David Deutsch on Beauty, Knowledge, and Progress

David Deutsch is a physicist and professor at Oxford University. He is a pioneer in the field of quantum computing, having been the first to demonstrate that a quantum computer could emulate a Turing machine and was thus Turing-complete. He is the author of the 2011 book The Beginning of Infinity, in which he defines progress in all human endeavours as the search for good explanations, and human history as an evolutionary process which converges upon ever-better explanations of the universe we inhabit.

In this conversation with the Foresight Institute’s Existential Hope group, he presents his optimistic view of the unboundedly large human future and dismisses doomsday scenarios of all kinds, including the currently-popular hysteria about the emergence of artificial intelligence.