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Babbage from Economist Radio

The Economist

Named after Charles Babbage a 19th-century polymath and grandfather of computing, Babbage is a weekly podcast on science and technology. Host Kenneth Cukier talks to our correspondents about the innovations, discoveries and gadgetry making the news. Published every Wednesday on Economist Radio.

Named after Charles Babbage a 19th-century polymath and grandfather of computing, Babbage is a weekly podcast on science and technology. Host Kenneth Cukier talks to our correspondents about the innovations, discoveries and gadgetry making the news. Published every Wednesday on Economist Radio.

Location:

London, United Kingdom

Networks:

The Economist

Description:

Named after Charles Babbage a 19th-century polymath and grandfather of computing, Babbage is a weekly podcast on science and technology. Host Kenneth Cukier talks to our correspondents about the innovations, discoveries and gadgetry making the news. Published every Wednesday on Economist Radio.

Language:

English


Episodes

Babbage: Feeding tomorrow’s world @AAAS

2/19/2020
By 2050 the global population is projected to reach 9.7 billion. At the same time, climate change is putting increasing pressure on agricultural land. At the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Seattle, Alok Jha, The Economist’s science correspondent, speaks to nutritionists, genetic engineers and computer scientists to find out whether the planet can sustainably feed future generations. Could genetic engineering make key crops more productive,...

Duration:00:31:49

Babbage: Close encounters of a solar kind

2/12/2020
The Solar Orbiter is on a two year journey towards the sun, the most studied astronomical subject in the sky. What will this new view of the sun reveal? Also, Kenneth Cukier talks to Amy Zegart, who advises American policymakers on cyber-spycraft, about how countries can improve their defence against digital security threats. And, why living in a city impairs navigational skills. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:25:28

Babbage: Viral hit

2/5/2020
Can a vaccine for the new coronavirus be developed in time to stop a pandemic? How a satellite called Claire has found a new way of spotting methane leaks to help combat global warming. And, unfolding the mystery of butterfly wings. Kenneth Cukier hosts Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/radiooffer For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Duration:00:18:09

Babbage: Judging the book

1/29/2020
Will Facebook’s new “oversight board” restore trust in the social media giant? Also, venture capitalist Roy Bahat on how AI will transform the future of work. And, how to make oxygen from moon dust. Kenneth Cukier hosts Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/radiooffer For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Duration:00:22:55

Babbage: The Wuhan plan

1/22/2020
The new coronavirus, which was discovered in December in the city of Wuhan China, is now causing a global scare. What are the symptoms of the Wuhan virus and how can it be contained? Also, a new biotech company is hoping to revolutionise the way drugs are brought to market. And, should countries around the world ban Huawei technology from their 5G network? Kenneth Cukier hosts. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:25:08

Babbage: Starlight, star bright

1/15/2020
A giant star called Betelgeuse is behaving strangely. Could the dimming star be about to become a supernova? Also, a group of internet veterans are contesting the billion dollar sale of the “.org” domain registry. What’s their alternative? And, accidental stampedes can be deadly. How does a crowd turn into a crush? Kenneth Cukier hosts ____________________ Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:18:42

Babbage: Fire fighting

1/8/2020
Australia is battling catastrophic wildfires. Climate models predict extreme fire events are going to become more commonplace. What can countries do to prepare? And, a glimpse into the chip factory around which the modern world turns. Also, what is “open innovation”? Henry Chesbrough, professor at the Haas School of Business, at UC Berkeley talks to Kenneth Cukier. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/radiooffer For...

Duration:00:24:25

Babbage: What’s the frequency Kenneth?

1/1/2020
Kenneth Cukier celebrates the invention of a musical instrument that turns 100 in 2020—the Theremin. A staple of sci-fi sound-effects, the instrument is enjoying a revival in the digital age. We talk to players, historians, a former student and relative of its inventor to learn about the influence of the Theremin on modern culture. Was the instrument a technological achievement that came a century too soon? Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:23:08

Babbage: How the planets got their spots

12/18/2019
The workings of the solar system were once likened to the machinations of a precise clock, but the orbits of the planets haven’t always been so perfectly balanced. How did the planets end up where they are today? Also, the Mars missions which hopes to reveal life on the red planet. And, designer and technologist John Maeda on the importance of understanding machines. Kenneth Cukier hosts Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:26:12

Babbage: Beijing kicks out foreign kit

12/11/2019
China wants to remove all foreign technology from its state offices within the next three years. One in every two people will experience the menopause. Why are so few women taking advantage of life-changing hormone replacement therapies? And, the internet domain registry “.org” is being sold for over $1bn. What does this mean for the future of the internet? Kenneth Cukier hosts ____________________ Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:23:45

Babbage: Now I’ve learned my ABC

12/4/2019
After the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin, step back from their roles at Google’s parent company Alphabet, who will really be in charge? Israeli venture capitalist Chemi Peres on the ways innovation can lead to peace. And, cases of Malaria are no longer in decline — what needs to happen to reignite the fight? Kenneth Cukier hosts Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/radiooffer For information regarding...

Duration:00:22:45

Babbage: AI: The end of the scientific method?

11/27/2019
Researchers are using artificial intelligence techniques to invent medicines and materials—but in the process are they upending the scientific method itself? The AI approach is a form of trial-and-error at scale, or “radical empiricism”. But does AI-driven science uncover new answers that humans cannot understand? Host Kenneth Cukier finds out with James Field of LabGenius, Demis Hassabis of DeepMind, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, tech venture capitalists Zavain Dar and Nan Li,...

Duration:00:23:41

Babbage: Reality check

11/20/2019
Virtual reality continues to make people sick. Will the technology ever take off and is it designed for women? Leo Murray, from “Riding Sunbeams”, on using solar power to propel future commuter journeys. Also, how slippery toilets could reduce water-use. Alok Jha hosts Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/radiooffer For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Duration:00:23:07

Babbage: Private patients

11/13/2019
Google has teamed up with US-healthcare provider Ascension to access patient data without them being notified. What are the privacy concerns and implications for digital healthcare? And, how will 3D printing change the way we build everything from skyscrapers to spaceships. Also, Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and author, speaks to Kenn Cukier about the future of science education and space exploration. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:28:53

Babbage: Designer genes

11/6/2019
How far away are “designer babies” from being a reality? Host Kenneth Cukier explores the ethical questions around the applications of a genome-wide association study. Journalist and author Gaia Vince on how “cultural evolution” shapes society. Also, a solution to the problem of “concrete cancer” For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Duration:00:24:23

Babbage: Home o’Sapiens

10/30/2019
Scientists believe they have located the ancestral home of one of humanity’s early ancestors—in northern Botswana. Tom Siebel, a Silicon Valley veteran and the founder of C3.ai, explains how digital transformation stops companies from going extinct. And, host Kenneth Cukier takes a trip to the Natural History Museum in London to learn about bias in species collection _________________________ Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:24:01

Babbage: Libra takes a pounding

10/23/2019
Facebook’s cryptocurrency, Libra, has suffered setbacks in recent weeks, as the company’s founder Mark Zuckerberg appears before a congressional committee to defend it. The Economist’s technology editor Tim Cross explains what’s at stake. Also, how a giant timber mill in Finland is leading the way in sustainable forestry. And Damian Bradfield, chief creative officer of WeTransfer, on how ethics and the internet can coexist. Kenneth Cukier hosts ____________________ Please subscribe to The...

Duration:00:25:04

Babbage: Cough up

10/16/2019
Over the past two decades the Global Fund has fought the spread of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, but now many in the field fear its progress is under threat. The founder and CEO of language-learning app Duolingo, Luis von Ahn, on his plans to help the 750m illiterate adults in the world learn to read. And, why net-zero carbon emissions targets are measuring the wrong thing. Kenneth Cukier hosts For information regarding your data privacy, visit acast.com/privacy

Duration:00:28:40

Babbage: The promise and peril of AI

10/9/2019
Artificial intelligence—the technique of using data and algorithms to make decisions as well as (or better) than humans—is on track to become a mainstream technology, on a par with electricity or computing. But in order to flourish it needs to overcome several challenges. From privacy and market concentration, to safety and explainability. In this week’s show Kenneth Cukier speaks to some of the leading experts in the field about the benefits and risks of AI, and why it is so important that...

Duration:00:32:04

Babbage: Steak and Chips

10/2/2019
As the trade war intensifies, China wants to reduce its reliance on imports of foreign computer chips. Could open-source technology solve its problems? Also, new research on red meat pits statisticians against nutritionists. And Brad Smith, president of Microsoft, on the ethical dilemmas that come from powerful new technology. Kenneth Cukier hosts ____________________ Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio...

Duration:00:30:30