Innovation Hub-logo

Innovation Hub

PRI

Innovation Hub looks at how to reinvent our world – from medicine to education, relationships to time management. Great thinkers and great ideas, designed to make your life better.

Innovation Hub looks at how to reinvent our world – from medicine to education, relationships to time management. Great thinkers and great ideas, designed to make your life better.

Location:

Boston, MA

Networks:

PRI

WGBH

PRX

Description:

Innovation Hub looks at how to reinvent our world – from medicine to education, relationships to time management. Great thinkers and great ideas, designed to make your life better.

Language:

English


Episodes

The People Powering AI Decisions

10/8/2021
The 1964 Supreme Court Case Jacobellis v. Ohio presented a highly subjective question to the justices: what is obscenity or pornography? How do you define it? Where do you draw the line? In response, Justice Potter Stewart gave us the iconic line, "I know it when I see it." His ambiguous answer works fine for humans who can make judgement calls on the fly, but the algorithms that rule our lives need rules that are much more concrete. Say you flag something as inappropriate on social media....

Duration:00:50:38

The Lost Art of Listening

10/1/2021
We have become accustomed to politicians shouting at each other, and confrontational TV talk show hosts who do anything but listen to their guests, but how good are any of us at truly focusing on the words of others in our conversations? Listening is a lost art, according to Kate Murphy the author of “You're Not Listening: What You're Missing and Why It Matters,” and the cost to our health, our relationships, and our society is steep, she says. Murphy explains how the modern world has...

Duration:00:32:10

The Evolution of Play

10/1/2021
Childhood today is radically different than it was just a few generations ago. Before the coronavirus pandemic, kids’ busy schedules included school, homework, chores, sports, music lessons and other activities. Those packed schedules often left out one key element that is crucial to growth and learning — play. That’s according to Dorsa Amir, a postdoctoral researcher and evolutionary anthropologist at Boston College. Amir has studied the Shuar people of Ecuador, a non-industrialized...

Duration:00:18:02

When Romance Meets Ratios

9/24/2021
In 2019, women hit a milestone in gender parity when they became the majority of the college-educated workforce. While it may be easy to see how this ​achievement will impact the economy, earnings, and job opportunities, it is probably a little bit harder to predict how it will shape, of all things, the dating market. Jon Birger, a business journalist and former senior writer at Fortune, has authored two books on the connection between ratios and relationships. Birger acknowledges that not...

Duration:00:50:39

Why Exercise?

9/17/2021
Exercise is a relatively recent phenomenon. After all, it’s difficult to imagine a caveman on a treadmill. And it’s safe to say that paleolithic humans never pumped iron. But something changed as we moved from the plow to the Peloton. Exercise - physical exertion for the purpose of improving health or fitness - became a huge part of modern life, and a nearly $100 billion global industry. But why do we spend so much time and money at the gym or on the track and does it actually help our...

Duration:00:50:05

How Gay Marriage Won

9/10/2021
In the decades since Roe v. Wade, public sentiment about abortion has remained fairly steady. By contrast, in the mid-1990s, only around a quarter of the country supported gay marriage, and then, somehow, just 15 years later, those numbers had nearly doubled. Sasha Issenberg, author of “The Engagement: America’s Quarter-Century Struggle Over Same-Sex Marriage,” tracks the twists and turns that the fight for same-sex marriage in America took, from a power struggle over a parade in Hawaii, to...

Duration:00:50:37

Will The Future of Work Leave Workers Behind?

9/3/2021
The U.S. economy has come a long way since the darkest days of the pandemic, but the future remains uncertain for many, especially those hit the hardest: low-wage workers. Last April, David Autor, an MIT economist, predicted that a pandemic-induced recession would be an “automation forcing event,” with executives rapidly deploying non-human labor to replace workers, particularly in the service sector - and he was right. Autor and Betsey Stevenson, who served as chief economist at the U.S....

Duration:00:50:37

How the West Dominated Our Brains

8/27/2021
About 1500 years ago, the world was a very different place; Pope Gregory was spreading Catholicism far and wide, a plague was running rampant, and some dominoes were about to start falling. The end of that cascade would end up in a world where a certain group of people started to think quite differently from those who had come before them. Their brains began to change, the societies they built thrived and they grew so influential and culturally dominant that their way of thinking permeated...

Duration:00:50:41

FIXED: Walter Isaacson on How Gene Editing Will Change Life

8/24/2021
Walter Isaacson has made a habit of profiling world-changers: innovators who, through their discoveries, upend the way we live. Recently, he’s been preoccupied with individuals who have unlocked what he calls “fundamental kernels of our existence” - first Albert Einstein and the atom, then Steve Jobs and the bit, and now, in his latest work, Jennifer Doudna and the gene. In The Code Breaker, Isaacson dives into the CRISPR revolution and how the booming field of gene editing is altering how...

Duration:00:50:04

Walter Isaacson on How Gene Editing Will Change Life

8/20/2021
Walter Isaacson has made a habit of profiling world-changers: innovators who, through their discoveries, upend the way we live. Recently, he’s been preoccupied with individuals who have unlocked what he calls “fundamental kernels of our existence” - first Albert Einstein and the atom, then Steve Jobs and the bit, and now, in his latest work, Jennifer Doudna and the gene. In The Code Breaker, Isaacson dives into the CRISPR revolution and how the booming field of gene editing is altering how...

Duration:00:50:12

Sal Khan on Leveling the Playing Field, In and Out of the Classroom

8/13/2021
Educators around the country were plunged into a massive experiment with virtual learning last year, when more than 50 million K-12 students were sent home at the start of the pandemic. Many were soon knocking on the door of the father of online education, Sal Khan, looking for help. The founder and CEO of the nonprofit Khan Academy, which provides free educational resources to anyone who wants them, says he was impressed with the “heroic efforts” of numerous school districts to close the...

Duration:00:30:15

Pandemic Politics Hit the Classroom

8/13/2021
All over the country, school districts are grappling with how to safely reopen classrooms in the midst of a resurgent pandemic. While many have already made decisions about in-person learning, state and local governments are clashing over mask mandates and vaccination requirements. Edward-Isaac Dovere, a staff writer for The Atlantic and author of “Battle for the Soul: Inside the Democrats' Campaigns to Defeat Trump,” discusses the political and practical implications of such divergent...

Duration:00:20:26

Has Cleaning Gone Too Far?

8/6/2021
It has been said that cleanliness is next to godliness, but the constant disinfecting and scrubbing of our homes, offices and public spaces during the coronavirus pandemic has taken these seemingly virtuous efforts to a whole new level. COVID-19 is now understood to spread primarily through close contact with infected people, rather than contaminated surfaces, but that hasn’t stopped consumers from snapping up cleaning products that promise to kill 99% of germs. Trying to eliminate all...

Duration:00:25:55

America's Sherlock

8/6/2021
Imagine a crime scene, and what it might take to solve the case. Do you think about dusting for fingerprints? DNA collection? According to Kate Winkler Dawson, author of “American Sherlock: Murder, Forensics, and the Birth of American CSI” and associate professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, the man we can thank for that approach is Edward Oscar Heinrich. In the early 20th century, Heinrich took the world of forensics from guesswork, confession, and coercion to a place...

Duration:00:24:33

Can Capitalism Save Us from Capitalism?

7/30/2021
Business won’t save the world, but — according to Harvard economist Rebecca Henderson — it can help fix it. Henderson, author of Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire, became preoccupied with economics after working for the consulting firm McKinsey & Company where her job was “shutting plants” down if they proved unable to adapt to market changes. Since then, Henderson has been animated by the question of how to build a more just and sustainable system.

Duration:00:50:06

How to Beat Burnout

7/23/2021
In Japanese, the word “karoshi” translates to “death by overwork.” As reports of workplace burnout have skyrocketed since the pandemic, it’s a phrase that aptly encapsulates a feeling that thousands of workers have experienced over the past year. But the issue is neither temporary nor solely catalyzed by the pandemic; instead, we face a long-term health risk with rippling impacts. This is the argument put forth by Jennifer Moss, a journalist and author of the forthcoming book “The Burnout...

Duration:00:50:17

Climate Migration Is Already Here And It's Going To Get Worse

7/16/2021
A migration crisis is already underway, and it's caused, at least in large part, by climate change, according to modeling by ProPublica and the New York Times Magazine. Their expert analysis shows that without the proper preparation and political will, it will worsen as soon as 2050. Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton University, explains how the increasingly deadly combination of heat and humidity is driving people from their homelands. He...

Duration:00:50:21

The Amazon Effect

7/9/2021
July 2021 is a big month for Amazon’s Founder and former CEO, Jeff Bezos. Not only did he step down as CEO of the company he built into a $1.63 trillion empire, he will also fly into space on the first crewed flight of his New Shepard rocket ship. And yet, the space trip is just the most recent of Bezos’ boundary-breaking endeavors. Bezos and his company have revolutionized American business, extending their reach into nearly every industry— from retail, to media, to healthcare, and cloud...

Duration:00:50:24

To Rethink the Constitution

7/2/2021
The Constitution, first drafted in 1787, stands as the supreme law of the land in the U.S. But Mary Anne Franks — a law professor at the University of Miami who grew up attending a fundamentalist church in Arkansas — says that often “we read it not as a text but as Scripture,” much in the same way she was taught to read the Bible as a child. Franks, author of The Cult of the Constitution, argues that originalism — the judicial view that the Constitution should only be interpreted as its...

Duration:00:50:12

A Learning Revolution for a Post-Pandemic World

6/25/2021
School is out for the summer, but many students, educators and parents are still reeling from an earthquake in K-12 education. It will take time to recover from learning loss, fractured relationships, stress and other problems caused or exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, as we emerge from crisis mode, some see a chance to transform American education for the better. Paul Reville, a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Pedro Noguera, dean of the...

Duration:00:50:24