The After On Podcast
Rob Reid
We dive deep into the science, tech, and social issues explored in the novel "After On." It's NOT necessary to be an "After On" reader to listen, learn & enjoy this podcast!
Quantitative Psychologist Don Hoffman has a head-spinning take on the true nature of reality vs. what our senses report to us. This is a revisitation of our original interview, expanded with lots of new material recorded last week.  

Quantum mechanics – and its eerie "Many Worlds" interpretation – are explored in terms that both poets & physicists can appreciate.

The baffling and fascinating mysteries connected to the phenomenon of consciousness are explored in this conversation with the deeply thoughtful science writer, Annaka Harris.

This morning, TED posted a talk I just gave at their annual conference (on 11 days notice!). Kevin Rose interviewed me about my talk for his podcast. I’m posting his interview here as well.

The drug known as Molly, Ecstasy and MDMA may soon get regulatory approved for therapeutic use, thanks to a 34-year campaign waged by Rick Doblin. Rick and I discuss all of this, plus his own unique story.

The drug known as Molly, Ecstasy and MDMA may soon get regulatory approved for therapeutic use, thanks to a 34-year campaign waged by Rick Doblin. Rick and I discuss all of this, plus his own unique story.

Stuart Russell’s textbook is used to teach AI in over 1,400 universities and 120 countries. If AI scares him, it should scare you too.

The food allergy epidemic is mysterious, volatile, and growing fast. Kari Nadeau and her Stanford team are trying to halt it.

A rampage killer with a knife can kill a few. With a gun, dozens. With a jetliner, way more. What might future tech enable? In Part Two of our conversation, Naval and I discuss "The Ender."And how to preclude this monstrosity.

Naval & I discuss a horrifying risk. We questioned whether to post this. Might it give someone ideas? Well, the bad guys already HAVE ideas. And cataclysms are only averted if we face them. There’s still time.

Not yet 40, Ed Boyden has already concocted a panoply of tools, which are revolutionizing neuroscience research. He tells us all about optogenetics, expansion microscopy, and more.

We start with a review of this podcast's 2019 roadmap. Then – recorded before a live audience in Gainesville, Florida – I'M the interviewee for once!

Both a recap and extensive update of last summer's conversation about neuroscience, consciousness, and the medical potential of video games.

Did the product of an alien intelligence make a near-Earth approach last fall? Harvard Astronomy Department Chair Avi Loeb believes this is possible.

Amazing work at Stanford could restore vision to the blind. Then later become a gateway some mind-blowing neural augmentation! We discuss the astounding neuroscience and engineering behind all this, with the professor who's making it happen.

This spring, Yale evolutionary psychologist Laurie Santos debuted a course about happiness, almost as an experiment. It became the most popular course in the university's 300+ year history. Listen carefully, because this episode could make you happier!

Can humankind survive this century? Great Britain’s Astronomer Royal Martin Rees shares some of his profoundly original thinking on this fraught question.

Dark matter, dark energy, and black holes are the universe's three most massive mysteries. Literally! Yale astrophysicist Priya Natarajan takes us on a fascinating tour of them all. 

Andrew Youn's One Acre Found is bringing food security to hundreds of thousands of families throughout Central Africa. Now THAT'S an inspiring startup!

The genetic code of Neanderthals, archaic humans, and other elders is reconfiguring much of our understanding of human history. And it could just save hundreds of thousands of modern human lives per year.

A bold and brilliant refutation of the common wisdom about sexual attraction, aesthetics, and more. Rick Prum is an evolutionary heretic. And the wellspring of his unorthodox ideas is ... Charles Darwin himself.

The full lowdown on where this podcast is going from here.

Floyd Romesberg added two letters to DNA's ancient four-letter alphabet. He got this running in cells. And coding proteins. His cell lines have passed it down hundreds of generations. Now what?

Over six consecutive decades, Stewart Brand has impacted society, tech and science in outlandishly diverse ways. This truly unhurried conversation explores the scope of his intensely original American life.

An examination of the science of psychopathy from my buddy Jordan Harbinger’s terrific podcast. This bonus episode is in addition to the two new original episodes I’m creating this month.

Key aspects of medical technology are improving even faster than computers. What are the ramifications for our health? For our lifespans? Dr. Daniel Kraft has tremendous insights into all of this - particularly as it relates to cancer.

The largest-ever clinical trial of a psychedelic drug will soon begin in Europe and North America. The drug is psilocybin - the active ingredient in magic mushrooms. The target is treatment-resistant depression.

Quantitative Psychologist Don Hoffman has a head-spinning take on the true nature of reality vs. what our senses report to us. Is it the most counterintuitive insight since Pythagoras figured the Earth is round?

In this very atypical episode, the tables turn and I'm the interviewee! We discuss all of my creative projects, including this podcast series. Recorded live at The Battery in San Francisco.

George Church helped found 22 companies, and co-invented the paradigm-shattering gene editing technique CRISPR. In our interview, he delivers a sweeping survey of the world of synthetic biology, and makes some astounding predictions

Rodney Brooks is a founding luminary of TWO vital domains in tech: robotics and AI. He's the father of the Roomba, the long-time head of MIT's AI lab, and a serial entrepreneur. Few can rival his breadth & depth in technology.

Neuroscientist David Eagleman has done groundbreaking work on how we perceive time. Now he hopes to radically expand the pantheon of human senses.

After stints at Google and Facebook, serial entrepreneur Mary Lou Jepsen is ready to upend the worlds of medical imaging and ... telepathy. Yup, TELEPATHY. Give it a listen!

Aubrey de Grey is a highly credentialed scientist who believes it's within our grasp to REVERSE human aging in the next few decades. Dozens of scientists are now executing on his plan, funded by extremely smart backers including Peter Thiel.

A wide-ranging set of excerpts from the After On audiobook, read brilliant folks including John Hodgman, Felicia Day, Jesse Cox, Tom Merritt. Back to "normal" episodes next week, promise! :-)

This week, Broadway's own January LaVoy and legendary fantasy writer Patrick Rothfuss read/perform the the opening of the After On audiobook (plus quite a bit more). With some notes & observations from the author.

Whether you’re a cryptocurrency novice or expert, this episode will teach you a ton. My guest, Fred Ehrsam, founded the world’s largest platform for storing & trading Bitcoin and more. Just us for a full crypto education!

You will soon have access to a dizzying battery of facts about your health. Some could be horrid or positive on a life-changing scale! But most will be wildly ambiguous. Should you peek? NOTE: This is NOT just hypothetical.

A vast alien civilization is so into American pop music, it recently committed the biggest copyright violation since the dawn of time. Against us! How should humanity respond? A special (and rather playful) episode with John Hodgman.

Andy McAfee of MIT is a leading thinker about how robotics and other automation will influence the future of work and jobs. We touch on some scary stuff - plus some delightful notes of optimism!

Ev Williams co-founded and ran both Twitter and, and is now the founder/CEO of Medium. He’s a deep thinker about ideas morph & travel, and is carving out a place for thoughtful, serious writing online.        

You've probably seen a TED Talk or two (or 500!) online. Chris runs the TED organization, and has some fascinating thoughts both on how we're wired to process oratory, and how we might build a better world.

Sarah Parcak is a pioneer in the emerging field of space archaeology. In 2016 she won the TED Prize to launch a “citizen science” platform, which is finding lost sites and fighting archaeological looting throughout the world.    

Technology’s pre-eminent publisher, Tim O’Reilly helped trigger the rise of the commercial Web, the open source community, the Web 2.0 era, and the maker movement. I discuss tech’s past and future with one of its most original thinkers.

Chris Anderson was Wired’s editor-in-chief for 12 years, then started one of the world’s great drone companies. We discuss all this – and his origins as a high school dropout living in a squat and playing bass for a band called REM (no, not that REM).

Our universe’s vastness and age has given alien intelligence ample space and time in which to arise. Why can we detect no sign of it?  This is actually a momentous and scientifically serious question. Yes, really! With British astronomer Stephen Webb.

James Barrat’s book “Our Final Invention” helped touch off a public debate about the possible dangers of superintelligence, which continues to this day. We discuss these dangers in depth in our interview. For those who are reading the novel After On, Tom Meritt and I discuss pages 380-464 in the very last section of the podcast.  

Sam Harris is one of the most visible and controversial commentators on terrorism and its roots. Our interview dives deep into this subject, as well the personal journey that made Sam into the public intellectual he has become. For those who are reading the novel After On, Tom Meritt and I discuss pages 289-380 in the very last section of the podcast.  

Quantum computers could be almost farcically powerful compared to classical computers. Venture capitalist Steve Jurvetson and I discuss how & why this is – and whether this potential will ever be realized.   For those who are reading the novel After On, Tom Meritt and I discuss pages 241-288 in the very last section of the podcast.

It took 13 years and $3 billion to read the first human genome in 2003. Now takes #$1K and just hours. What happens when we can WRITE DNA as easily as we now read it? For those who are reading the novel After On, Tom Merritt and I discuss pages 180-241 in the very last section of the podcast.