In anticipation of Steven Pinker’s return to How To Academy later this month, this episode of the podcast revisits his conversation with Stephen Fry on stage in London in 2018.
The challenges we face today are formidable, including inequality, climate change, Artificial Intelligence and nuclear weapons. But the way to deal with them is not to sink into despair or try to lurch back to a mythical idyllic past; it’s to treat them as problems we can solve, as we have solved other problems in the past. In conversation with actor and author Stephen Fry, Steven Pinker makes the case for an Enlightenment newly recharged for the 21st century, urging us to use our faculties of reason and sympathy to solve the problems that inevitably come with being products of evolution in an indifferent universe.
We will never have a perfect world, but – defying the chorus of fatalism and reaction – we can continue to make it a better one.