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FUTURE FOSSILS

Art & Philosophy for an Age of Accelerating Weirdness

Join paleontologist-futurist Michael Garfield and an avalanche of amazing guests for deep but irreverent discussions at the edge of the known and knowable: on prehistory and post-humanity and deep time, non-human agency
Latest Episode12/12/2022

195 - A.I. Art: An Emergency Panel with Julian Picaza, Evo Heyning, Micah Daigle, Jamie Curcio, & Topher Sipes

Ep. 195
Complete show notes at PatreonRate and review the show at Apple PodcastsBrowse my newsletter, original art, prints, merchandise, etc.✨ About This Episode:This week we dig down as what W.J.T. Mitchell called “paleontologists of the present” to explore the ramifications of A.I. on the creative economy as lensed through two notorious William Gibson quotes: “The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed” and “The street finds its own uses for things.” Joining me on the call are artists Evo Heyning, Micah Daigle, James Curcio, Topher Sipes, and Julian Picaza — all of whom I hold in high esteem and all of whom are doing fascinating things both with A.I. tools and without them.I recommend this profound discussion for some refreshing sobriety in what has so far proven to be a totally crazy pants public discourse dominated by people who either submit unthinkingly to new technologies or run from them screaming without anchoring their perspectives in any kind of historical perspective whatsoever…Be sure to give this episode’s extensive show notes your careful attention, as I’ve collected here a whole semester’s worth of reading and listening materials on this and adjacent subjects with the goal of having a single master compendium to drop into public threads on these subjects whenever possible. (I of course encourage you to do the same!)This conversation continues with lively and respectful interaction every single day in the members-only Future Fossils Facebook Group. Join us!Lastly, a note about the audio: Once again I had horrible technical issues with my recording platform and had to spend time piecing this conversation back together instead of giving it a proper edit and mix treatment. My apologies for not managing to match the style to the substance…but this conversation is so timely and urgent I didn’t want to waste another two weeks polishing it before getting it to you.Enjoy, and thanks for listening!✨ Other Ways To Support The Show:• MichaelGarfield.substack.com for digest emails• MichaelGarfieldArt.com for art prints and original paintings• MichaelGarfield.Bandcamp.com for over 100 hours of original music• linktr.ee/michaelgarfield for a trove of creations and numerous options for tipping
12/12/2022

195 - A.I. Art: An Emergency Panel with Julian Picaza, Evo Heyning, Micah Daigle, Jamie Curcio, & Topher Sipes

Ep. 195
Complete show notes at PatreonRate and review the show at Apple PodcastsBrowse my newsletter, original art, prints, merchandise, etc.✨ About This Episode:This week we dig down as what W.J.T. Mitchell called “paleontologists of the present” to explore the ramifications of A.I. on the creative economy as lensed through two notorious William Gibson quotes: “The future is already here, it’s just unevenly distributed” and “The street finds its own uses for things.” Joining me on the call are artists Evo Heyning, Micah Daigle, James Curcio, Topher Sipes, and Julian Picaza — all of whom I hold in high esteem and all of whom are doing fascinating things both with A.I. tools and without them.I recommend this profound discussion for some refreshing sobriety in what has so far proven to be a totally crazy pants public discourse dominated by people who either submit unthinkingly to new technologies or run from them screaming without anchoring their perspectives in any kind of historical perspective whatsoever…Be sure to give this episode’s extensive show notes your careful attention, as I’ve collected here a whole semester’s worth of reading and listening materials on this and adjacent subjects with the goal of having a single master compendium to drop into public threads on these subjects whenever possible. (I of course encourage you to do the same!)This conversation continues with lively and respectful interaction every single day in the members-only Future Fossils Facebook Group. Join us!Lastly, a note about the audio: Once again I had horrible technical issues with my recording platform and had to spend time piecing this conversation back together instead of giving it a proper edit and mix treatment. My apologies for not managing to match the style to the substance…but this conversation is so timely and urgent I didn’t want to waste another two weeks polishing it before getting it to you.Enjoy, and thanks for listening!✨ Other Ways To Support The Show:• MichaelGarfield.substack.com for digest emails• MichaelGarfieldArt.com for art prints and original paintings• MichaelGarfield.Bandcamp.com for over 100 hours of original music• linktr.ee/michaelgarfield for a trove of creations and numerous options for tipping
11/20/2022

194 - Simon Conway Morris on Convergent Evolution & Creative Mass Extinctions

Ep. 194
Complete, EXTENSIVE show notes at PatreonRate and review the show at Apple PodcastsBrowse my newsletter, original art, prints, merchandise, etc.How much of natural history is inevitable, and how much is the result of chance? Do mass extinctions slow the evolution of the biosphere, or speed it up? These are two of the six great questions of biology explored by Simon Conway Morris, famous evolutionary theorist, in his latest book. From Extraterrestrials to Animal Minds: Six Myths of Evolution (Templeton Press) is a meticulously researched, cheeky and inspiring romp through both the living and extinct worlds, challenging a handful of widespread beliefs and offering provocative alternatives. Conway Morris is a character, even amidst the strange ranks of his fellow natural history researchers, and his arguments bear careful scrutiny. As someone drawn to mavericks and weirdos and enamored by contrarian perspectives, I can’t help but like his work — and reading him forced me to reconsider some of my assumptions even as it validated other long-held hunches.In this episode, we talk about his book and what his work implies — and I get fanboy on him and assault him with a bunch of lengthy questions like Tim Murphy in Jurassic Park. Strap in for a deep dive into evolution’s laziness, complexity and process, cooption and repurposing of novel traits, great puzzles in prehistory, ancient food webs, evolutionary radiation, symbiosis, flowers, death, and more… And when you’re done, go read his book and dig a dozen more related episodes on Patreon!
10/30/2022

193 - Kimberly Dill on Environmental Philosophy: In Defense of Wildness & Night

Ep. 193
This week I talk with environmental philosopher and Santa Clara Clara Assistant Professor Kimberly Dill, an old friend of mine from Austin, Texas whom I met at Bouldin Creek Coffee over lemon maté sours and a deep dive into Eastern nondual traditions while she was in school studying arguments against free will under acclaimed analytic philosopher Galen Strawson. She has since grown into a formidable scholar and ethics instructor in her own right and positively exudes a studious, diligent, caring, and starry-eyed vibe at all times…an utterly unique and finely-honed heart and intellect who stands out from the rest of my belovedly strange cohort of Austin festival-going slacker friends.I’ve been chasing her down to be on the podcast for years and am delighted she and I finally managed to link up to record this potent dialogue on the relationality of humankind and the wild world in which we are inextricably entangled, the substantive differences between our simulations and the originals they fail to fully reproduce, the importance of forests and dark skies to our psychospiritual well-being, where modern Western festival culture fails in its declared goal of delivering us back into right relations and ecstatic harmony with our kosmos…plus much else.Read the ✨ EXTENSIVE ✨ show notes, and join the Future Fossils community, at Patreon.Rate and review the show at Apple PodcastsBrowse my newsletter, original art, prints, merchandise, NFTs, etc.✨ Side Note:My big, BIG thanks to everyone for being so patient with me while my family and I suffered through some extraordinary challenges over the last months. I can’t tell you enough how much it means to me to have retained nearly everyone’s Patreon support while my wife and I dealt with two constantly sick kids, a number of our own health issues, and major upgrades to our home and big transitions at work.The good news is that I also managed to record interviews with the legendary Simon Conway Morris and Robert Poynton in that time and will be sharing those with you in short order! So, again, thanks for your subscriptions, your glowing Apple Podcasts reviews, and your engagement in the Future Fossils Facebook group…and stay tuned for several exciting big announcements soon!(Big thanks to my father-in-law Kevin Taylor for helping edit this episode!)
7/28/2022

189 - Planet-scale Musical Chairs: 21st Century Human Geography with Parag Khanna

Ep. 189
This week on Future Fossils, we sync up with globe-trotting (Singapore-based) futurist Parag Khanna, author of several internationally best-selling books on the shifting landscape of human geography and technological evolution. My acquaintance with Parag dates back all the way to 2011 when I found his Hybrid Reality Institute, and started writing for his BigThink blog, thanks to the writing of Jason Silva — I knew this was a party I couldn’t miss, even though I was then, as now, deeply ambivalent about the contours of the futures he and his colleagues were making visible with their rigorous research. This spirit has defined my entire adult life: if you want to help steer something in a better direction, you might just have to get your hands down into the murk and engage with it deeply enough to be in the position to make a difference. So when his agent contacted me about interviewing him about his latest book, 2021’s Move: The Forces Uprooting Us, I knew it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. But let me be clear that Parag sees things very differently than I do, and I appreciate that about him: he has a keen sense of the risks and dangers of our times but emphasizes the opportunities because the facts are there to support it. If you move around as much as he does, and always has, you get a kind of synoptic view of the planet and the tension between individual destiny and collective momentum comes into a new tuning. This is a beast of a conversation. It was hell to edit. I’m glad it happened. Here you go!Complete, extensive show notes at Patreon.✨ Housekeeping:• Intro music is "You're In My Self-Portrait" from my 2012 album Golden Hour. Outro music is "City of Jewels" from my 2013 EP of the same name. For something completely different, check out my latest live album, recorded at Meow Wolf Santa Fe while opening for DeVotchKa.✨ Other Ways To Support The Work & Community:• My roughly-monthly newsletter at Substack• Venmo: @futurefossils• PayPal.me/michaelgarfield• ETH: FutureFossils.eth• BTC: 1At2LQbkQmgDugkchkP6QkDJCvJ5rv3Jm• NFTs: Rarible | Foundation | Voice | Hic Et Nunc | Mint Songs