Dennis Hackethal’s Blog

My blog about philosophy, coding, and anything else that interests me.

Podcast Artificial Creativity

Podcast named after chapter 7 of David Deutsch’s “The Beginning of Infinity”. Trying to understand the mind using Popperian and Deutschian ideas!

To build AGI, we need to reject neuroscience and narrow-AI research. We need to understand how knowledge is created and build a universal explainer instead. Listen to my podcast on artificial creativity and buy my book “A Window on Intelligence” to find out why.

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20 – Of Schools, Altruism, and Lockdowns

19 – Viral Philosophy

Important: Read medical disclaimer at the bottom before listening

Today I’m speaking with Nick Hudson. He is the co-founder of the South African organization PANDA—Pandemics Data and Analytics—which, as stated on their website, “provide[s] decision makers calculated data on the virus’ cost on SA livelihoods.” Nick and I cover what is known about the virus and the disastrous effects of lockdown policies on people and businesses. We explore how bad epistemology and political philosophy lead to tangible harm in society, and how we should treat each other during this pandemic instead. I learned a lot—some questions that seem basic, such as whether masks work or not, have deep and interesting answers that may surprise you. Enjoy.

PANDA’s Twitter:
Nick’s Twitter:

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IMPORTANT: Medical disclaimer — Read before listening
Neither Nick Hudson nor Dennis Hackethal are trained medical professionals. The contents of this episode are for informational purposes only and do not provide a substitute for professional medical advice in any way, shape or form. Do not use information presented in this episode to make decisions about your or others’ health. Speak with your doctor/medical professional instead. Reliance on any information in this episode is solely at your own risk.

18 – A Popperian Evaluation Of Neuralink’s Presentation

Applying some of Karl Popper’s and David Deutsch’s ideas to analyze and evaluate Elon Musk’s recent Neuralink presentation and the Q&A afterward. Throwing some of my own ideas into the mix as well. Errors mine.

If you enjoyed this episode, follow me on Twitter:

- The original presentation and Q&A:
- The neo-Darwinian theory of the mind (written article):
- The neo-Darwinian theory of the mind (read out loud):
- David Deutsch’s interview on CBC radio:
- David Deutsch’s second interview with Sam Harris:
- Article about fluid buildup replacing much of man’s brain:
- David Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity,” chapters 5 (levels of emergence and abstractions), 12 (bad philosophy), 13 (Balinksi’s and Young’s no-go theorem regarding “deriving” the will of the group from the will of each individual)
- Karl Popper, “Objective Knowledge,” appendix “The Bucket and the Searchlight”
- Karl Popper, “Alle Menschen sind Philosophen,” Kapitel “Zweites Präludium: Die Zukunft ist offen” (the conversation with Konrad Lorenz)
- Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience (“Our Goal” section):

Additional source
- Twitter thread by Dennis containing tweets made live during the event:

Correction: at 15:00, I say that memories are
always based on self-replicating ideas that have high longevity.
That’s not true. A memory could be a self-replicating idea with low
longevity but high fecundity and high copying fidelity.

Correction: I attributed the fact that there can be no consistent “will of the people” to Balinski & Young. That was a mistake. That’s Arrow’s theorem, discovered by Kenneth Arrow. Balinski & Young’s theorem states that there can be no apportionment rules that meets quota without also causing a population paradox (cf. Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity,” ch. 13).

17 – Richard Dawkins vs Bret Weinstein

A commentary on a debate between Richard Dawkins and Bret Weinstein.

The soundbites are from this video:

The interview with Weinstein I later reference:

Other references:

16 – The Neo-Darwinian Theory of The Mind

A reading of my article of the same name (


15 – Theories of AGI

Today I’m speaking with Ella Hoeppner. Ella is a software engineer and independent AGI researcher. We’ve been discussing all things AGI for a while now and I wanted to have her on the podcast to present her theory of AGI and also to discuss a disagreement we’ve had about the role of replicators in any theory of AGI. Since we both spend a fair amount of time criticizing each other’s theories, you may get more out of this episode if you familiarize yourself with my neo-Darwinian theory of the mind first, which I have laid out both on Christofer Lovgren’s podcast and in my book, A Window on Intelligence (links below). That being said, it’s certainly not required, I think you’ll get a lot out of this episode either way. Ella and I also briefly touch on conventional, narrow-AI research, the role of neuroscience, and the hard problem of consciousness. I even catch myself having changed my mind on the urgency with which we should pursue whole-brain emulation in addition to explaining creativity. I’ve said in the past that there are maybe a handful of people in the world who work on AGI whose approach has not been refuted, and Ella is one of them. And so with that, Ella is going to give us a glimpse into how the mind may work.


14 – The Leviathan Has No Clothes

Today I have my first guest on the podcast. His name is Logan Chipkin. Logan is a freelance writer and ghostwriter in Philadelphia, and he is an expert on what is called anarcho-capitalism, also known as voluntarism. We talk about this concept, which he describes as the recognition that all services governments provide could be provided cheaper and better by the free market, and that the government is morally illegitimate. We also cover some of the work on coercion that can be found on the Taking Children Seriously homepage, and we explore some of the effects coercion has on society and individuals. We relate the study of economics to the study of epistemology and, therefore, AGI, apply Popper’s criterion of democracy, discuss the American government’s response to the pandemic, and briefly touch on David Deutsch’s Constructor Theory as well.

Logan’s previous publications can be found at, and he can be found on Twitter here:

We had some audio issues, so it sounds a bit like Logan is on speaker phone. I encourage you to ignore that as much as possible. Talking to Logan was fun and I learned a lot. Enjoy.


13 – Introducing: A Window on Intelligence

My book “A Window on Intelligence: The Philosophy of People, Software, and Evolution – and Its Implications” is now available worldwide, anywhere you can buy books.

Apple Books:
Barnes & Noble:

It is aimed at the general reader. Learn more:

From the back cover:

The human mind is the single most powerful entity in the universe. Yet we have made no progress in our efforts to simulate it as artificial general intelligence. Why is that?

In this captivating book, software engineer and philosopher Dennis Hackethal explains the mistakes intelligence researchers have been making – and how to fix them. Based out of Silicon Valley, he proposes a research program for building truly intelligent software, while arguing for a fundamental unification of software engineering and reason generally. Building on the theory of evolution, epistemology, psychotherapy, and astronomy, Hackethal presents a bold new explanation of how people evolved and provides unparalleled insight into the unlimited potential of artificial general intelligence that may one day take us to the stars.

A Window on Intelligence is your field guide to the exciting world of your mind.

Order now!

Far Out in Space...

Coming soon…

The Searchlight

Coming soon…

12 – Value Alignment

An impromptu episode about the question of how to ensure an AGI does “the right thing,” known as “value alignment.”

Scandal in Silicon Valley

Coming soon…

11 – Sam Harris And Judea Pearl


“Making Sense” podcast episode with Sam Harris and Judea Pearl:
Popper, “Objective Knowledge”
- Chapter 1 “Conjectural Knowledge: My Solution of the Problem of Induction”
- Chapter 7 “Evolution and the Tree of Knowledge”
Popper, “Conjectures and Refutations”, chapter 1 “Science: Conjectures and Refutations”
David Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity”, chapter 2 “Closer to Reality”

10 – Of Books and Code


David Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity”:
- Chapter 1, “The Reach of Explanations”
- Chapter 2, “Closer to Reality”
- Chapter 6, “The Jump to Universality”
- Chapter 7, “Artificial Creativity”
Facebook research on open-endedness:
OpenAI press release about Microsoft investment:

09 – The Problem Of Specification


  • David Deutsch, “How Close Are We to Creating Artificial Intelligence”,
  • David Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity”, chapter 7, “Artificial Creativity”
  • Karl Popper, “Of Cloud and Clocks”, chapter 6 of “Objective Knowledge”
  • Brett Hall on David’s chapter “Artificial Creativity” in “The Beginning of Infinity” part 1 and part 2 (part 2 especially goes into remaining problems with evolutionary algorithms I have outlined)
  • John Koza, “Genetic Programming”, chapter 9: “Nonrandomness of Genetic Programming” and chapter 28: “Spontaneous Emergence of Self-Replicating and Evolutionarily Self-Improving Computer Programs”

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them here or tweet at me:

08 – Problems


  • David Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity”, chapter 1, “The Reach of Explanations”
  • Karl Popper, “The Unknown Xenophanes” (in “The World of Parmenides”)

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them here or tweet at me:

07 – Q&A

Further reading:

David Deutsch: “The Beginning of Infinity”, chapter 1, “The Reach of Explanations”

Karl Popper:
- On verisimilitude: “Conjectures and Refutations”, chapter “Truth, Rationality, and the Growth of Knowledge”, section “Truth and Content: Verisimilitude versus Probability”
- On the conflation of probability and verisimilitude: “Back to the Presocratics”
- On problems with verisimilitude: “Objective Knowledge” appendix 2

06 – Function Replication

This episode relies heavily on video components, so you’ll want to watch it on YouTube:


  • David Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity”, chapter 16, “The Evolution of Creativity”

Further reading

  • David Deutsch, “The Fabric of Reality”
  • David Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity”, chapter 7, “Artificial Creativity”

05 – Knowledge in Computer Programs

This episode relies heavily on video components, so you’ll want to watch it on YouTube:

Apologies for the audio quality in this episode; it varies and cuts out sometimes.


  • David Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity” chapter 10, “A Dream of Socrates”
  • Stephen Hawking, “A Brief History of Time”
  • David Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity” chapter 7, “Artificial Creativity”
  • David Deutsch, “The Fabric of Reality” chapter 6, “Universality and the Limits of Computation”

Further reading

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them here or tweet at me:

04 – How Do We Know?


David Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity”, chapters:

  • 1 “The Reach of Explanations”
  • 4 “Creation”
  • 15 “The Evolution of Culture”
  • 16 “The Evolution of Creativity”

Further reading:

  • Karl Popper, “Back to the Presocratics”

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them here or tweet at me:

03 – The Current State Of AGI Research


Further reading:

  • David Deutsch, “The Beginning of Infinity”, chapter 1 “The Reach of Explanations”, and chapter 6 “The Jump to Universality”

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them here or tweet at me:

02 – On The Alleged "Dangers" Of AI And Disambiguation


Further reading:

  • “The Bucket and the Searchlight” by Karl Popper
  • “The Beginning of Infinity” by David Deutsch, chapter 1 “The Reach of Explanations”, and chapter 6 “The Jump to Universality”

If you have any questions or comments, please leave them here or tweet at me:

01 – Introduction

Introduction to the podcast about artificial creativity.

David Deutsch:
David Deutsch’s “The Beginning of Infinity”:
Brett Hall’s Youtube account (recommended resource to understand “The Beginning of Infinity” better):