Episode 81: Alex Wiltschko on the Sense of Smell

Smell is the most underrated of our senses — and it affects everything. Alex Wiltschko joins Vasant Dhar in episode 81 of Brave New World to discuss the role of smell in our lives — and in this new digital age.

Episode 80: Kevin Mitchell Makes a Case for Free Will

Given what we know of physics and neuroscience, can there be free will? Kevin Mitchell, a neuroscientist himself, joins Vasant Dhar in episode 80 of Brave New World to unpack his argument for the existence of free will.

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Episode 79: Arthur Spirling on How AI Can Change Politics

Artificial intelligence is transforming society. And therefore politics. Arthur Spirling joins Vasant Dhar in episode 79 of Brave New World to share his insights from his twin fields of data science and political science.

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Episode 78: David Halpern on Nudging

How can we use the insights of behavioral economics to make the world a better place? David Halpern joins Vasant Dhar in episode 78 of Brave New World to share his learnings from running the Behavioral Insight Team for the British government.

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Episode 77: Pippa Ehrlich on the Mysteries of the Sea

Her film My Octopus Teacher won an academy award — and her insights on nature, and her love for it, go far beyond the film. Pippa Ehrlich joins Vasant Dhar in episode 77 of Brave New World to talk about her work and what she has learnt from it.

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Episode 76: Peter Ward on Life on Earth

Life on earth is a crazy accident. We have no idea how it arose or whether it will survive. Peter Ward joins Vasant Dhar in episode 76 of Brave New World to chat about the origins of our planet, the many extinctions and resurgences of life, and the future of our species.

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Episode 75: Mohit Satyanand on Investing and India

He’s been a successful entrepreneur and investor, and is highly regarded for his sharp understanding of India. Mohit Satyanand joins Vasant Dhar in episode 75 of Brave New World to share his inspiring story — and to offer a word of caution.

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Episode 74: Peter Singer on Animal Liberation

Why should only human beings be worthy of moral consideration? Would we still eat animals if we had a sense of their mass-produced suffering? Peter Singer joins Vasant Dhar in episode 74 of Brave New World to discuss his influential work as a philosopher.

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Episode 73: Paul Sheard Demystifies Money

What is money? How is it created? What is the relationship of governments, central banks, and commercial banks to money? Paul Sheard joins Vasant Dhar in episode 73 of Brave New World to cut through the fog.

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Episode 72: Ajay Shah on the Dangers of Digital Public Infrastructure

Digital Public Infrastructure sounds like a huge step forward for the world — till you think about how it empowers the state to oppress the people. Ajay Shah joins Vasant Dhar in episode 72 of Brave New World to warn that we are not being wary enough of state coercion when we think of this incredible technology.

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Episode 71: David Sontag on AI in Healthcare

David Sontag joins Vasant Dhar on episode 70 of Brave New World to highlight where and how AI is creating a major transformation in healthcare. We could create a brave new world of individualized and holistic healthcare, where the machine really cares about us and tells us what to do based on knowledge and data.

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Episode 70: Rajesh Jain, Disrupter

He was an early dotcom millionaire — and he repeated his success. He wants to reinvent email, and has radical insights on politics. Rajesh Jain joins Vasant Dhar in episode 70 of Brave New World to share his insights on what he has learnt from success — and failure.

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Episode 69: Chandrika Tandon on Music and Impact

She’s a business leader, a Grammy-nominated musician and is trying to transform education. Chadrika Tandon joins Vasant Dhar in episode 69 of Brave New World to discuss her life, her learning, and why she is still so driven.

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Episode 68: Gary Smith is an AI Skeptic

Will big data and scary AI take over the world? Not a chance, says Gary Smith, as he joins Vasant Dhar in episode 68 of Brave New World. The human brain is special.

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Episode 67: Ellie Pavlick on the Cutting Edge of AI

Does ChatGPT really understand anything? Or is it faking it? Hell, do we understand how it works? Ellie Pavlick joins Vasant Dhar in episode 67 of Brave New World to share her thoughts on where AI has reached — and where it’s going.

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Episode 66: Jameel Jaffer on Free Speech in the Social Media Age

Law and social conventions around free speech have evolved with the times, but technology presents new challenges to both. In this new world of social media, how should we think about it? Jameel Jaffer joins Vasant Dhar in episode 66 of Brave New World to share his thoughts on how we can navigate this territory.

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Episode 65: Rick Smolan on a Life in Photography

In a rich career as a photographer, he’s brought his own distinct gaze to every place he’s been to. Rick Smolan joins Vasant Dhar in episode 65 of Brave New World to talk about his rich experiences — and what he’s learned from them.

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Episode 64: Amit Varma on the Creator Economy

There has never been a better time to be a creator. Amit Varma joins Vasant Dhar in episode 64 of Brave New World to discuss his learnings as a podcaster and blogger — and to explain why AI is not a threat.

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Episode 63: Piyush Gupta on How AI Will Transform Business

He has skin in the game as a top banker — and saw the power of AI long before others did. Piyush Gupta joins Vasant Dhar in episode 63 of Brave New World to share his excitement for the present — and his vision for the future.

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Episode 62: Dmitry Rinberg on the Mysteries of Smell

We live in a world of smell — and we barely understand it! Dmitry Rinberg joins Vasant Dhar in episode 62 of Brave New World to discuss what he has learnt about the neurobiology of smell over the last two decades.

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Episode 61: Marty Fridson on How Tech Changed Wall Street

One of the great disruptions that shaped the modern world was the way in which technology transformed Wall Street. Marty Fridson joins Vasant Dhar in episode 61 of Brave New World to talk about those good old days — and these mad new times!

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Episode 60: Raphaël Millière Looks Under the Hood of AI

ChatGPT is great — but does it ‘understand’ what it is telling us? Raphaël Millière joins Vasant Dhar in episode 60 of Brave New World to understand on what’s going on inside ChatGPT — and the larger questions that arise from this.

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Episode 59: Paulo Kaiser on Assimilating ChatGPT

Will it take all our jobs? In what way will it make us better? What do we need to do? Paulo Kaiser joins Vasant Dhar in episode 59 of Brave New World to discuss the technology that is changing the world in ways we can’t imagine. Bonus material: Wisdom for young professionals just starting out.

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Episode 58: Sam Bowman on ChatGPT & Controlling AI

Artificial intelligence is awesome — but should we fear it? How can we stay in charge? Sam Bowman joins Vasant Dhar in episode 58 of Brave New World to discuss the Control Problem — and more.

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Episode 57: Rich Bonneau on the Exciting Frontiers of Computational Biology

When computer science and biology come together, can you reprogram nature? Richard Bonneau joins Vasant Dhar in episode 57 of Brave New World to share his insights on this incredible new field — and how machine learning can play an important role.

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Episode 56: Tom Davenport on Artificial Intelligence in Business

It is about time companies went all in on artificial intelligence. Tom Davenport joins Vasant Dhar in episode 56 of Brave New World to discuss how his work with AI in the corporate world makes him such an optimist.

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Episode 55: Paul Barrett on Regulating Social Media

Social media has brought new challenges to our times, such as what they should or shouldn’t publish or amplify. Do we need new laws to deal with these challenges, or are current laws sufficient? Paul M Barrett joins Vasant Dhar in episode 55 of Brave New World to share his insights.

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Episode 54: Dana Carroll on the Science and Ethics of Gene Editing

We have become the first species that can edit its own programming. Dana Carroll joins Vasant Dhar in episode 54 of Brave New World to share his insights on the science of gene editing — and the ethical questions it raises.

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Episode 53: Paul Shapiro on Growing Meat Without Animals

In principle, you can take a single cell from an animal and feed an entire village. It’s a matter of time. In the meantime, there are alternatives, like fermentation, to produce all kinds of new substitutes that could be better than meat in terms of nutrition and taste. Paul Shapiro joins Vasant Dhar in episode 53 of Brave New World to discuss how meat alternatives are the future — and liberating for animals and the environment.

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Episode 52: Neeti Bhalla Johnson on Risk in Our Modern World

Has the world become more or less safe over the years? How do we measure risk in these times of crazy change? Neeti Bhalla Johnson joins Vasant Dhar in episode 52 of Brave New World to share her thoughts on how professionals do it!

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Episode 51: Emeran Mayer on the Brain in Our Gut

The brain and the gut are connected — and our well-being depends on it. Emeran Mayer joins Vasant Dhar to speak about the importance of the gut in our physical lives — and our emotional ones!

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Episode 50: Pramod Varma on India’s Digital Empowerment

India has achieved a technological miracle by empowering hundreds of millions of people with the power of identity. Pramod Varma joins Vasant Dhar in episode 50 of Brave New World to discuss his pioneering role in setting up large scale digital public infrastructure.

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Episode 49: Anshu Gupta on Using Waste For Good

We need to change the way we do philanthropy: it should be about sharing, not giving. Anshu Gupta joins Vasant Dhar in episode 49 of Brave New World to discuss his journey in building Goonj — and why we need to rethink our frames.

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Episode 48: Hanna Halaburda and Yannis Bakos on Bitcoin, Blockchain and DeFi

 Is Bitcoin just a bubble, or the first face of the future? What about blockchain and DeFi? Hanna Halaburda and Yannis Bakos join Vasant Dhar in episode 48 of Brave New World to dig deeper into these questions.

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Episode 47: Shelley Stewart on Black Economic Mobility

How did Covid-19 affect black Americans? What are the obstacles to their mobility and what can you do about it? Shelley Stewart joins Vasant Dhar in episode 47 of Brave New World to discuss his work at McKinsey trying to make an impact on black America.

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Episode 46: Soumitra Datta on Measuring Innovation

How can we tell if one country is more innovative than another? What drives that difference? And hey, what is innovation to begin with? Soumitra Datta joins Vasant Dhar in episode 46 of Brave New World to share his insights on innovation, and the lessons they hold for us.

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Episode 45: Joseph Aoun on Becoming Robot-Proof

If robots and AI are replacing us, we need to reinvent ourselves. Joseph Aoun joins Vasant Dhar in episode 45 of Brave New World to discuss the role of education in making humanity robot-proof.

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Episode 44: Maneka Gandhi on Animal Rights

Perhaps the greatest human sin is how we treat animals. Maneka Gandhi joins Vasant Dhar in episode 44 of Brave New World to share her learnings from decades as an animal activist.

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Episode 43: Bernard Haykel on Islam and the West

How is the relationship between Islam and the West evolving? Is there is a clash of civilizations or a clash within Islam? Bernard Haykel joins Vasant Dhar in episode 43 of Brave New World to share his insights.

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Episode 42: Antoinette Schoar on Decentralized Finance & Crypto

Will cryptocurrencies save the world or create a new can of worms? Antoinette Schoar joins Vasant Dhar in episode 42 of Brave New World to take us on a dispassionate tour through the world of Bitcoin, blockchains and DeFi.

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Episode 41: David Chalmers on the Nature of Reality

What are the philosophical implications of virtual reality? Do we exist “physically” or “virtually” and does it matter? Is virtual reality real? How is reality different from consciousness? David Chalmers joins Vasant Dhar in episode 41 of Brave New World to talk about the big questions at the intersection of philosophy and AI that are are being driven by advances in neuroscience and virtual reality.

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