#104 | Wicked Problems: Lessons From The Ruins Of Maya; Machine Learning & Ethics w/ David O’Hara

This is my second episode with David O'Hara, and as with the first episode I recorded with him, conversing with David is always a delight and a great pleasure. In this episode we discuss his trip to Central America, and we also talk about the recent archaeological discovery of a vast Mayan metropolis that "at its peak some 1,500 years ago, covered an area about twice the size of medieval England, with an estimated population of around five million." David goes over the cutting edge technology that is now being used to discover these, until very recently, hidden ruins of an ancient Mayan civilization, and what we can learn from these discoveries in regards to our own civilization. 

We also get into the ethics of artificial intelligence and the corporate control of the development of computer technology, and the implications this has for how information is disseminated through our society. David discusses some of the underlying issues on relying on algoriths and computer learning making big desicions for us, and how the kind of thinking leads to unintended outcomes. 

David O'Hara is a professor of Philosophy and Classics at Augustana University, and the author of the book "Downstream: Reflections on Brook Trout, Fly Fishing, and the Waters of Appalachia." David teaches a variety of courses on philosophy, classics, religion, and environmental ethics, and not long before the recording of this episode, had just recently got back from a trip to Central America where he teaches an in-depth course on reef ecology. 

Episode Notes:

- Learn more about David's book "Downstream: Reflections on Brook Trout, Fly Fishing, and the Waters of Appalachia" here: https://wipfandstock.com/downstream.html

- Read David's writings and get to understand him more at his blog: http://slowperc.blogspot.com/

- Follow David on Twitter: https://twitter.com/Davoh

- Read the article cited in this episode on the "Sprawling Maya network discovered under Guatemala jungle" here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-42916261

- The song featured in this episode is "Sewee Sewee" by Mountain Man from the album Made The Harbor.