Transcript of The Nightly Show interview between John Steward and Jeremy S. Bell
Steward: Welcome back. Our guest tonight is the world-renowned head researcher at Edge, Inc. who’s here to promote his new book: Truth? Philosophical questions in the age of the machine. Please welcome Jeremy Bell.
Bell: Thanks for having me.
Steward: Please take a seat.
Steward: So the book is called: Truth? Philosophical questions in the age of the machine. And by machine, I think we both know you mean the Terminator.
Steward: So the Terminator does have a conscience when he’s terminating everyone?
Bell: Well I think that’s the ultimate question moving forwards.
Steward: How so?
Bell: Well for the better part of human history … recorded history anyway … we, humans, have been preoccupied with us. Who we are. What we do. Right or wrong. And the basic premise of the book is that moving forwards, it’s not just about us. Science has created these fantastic scenarios and we need to start addressing some of them.
Steward: Sounds kind of like science fiction. So when are we talking about here … five, ten years down the road we’ll have intelligent life that we created walking around or something like that?
Bell: [laughter] That’d be nice for a change …
Bell: No. Even right now, what do we qualify as intelligent life? That’s the question. What about new medical procedures that are pushing our concepts of what life is capable of? More are coming … infact they’re here. How do we resolve this with our social values? What does society think? What do you think John?
Steward: Um, I think I could use a day off … a clone or a droid could really help me out here, Jer.
Steward: Now it’s a well publicized fact that you tend to walk the line between the known and the unknown all the time. How much of this book is you trying to wrap your head around this divide … around the unknown?
Bell: Oh definitely. But then all science is about that … trying to define the unkown world. And I’m just a normal scientist basically.
Steward: How much don’t we know?
Bell: Well you or me John?
Bell: Maybe a better question is how much do we know? The more I do this, the more I realize we don’t know anything … or at least we don’t know as much as we think we do.
Steward: You’re a smart guy … some might even say a genius …
Steward: Is it hard to accept the unknown? Or do you just accept it as part of the job?
Bell: No … not at all … every day is a challenge … a new mystery to solve.
Steward: So what kind of crazy and mysterious things are you chasing after lately? Aliens? Vampires? Yeti?
Bell: All of the above?
Steward: [laughter] What are aliens really trying to find out with all these abductions?
Bell: How are plumbing works? [laughter] I’ve got some people that would love to find out that answer … I’m working on it.
Bell: The alien thing always gets overdone in the media. For the most part, my days are pretty boring. I spend my time trying to put the mysteries into context … I try to use science to make the mystery something understandable.
Steward: And thank you for that.
Steward: And thanks for stopping by. The book is: Truth? Philosophical questions in the age of the machine. Jeremy, it was a pleasure.
Bell: Thanks for having me.
Steward: The book is on shelves now. We’ll be right back.