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Many Minds

Feb 16, 2022

I have this theory about podcasts—it’s almost certainly not original, and it's probably not right. But anyway, I have this theory that what makes for a great podcast episode is really just a few good moments. Sure, it’s nice if the conversation has a satisfying arc and good energy; it's great if it’s not too dense or repetitive—all that stuff matters. But I think what really makes an interview stick out for us—and stick with us—are these little time slices. Charged little moments that burn a little brighter. On Many Minds, those moments might come when someone is telling us about their big idea or reframe, a sudden realization they had, maybe just a charming factoid. It might come from them transporting us to a recent research trip, or musing on what it’s like to be another creature. It really could come from almost anywhere honestly.

So on the occasion of our 2nd birthday— okay, fine, I seem to have buried the lead. We have a birthday this week: we are turning two years old. Incredible—I know. It’s really gone by in a flash, but also felt like eons and all that. But anyway, on the occasion of our 2nd birthday, we wanted to look back at some of our favorite moments from the first two years. Fair warning, this is a highly selective selection. We weren’t able to feature all our episodes—less than half of them, actually. And those that are featured have been reduced to a tiny snippet. So it’s a selective and reductive sample but hopefully somehow still a satisfying one. 

One more thing: some of you will no doubt be wondering what to get us for our birthday. Great question. In lieu of the usual cake or cards or cash, we would happily take a rating or review, a forward to a friend, or a shout out on social media. All that stuff makes us feel good, and ensures that we can keep going and keep growing. 

Alright friends without further ado, here’s a select few of our favorite moments from the show—interleaved with bits of context and commentary. Enjoy!


A transcript of this episode is available here.


Episodes excerpted:

Bat Signals

Clever Crows and Cheeky Keas

Our Pranking Primate Cousins

The Roots of Rhythm

How Do Chimps Communicate?

The Scents of Language

Of Bees and Brains

Architects of the Underworld

Cultures of the Deep


Revising the Neanderthal Story

The Savvy Cephalopod

From Where We Stand

Culture, Innovation, and the Collective Brain

Aligning AI with Our Values

Babies, Grandmas, and Our Most Human Capacities

Born to be Cultured

Why Do We Dream?

Why is AI So Hard?

Mind Everywhere