You can now listen to LessWrong Curated posts in podcast form on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Audible, and Libsyn and BuzzSprout (which has an RSS feed, so it's available everywhere).

So far the last 5 curated posts are available, posts by Eliezer Yudkowsky, Duncan Sabien, lsusr, and Paul Christiano.

This is created and recorded by Solenoid Entity, who spent the last five years editing the SSC podcast, succeeded Jeremiah as narrator and publisher in 2020, and also makes the more recent Metaculus Journal Podcast. I reached out to him last week[1] with an offer to do this work and he has quickly done some excellent recordings, which I'm very grateful for.

This is a new experiment and project, and so these 1-2 weeks are a great time to give me and Solenoid Entity feedback about what you like and dislike about the podcast, what would make it better for you, your experience as an author having your writing narrated, etc. You can leave comments here anytime, or talk to us via the intercom chat in the bottom right of the screen, or PM me personally via any channel.

Below are the 5 current available LessWrong Curated Podcasts.

  1. ^

    Hat Tip to Tamera Lanham and Mattieu Putz for the suggestion at dinner!

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26 comments, sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 10:01 AM

I'm super excited about this! I find it much lower effort to consume audio content than text, and am a big fan of the SSC podcast. I expect this to significantly increase the number of curated LW posts I read

Glad to hear!

Bravo Solenoid Entity, love your work with SSC Podcast and really appreciate that you're taking this on.

Thanks, glad you're enjoying :)

Amazing! Thanks so much for making this happen so quickly.

To anyone who's trying to figure out how to get it to work on Google Podcasts, here's what worked for me (searching the name didn't, maybe this will change?):

Go to the Libsyn link. Click the RSS symbol. Copy the link. Go to Google Podcasts. Click the Library tab (bottom right). Go to Subscriptions. Click symbol that looks like adding a link in the upper right. Paste link, confirm.

Thanks for the suggestion, works great!

As of 28 July, this podcast has dramatically declined in quality. Instead of human narration, it is now "Narrated for LessWrong by TYPE III AUDIO". It's a text-to-speech model that has far too many problems for this to be listenable. The prior human narration was excellent, e.g. the effort put into describing images.

Please revert this change, or move it to a different podcast!

Thanks for the feedback. 

I do definitely agree human vs machine should be separate podcasts.

The decision to have the auto-reading is pretty different from the decision to have individual posts get custom human narration (we're a bit more funding crunched now and it was less obviously worth it for every individual curated post. but the automated stuff is cheaper and easier to just do for a large swath of posts). But we'll keep feedback like this in mind when deciding how much to prioritize each of them.

Huge fan of solonoid entity and his work on SSC. I think this is a treat choice, I'm very excited.

Thanks for the endorsement!

Thank you, Solenoid! The SSC podcast is the only reason I to consume all of posts like Biological Anchors: A Trick That Might Or Might Not Work

Glad to hear it's useful :)

Excellent job Solenoid. I love this!

Very excited about this! I listen to LessWrong more often than I read it. But my go-to is a janky solution involving Google Assistant plus another app. And then i still only get a synthesized voice. Look forward to trying out the podcast!

Have you looked at the Non-linear library? I find them far better than the otherwise-robotic sounding audio by usual TTS. Plus, it's automated and podcasts are available pretty soon after any post is published. I like it as I like to go on long walks and listen to LW or Alignment forum posts. 

Also, there's an audio collection of the top-of-all-time posts from LW, the Alignment forum, and the EA forum.

I tried Nonlinear Library awhile ago but had trouble finding my groove with it. I recall finding it cumbersome to search for episodes/posts. Is there a good way to do that?

It's good to know the episodes are available soon after a post comes out. That was another doubt I had about Nonlinear, not knowing if the post I wanted would be on there yet. Do you know about how long after a post is published it takes it to appear on Nonlinear? 

I agree. It's not easy to search for specific episodes on the Nonlinear library. I open it in something like Google podcasts and then search in page for keywords. It is cumbersome as you said. They did mention in their original announcement post that the to-do goals are 1. Creating a compilation of top-of-all-time posts for all 3 forums, 2. Creating forum-specific feed,  and 3. Creating tags and a searchable archive.

Since they've done the first two, I hope it's not long before they add the tags functionality. 

For Nonlinear, there's a threshold too:

The current upvote thresholds for which articles are converted are:
25 for the EA forum
30 for LessWrong

I think that due to the volume of posts on LW, The curated podcast would have something similar.

Good to hear. I'll appreciate it if you let me know how it works out for you :)

Are you no longer updating the libsyn version? The most recent episode there is from August 2022 while the other sites have newer episodes.

Thanks for checking! The Libsyn feed has been redirected, it's now hosted on BuzzSprout. All new episodes should still be going to all the platforms. Are you having trouble with any of the platforms, or just the Libsyn site itself? That one won't work anymore, unfortunately.

My problem is that you link libsyn in the post but it doesn't contain all episodes. I was able to find the other episodes but I would still like for the post to be updated.

Ahh good point, sorry I didn't notice that. I'll update the post shortly.

Why are the new episodes narrated by a robot?

See here: 

Please share your feedback here or in the comments on that post, it's helpful for our decision-making on this :)

The LessWrong Curated Podcast used to be my regular and only check–in with the LessWrong world because it fit well into my schedule. I skip the episodes that are narrated by a robot because I find the emphasis unnatural, which makes the essays confusing for me. All the episodes of the past months have been narrated by the robot, so I have lost contact. I activated my LessWrong account just to ask what is going on.
I realise probably not everyone is as picky as me and that the podcast is most likely a non–funded project, so I cannot ask for much. And that it is better to have a robot–narrated podcast than no podcast at all. I still appreciate the work that has been put into it. But if the plan is to keep the podcast robot–narrated, I will have to switch to reading the essays.