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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.

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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Episode 40: Ben Hunt on the Power of Narrative

‘We need narrative theory,’ says Ben Hunt, to understand the alien beings called Narratives that inhabit our Metaverse. Hunt joins Vasant Dhar in episode 40 of Brave New World to describe how Big Tech is changing the way we think — and how we need to fight it.

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Episode 39: Marie Bergstrom on Online Dating and Intimacy

Hooking up ain’t like it used to be. Marie Bergstrom joins Vasant Dhar in episode 39 of Brave New World to discuss her research on how the internet has changed the world of love — and lust.

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Episode 38: Joel Peterson on the Art and Science of Winemaking

These are exciting times for wine lovers. Joel Peterson, the Godfather of Zinfandel, joins Vasant Dhar in episode 38 of Brave New World to raise a toast to the innovators who continue to transform the world of wine.

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Episode 37: Caitlin Zaloom on the Explosion of Student Debt

Education empowers people, but education debt can cripple them and they families financially. Caitlin Zaloom joins Vasant Dhar in episode 37 of Brave New World to describe the depth of the problem, and what can be done about it.

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Episode 36: Jeff Teper on the Post-Covid Workplace

Big tech is in the spotlight these days, but Microsoft keeps a low profile. It has escaped the flak while shaping the post-Covid world. Company veteran Jeff Teper joins Vasant Dhar in episode 36 of Brave New World to explain their vision for the future, and to share his views on Web 3.0. And oh, by the way — Teams is the nascent Metaverse.

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Episode 35: Anthony Zador on How our Brains Work

The brain is a complex machine, but some of us study its circuits and figure out its secrets. Anthony Zador joins Vasant Dhar in episode 35 of Brave New World to reveal what the cutting edge of neuroscience looks like.

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Episode 34: Chris Bail on How to Fight Polarization

Social media is tearing us apart by feeding into our need for status. Can we mitigate its effects? Chris Bail joins Vasant Dhar in episode 34 of Brave New World to share his research on how social media affects us — and how we can fight back.

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Episode 33: Aswath Damodaran on Investing

The value of a company has a lot to do with the stories it tells about itself. Aswath Damodaran joins Vasant Dhar in episode 33 of Brave New World to discuss how narratives and numbers are related.

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Episode 32: Helena Rosenblatt on Liberalism’s Long Journey

What is liberal democracy and has it lost its way? Helena Rosenblatt joins Vasant Dhar in episode 32 of Brave New World to add a historical perspective to this modern problem in our illiberal and polarized world.

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Episode 31: Philip Tetlock on the Art of Forecasting

Yogi Berra once said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” Philip Tetlock joins Vasant Dhar in episode 31 of Brave New World to discuss what  superforecasters do consistently well — and how we can improve our judgement and decision-making.

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Episode 30: David Yermack on The Crypto Revolution

Goodbye big banks. Hello crypto. The world of finance is in the process of changing forever, and David Yermack is your guide. Yermack joins Vasant Dhar in episode 30 of Brave New World to share his road map of, well, this brave new world!

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Episode 29: Albert Wenger on the World After Capital

Capital is no longer a scarce resource. Attention is. Albert Wenger joins Vasant Dhar in episode 29 of Brave New World to discuss how the Industrial Age is past its expiry date, and what we need to do to prepare for the Knowledge Age.

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Episode 28: Adam Alter on Beating Our Addictions

More and more, the digital world is being designed to turn us into addicts. Adam Alter joins Vasant Dhar in episode 28 of Brave New World to describe the sinister ways in which this happens — and what we can do about it.

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Episode 27: Andrew Yang on the New Politics America Needs

Andrew Yang supports some game changing ideas, such as UBI and taxing robots, and they’re rooted in a radical vision of what America’s politics should be. Yang joins Vasant Dhar in episode 27 of Brave New World to explain why the system is broken — and how it can be changed.

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Episode 26: Anna Lembke on Beating Dopamine

Are you addicted? You may be a slave to dopamine without realising it, whether in the substances you put into your body or the behaviors you adopt. Anna Lembke, author of Dopamine Nation, joins Vasant Dhar in episode 26 of Brave New World to discuss how we can beat this.

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Episode 25: John McWhorter on the Religion of Wokeism

There is a new religion in town. It has the best intentions, but it may harm those it claims to help. John McWhorter joins Vasant Dhar in episode 25 of Brave New World to talk about his book Woke Racism — and on the dangers of this new social movement that could tear us apart.

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Episode 24: Solon Barocas on Removing Bias From Machines

Machine Learning can improve decision making in a big way — but it can also reproduce human biases and discrimination. Solon Barocas joins Vasant Dhar in episode 24 of Brave New World to discuss the challenges of solving this problem.

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Episode 23: Terry Odean on How to Think about Investing

How do we pick the stocks we buy? What drives us to sell? How does new technology impact our attention and behavior? Terrance Odean joins Vasant Dhar in episode 23 of Brave New World to share his learnings over a lifetime of studying behavioral finance.

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Episode 22: Dina Srinivasan on the Dangers of Big Tech

Google and Facebook have an outrageous amount of market power, and that’s dangerous for society. Dina Srinivasan joins Vasant Dhar in episode 22 of Brave New World to discuss the dangers, and how we can tackle them.

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Episode 21: Daniel Kahneman on How Noise Hampers Judgement

We overestimate our skill at decision making. We’re pretty bad, and bias isn’t the only reason. Daniel Kahneman joins Vasant Dhar in episode 21 of Brave New World to shed light on the problem of Noise, and what we can do about it.

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Episode 20: Stuart Russell on The Existential Risk of AI

It is a matter of time before machines outstrip humans in most capabilities. How can we possibly stop a more intelligent entity from taking control? Stuart Russell joins Vasant Dhar in episode 20 of Brave New World to explain why, despite the dangers, he remains optimistic about artificial intelligence and how to control it.

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Episode 19: James Robinson on What Makes a Successful State

Why do some nations fail in their lurch towards liberty while others succeed? James Robinson joins Vasant Dhar in episode 19 of Brave New World to explain why there is no simple answer to that question — but the balance between the state and society is central to understanding it. Also discussed: the developing challenge of Big Tech.

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Episode 18: Erik Brynjolfsson on the Second Machine Age

The first machine age was about mechanical machines. We now live in a time of thinking machines. Erik Brynjolfsson joins Vasant Dhar in episode 18 of Brave New World to talk about the impact of AI on productivity and inequality — and to explain why he remains optimistic about the prospects for humans in the AI era.

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Episode 17: Peter Railton on Moral Intuitions

How do we come upon our morality? How much of our moral judgement is intuitive and how much is learned? Moral philosopher Peter Railton joins Vasant Dhar in episode 17 of Brave New World to talk about his thinking in this area — and also how the fields of ethics and AI are colliding.

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Episode 16: Samuel Moyn on Humane War

Is a humane war a contradiction in terms? Can rules be made and followed that limit the damage that wars do, or will that make conflict perpetual? Is it necessary and moral for the USA to continue to be the policeman of the world? Samuel Moyn joins Vasant Dhar in episode 16 of Brave New World to tackle the thorny ethical and practical questions around warfare and terrorism as technologies become more precise and lethal.

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Episode 15: Nandan Nilekani on an Egalitarian Internet

The internet began with an Age of Innocence, which gave way to the Age of Commerce, driven by the advertising model. Nandan Nilekani joins Vasant Dhar in episode 15 of Brave New World to describe how we have now entered the Age of Geopolitics, in which nation states are jostling for power with big tech companies, while tailoring regulation based on their needs and aspirations. They also discuss Nandan’s pioneering role in building India’s data empowerment architecture — which the rest of the world can learn from in designing systems that empower individuals as well as societies.

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Episode 14: Bias, Lies, and Democracy

Is our democracy in peril? What role has the media played in this? What should we do about it? Ali Velshi joins Vasant Dhar in episode 14 of Brave New World to discuss the subtleties of bias, fake news, information consumption and what to do about social media.

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Episode 13: Can a Machine Have Human Values?

As artificial intelligence gets more and more powerful, the need becomes greater to ensure that machines do the right thing. But what does that even mean? Brian Christian joins Vasant Dhar in episode 13 of Brave New World to discuss, as the title of his new book goes, the alignment problem.

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Episode 12: Are We Becoming a New Species?

Social media is changing human behavior. How and why are humans being transformed by algorithms? Molly Crockett joins Vasant Dhar in episode 12 of Brave New World to describe her work at the meeting place of technology and morality.

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Episode 11: The Future of Liberal Education

In these polarised times, what should the colleges of tomorrow look like? Michael S Roth, the president of Wesleyan University, joins Vasant Dhar in episode 11 of Brave New World to discuss his vision for liberal education. We should empower individuals, he says, by designing for serendipity.

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Episode 10: Understanding QE in the New World

Covid was a shock to the global economy. Policy makers have responded with Quantitative Easing. Paul Sheard joins Vasant Dhar in episode 10 of Brave New World to discuss the nuances of QE and its possible impacts. Also discussed: the role of monetary policy in this changing tech landscape, helicopter money and the big question of the 21st century. (Listen to find out!)

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Episode 9: Waiting for Doctor AI

Artificial intelligence can transform healthcare — and the medical profession may be behind the curve. Regina Barzilay joins Vasant Dhar in episode 9 of Brave New World to talk about how doctors, programmers and lawyers need to find a meeting point to make the revolution happen.

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Episode 8: How Social Media Threatens Society

The internet has changed our lives, mostly for the better. But there is a flip side. Jonathan Haidt joins Vasant Dhar in episode 8 of Brave New World to describe how social media is a threat to democracy and public discourse — and to the mental health of a generation.

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Episode 7: The Nature of Intelligence

Trying to build artificial intelligence can teach us so much about intelligence itself. AI pioneer Yann LeCun, a winner of the Turing Award, joins Vasant Dhar in episode 7 of Brave New World to discuss how the field of AI has evolved and where it is heading. Points of discussion:  How machines that perceive the world have turbocharged AI. How one of the biggest challenges in deep learning is common sense. The interface between industry and the academy. And how consciousness may not be a superpower but a reflection of our limitations.

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Episode 6: The China Question

How should the Biden administration treat China? The same way the Trump administration did, Peter Berkowitz tells Vasant Dhar in episode 6 of Brave New World. The USA, argues Berkowitz, must not lose sight of its core values as a great democracy.

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Episode 5: Law and Education in Our Modern World

We live in a different world than we did 30 years ago. How can law and education adapt to the disruptions of technology and politics? John Sexton joins Vasant Dhar in episode 5 of Brave New World to share his insights as an educator who tried to forge a way ahead.

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Episode 4: Human and Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

Despite amazing scientific advances, why is our healthcare system failing us today? It is rife with mistakes and lacks care. Can artificial intelligence aid the human touch in healthcare? Eric Topol joins Vasant Dhar in episode 4 of Brave New World to discuss how doctors and machines can come together to improve our lives and move us towards a world of individualized medicine.

Useful resourcesDeep Medicine by Eric Topol, as well as his other books.