Ananda Danielle Krettek Cobb, founder of Google’s Empathy Lab, returns to the Mindrolling podcast for a conversation that circles the intersection of technology, empathy, cynicism & magic.
Ananda Danielle Krettek Cobb is the Founder of Google’s Empathy Lab — Google’s resident expert on human understanding and flourishing. Danielle is an award-winning creative force with work across design, technology, film, art, architecture and social impact. With her work for Nike, Apple and Google, as well as Ram Dass’ Becoming Nobody documentary, Danielle has brought vibrant heart, humanity and beauty to products and culture for nearly 20 years.
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Cynicism & Magic // Technology & Spirituality
Welcoming returning guest, Ananda Danielle Krettek Cobb, the founder of Google’s Empathy Lab; Raghu opens the discussion by digging into passages from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche’s new book, Cynicism and Magic. Flying on what Ananda calls, “the Trungpa magic carpet,” the duo applies his Buddhist wisdom to Ananda’s current cross-sectional focus of A.I. technology with the empathic human heart.
“For me, it goes back to Baba Ram Dass and what he gathered from Meher Baba, with that its heart to heart to heart. I feel like the best work you can do in this space isn’t necessarily to come up with some really brilliant complicated vision of how to render the new technology like Ray Kurzweil meets Gandhi. It’s actually not the big-big things; it’s the little-little things.” – Ananda Danielle Krettek Cobb
For more Raghu Markus & Ananda at the brimming intersection of empathy & A.I., tune to Ep. 393 of Mindrolling
Communication & Openness // Vulnerability & Trust (21:08)
Intrigued by Ananda’s unique work at Google, Raghu asks her what it’s like translating and transmuting spiritual concepts to technology-focused individuals in a way which doesn’t push anyone away or close them down, but rather invites curiosity and openness. Through this lens, Ananda describes how it’s best to teach people through their native tongue; relaying that if you want to learn to communicate and share better, it’s helpful to be vulnerable enough to learn other people’s stories.
“Our whole experience in India [with Maharajji]— I think of how we were taken into people’s houses and immediately felt completely embraced and warm like going into a hot tub and just letting go. And from their side it was the biggest joy in the world that they could provide that. The union of that is magic.” – Raghu Markus
RamDev and Raghu share stories of ‘winging it’ in India with Maharajji, on Ep. 414 of Mindrolling
Polarity & Pretending // Magic & Miracles // Sustenance & Satsang (41:08)
Speaking to the connection between emptiness and bliss highlighted by fellow Buddhist friend, Dr. Bob Thurman; Raghu offers more Trungpa Rinpoche wisdom around polarity and presence, before sharing firsthand insight into what he saw in Neem Karoli Baba’s relationship with magic and miracles. To close the podcast, Ananda shares poetically on meditation, pretending, loving awareness, and the far-stretching beauty and acceptance within the Ram Dass & Friends satsang/sangha.
“When I think about the inner sangha or satsang, we think of all of the selves inside of us—all the shadow, all the light, all the history, all the lineage, all the hope for the future. There are so many voices inside of us too, so cultivating the cohesion and integration of the inner satsang is actually a beautiful way of looking at that work” – Ananda Danielle Krettek Cobb