In this episode, I speak with Christian Rudder, who is the co-founder of OK Cupid, a NY Times best-selling author (of the awesome Dataclysm), a data and math junky, and a musician. We discuss interesting and unsettling trends in OK Cupids dating data (age, race), artificial intelligence, the NSA, great books on the Civil War, and more.
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2:05 – Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) – Christian Rudder
27:23 – Civil War a Narrative – Shelby Foote
27:48 – Dune – Frank Herbert
28:06 – Look Who’s Back – Timur Vermes
28:37 – The Age of Miracles – Karen Thompson Walker
28:58 – Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
29:14 – H is for Hawk – Helen Macdonald
30:21 – SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome
36:27 – Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies – Nick Bostrom
44:35 – The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology (44:35)
58:09 – Eating Animals – Jonathan Safran Foer
Christian Rudder’s band – Bishop Allen
Early member of SparkNotes
CEO and Founder of OKCupid
Essays on AI – Wait But Why
1:32 (First Question) – First an exploration of how Jeff Gramm (first podcast episode guest) introduced Patrick and Christian.
2:22 – Patrick questions about the transitions in Christian’s career
- Part of the band Bishop Allen
- Early member of SparkNotes
- Author of Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking)
3:19 – Goes through his first few years out of school from creating his own startup, to baking bread, to eventually landing a job at SparkNotes
4:53 – Deep dive into SparkNotes
5:52 – The formation of Bishop Allen and OKCupid
7:12 – A look at the book Dataclysm and how Christian was able to sort through the incredible data buried within the dating site.
12:17 – First piece of data that they dive into, “Wooderson’s Law”, based on a character from “Dazed and Confused.”
15:15 – The idea of the Pratfall Effect and the role of variance in people dating
19:56 – Do people on dating sites say they want one thing and do another
21:22 – Exploring the trends in race and dating that show we are far from being a post-racial society
27:04 – Shift to some of Christian’s favorite books
29:59 – Christian explains how he finds new books
30:52 – Patrick asks Christian to explain his latest project which requires some background some famous math classes that are taught at Harvard, which are often a source of NSA employees.
33:15 – How corporations are using data versus how the government is using it and the privacy concerns of both.
35:20 – With big data comes bigger, smarter computers, which shifts the conversation to artificial intelligence.
39:09 – Can artificial intelligence take over creative ventures and completely replace the role of humans in the future?
40:40 – If more people are put out of work by artificial intelligence, will there need to be some sort of redistribution to ensure basic quality of life for all.
45:17 – What advice would you give to a 20-year-old looking to get into a data driven tech company. Importantly, it’s not just about being able to collect the data, but how you analyze and use it afterwards.
49:27 – Breaking down the right and wrong people to go after the entrepreneurial lifestyle
51:39 – How do you know if you should continue to go down the road of an entrepreneurial idea?
52:53 – Looking into OKCupid and what each person’s role was in the business.
54:45 – Patrick asks Christian about being the CEO after serving in more of a creative role for most of his career.
56:32 – Patrick asks about some other entrepreneurial ventures that Christian might have up his sleeves, possibly something to do with animal rights and fair treatment.
59:08 – Other entrepreneurial ventures that are exciting Christian
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