59: A conversation with Noam Chomsky: Linguistics, SETI, Cognitive Science, & Artificial Intelligence.


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Noam Chomsky is one of the most influential and highly cited scholars of our time. He is a pioneer in the fields of linguistics and cognitive science. This episode of INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE covers those topics and delves into his thoughts on communicating with aliens, meditation, and free speech including his contribution to the “Harper’s Magazine letter”. Chomsky is a prolific author and known political activist. We avoided politics, as is the custom for my interviews. Our conversation also covers the Turing Test, neural nets, and artificial intelligence, including why he expects Elon Musk’s Neuralink project to fail.

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  • 00:11:00 Does Noam Chomsky believe in extraterrestrial life & could we communicate with E.T.?
  • 00:26:30 Busting (or confirming) linguistic myths with the master.
  • 00:41:00 “There is no scientific method, it’s just being intelligent.”
  • 01:00:00 Artificial intelligence applications in cognitive science.
  • 01:11:25 Chomsky University would encourage discovery.
  • 01:23:44 Thoughts on the negative reaction to the Harper’s Magazine article.
  • 01:31:50 What object or knowledge would Chomsky put in or on his monolith?
  • 01:34:09 What did Chomsky think was impossible until he did it?

Noam Chomsky has been called "the father of modern linguistics." He has been a professor at MIT since 1955 (now emeritus) and continues to teach at the University of Arizona at the age of 91. Chomsky has received numerous awards and honorary doctorates, along with being a member of multiple professional societies. He has written over 100 books covering topics including linguistics, politics, and philosophy.