Ep. 306: Defusing AI Panic

One of the simmering concerns surrounding the current AI revolution is the fear that we might accidentally create an “alien mind” smarter than we expected. In this episode, Cal puts on his Computer Scientist hat and directly addresses this potential by sketching his emerging concept of intentional artificial intelligence (or, iAI for short). He then answers tech-themed questions from listeners and reacts to an article that many, many different people sent to him last week.

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Below are the questions covered in today’s episode (with their timestamps). For instructions on submitting your own questions, go to

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– Defusing AI Panic [5:22]


– Will A.I. agents spread misinformation on a large scale? [46:31]
– Is lack of good measurement and evaluation for A.I. systems a major problem? [51:17]
– Is the development of A.I. the biggest thing to happen in technology since the internet? [55:50]
– How do I balance a 30 day declutter with my overall technology use? [1:00:41]
– How do I convince my team that prioritizing quality over quantity will help them get promotions? [1:07:40]
– CALL: Distributed trust models and social media [1:13:11]


– Using Deep Work and Slow Productivity to engineer a better work situation [1:23:00]


– Employees fired for using “mouse jigglers” [1:32:02]


– Debunking The AI Reset: Alien Mind Fear, Chat GPT, Future of AI & Slow Productivity | Cal Newport


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Thanks to Jesse Miller for production, Jay Kerstens for the intro music, and Mark Miles for mastering.