WSJ’s The Future of Everything
The Wall Street Journal
Nov 06, 2020 30 min
Teacher's New Assistant: Artificial Intelligence
Schools around the world are slowly adopting artificial intelligence to better tailor teaching to individual kids. One program maps a student's mastery of math; another assesses literacy and screens for dyslexia. Critics are skeptical that this technology is as effective as promised. Could surveilling students in this way do more harm than good?
Oct 03, 2020 26 min
Mobile Voting's Future
As the U.S. gets ready for an election during a pandemic, we report on in-person voting options and review the security threats inherent in mobile or blockchain assisted voting. In a previous version of this podcast released on Oct. 2, we said that Bradley Tusk was funding mobile voting apps, including the Voatz app. Tusk Philanthropies has given funding to voting precincts to launch mobile voting pilot programs - not to the apps themselves.
Sep 04, 2020 27 min
The Blood of the Future Could be Made in a Lab
The coronavirus pandemic led to blood-donation shortages across the world, outlining the fragility of the pipeline. That has brought fresh urgency to research that has been decades in the making but is only now starting to become a reality: The production of artificial blood. Last year, researchers began a pioneering clinical trial, and more are on the way, bringing us closer to a world where blood factories augment supplies.
Aug 28, 2020 28 min
How to Talk to Animals (and Know What They're Saying Back)
What if we could alert whales to stay away from oil spills? Or hear from dolphins directly when they want treats? Seamless conversation between animals and humans is still a far-off goal. But scientists think that machine-learning tools could open the door to communication with marine mammals. Listen to the first part of this two-part series, Google AI Tries to Save the Whales.
Aug 14, 2020 32 min
Google AI Tries to Save the Whales
In the Pacific Northwest, an increase in shipping traffic is further threatening the orca population, which has already seen its numbers drop in the face of food shortages and climate change. One of the biggest threats from the boats is noise pollution, which interferes with the whales' ability to communicate. Engineers at a unit of Google may have an answer: An alert system that relies on artificial intelligence.
Jul 17, 2020 24 min
Traveling With Tech Made for the World's Fastest Sailboats
The America's Cup, the world's oldest sailing competition, has a reputation for fostering innovation. In 2013, contestants began to use hydrofoils-underwater wings on the hull-to lift their boats out of the water during the race, allowing them to reach highway speeds and revolutionizing the sport. An Olympic sailor and a billionaire oil trader are now reimagining the technology to make passenger ferries faster and more eco-friendly.
Jul 03, 2020 26 min
Technology Helps Train Police Officers
In recent weeks, protests have erupted in response to police violence against citizens - specifically communities of color - forcing departments to reconsider how officers do their jobs. Police forces have been using tech - like Tasers and body cameras - to try and reduce the use of lethal force and improve accountability. In this episode, we'll explore how emerging technology - like virtual reality training - could improve police training by boosting empathy and tackling racial bias.
Jun 05, 2020 23 min
The Super Powers of Bats and the Fight to Stop Deadly Viruses
The tiny, flying creatures carry all sorts of viruses but don't get sick. How do they do that? We meet the researchers who are mapping bat genomes and studying the animal's ability to fend off inflammation. What they find could help humans better combat the next pandemic. Special thanks to Bradley Klein for allowing us to use his bat call sounds. He's given bat walks in New York's Central Park and surrounding areas for more than a decade.
May 22, 2020 23 min
How Polio Research is Helping in the Hunt for a Vaccine
Research on a vaccine for the new coronavirus is progressing swiftly because of the legacy of scientists working on past diseases. Some of society's most devastating viruses ended up improving the way we study illness and search for cures. We explore the thread that connects research on polio and the new virus, SARS-CoV-2, and consider whether the pandemic will inform future generations of virologists.
May 08, 2020 17 min
Dead or Alive, Viruses are Everywhere, and Here to Stay
Viruses are ubiquitous, found in every crevice on earth. Some, like SARS CoV 2, can end up killing their hosts. But researchers credit ancient viruses with helping us form long term memories. As parts of the world reopen for business, we consider how these little packets of genetic material are not just our enemy, but helped us to evolve. Viruses, it turns out, shaped our genome, and will like be part of our evolutionary future.