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Mo Gawdat


Mo Gawdat is Solving for Happy and Unpacking AI Challenges in Scary Smart


Eric Wright


November 2, 2021


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“Artificial intelligence is no reason to be unhappy.” –Mo Gawdat

“Artificial intelligence is the future. It will change lives in unimaginable ways and create something greater than ourselves.” –Mo Gawdat

“Happiness equals or exceeds the difference between what you have and what you want.” –Mo Gawdat

“Accomplishments are often tied to happiness.” –Eric Wright

“Expectations are premeditated resentments.” –Mo Gawdat

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Mo Gawdat is Solving for Happy and Unpacking AI Challenges in Scary Smart

In the episode of “DiscoPosse” Mo Gawdat speaks with host Eric Wright. Mo Gawdat marks the two sides of his life, from technologist to author or inspirer. The episode highlights life and happiness and business and entrepreneurship that Gawdat has learned. Gawdat is the Chief Business Officer at Google X. He talks about how happiness has been his North Star in business decisions and personal life choices.

Gawdat also dives into the challenges of artificial intelligence and how to ensure that AI applications are used for good instead of evil. Gawdat is working on technical solutions to solve some of these challenges, and he discusses them with Wright in this DiscoPosse podcast episode.


In this episode, you will learn:

  • The definition of happiness is “the experience of well-being, joy, and contentment.”
  • You will also learn the frame of mind that Mo Gawdat has to instill happiness in his life.
  • Mo Gawdat’s state about happiness applies artificial intelligence to help us become happier.
  • Humans need to control artificial intelligence and not the other way around.

Good Question & Answer 1:

Eric Wright: What is happiness, and how do you frame it?

Mo Gawdat: Happiness, in my view, is highly definable by an equation. And the equation is very straightforward. You’re not happy or unhappy in any specific moment in your life or any specific event in your life, you’re happy or unhappy if life seems to be going your way. And so, every moment of your life, you compare the event of life, or at least your perception of the current event of life, to your hopes and wishes and expectations of how life should be. And if life meets your expectations, you’re happy. If life misses your expectations, you’re unhappy. And what that means is that happiness is equal to or greater than the difference between the events of your life and your expectations of how life should be. You run that equation. In this current conversation, you know, you may look at the shadow behind me and say, the lighting is not perfect. And take that as an event that misses your expectation for a quality podcast like yours. And that would make you unhappy, or you could listen to My voice and say, oh, good voice for a podcast. You know, I think this might actually register well with my audiences. That’s how I expect my guests to sound, so it would make you happy. So if that’s the case, then happiness is defined. 

Good Question & Answer 2:

Eric Wright: It really brings up the interesting thing where we often tie accomplishments to happiness. What’s the real risk behind this unfortunate tendency to do just that?

Mo Gawdat: So you know, the best differentiation between the two so that you can always differentiate whether it’s accomplishment or other symptoms is dopamine and serotonin. But the way we define achievement is probably the biggest drug that’s ever been sold to us and achievement. You know, if you look at my current mission, 1 billion happy, my absolute dream is that by the end of my life, I will have achieved, got as close as I can, spreading a message of happiness to a billion people, lost all the money that I made in Google and every other place and got completely forgotten. Okay. And if you tell me that this is not a major achievement, that’s probably, in my view, the biggest achievement ever. It doesn’t buy Ferraris, okay, it doesn’t, you know, it doesn’t really make me dressed in Armani suits and impress the girls. But, that is actually an achievement that’s not associated with dopamine. As a matter of fact, it’s associated a lot more with hormones around love and connection and compassion. And you know, really being part of the big, being the big all of us, which is again, it’s not addictive like dopamine is, I think, the idea is we’re looking for connection we’re looking for love, we’re looking for connection, we’re looking for peacefulness, contentment, and so on. These are the lasting feelings, and then you can add dopamine on top of them. And when you do, you’re in a very good place. If you’re just chasing dopamine all the time, it’s going to be a very, very long marathon.


Additional topics discussed:

  • Flowchart of happiness.
  • Quality of life is what frames your happiness.
  • The scary-smart premise due to AI.
  • By 2029 artificial intelligence will be the smartest on earth.

Host / Podcast Bio: Eric Wright 

Erick Wright is a seasoned IT professional who has been in the industry for many years. He currently specializes in VMware vSphere and vCloud, OpenStack, Microsoft Solutions Specialist, Systems Architecture, and Systems Integration Specialist. He is also a host in DiscoPosse.

His philosophies are that an IT organization needs to be agile and dependable. He believes that effective communication is key to delivering complete solutions. He believes in “don’t repeat yourself” – automating where possible. He wanted to be proud when he said, “deliver products and services that you would be proud to put your name on.” His philosophy in life is always to do your best to balance everything you do.

Guest Bio: MO Gawdat

Mo Gawdat is a CEO of a fresh new startup. He’s the best-selling author of Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy. This book carries the future of artificial intelligence and how you can save the world. He’s also a former Chief Business Officer at Google X.

He is the host of the Slow Mo podcast and a founder of 1 billion happy.com. He is aiming to spread happiness to a billion people around the world. He believes that every human wants to be happy, and we all have the tools inside us to achieve happiness.

Resources and links mentioned in the show:

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