I answered 23 questions in total from their community and staff as well as a few from social media, discussing the usual topics of innovation and the pandemic, but also some new ones like time management, murder hornets, and what the Earth might be like in one hundred or a thousand years. Here are some highlights:
In response to COVID-19, it is assumed that there will be a number of innovations: a new way of working, medical devices, new drugs, and new technology. What is the new innovation you are most interested in the post COVID world?
The thing that most surprised me about this episode was realising how slow vaccine development still is. The big prize would be much faster and more oven-ready vaccines for viruses. But I suspect antiviral drugs will make big strides during this pandemic too as they did during ebola. And hand-held, instant DNA PCR testing kits will surely become a big part of the world’s preparedness.
Do you believe that with our human collective brain, our marketplace of ideas sprouting from specialized individuals, that there is a limit to how much we can innovate and circumvent any hardship? Is there a utopia waiting for us, or a cyberpunk version of our society like we see so much in various media?
I see no limit to potential innovation. Not even a theoretical one. Because innovation means rearranging atoms or bits of information is useful ways and there are infinite ways of doing this. Futuristic visions are often dystopian, but I think that’s a mistake. Can you recall any Hollywood film in which the future is portrayed positively?
Matt, you’re a world-famous biologist and have written extensively about threats like Coronavirus. Why have you refused to address the incoming Murder Hornet disaster? Do you agree with me that Coronavirus is just a distraction from Murder Hornets? And are you in the pockets of Big Hornet?
Ha! I keep seeing the phrase murder hornet, but being in the UK I have not read any stories so I know nothing! This is an insect, right? Where has it come from and why is it a murderer. Is it like a killer bee only bigger? Here in Europe, we are supposed to be scared of Japanese hornets apparently. But you’re right – I am being paid by a big hornet.
If you missed your chance to ask a question, next week I hope to return to reddit’s r/IAmA community for another, so make an account and look out for that on my social media!