The Optimistic Nihilism of Kurzgesagt

by Glasstire September 5, 2017

‘Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell’ is a Youtube channel dedicated to “explaining things with optimistic nihilism.” It’s brought to us by a Munich-based outfit that launched the channel in 2013, and produces very short, very charming animated videos that succinctly explain things — mostly science, but also politics, ethics, and philosophy. It makes about one video per month and has 4.7 million subscribers. If Rick from Rick and Morty had a kinder, more sober European alter-ego, he may come across something like Kurzgesagt. (There’s a Rick and Morty reference in one of the Kurzgesagt videos. Pop culture is thankfully fair game on the channel.)

The videos are voiced over by a warm, crisp male British voice. The graphics are clear, familiar (the videos are made with After Effects and Illustrator), and help illustrate the points without distracting from the message.

Some GT favorites: Do Robots Deserve Rights? What if Machines Become Conscious? (if a toaster had feelings, would you still own one?) and The Fermi Paradox — Where Are All The Aliens? (“Even if we had really fast spaceships, it would take billions of years to reach these places”). Also on tap: Horror Parasites; Genetic Engineering Will Change Everything Forever; What if there was a black hole in your pocket? (“Short answer: you’d die; long answer: it depends”) and Three Ways to Destroy the Universe, and dozens more. (One is How Facebook is Stealing Billions of Views, which Kurzgesagt knows about firsthand.)

Think of these shorts as a perfect way to refresh or re-up your knowledge base and understanding of the universe while you’re standing in line at the DMV, or sitting on the toilet, or just, you know, perusing Youtube. As we do.




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