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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.

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.

Episode 3: The Social Media Industrial Complex

Can social media platforms change our society? Sinan Aral joins Vasant Dhar in episode 3 of Brave New World to share his concerns.

Useful resourcesThe Hype Machine by Sinan Aral, as well as Sinan’s websitevideos and research.

Episode 2: Uplift the Unremarkables

In this no-holds-barred conversation with Vasant Dhar, Scott Galloway shreds the myth of American mobility. He urges our institutions, especially universities, to shed their obsession with the elites, and instead uplift the ‘unremarkables.’

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Episode 1: The Technology Wars

In the Internet era, war is about tech. Technology platforms are the new power players of our times, alongside the state. Arun Sundararajan joins Vasant Dhar to discuss how the Internet is shaping the power dynamic between individuals, platforms and the state, the choices that confront us and their consequences. They discuss the US-China war, who is winning, and what it all means for us.

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Welcome to Brave New World

The role of tech in our lives has accelerated in the post-COVID era, creating a ‘virtual’ existence with low physical human contact. It has transformed how we work, govern, stay healthy, worship, invest, entertain, and much more. In this preview episode, Vasant Dhar — a longtime AI researcher and data scientist — tells us about his forthcoming mind-opening conversations with leading experts on the world that our future selves will inhabit.

Upcoming guests include Sinan AralJohn SextonEric TopolYann LeCunRichard Thaler, Nandan Nilekani, Ali Velshi, Paul Sheard, Peter Railton, Suneel Gupta and Michael S Roth.

Welcome to Brave New World!