physical, and what the future of storing our memories and artifacts may eventually look like.

(51:37) We chat a bit about some of Rao's other articles, discuss the contrast in the way that technology and government oozifies, and provide our final thoughts of the article.

(55:46) In true Made You Think fashion, we ask ChatGPT for its take on the article!

(57:45) That wraps up this episode! Next up, we'll be reading Logicomix followed by East of Eden. Make sure to grab a copy of those books and read along with us. Head on over to our new website to see what's next, listen to previous episodes, and send any book suggestions our way!

If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by leaving a review on iTunes and tell a friend. As always, let us know if you have any book recommendations! You can say hi to us on Twitter @TheRealNeilS@adilmajid@nateliason and share your thoughts on this episode.

You can now support Made You Think using the Value-for-Value feature of Podcasting 2.0. This means you can directly tip the co-hosts in BTC with minimal transaction fees. To get started, simply download a podcast app (like Fountain or Breez) that supports Value-for-Value and send some BTC to your in-app wallet. You can then use that to support shows who have opted-in, including Made You Think! We’ll be going with this direct support model moving forward, rather than ads.

Thanks for listening. See you next time!