Hello, Human grew from an unlikely place. A lunch. Actually, a series of lunches that Peter and Steve ate together over the course of a couple of years. These were always longer-than-planned affairs that would begin with a simple question and spiral into something nearly galactic. Before long we took this act on the road with The Human Business podcast, and it turned out to be the chrysalis that birthed Hello, Human: a podcast that grapples with the question of what it means to be, and how to be, a human in a world of machines and algorithms. It is an ongoing and idiosyncratic conversation—embedded deeply in the humanities—that makes the argument that those of not made of silicon still have something to say about the future we’re all rushing into.
Multicast twice a month, each episode deals with a specific question, often taken from those writing or speaking most eloquently about our contemporary human condition. There are digressions, rambling monologues that even occasionally return to the topic at hand, and honest explorations of meaning, relevance, and applicability. It’s eavesdropping at its best.
The People Behind the Voices
PETER BG SHOEMAKER
As an entrepreneur, as a senior executive, and as a consultant, Peter has spent a quarter of a century helping companies and governments build meaningful, real relationships with their stakeholders and design for the future. From start-ups to Fortune 500s, from educational auditoria to legislative chambers, he’s served as an advocate for the role of the human experience in highly technologically-mediated contexts.
Peter’s belief in commercial and civil experiences as designed spheres of mutual respect and benefit has been applied to successfully developing relationships between customers and companies and their employees in markets as diverse as personal care products, medical devices, and IT, and between stakeholders and governments in policy arenas such as surface transportation, energy, defense, intelligence, and electronic commerce. He excels in reframing interactions between individuals and organizations, and organizations and their operating environment. The result? Clarity, purpose, authenticity, and a renewed sense of shared value.
Peter holds graduate degrees in the humanities and social sciences from universities in the US and the UK, and spent five years in the United States Marine Corps. He’s also an oft-published, award-winning writer of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry.
Peter currently sits on the Expert Panel for the global technology forecasting firm Techcast, and is a member of both the Long Now Foundation and the Association of Professional Futurists.
STEVEN L SMITH
Steve has spent over three decades in executive level positions in the military and academia. In the former role he’s been an author, advisor, and consultant on the free exercise of religion, humanitarian issues, ethics and morality, cultural dynamics, and leadership development. In the latter he’s been a member of various academic committees and councils to review and develop undergraduate and graduate degree programs, foster viable relationships with community leaders and businesses to assist them in their employee development, and led the creation of dynamic classroom environments for learning.
These professional experiences along with diverse human interactions have contributed to Steve’s outlook that the future belongs to those who can think critically, communicate effectively, possess a keen sense of moral awareness, work and live in collaboration and reverence, simultaneously view perplexing dilemmas from an all-inclusive frame of reference, and operate from a leader-follower dynamic. He’s skilled in guiding organizations in determining the nature of a problem then working towards a realistic solution and implementation leading to a recognition of the significance of trust, cohesion, and the human benefit of shared accomplishments.
Steve’s graduate degrees are in theology, and leadership and education (along with a diploma in military science). He spent twenty-two years in the United States Navy, seven of which were in the United States Marine Corps. Currently, Steve teaches courses in business and liberal arts and serves on the Inter-Tribal Advisory Council to the Coconino County (AZ) Board of Supervisors. He is a member of the International Leadership Association and Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.
Most Recent Episode
In this episode, we go face-to-face with solitude (or as Peter calls it—channeling the crazed Basel-based philologist—the abyss). We talk about Michael Harris’ book, Solitude, about solitude as an ecological resource, the challenges of solitude, and the vast library of writings on solitude and our inability, regardless, to find solitude. Of course, we also look into the social expectations around solitude and its opposite, and the difference between loneliness and solitude.
A smattering of stuff you might want to look at:
- Michael Harris, Solitude: In pursuit of a singular life in a crowded world
- Emma Jackson, “Alone and together with myself: how do we experience solitude?” Existential Analysis, July 2016.
- Brent Crane, “The virtues of isolation,” The Atlantic (March 30, 2017)