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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.