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Brave New Planet

Utopia or dystopia? It’s up to us.
In the 21st century, powerful technologies have been appearing at a breathtaking pace—related to the internet, artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and more. They have amazing potential upsides, but we can’t ignore the serious risks that come with them.
Brave New Planet is a podcast that delves deep into the most exciting and challenging scientific frontiers, helping us understand them and grapple with their implications. Dr. Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, is a geneticist, molecular biologist, and mathematician who was a leader of the Human Genome Project and for eight years served as a science advisor to the White House for President Obama. He’s also the host of Brave New Planet, and he’s talked to leading researchers, journalists, doctors, policy makers, activists, and legal experts to illuminate how this generation’s choices will shape the future as never before.
Brave New Planet is a partnership between the Broad Institute, Pushkin Industries, and The Boston Globe's Opinion team.

Episode 6: Reshaping Nature Through Gene Drives

Brave New Planet

  • 1.3K views
  • over 3 years ago
  • 01:11:06

A new technology, called gene drives, has the power to spread any genetic instructions you wish across an entire animal or plant species in the wild. It might let us restore ecosystems ravaged by invasive species, or help species adapt to climate change. And, it might save millions of children from dying of malaria. But could altering nature in this way, and on this scale, have unintended consequences? And, when it comes reshaping ecosystems, who needs to say yes? For links to materials referenced in the episode, suggestions for further learning, and guest bios, visit bravenewplanet.org.   Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Episode 5: What Algorithms Say About You

Brave New Planet

  • 1.2K views
  • over 3 years ago
  • 01:11:15

Artificial intelligence is letting us make predictive algorithms that translate languages and spot diseases as well or better than humans. But these systems are also being used to make decisions about hiring and criminal sentencing. Do computers trained on vast datasets of human experience learn human biases, like sexism and racism? Is it possible to create an algorithm that is fair for everyone? And should you have the right to know when these algorithms are being used and how they work? For links to materials referenced in the episode, suggestions for further learning, and guest bios, visit bravenewplanet.org.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Episode 4: Killer Robots and the Future of War

Brave New Planet

  • 910 views
  • over 3 years ago
  • 01:04:38

Fully autonomous lethal weapons—robots that can select and engage targets without human intervention—are fast becoming possible. They might minimize casualties and protect civilians in times of war. But is it morally wrong to put a computer in charge of life or death decisions? Could system errors lead to flash wars? But, as war gets faster and more complex, is it even feasible to keep humans in the loop? For links to materials referenced in the episode, suggestions for further learning, and guest bios, visit bravenewplanet.org.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Episode 3: A Radical Approach to Climate Change

Brave New Planet

  • 990 views
  • over 3 years ago
  • 59:06

Could altering the Earth’s atmosphere to reflect back some of the sun’s rays be a solution to climate change? It would likely decrease global temperatures, but it might lead to climate wars. Humanity might become “addicted” to it for survival. And ultimately, would this technology only distract us from tackling the real problem of carbon emissions? For links to materials referenced in the episode, suggestions for further learning, and guest bios, visit bravenewplanet.org.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Episode 2: Deepfakes and the Future of Truth

Brave New Planet

  • 1.5K views
  • over 3 years ago
  • 01:11:32

It’s getting easy to create convincing—but false—videos through artificial intelligence. These “deepfakes” can have interesting applications in art and education, but they can also cause great harm—from ruining the reputation of an ex-partner to provoking international conflicts or swinging elections. When seeing is not believing, who can we trust, and can democracy and truth survive?  For links to materials referenced in the episode, suggestions for further learning, and guest bios, visit bravenewplanet.org.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

Episode 1: What’s at Stake

Brave New Planet

  • 1.4K views
  • over 3 years ago
  • 19:33

Malcolm Gladwell joins host Dr. Eric Lander for a conversation about science, society, and how the decisions we make today will impact generations to come. At a moment when science is becoming more important than ever for meeting the challenges ahead, can we solve the growing tensions between society and science? For links to materials referenced in the episode, suggestions for further learning, and guest bios, visit bravenewplanet.org.  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices