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Brave New Planet

Science • Technology • News

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 withRead more

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Brave New Planet Presents Miracle And Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon

Nov 16 • 05:21

Presenting: An Excerpt from Miracle And Wonder: Conversations With Paul Simon by Malcolm Gladwell and Bruce Headlam. Download the audiobook today at and receive an exclusive listener's guide pdf featuring additional commentary from Bruce, the producers and editors of Miracle and Wonder....

Pushkin Honors Juneteenth

Jun 17 • 27:41

At Pushkin, we think of Juneteenth as an opportunity to reflect on the past and think about the future: How do we build a more just and equitable society? We strive to make podcasts that help answer that question, and in honor of Juneteenth, we’re highlighting two of them. In this episode, you'll hear previews of our new shows Be Antiracist and A Slight Change of Plans. We...

Presenting The Last Archive: Remote Control

Jun 2 • 48:47

Presenting a special episode of another Pushkin podcast, The Last Archive. On the show, Harvard historian and Yorker writer Jill Lepore uncovers the secrets of the past the way a detective might, using archival tapes and documents, intrepid reporting, and radio drama reenactments. This season investigates purveyors of doubt — hoaxers, fraudsters, pseudoscientists — and how...

Episode 7: What Will It Take?

Nov 23 • 31:29

How can we come together to tackle big challenges in science and society? Dr. Eric Lander and Niala Boodhoo, veteran journalist and Axios Today host, talk about the importance of trust, humility, and skepticism in the worlds of science and media. Together, they ask how we can find the common ground we’ll need to make progress....

Episode 6: Reshaping Nature Through Gene Drives

Nov 9 • 01:16:26

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,...

Episode 5: What Algorithms Say About You

Nov 2 • 01:16:35

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 th...

Episode 4: Killer Robots and the Future of War

Oct 26 • 01:09:59

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 fea...

Episode 3: A Radical Approach to Climate Change

Oct 19 • 01:04:26

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?...

Episode 2: Deepfakes and the Future of Truth

Oct 12 • 01:14:21

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 tr...

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Episode 1: What’s at Stake

Oct 12 • 23:03

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?...

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