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Join neuroscientist, philosopher, and best-selling author Sam Harris as he explores important and controversial questions about the human mind, society, and current events. The Making Sense podcast was selected by Apple as one of iTunes Best of 2015.

Harris is the author of the best-selling books The End of Faith, Letter to a Christian Nation, The Moral Landscape, Free WillLying, and Waking Up—along with Islam and the Future of Tolerance: A Dialogue (with Maajid Nawaz). The End of Faith won the 2005 PEN Award for Nonfiction. His writing and public lectures cover a wide range of topics—neuroscience, moral philosophy, religion, meditation practice, human violence, rationality—but generally focus on how a growing understanding of ourselves and the world is changing our sense of how we should live.

Harris’s work has been published in more than 20 languages and has been discussed in The New York Times, Time, Scientific American, Nature, Rolling Stone, and many other journals. He has written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Economist, The Times (London), The Boston Globe, The Atlantic, The Annals of Neurology, and elsewhere.

Sam Harris received a degree in philosophy from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from UCLA.

Sam Harris's blog and podcast, and much more, can be found at


May 5, 2023

In this episode, we examine a series of Sam’s conversations centered around social media’s impact on the information landscape.

We begin with Sam’s second conversation with Tristan Harris, which was conducted shortly after the release of Tristan’s documentary, The Social Dilemma. The documentary lays out Tristan’s thesis on how social media is causing the deterioration of both individual and societal welfare. Author and technologist Jaron Lanier follows, echoing Tristan’s concerns and shifting the conversation to social media’s unique business model, addressing how perverse incentives reliably produce such detrimental outcomes.

We then hear from Jack Dorsey, the former CEO of Twitter. Sam and Dorsey’s conversation took place when Dorsey was still working at Twitter, and Sam still had an account. However, the questions they pose—relating to issues of content moderation and corporate transparency—are even more relevant today.

Next, psychologist Jonathan Haidt presents the alarming findings from his research on the psychological effects of social media, detailing how teenage girls are bearing the brunt of a mental health crisis. 

Shifting to a more political lens, Sam and Cass Sunstein discuss Sunstein’s book, #Republic, and Sunstein addresses one of Sam’s most pressing fears of the last seven years: how social media is warping our opinions on politics. We then narrow down on this issue, with Zeynep Tufekci explaining the real-life consequences of social media’s influence on protest movements.

Finally, Sam and technology analyst Nina Schick dive into one of the most urgent concerns of the AI boom: deepfakes and how they might be weaponized to further pollute and degrade our information landscape.


About the Series

Filmmaker Jay Shapiro has produced The Essential Sam Harris, a new series of audio documentaries exploring the major topics that Sam has focused on over the course of his career.

Each episode weaves together original analysis, critical perspective, and novel thought experiments with some of the most compelling exchanges from the Making Sense archive. Whether you are new to a particular topic, or think you have your mind made up about it, we think you’ll find this series fascinating.