Ep. 89 – War on Drugs, National Service, AI Art

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Ravi leads off by announcing the Lost Debate network’s newest show: Citizen Stewart, a pull-no-punches podcast about the perils and promise of education and democracy. 

Ravi and Rikki start by joining the renewed debate here in America over the value of national service as the global K-pop sensations BTS return to South Korea to serve their country. Then the hosts turn to the philosophical quandaries posed by AI art platforms like DALL-E 2 and discuss whether they’ll eventually supplant human-made art. Finally, Ravi and Rikki take a tragic report from the Wall Street Journal on the accidental drug overdose deaths of three New Yorkers to unpack the legacies of America’s 50-year-long war on drugs and debate potential off-ramps.

Rikki explains why BTS of all things is stirring debate over the value of national service. She and Ravi argue some form of service would indeed benefit the country, while disagreeing on the manner of service that best balances people’s freedom and the collective fabric of the nation. [4:20]

Rikki introduces us to an eerie AI-generated podcast fabricating a conversation between Joe Rogan and Steve Jobs (RIP) before launching into a wider discussion on all the ways AI is disrupting the world of art and the big questions it’s forcing us to ask and answer. [18:35]

Ravi recounts the WSJ report on a series of deaths in NYC from fentanyl-laced cocaine, casting it as another salient example of how profoundly America’s war on drugs has failed. The hosts debate how the country can change its approach to drug regulation without overcorrecting. [33:45]

Finally, the hosts wrap up by responding to our very first listener voicemail: a comment on last week’s segment on licensing laws. [51:00]

Sources Mentioned

National Service

Korean pop mega band BTS will soon do mandatory military service (Washington Post, 10/17)

Should Young Americans Be Required to Give a Year of Service? (NYT, 5/1/21)
Stanley McChrystal: Every American Should Serve For One Year (Time, 6/20/17)

Which countries still have conscription? (Forces, 10/17)

Can Mandatory National Service Fix America? With Sebastian Junger (Big Think, 7/7/2016)

AI Art

Joe Rogan and Steve Jobs Have a 20-Minute Chat in AI-Powered Podcast (Hypebeast, 10/18)

Joe Rogan interviews Steve Jobs (podcast.ai, 10/17)

Think of Any Image, Then Ask an AI Art Generator for It. The Results Are Amazing–and Terrifying. (Wall Street Journal, 10/19)

Walter Kirn: There Is No Such Thing as A.I. Art (Common Sense, 9/25)

Artists say AI image generators are copying their style to make thousands of new images–and it’s completely out of their control (Insider, 10/17)

War on Drugs

Three New Yorkers Ordered Cocaine From the Same Delivery Service. All Died From Fentanyl. (Wall Street Journal, 10/23)

Booming cocaine production suggests the war on drugs has failed (The Economist, 10/13)

Legalize It All (Harper’s, 4/2016)

What is the scope of cocaine use in the United States? (National Institute on Drug Abuse) 

20 years of Portuguese drug policy – developments, challenges and the quest for human rights (Substance Abuse Treatment, Prevention and Policy, 7/17/2021) 

End the War on Drugs (Reason, 10/2020)

David Simon says ‘The Wire’ had one blunt policy recommendation: ‘End the drug war’ (Washington Post Live, 5/26)
The War on Drugs turns 50 today. It’s time to make peace. (WaPo, 6/17/2021)

50-year war on drugs imprisoned millions of Black Americans (AP News, 7/23/2021)

“Locking Up Our Own” by James Forman, Jr. (2017)


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