Dr. Kim Budil on the future of fusion

March 22, 2023

What if there was a source of energy that was virtually inexhaustible, produced no greenhouse gasses, and generated minimal waste? Well, it already exists – almost. Reid and Aria sit down with Dr. Kim Budil, director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, to talk about the future of fusion energy. Last December, Dr. Budil’s lab achieved fusion ignition. She explains what that historic breakthrough means, and what levers need to be pulled to go from that experiment to powering nations. Dr. Budil responds to stories, generated by GPT-4, about scaling fusion energy, plus another about how a country can transition to fusion energy in 2053.  Read the AI-generated stories for this episode here. Read the transcript of this episode here.  For more info on the podcast and transcripts of all of the episodes, visit www.possible.fm/podcast. Topics: 01:45 - Hellos and intros 05:09 - Explaining fusion breakthrough and the scale of opportunity  13:09 - Responding to GPT-4 “Fusion leading the way” story  22:10 - How to get to “Manhattan Project-level” of investment  25:50 - The geopolitics of fusion 29:06 - Responding to GPT-4 “Karachi transitioning to fusion” story 33:56 - Creating conditions for change 37:44 - Rapidfire questions 42:46 - Debrief with Reid and Aria Possible is a new podcast that sketches out the brightest version of the future—and what it will take to get there. Most of all, it asks: what if, in the future, everything breaks humanity's way? Hosted by Reid Hoffman and Aria Finger, each episode features an interview with a visionary from a different field: climate science, media, criminal justice, and more. The conversation also features another kind of guest: GPT-4, OpenAI’s latest and most powerful language model to date. Each episode has a companion story, generated by GPT-4, which will serve as a jumping-off point for a hopeful, speculative discussion about what humanity could possibly get right if we leverage technology—and our collective effort—effectively. Possible is produced by Wonder Media Network and hosted by Reid Hoffman and Aria Finger. Our showrunner is Shaun Young. Possible is produced by Edie Allard and Sara Schleede. Jenny Kaplan is our Executive Producer and Editor. Special thanks to Breanna Bishop, Mahdi Salehi, Surya Yalamanchili, Saida Sapieva, Ian Alas, Greg Beato, and Ben Relles.

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