The Possibilities of Artificial Intelligence feat. Zack Schreier (Podcast)

Vincent Gudenus

Check out this transcript from a fascinating podcast conversation our co-founder Zack Schreier had with Josh Baker, host of the Intelligent Conversations podcast.

Zack and Josh had wide-ranging conversation covering:

  • The prospects of Artificial Intelligence and its implications for work and money.
  • Zack's argument that AI can enhance human intelligence and help solve biological problems in the near future. With the removal of economic obligations, people can seek out meaningful activities and AI can alleviate material scarcity.
  • How Zack came up with the idea for his first venture called Quevos as a child and how he turned it into a business during college.
  • How Zack came to found Lifestacks.
  • Zack's journey as a Type 1 diabetic, his desire to use supplements, and his passion for running.

You can listen to the full episode here on Apple Podcasts.

[00:00:11.130] - Josh (Host)

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the Intelligent Conversations podcast. Today I have the honor to learn from Zack Schreier. Zack is a serial entrepreneur who is presently the co founder of Quevos and Lifestacks. Zack started Quevos as a freshman in college, where in 2021, they secured a shark tank deal from Daniel Lubetzky. Today, he hopes to bring his vision of healthy, high performance living to the market with his new company, Lifestacks. So, Zack, thank you for coming on today. I appreciate you taking the time. I kind of want to start off just a little bit, know, kind of your journey and stuff. How do you start Quevos? And then when I did some research, did you kind of have the idea for Quevos when you were younger or did that occur in college? Because I was a little bit confused of when that actually started.

[00:01:00.530] - Zack Schreier

Yeah, well, thanks for having me, Josh. Glad to be here. Yeah, you're actually right. I did have the idea for Quevos when I was younger. I actually can't put a year on it, but I do recall basically playing around with cooked strips of egg white in my kitchen when I was like, maybe in middle school or early high school and then revisited that idea just as I was going into college, and then we actually turned it into a business during college.

[00:01:26.810] - Josh (Host)

There you go. That's awesome. So what would you say was kind of the hardest part to actually make it a legit business? Because you have the idea right when you're a kid, but actually making it a reality. I think that's the hardest part. So kind of what was the hardest part you kind of encountered?

[00:01:43.950] - Zack Schreier

Yeah, I mean, really, the whole thing is pretty hard, fairly complicated and mildly complex when it comes to creating a business. You're really kind of trying to launch something into the universe that's going to end up being able to self serve in the sense of whatever entity you build is going to be able to procure resources for its own existence. And so that's kind of like a zero to one sort of step Peter Thiel's concept. But it's also very much like that's kind of what life evidently has done. Here we are like these machines that are able to procure the resources necessary for their own persistence. And you look at most other things in nature and they're not like that by default. Most things just kind of sit there. So basically you have to kind of create a creature that can stand on its own in the environment. But for a lot of that building an entity, there's a lot of things that where you're not quite there yet, where you have to kind of bootstrap and find scrappy ways to get the thing to exist. So there I'd say manufacturing, cash flow margins, organizational structure, distribution, all that stuff is pretty hard.

[00:03:02.730] - Josh (Host)

Oh, I bet. Yeah. So even just like the investment process just kind of actually bringing all the resources together to make it happen would you say is probably like the hardest part?

[00:03:13.380] - Zack Schreier

Yeah, I do think so. And there's certain things about that that are really exciting also, particularly on the investment side of things. The opportunity to really try and neatly package your story. For Quevos, it was a pretty simple story and not to say it didn't take work to kind of uncover that story, but we ended up basically saying something like delicious snacks aren't healthy and healthy snacks aren't delicious. And so that was kind of our reason for being. And then more specifically there was the whole keto trend. And just for some context for the audience, we're talking about a chip made from egg whites here. And so basically it's low in carb, high in protein. We also included a good fiber source in there. So it was fibrous. So yeah, basically it was a healthy snack, really delicious and it was keto. And so there was that market context also and that kind of created our story. And we were going for funds the first time in 2018 and so the timing was really great when it came to creating a keto snack. But actually now I'm working on a second company and I'll start with a little bit about what the product is but then zoom back out.

[00:04:24.770] - Zack Schreier

So basically we've created the best thing you could possibly add to coffee. It's vegan keto. MCT is kind of what provides the creaminess. We use natural flavors and stevia, nothing artificial. And also a stack of nootropics and adaptogens that work with caffeine for sustained energy. So it's kind of like whatever you love about your coffee, we're enhancing it flavor, texture, efficacy and health effects

[00:04:48.800] - Josh (Host)

So if I can interrupt there because I kind of looked into it's Lifestacks. That's correct. The name of the company that is something you're looking to kind of target for like when you're in your morning. It actually.

[00:05:00.170] - Josh (Host)

Like enhances your performance as well. Right when you work.

[00:05:03.330] - Zack Schreier

Absolutely right. Totally, exactly. It's supposed to be for sustained energy and focus. It's subtle because anything that's not subtle is going to actually push you into kind of disequilibrium physiologically. So we could all take Adderall and then drink every night, but that's not very subtle. But it's also not very sustainable. And so when it comes to nootropics and adaptogens, you want to create stacks that are going to gently support performance on a daily basis and support long term health as well. But I bring this up in part because right now we have the chance to kind of tell our story both to the end user and also to investors. And so it's kind of a fun exercise to figure out kind of what scale to be talking about the product at and what scale to be talking about our business and our sort of market context at. It's hard because we spent years thinking about why we're doing this and how do you put that into a slide deck or even a single slide or two in terms of setting up the problem that we're solving.

[00:06:02.910] - Josh (Host)

There you go. And that's a real problem too. Like kind of you mentioned too, with everyone using alcohol or Adderall, it's just not sustainable long run. If you want to actually be a high performing individual, you need to find something that actually is sustainable over the long term because you're going to be looking 20, 30, 40 years and most people, they'll be saying, wait, where's my health? Right? And I'm kind of curious, what was your initial draw to health? And just kind of all that being healthy and staying fit and then now enhancing performance, what was kind of your initial draw to that?

[00:06:39.550] - Zack Schreier

Yeah, sure. So on the health side, I'm a type one diabetic and so some of the longevity concerns around that were probably pushing me in the direction of looking into things that would be able to support my health. Also my diet as a kid was not very good and I've only recently been better about eating what I should eat and not what I shouldn't. And so I think I had a bit of self consciousness about that. I wanted to see how I could, despite some of my food aversions, that would lead me to not really eat vegetables as a kid, whether there was ways I could supplement basically to make up some of the gaps that I was missing. I definitely would say that whole foods are the right thing to do. But at the same time, I think for all those years that I was not willing to eat vegetables, I think taking my greens powder every day actually might have been very helpful. I've had ORAC energy greens for probably ten or 15 years in a row now. Those two things, diabetes and also my own idiosycratic food aversions are, I think what pushed me into the into the space of looking for ways to augment the diet with supplementation

[00:07:54.490] - Zack Schreier

And then on the performance side, I also say there's two things. The first was running. So I started running when I was a freshman in high school and before that I didn't care at all. Of course I wanted to manage my sugars, but I wasn't really thinking about longevity or anything like that. And it was only when I realized that basically every single thing I did mattered to performance that I started to get very serious about making sure to make up those nutritional gaps, for example, and then one more piece in college. Well, I was always sort of a philosophical person growing up mostly in the sense of looking for kind of cheap thought experiments that would throw people kind of off their track, so things around, for example, the problem of other minds. So how can you prove to me that you're actually sentient and thinking rather than some sort of automaton? That was sort of the kind of thing I like to explore when I was in middle school and in college, it all got more serious. So it was like there was questions around consciousness and morality and things of that sort that I was entertaining and I really wanted to be able to think very clearly about those things and write good papers about those things.

[00:09:11.150] - Zack Schreier

And so I was looking for performance boost and a lot of people around me were having Adderall, for example. And I wanted to find a way to be able to boost performance without some of those drawbacks and even while fortifying long term health. So that's kind of what really got me into the space of nootropic stacks.

[00:09:28.770] - Josh (Host)

There you go. That's awesome. I love that. And kind of on the no, just kind of quick side note. I'm curious. You said you ran in high school. Did you run for your team or like your school?

[00:09:41.740] - Zack Schreier

Yeah, cross country and track in high school.

[00:09:44.600] - Josh (Host)

Sweet. What event?

[00:09:47.130] - Zack Schreier

It was in Illinois, so we had the three mile and then in track, I guess I was sort of all over the place in track. 400 to two mile. I think honestly, probably my best times were in the two mile relatively because I've got some speed, but I'm more distance oriented. So that was kind of where I specialized.

[00:10:13.320] - Josh (Host)

Yeah, that's cool. So just kind of like for context as well. I ran also in high school and I did more of the sprints. So kind of your quick little burst of energy. But man, I have respect for those long distance, especially 400.

[00:10:28.550] - Zack Schreier

Man, I know 400 is crazy.

[00:10:31.240] - Josh (Host)

Lot of energy all at once.

[00:10:32.570] - Zack Schreier

Yeah. I think the 400 is better when you're coming from a distance background because the aerobic system is there and you've just got the ability to basically... I sort of found was the better trained I was aerobically, the less psychologically difficult it was to go all out, especially if you warm up really thoroughly. I remember feeling when I was in sort of peak aerobic shape that I could sprint the last 400 or 600 of a race and go literally as fast as I could possibly move my legs, but have it not feel that hard, as opposed to when I was less well trained and going fast was just brutally difficult. Just one little anecdote here. I remember in my very first two mile race, so this was freshman year, I spent the last eight minutes of that race looking for somewhere I could trip, and I was like, all right, I just need a trip and get out of this race, and then I'm never running another race again. And fortunately, the minutes passed and I got to the finish line without having intentionally sabotaged my race.

[00:11:34.310] - Zack Schreier

And it got easier from there. But yeah, it was brutally hard at the start, but it gets easier over time as you train.

[00:11:40.380] - Josh (Host)

There you go. That right there too, right? I mean, same with the business. I think you applied a lot of those principles too, right? Starting a business and all that. So kind of back on the you were mentioning the question philosophically about Sentience and all that stuff. What it kind of reminded me of is AI. That's really big right now. I think some people are using it as a buzword right now, to be honest. But I want to get your thoughts on that, and then we can kind of just dive down that road.

[00:12:10.010] - Zack Schreier

Yeah, well, I'm glad you brought this up. It's definitely a fun topic right now, very timely. And I think some people have the sense, maybe rightfully, that anything else that we could wonder about is almost a sideshow at this point because AI is potentially going to set the tone, going to set the curve for what happens from now on in human history, potentially. But I think you're totally right to point out that people are maybe looking at a kind of superficial sense of what that is, maybe based on the current models and kind of extrapolating without really understanding more deeply what is giving shape to the particularities of what's happening more generally about that. I think it's very helpful if instead of choosing some assumptions that basically put us in the current context, we wonder more deeply what the possibility space looks like and what gives of the many possibilities, which ones actually become actual. I think people are very it's almost as if you're in kind of a local weather system and you're very used to a certain pattern of weather and you kind of extrapolate and say, oh, the wind is always coming from the east and there's always a storm over the this sort of thing.

[00:13:22.960] - Zack Schreier

And you're not really understanding more broadly what dictates climate in every single circumstance. So I think people are very myopic or they've got a kind of status quo bias when they wonder about AI.

[00:13:35.440] - Josh (Host)

Like kind of like a tunnel vision type thing.

[00:13:37.830] - Zack Schreier

Yeah, for sure. Some examples of this that come up, people wonder, for example, what we're going to do for work in the future, how we're going to earn money in the future, this sort of thing. And I have to say, I think it's really important to ask the deeper question of what is work for, what is money for? What are the sort of boundary conditions that make it so that work and money are guaranteed and we can just assume them and under what conditions those things break down. And I've actually got a fairly radical view that basically none of the things that we're used to and that we believe give shape to human life are permanent. So I think there's a lot actually that's going to be rewritten as we go forward here.

[00:14:20.760] - Josh (Host)

I agree. I think it will definitely change a lot. But this is something I think a lot of people write. They look at it and to your point, right, nothing's permanent. And I think some people are going to look at it and say, hey, what's this AI. Human symbiosis or is the one going to replace the other? That's a legitimate concern I think a lot of people will have.

[00:14:46.810] - Zack Schreier

Totally, yeah. I'm glad, actually. It's great you said symbiosis here. I think people are picturing a kind of potentially parasitic relationship that the AI is going to have to us. It uses us to come into existence and then it doesn't care about us anymore. And they're imagining something like a human also something that's just way smarter than a human, but has a kind of selfishness and a kind of embeddedness in a world where it needs to manipulate that world in order to bring about certain states for itself. And I'm not sure that's actually how it's going to go. There's an analogy to something that happened in evolutionary history called the endosymbiotic event, when basically a prokaryote absorbed a bacteria. And this presumably just happened once in evolutionary history. And what that ended up doing broadly, just to not get too technical here, both for the audience and for my own sake, so I don't screw something up, there was a problem with surface area and membranes and diffusion that limited the capacities of prokaryotic cells and single celled organisms prior to the endosobionic event. But then when you nest the bacteria inside of the prokaryote, you get basically extra membrane surface area, which supports additional diffusion, which allows the whole process to speed up, become more active and support many more kinds of higher level patterns.

[00:16:15.010] - Zack Schreier

And so this event basically unlocked multicellularity. It made it possible for us to have all the sort of forms that we currently have where you've got more complex cellular dynamics that support higher level processes and systems like us. And so I think there's an analogy here where potentially if we play our cards right, and I'm not sure how hard that is, many people think it's impossibly hard to play our cards right and we're just doomed. I think it actually might be that it's likely that we play our cards right and that we're not doomed at all. But we'll have to see still, of course. But if we do play our cards right, however difficult that is, I think the analogy holds where essentially we are the agent, we are the prokaryote, and we absorb this extra modeling capacity inside of our existing agency and then we leverage it to be able to produce patterns that go beyond our current imagination of what's possible. And so one question basically is how then is the AI functioning as part of our existing agency? And I think the answer is, when you think of large language models, which are the current sort of systems that have gained some popularity, they are doing a kind of modeling from existing human symbols.

[00:17:33.990] - Zack Schreier

And there's enough data in those apparently, that you can get pretty good statements that resemble the world pretty deeply when you train those systems with enough data and when you got the right architecture in place and the right reinforcement learning. But to get people's intuitions kind of in the right spot, I think it's more useful to think of systems like AlphaFold and AlphaGo and AlphaZero. Basically, these are systems from DeepMind that did a kind of bottom up dynamic modeling. So instead of just listening to what humans say, these systems actually bottom out at the lowest level of tokens available in a certain domain. So in chess, there's a basic state, there's a set of atoms, and you don't gain any extra information by asking what the pieces are made of. It's like the pieces and their positions of the board are the basic units of the dynamics in that domain, basically. And so alpha zero is able to basically only knowing sort of the victory conditions of the game is able to do a kind of self play and model the bottom up dynamics of those spaces. Ffold is similar, so it's like basically the idea of understanding the dynamics of protein folding in a way that's more sophisticated than any humans can do so far.

[00:18:52.670] - Zack Schreier

So I think that is kind of the kind of raw kernel of intelligence that I think AI is going to enable for us. It's a dynamic modeling, so it's the ability to basically understand the way that things move from the low levels all the way up to the high levels. And then I think we take that as our sort of internal encapsulated intelligence and leverage it for our own purposes. So just to say something a little extreme, I think we can solve biology. I think we can not have the biological problems and constraints that we currently experience, such as aging such as less than optimal moods in certain cases, that sort of thing.

[00:19:27.430] - Josh (Host)

Yeah, I follow that. That definitely is pretty radical thought there. And I'm kind of curious then, how long would that take then? Because I think that is something I don't think I would see that maybe later on in my life, but I don't think are we really that close to solving things like that, would you say? Because I know kind of the growth and the trajectory is going to be exponential with these models that you're talking about. But I don't know, I think a lot of people have a hard time wrapping their head around kind of what you outlined, like is this actually going to occur in my lifetime? And should I care?

[00:20:10.980] - Zack Schreier

Right? Yeah, of course we'll have to wait and see. But I think this might actually occur pretty darn soon. I've heard people give a 75-25 as like five years or 25-75 as one to five years. So people think potentially the technology already could exist. Probably doesn't, but it could exist next year. I think it's maybe useful to lay two things out here. One is that biology already has a kind of intelligence that we don't right now have. There's too many moving parts for our brains to be well suited to modeling those dynamics. But computers are more open ended in terms of working memory capacity than we are. And so you can have predictions that basically are more robust than ours when it comes to modeling systems like the cell. So I think just the intelligence that biology already has, if we can get a hold of that, then we're in a whole different spot that we currently are. Obviously people like to think of biology as quite dumb because it's just like a process of blind variation and selection that just generates what we are accidentally. But I think it's one very interesting idea is that actually since the very start so from just a few generations into the process of variation at selection, those systems which were not capable of adaptably, pursuing goals and optimizing under variable environmental conditions, those systems were pruned away.

[00:21:55.650] - Zack Schreier

They didn't survive because there's enough noise in the environment that you actually have to be able to problem solve. You can't just have a ready made solution. So even something like we like to think of sort of instincts and then cognition and we think everything besides our explicit conscious mind is instinct and then only consciously is there such a thing as sort of like as reasoning and cognition and problem solving. But I'm thinking of Michael Levin and people like that when I say that it actually looks like problem solving is part of the basic architecture of every single cell on the planet. So biology knows something that we don't know yet. But if we can just unpack that, then we might be able to take any outcome that we want and generate a solution that achieves that.

[00:22:40.070] - Josh (Host)

So using those systems to actually solve some of these questions that we just don't even know the answer to, right? Or we don't even it's a better way of putting it. We don't even know the problem to begin with. Right. We're looking at your example ageism. We can study that pretty in depthly and understand, like, hey, this is what's going on. But even just, like, understanding kind of the start, like, okay, this is what's happening, and then analyze all that data, plug it back in, and then plugs it back out. Am I kind of hitting it right? Sorry, I'm an idiot in this kind of space.

[00:23:19.630] - Zack Schreier

Yeah, no, you're right. No, you're totally right. I think people definitely point to we don't even know what questions to ask. Frankly, I actually wouldn't sell it so short. I think we kind of do know what the problems are. We just are hopeless at getting the solutions. So here's the two primary problems. I know this sounds very oversimple, but our health degrades. So that's number one. We've got all this machinery in us, and it actually lasts quite a while. So we're quite robust. We've got long lives. We've got so many trillions of cells. So it's a really amazingly massive and well coordinated system, but it does accumulate byproducts and damage, and it leads to declining capacity over time. And there's certain reasons that evolution may not have been able to see, kind of like the leaps that would enable us to live much longer lives or even offset all the damage accumulation that goes on in the body and keep us young forever. There's certain reasons evolution might not have been able to optimize for that. There's also certain reasons it might not have wanted to optimize for that. In the blind sense, where it's actually cheaper to just create a new copy.

[00:24:34.950] - Zack Schreier

Evolution doesn't care whether it's me in my sentience or my kid in his sentience, as long as the human capital, the sort of cognitive human capital that makes me up can be transferred via speech to my kid. And so maybe it makes me old enough to be a grandparent and to basically facilitate that person's growing up in the world, but it actually doesn't care about my body per se. It just cares about the knowledge that I harbor. And so as long as that can be transferred, then we're good, because it's harder to actually maintain a degrading system than potentially than just to create a new copy that's fresh. But we care. I want to stay around. I don't want my health to degrade. And so it's a problem that we could put our finger on pretty easily, and then potentially, we can leverage the AI to help us solve it. And then the second problem is that I think is pretty clear is, well, don't we all want to just feel better for free? I want to feel good. I want to wake up and feel good. I want to go about my day and feel great.

[00:25:31.400] - Zack Schreier

I want to socialize and feel excellent. And it's hard because we're energy constrained. There's a lot going on and we're just barely up to the task of managing our health and our lives. In addition to that, our moods are set by our context to return to baseline neutrality pretty quickly, so we don't enjoy our victories for too long. And actually there's an asymmetry between good things and bad things because let's say a good thing happens and you get food and you get shelter and you mate, okay, that's temporary. Food, shelter, those things can be destroyed. Let's say a bad thing happens and you lose a limb or you're preyed on by a predator and you die. That's not temporary, that's permanent. And so the suffering that we're capable of sustaining is actually pretty significant. But our peak states are only so good and they're very short lasting. And so I think that's a kind of problem that I think most people have learned to cope with. They basically say, oh, what goes up must come down, and we need the suffering for all the good stuff. And frankly, I think there is something beautiful about that.

[00:26:43.970] - Zack Schreier

It's a very nice song that we sang, but it's not the end state of flourishing. It's a sort of temporary zone that we find ourselves in where things are only so good or things are roughly neutral on average. I really want us to step out of that and enjoy euphoric experiences.

[00:27:03.990] - Josh (Host)

So kind of on that note, I think maybe one of the primary drivers even to create kind of what you're talking about here too, is that eventually it comes to an end, right? There's kind of like that sense of urgency, right? I think that's kind of a question that would come up is would we remove that and would we actually start? Would we just be lazy? Like we're like, oh, I have plenty of time to do whatever. And kind of to your point, it's a beautiful thing, right, to suffer and then overcome that and it'd be nice to remove it. But also you find when times are good all the time, do we actually really progress? That's, I think, a real question people will have for sure.

[00:27:48.060] - Zack Schreier

Yeah. And that actually has a handful of different prongs that we would want to pursue to kind of address that fairly exhaustively. Let me say something brief about like a sort of a push and pull here. I think at some point a human is not going to be the lowest cost provider of any particular good or process. And so however much you want to keep doing your job, your employer is not going to want to pay you, they're going to want to pay the newest system to do it. And so it's going to basically undermine our ability to get value in that way. Oh, actually, I'm going to have to step back and say I think we can view the entire set of opportunities that we have as kind of a possibility space of consumption. You call it the sort of like consumption capacity curve, all the different things that under your constraints you might consume. So let's say you've got $30 a day to spend on food and you're a normal human being. So roughly that means you could probably have about 80,000 pies of ice cream in your life if you chose to.

[00:28:52.670] - Zack Schreier

Okay, that's one sort of feature of your consumption bundle. You can spend $30 walk around all day and eat ice cream. Right? And I think sorry, I'm laying out a few more things here too. In economics, there's this labor leisure trade off. So basically the amount of time you spend working and the amount of time you spend not working. And I think when we ask the question about jobs and meaning or even progress and meaning, we are really actually we're casting the labor side of the labor leisure curve also in terms of leisure. So we're saying this is something we want to do, it's a way we want to spend our time. And I think that's fair. Here we are right now producing hopefully economic value by having this conversation, but I'm glad to do it. And so I consider it even if it happens to be part of my labor, I would want to be able to continue doing it as leisure, similarly with games or whatever it happens to be. And so I think it's actually very important for us to view work as actually part of the consumption bundle as well. It's one of the ways you have an opportunity to spend your time.

[00:29:58.860] - Zack Schreier

I think what you're saying with the obsolete of humans in the economy with AI is our consumption bundle actually gets restricted by their presence. So if the employer won't hire us anymore, we've lost an opportunity to consume something that we actually wanted to consume, which was a job opportunity. But at the same time that that happens, and this is the very crucial detail, the consumption of possibility space is deformed in other ways. So while you lost your work opportunity, that happened at the same time that we got new knowledge. And that new knowledge unlocked new consumption opportunities for you. So you might be able to replace working with consuming a meaningful life of a different sort. So maybe the AI facilitates our all feeling like we're at summer camp, we've got a bunch of humanoids running around supporting us like camp counselors and we're all just enjoying ourselves, making music, playing sports, eating good food, enjoying the campfire, et cetera. So these things get unlocked at the same time that we might lose the work opportunity. So yeah, I think that's one response I've got to that question.

[00:30:59.510] - Josh (Host)

No, I follow that and I see what you're talking about there. When you use the word consume. My initial thought was eventually like oh, do we want to be consuming all the time? But I like how you pointed out how oh, it could be sports, it could be other things that are still hard to work because I think we still need that sense of like hey, I need to work at something, I need to become better at something. I think it's a desire we all have is to improve at something, right? And I like how you said, yeah, it's going to limit some of these things but some of these jobs, there's downsides to it, right? And it sucks. But whereas let's use sports, for example, that it's not easy. It's hard, you have to work at it, you have to put in time. But now it's fun, right? Like when you go out and compete it's fun. People enjoy it and we go out and watch sporting events. It's something we all enjoy. But I think one of the dangers that also could come up is maybe we start consuming things that won't help us.

[00:32:02.620] - Josh (Host)

We're already kind of seeing that maybe with social media people are constantly scrolling and I don't know if that would be considered healthy or helpful for maybe people along those lines. I don't know. What are your thoughts there?

[00:32:16.810] - Zack Schreier

Yeah, well, definitely an interesting question about and this is the predominant concern people are like if the economic obligations are alleviated then all of a sudden we're just all sitting on our couch scrolling and eating potato chips and it just all gets worse. And I agree that would be potentially even worse than having the obligations in the first place. It's definitely interesting that we've got some data along these lines already with humans and their vices. In the current context, I think the last thing we need is more work. When it comes to managing our health and our lifestyle. I think part of the problem is that it's energy intensive to work, also energy intensive to maintain healthy habits and a healthy daily structure and we're also finding ourselves out of environments that actually facilitate that. So we're all kind of on our own. We're all left to our own devices, we all have our own refrigerators and we all go to the grocery store and pick out what we want. And then at the end of a hard day, we're sort of left with the opportunity to indulge in a vibe and it's hard to resist those sorts of things, especially if we're not in an environment that provides us joyful opportunities in other ways.

[00:33:41.290] - Zack Schreier

So if we're as lonely as we all are and we're as overworked as we all are, and underslept as we all are, then it's hard for us to not basically do these things that are actually going to end up compromising our health in the long run. So I think I can imagine that when we are let off the hook and. We don't actually have to work to sustain ourselves. Some people might be might find themselves sitting on the couch for a few days, but eventually it's like, hey, wait, I've got time. And potentially I've got prosperity as well from something like basic income. And so now it's a matter of figuring out how I really should spend my time for my own sake. And I think we find ourselves understanding that these shallow attractors and vices that scratch the itch, but don't deeply provide meaning for us are distractions. And we need to bump out of that regime and into a regime of true meaning. So I'm hopeful that we get there.

[00:34:32.470] - Josh (Host)

Yeah, that right there. I'm an optimist. I like looking for the positive and things, and I share that view with you. I think we need to have that optimistic view. So I'm going to use this as the intelligent question of the day. You mentioned UBI, and I think the concern there also as well, is that's going to come from somewhere? But also there's something at the top, right, that's given it to other people, let's say. What are the concerns, and how do we maybe limit the power? Because, I mean, obviously someone's creating these systems, they're going to have a lot of power once they hit it on the nail. How do you kind of kind of share that power? So then maybe we're not in this state where one person's just like, okay, just tell them to do this, and we're stuck in this rule by maybe one or two people or corporations, for example.

[00:35:28.650] - Zack Schreier

Yeah, for sure. So I think the key feature of my optimism about the future is that I think AI actually provides it alleviates the scarcity, the material scarcity that we've got in mind as a constraint on what we can spend and who's got the power. I don't actually think the value of our lives is limited very much by the current level of consumption. So I think we can consume what we're consuming right now or less and actually find ourselves having better and better experiences with more intelligence. That's the key feature. So I'm not too worried that all of a sudden this is going to get shittier for us because we've got something at the top that is restricting our access to resources. I think that people at the top that are bringing these systems about actually want to be vectors for human flourishing. And they're doing this despite the risks, because they think the risks are worth it because human flourishing is on the line. Even OpenAI has actually, I think, conducted the largest UBI experiment in the world, and they're a public benefit corp. So it's not about salmont padding his pockets. It's about actually doing what is good for humans.

[00:36:45.380] - Zack Schreier

That is their explicit they've got a fiduciary responsibility to humankind. You know, there's the possibility of a bad actor that says, okay, well, that's what we said. We were going to do, but now that we've got all the power, we don't have to do that. But I'm not actually sure that Sam Altman sleeps well at night thinking, okay, now, now that I've gotten all the power, I'm just going to enjoy it for myself. I actually think I think people, by and large, want to lift other people up and use their wealth for those purposes. So, yeah, I think I'm pretty optimistic that's not going to be a problem. And then one more piece that is sort of related to what we were just talking about, about human complacency. It's notable that across history, many of the sort of most notable polymaths actually grew up in wealth and had tutoring and had some of the best education around and didn't actually face many of the material constraints. So I think this idea of when we've got wealth, we become lazy, or when we have no immediate economic obligations, that makes us lazy. I think there's some cases in which that's actually proven to be exactly the opposite.

[00:37:51.390] - Zack Schreier

I think having an open ended set of opportunities and fewer economic obligations actually allows your mind to explore the possibilities space and ask the questions about what's most meaningful, and then they end up spending your time that way. So Von Neumann and Da Vinci come to mind, for example, or Oppenheimer people that have had wealth and then spent their minds figuring out what to do with their existence. So, yeah, I think maybe we can take those as kind of a proof of concept for humans, actually get more productive and sort of more rich, potentially, when certain economic obligations are lifted.

[00:38:32.130] - Josh (Host)

There you go. That's the intelligent answer of the day. I love that. So it looks like we're probably run short on time, but thank you for coming on today. I appreciate you taking time. People want to find you, get a hold of you, chat up with you, and have further this discussion, whatever it may be. What's the best way they can find you, reach out to you? All that fun stuff.

[00:38:54.890] - Zack Schreier

Yeah. So Lifestacks is available on Amazon and on, we've got some writings about our view of supplementation and health. So I'd encourage people to go check out those resources. And then personally, I don't have any social or anything, so you can just email me at Zack. That's with

[00:39:19.300] - Josh (Host)

Awesome. Well, thank you for coming on today. I appreciate it. And I know the audience learned a ton. I learned a lot. This is why I do this. I love learning from all these different people. And you definitely delivered. So thank you for coming on today.

[00:39:35.110] - Zack Schreier

Yeah, thanks for having me, Josh. Really appreciate it.

[00:39:37.990] - Josh (Host)

All right, everyone, as you can tell, that is Zack Schreier. He's a very intelligent person, has great things to share. I challenge you guys if anything spoke to you today or just really sparked your interest to reach out to Zack. I'm sure he'd be happy to chat with you guys. Stay tuned till next week. We have a great guest lined up for you guys. See you guys next week, and let's get after it.

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