The Gradient
The Gradient: Perspectives on AI
Joe Edelman: Meaning-Aligned AI

Joe Edelman: Meaning-Aligned AI

How technology sometimes fails us, and how we can make it more human.

In episode 63 of The Gradient Podcast, Daniel Bashir speaks to Joe Edelman.

Joe developed the meaning-based organizational metrics at, then co-founded the Center for Humane Technology with Tristan Harris, and coined the term “Time Well Spent” for a family of metrics adopted by teams at Facebook, Google, and Apple. Since then, he's worked on the philosophical underpinnings for new business metrics, design methods, and political movements. The central idea is to make people's sources of meaning explicit, so that how meaningful or meaningless things are can be rigorously accounted for. His previous career was in HCI and programming language design.

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  • (00:00) Intro (yes Daniel is trying a new intro format)

  • (01:30) Joe’s origin story

  • (07:15) Revealed preferences and personal meaning, recommender systems

  • (12:30) Is using revealed preferences necessary?

  • (17:00) What are values and how do you detect them?

  • (24:00) Figuring out what’s meaningful to us

  • (28:45) The decline of spaces and togetherness

  • (35:00) Individualism and economic/political theory, tensions between collectivism/individualism

  • (41:00) What it looks like to build spaces, Habitat

  • (47:15) Cognitive effects of social platforms

  • (51:45) Atomized communication, re-imagining chat apps

  • (55:50) Systems for social groups and medium independence

  • (1:02:45) Spaces being built today

  • (1:05:15) Joe is building research groups! Get in touch :)

  • (1:05:40) Outro


The Gradient
The Gradient: Perspectives on AI
Deeply researched, technical interviews with experts thinking about AI and technology. Hosted, recorded, researched, and produced by Daniel Bashir.