Babbage from Economist Radio

Babbage from Economist Radio

By 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.

Episodes

Babbage: The rise of robo-doc

Doctors enter augmented reality to help them treat patients with illnesses like covid-19. Host Kenneth Cukier speaks to the doctors leading a Hololens initiative at an Imperial College London hospital. Also, Dario Gil, director of IBM Research, on the future of scientific collaboration. And SpaceX has successfully sent two astronauts to the International Space Station—what’s next for commercial spaceflight? Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
03/06/2028m 6s

Babbage: The language of the universe

How can mathematics help us understand our lives and predict the world around us? Host Alok Jha speaks to David Sumpter of Uppsala University about the equations that can help people make better decisions. Christl Donnelly, an epidemiologist at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London details the role mathematics plays in modelling covid-19. Moon Duchin of Tufts University explains how maths can stop gerrymandering. And physicist Graham Farmelo on why he thinks the universe speaks in numbers. For more on the pandemic, see The Economist's coronavirus hub.Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
27/05/2025m 16s

Babbage: Think of the children

An apparent spike in a rare childhood illness, Kawasaki disease, suggests the coronavirus may manifest very differently in children and raises questions over the role they play in spreading the pandemic. America’s latest offensive against Huawei pushes the global semiconductor industry into uncharted territory; it may also harm American interests in the process. And, flattening the other curve—could fossil fuels be added to covid-19’s casualty list? Kenneth Cukier hostsFor more on the pandemic, see The Economist's coronavirus hub.Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
20/05/2023m 31s

Babbage: Is there anybody out there?

Will humans ever discover intelligent life in space? Since the 1960’s, scientists have been working on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. They have not found it yet but their research is moving up a gear. Better telescopes, faster computers and more funding means that the chances of discovering ET in the next few decades have dramatically increased. Alok Jha hosts.For access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe: www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
13/05/2024m 39s

Babbage: Shot at victory

Could repurposing existing drugs, such as remdesivir, be the answer to the search for treatments for covid-19? Also, the winner of this year’s Marconi Prize, Andrea Goldsmith of Stanford University, on her pioneering work in wireless communications technology. And, the mission to give rivers their wiggle back. Kenneth Cukier hosts. For more on the pandemic, see The Economist's coronavirus hub.Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
06/05/2024m 42s

Babbage: Beyond immunity

The immune system plays a vital role in protecting humans from infections, but how is it faring against covid-19? Pascal Soriot, chief executive of the pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, tells host, Kenneth Cukier, about potential treatments for covid patients. Plus, do people build up an immunity to covid-19 if they have recovered from it, or can they catch it again? And, Sonja Lyubomirsky, professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside, on how acts of kindness can boost the immune system.Read The Economist’s full coverage of the coronavirus.For access to The Economist’s print, digital and audio editions subscribe: www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
29/04/2023m 35s

Babbage: Opening up

Tech firm Microsoft has announced plans to embrace open data. Jeni Tennison, from Britain’s Open Data Institute, says it marks a milestone in the way big companies share data. Also, could mass testing for covid-19 provide a way out of the global lockdown? And, what is causing the worst drought in over 1,000 years in the south-west of the United States? Kenneth Cukier hosts  You can read The Economist’s full coverage of the coronavirus. Please subscribe for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/radiooffer.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
22/04/2025m 27s

Babbage: Worth a shot

Scientists are working at an unprecedented pace to find a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19. The stakes are high. Natasha Loder, The Economist's health policy editor, explains how an effective vaccine might be developed. Dr Trevor Drew of the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness speaks to host Kenneth Cukier about two trials which have reached the animal-testing stage. Plus, once a vaccine is discovered, what can be done to make sure it is distributed fairly? Dr Seth Berkley, chief executive of GAVI, the vaccine alliance, explains the importance of global cooperation.For more on the pandemic, see The Economist's coronavirus hub. And please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
15/04/2026m 53s

Babbage: Maskarade

The “silent transmission” of covid-19 means people without symptoms could be a major source of its spread. How effective are masks as a defence? Plus, Kenneth Cukier asks Ivan Oransky, co-founder of Retractionwatch.com, whether the race to uncover the mysteries of the virus could lead to a torrent of “bad science”.For more on the pandemic, see The Economist's coronavirus hub. And please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
08/04/2021m 13s

Babbage: Fighting contagion with data

How are location data from mobile phones being used to combat covid-19? And, as more people are forced to stay at home, can broadband and mobile internet connections keep up? Plus, the epidemiologist who helped defeat smallpox, Larry Brilliant, on what needs to be done against the coronavirus. Kenneth Cukier hosts.The Economist is making some of its most important coverage of the covid-19 pandemic freely available to readers of The Economist Today, our daily newsletter. To receive it, register here. For more coverage, see our coronavirus hub. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
01/04/2027m 19s

Babbage: The sniff test for covid-19

Ear, nose and throat experts believe there may be a link between covid-19 and the loss of the senses of smell and taste. Might this help tackle the spread of the disease? And, how scientists and manufacturers are trying to keep up with demand for life-saving ventilators. Plus, the climate impact of staying at home. Kenneth Cukier hosts. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer and read The Economist’s full coverage of the coronavirus.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
25/03/2025m 49s

Babbage: Can the curve be flattened?

Dramatic measures to staunch the spread of covid-19 are happening around the world, but will they be enough to reduce the rate of new cases? And amid public anxiety we answer your questions such as can you get coronavirus twice? How does testing work? And how long does the virus live on surfaces and in the air? The Economist’s health-care and science correspondents answer your covid-19 questions. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
18/03/2025m 21s

Babbage: Fighting the virus

As the number of cases of covid-19 rises over 100,000 around the world, scientists and governments are working around the clock on treatments and vaccines. Our science editor, Geoffrey Carr, explains the genetic make-up of the virus. Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rupert Beale from the Francis Crick Institute, and Regina Barzilay from MIT explain their attempts to thwart the outbreak. Plus, we turn data outlining the fatality rate by age into sound. Kenneth Cukier hosts  Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
11/03/2019m 49s

Babbage: The ocean—it ain't easy being blue

The ocean is under assault as people demand more of its resources. Now climate change is causing the greatest stress yet to ocean ecosystems. Kenneth Cukier talks to Jane Lubchenco, the first US science envoy for the ocean, about why the ocean is too big to ignore. He meets the scientists helping corals to spawn outside their natural habitat and using seaweed as a substitute for single-use plastic. Also, how can Japanese sushi chefs guarantee the origins of their fish? Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
04/03/2024m 32s

Babbage: Going viral, going global

Covid-19, the new coronavirus, is spreading around the world. Abdi Mahamad, the World Health Organisation’s incident manager for Asia, reveals that for the first time since the start of the outbreak, more cases are being reported outside China than within it. What can countries do to limit the spread of the virus, and will it become a pandemic? The Economist’s deputy editor Tom Standage hosts a debate with Therese Hesketh, professor of global health at the Institute for Global Health at University College London; Christl Donnelly, professor of statistical epidemiology at Imperial College London a WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Modelling; and Slavea Chankova, our health-care correspondent.  Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
26/02/2023m 11s

Babbage: Feeding tomorrow’s world @AAAS

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, resilient and nutritious? And how harvesting more data can help farmers get more from their fields____________________Subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer____________________  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
19/02/2031m 22s

Babbage: Close encounters of a solar kind

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 editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/02/2023m 50s

Babbage: Viral hit

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  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
05/02/2018m 9s

Babbage: Judging the book

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  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
29/01/2020m 45s

Babbage: The Wuhan plan

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 editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
22/01/2025m 8s

Babbage: Starlight, star bright

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 editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer____________________  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
15/01/2018m 42s

Babbage: Fire fighting

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  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
08/01/2024m 25s

Babbage: What’s the frequency Kenneth?

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 editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
01/01/2023m 8s

Babbage: How the planets got their spots

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 editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
18/12/1925m 5s

Babbage: Beijing kicks out foreign kit

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 editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer____________________  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
11/12/1923m 34s

Babbage: Now I’ve learned my ABC

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  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
04/12/1922m 9s

Babbage: AI: The end of the scientific method?

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, philosophy professor Sabrina Leonelli, and others. Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
27/11/1922m 40s

Babbage: Reality check

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  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
20/11/1923m 7s

Babbage: Private patients

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 editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
13/11/1928m 20s

Babbage: Designer genes

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”  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
06/11/1923m 48s

Babbage: Home o’Sapiens

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 editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer_________________________  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
30/10/1923m 16s

Babbage: Libra takes a pounding

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 Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer____________________  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
23/10/1921m 21s

Babbage: Cough up

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  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
16/10/1925m 7s

Babbage: The promise and peril of AI

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 we deploy the technology. Guests include Yoshua Bengio, Andrew Ng, Ajay Agrawal, Catherine Havasi and Stuart Russell  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
09/10/1928m 41s

Babbage: Steak and Chips

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 editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer____________________  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
02/10/1926m 15s

Babbage: Carbon sucks

Scientists are experimenting with different ways to reduce the amount of carbon being emitted into the Earth’s atmosphere. Nilay Shah, of Imperial College London, explains how carbon capture and storage works. And, Wang Jian, a tech chief of Alibaba, on how data can be harnessed to make cities more efficient. Plus, three low-tech innovations that could make a big difference to sustainable living. Kenneth Cukier hostsAdditional music by Chris Zabriskie "Divider" (CC by 4.0)____________________Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer____________________  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
25/09/1925m 39s

Babbage: Climate. Change

As global leaders prepare for the UN climate change summit next week, we debate what changes individuals can make today to help limit the effects of climate change. The Economist’s environment editor, Catherine Brahic, hosts a roundtable with Christiana Figueres, who convenes Mission 2020 to reduce global carbon emissions; Ed Davey, a director of the Food and Land Use Coalition with the World Resources Institute; and Kevin Anderson, professor of energy and climate change in the school of engineering at Manchester University  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
18/09/1925m 18s

Babbage: Taxis for take-off

Flying taxis could soon become commonplace in cities if operators can overcome strict regulations on their use. Journalist Rebecca Fannin explores the future of technology giants in China. And, how can the sound of sand reveal its source? Kenn Cukier hostsextra music by Chris Zabriskie “Divider” (CC by 4.0 UK)  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
11/09/1924m 23s

Babbage: Innovation around innovation

Innovation: it’s more than just a buzzword that companies use when trying to sound dynamic. But what does it actually mean? Some entrepreneurs and economists like Patrick Collison and Tyler Cowen think that it needs to be studied as a science of progress. How can pulling together thinking about this help innovators of the future? And what are companies doing today to try and change the way we work? Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
04/09/1927m 17s

Babbage: Oh, grow up

Investors are ploughing hundreds of millions of dollars into vertical farming. Could towers of vegetables help feed the world’s growing population? Also, how studying gravitational waves could unlock the deepest mysteries of the universe and prove Einstein wrong. And, network theorist Albert-Laszlo Barabasi explains the science of professional success. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
28/08/1922m 52s

Babbage: Gut Feeling

How can understanding the link between gut bacteria and Autism Spectrum Disorder help scientists develop a treatment? Broken heart syndrome, or Takotsubo, is a serious condition that can be caused by the death of a loved one. Scientists have recently discovered a possible link to cancer. Also, could re-training the brain combat chronic breathlessness? Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
21/08/1921m 31s

Babbage: A cure for Ebola?

Two treatments for Ebola have emerged from a clinical trial in Africa. Scientists estimate that sea-levels across the globe will rise by 50cm or so in the next 80 years; in some places they could go up by twice as much. Are governments and businesses prepared to deal with the rising tides? And, as face-recognition technology spreads, so do ideas for subverting it. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
14/08/1920m 31s

Babbage: Meno-Pause

Can pioneering surgery help delay the menopause and how will it impact women's lives? And, Clara Vu, of Veo Robotics, explains some of the challenges of designing “cobots”, robots that work collaboratively with humans on manufacturing tasks. Also, should people have the right to choose to know if they are a carrier of a hereditary genetic disease? Alok Jha hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
07/08/1920m 56s

Babbage: Hot as hell

Record-breaking heatwaves are becoming routine and they are killing people. But many of the potentially life-saving solutions are both low-tech and low-cost. Governments should be doing more. Also, we visit Lake Chad in the Sahel to understand how climate change can fuel conflict. And, droughts or floods, heatwaves or cold snaps, just how responsible is humanity for extreme weather events? Catherine Brahic hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
31/07/1928m 3s

Babbage: Return of the king

Under Satya Nadella, Microsoft has reclaimed its crown as the world’s most valuable listed company. What can other firms learn from its reboot? Also, Reshma Shetty, cofounder of Gingko Bioworks, explains the potential of synthetic biology to harness – and transform – the power of nature. And, British ethicists put police use of artificial intelligence on trial. Alok Jha hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
24/07/1918m 21s

Babbage: The next giant leap for mankind

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the launch of the Apollo 11 moon mission. Is humankind about to return there? And what do the next 50 years of space exploration hold? The task of moderating a platform with over two billion active users is a daunting one. Brent Harris, Facebook’s director of governance, explains his plans. And the science behind the search for the reddest red yet. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
17/07/1922m 40s

Babbage: How tech is my valley?

China is promoting a tech district that it hopes will be a serious contender to America’s Silicon Valley. Hal Hodson, The Economist’s technology correspondent, visits the new hub. Lord John Browne, author of “Make, Think, Imagine”, on how advancements in engineering and artificial intelligence will eventually affect civilisation. And, what do hydrogen molecules sound like? Some innovative students have developed “molecular music.” Kenneth Cukier hosts. Music provided by Ilkley Grammar School students Sam Harris, Matthew Hodson, Joe Higgit and Edgar Langley.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
10/07/1922m 51s

Babbage: DeepMind games

The child chess prodigy who created a computer that outplays human grandmasters—Demis Hassabis, founder of DeepMind, explains how games are a testing ground for algorithms and what real-world challenges he hopes to tackle with artificial intelligence. And, what can AlphaZero, the chess-playing computer, teach human players? Kenneth Cukier also speaks to the chess players Dominic Lawson, Natasha Regan and Matthew Sadler about the future of machine intelligence and its interplay with human wisdom  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
03/07/1920m 57s

Babbage: Curing the big sea

Researchers hope to use disease-fighting genes found in whales to help find treatments for cancer in humans. Airliners that mix batteries and fossil fuel could dominate the skies in the future. And, are people more honest than they think they are? Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
27/06/1919m 51s

Babbage: Facebucks

Facebook wants to create a global digital currency—what could possibly go wrong? Also, why billionaire Stephen Schwarzman, founder of Blackstone private-equity firm, is donating £150m to fund a humanities centre at Oxford University. And, what can be done to increase public trust in artificial intelligence? Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
19/06/1919m 31s

Babbage: Space invaders

The business opportunities from small satellite technology are infinite: from an ‘ambulance’ which rescues malfunctioning spacecraft to devices that can measure the oil level in a tanker from space. Are we on the verge of making gene-editing technology safer? And, 50 years after man set foot on the moon, Oliver Morton, senior editor and author, predicts the future of humans’ relationship with lunar exploration. Kenn Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/06/1923m 36s

Babbage: Fusing the future

In this week’s Babbage, Alok Jha investigates the organisations and companies trying to crack a technology that could solve all of the world’s energy problems in a stroke—nuclear fusion. From Iter, the world's largest collaborative fusion experiment, to private start-ups racing to be first, could the long-promised dream of nuclear fusion - to provide clean, limitless, carbon-free power - finally be about to come true?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
05/06/1920m 3s

Babbage: Rash behaviour

The measles resurgence around the world has been blamed on parents refusing to vaccinate their children but is vaccinating children enough? Also, how a new glove for humans is teaching robots how to feel. And Kenneth Cukier asks Carl Benedikt Frey, economic historian, what can be learnt from the industrial revolution in today’s world of automation and robots.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
29/05/1919m 25s

Babbage: Data to the rescue

Access to the right data can be as valuable in humanitarian crises as water or medical care, but it can also be dangerous. Misused or in the wrong hands, the same information can put already vulnerable people at further risk. Kenneth Cukier hosts this special edition of Babbage examining how humanitarian organisations use data and what they can learn from the profit-making tech industry. This episode was recorded live from Wilton Park, in collaboration with the United Nations OCHA Centre for Humanitarian Data  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
22/05/1924m 47s

Babbage: Facing the future?

Legislators in San Francisco have just voted to ban the use of facial recognition—is this a victory for privacy or a setback for technology? Also, new research on how machine learning can be used to predict the likelihood of breast cancer. And Amazon's boss, Jeff Bezos, draws inspiration from science fiction in his aim to build space habitats. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
15/05/1921m 10s

Babbage: Uber traffic

As Uber prepares for its public listing this week, a new study in San Francisco shows that ride-hailing companies cause major road congestion. Also, how much should smart speakers see as well as hear? And, author Douglas Rushkoff explains why he views modern technology as anti-human. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
08/05/1920m 31s

Babbage: Net zero Britain

This week the Committee on Climate Change releases its anticipated recommendations for Britain to become a carbon-free economy, but will the Government take meaningful action? Also, the controversial subject of lung cancer screening. And David Spiegelhalter discusses ‘The Art of Statistics’. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
01/05/1921m 0s

Babbage: The genetic revolution

Kenneth Cukier takes a look at the future of genetic engineering and what it means to be human. He speaks to leading scientists, doctors and philosophers to ask if ethics and regulations are able to keep up with the technology  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
24/04/1921m 9s

Babbage: Am-AI-zon

Amazon’s use of artificial intelligence has long outstripped Facebook and Google. Just how ingrained is AI at Amazon? Also, journalist and author David Wallace Wells explains the diminishing optimism of the climate change movement. And, how natural disasters fade from collective memory. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
17/04/1924m 34s

Babbage: Hypersonic Boom

America, China and Russia are developing long range, gliding missiles that travel at speeds greater than Mach 5. What are the threats and safeguards? Also, Dame Stephanie Shirley, the programmer who set up Britain’s first all-female software company in 1962, gives advice to women in tech today. And, how to knit a sports car with carbon fibre. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
10/04/1918m 9s

Babbage: Dino-more

A little-known paleontologist may have found the last piece of the puzzle explaining the fate of the dinosaurs: what actually happened when the giant asteroid struck the Earth. Also, Paul Davies, a renowned physicist, explains the systems of information that make up consciousness. And, why being heard in the House of Commons is not always essential to getting things done. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
03/04/1920m 45s

Babbage: DiagNoses

How scientists followed the nose of a super-smeller to identify a new test for Parkinson’s disease. Also, historian Kate Brown tells us what she uncovered from decades of researching the Chernobyl disaster. And scientists in China have found a potential solution for recharging the pacemaker. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
27/03/1924m 9s

Babbage: Insectageddon?

The insect apocalypse may not be imminent, but the decline of insect species is still a concern. And we speak to Dr Angela Gallop about her career as one of Britain’s most eminent forensic scientists. Also, when will a robot barista serve you a latte? Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
20/03/1919m 45s

Babbage: Pioneers of the WWW

Kenneth Cukier gets in the Babbage time machine and travels to 1989, when Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote the famous memo that laid the foundations for the world wide web. Kenn speaks to some of the other key figures that influenced its invention, like Ted Nelson and Vint Cerf, and then asks what the WWW might look like in the future.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
13/03/1920m 45s

Babbage: Breaking the ice

We have an exclusive interview with Dr Huw Griffiths on the mission to investigate a recently uncovered marine ecosystem in the Antarctic. And the author and scholar Shoshana Zuboff explains surveillance capitalism. Also, how the makers of the game Fortnite have the online platforms of Steam and Google locked in their sights. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
06/03/1921m 34s

Babbage: The element-hunters

It is 150 years since Dmitri Mendeleev discovered the periodic table, the innate order underpinning the elements. Kenneth Cukier explores how this simple grid has shaped our understanding of the universe and our place in it. In a laboratory near Moscow the search is on for element 119, but on the other side of the world in California, researchers are hesitant. Is chemistry over?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
27/02/1920m 0s

Babbage: Joker AAAStronauts

The latest buzz from the AAAS, the largest general science meeting in the world, from The Economist’s science correspondent, Alok Jha. NASA scientists presented initial findings on how a year in space changes astronauts’ bodies. Why a good sense of humour is required for a successful mission to Mars. And can machines become scientists?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
20/02/1921m 0s

Babbage: Regulating fake news

Tech giants face regulation on news after UK media review. Its author, Dame Frances Cairncross, tells us even the technology platforms recognise the need for change. Roger McNamee, one of Facebook’s early investors, asks if it’s now too powerful. And the award-winning inventor of GPS on how his early atomic clock just keeps getting better with age. Kenneth Cukier hosts   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
13/02/1920m 40s

Babbage: A bill of data rights

Should individuals have rights over their data that are protected similar to human rights? We discuss the universe with Jo Dunkley of Princeton. And why the oceans are turning a different shade of blue. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
06/02/1920m 36s

Babbage: Ethically challenged

As the controversial story of the editing of the genomes of two babies in China unfolds, we ask how can science be more ethical — and how to tackle “ethics dumping”. Also, how environmental factors can influence the national security of countries affected by climate change. And we look at the phenomenon of the placebo button. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
30/01/1916m 13s

Babbage: Droning on

How can new technology deal with rogue drones? And what can be learned from Dutch hospitals in the fight against superbugs. Also, the development of a simple camera that can see around corners. Tim Cross hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
23/01/1919m 20s

Babbage: A growing conCERN

We discuss CERN’s latest plans for a successor to the Large Hadron Collider. Also, our healthcare editor explains how scientists hope to develop vaccines more quickly for unexpected viruses. And, how altering the genetic code of E.coli is leading to groundbreaking research on cancer drugs. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
16/01/1917m 38s

Babbage: Will China dominate science?

In a special show, we examine China’s impressive scientific advances and question what they mean for the future of the sciences—and of China. Among the guests is the Chinese-American astronaut Leroy Chiao, discussing China’s recent feat of landing a probe on the far side of the moon. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
09/01/1916m 34s

Babbage: Success of 'disability tech'

In this special episode of Babbage, we discuss some of the advancements in technology that could change the lives of those living with a disability — an app that is helping those who are visually impaired. Also, how the sit-ski has benefited from research in the aerospace and automotive industries. And, can the symptoms of phantom limb syndrome be harnessed to enhance prosthetics? Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
02/01/1913m 42s

Babbage: Best of 2018

In this festive special we look back at some of our favourite stories from 2018. Could IVF could save the northern white rhino from extinction? Also, the discovery of liquid water on Mars. And, how the amphibious life of the Bajau people has led to their unique evolutionary traits. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
26/12/1814m 21s

Babbage: A little more conservation

We ask how can conservationists preserve biodiversity through new ideas. Also, what can be done to increase the number of women in the technology industry? And Hossein Derakhshan, a formerly jailed Iranian blogger, discusses whether the web is becoming more superficial. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
19/12/1819m 43s

Babbage: Lots in space

The race is on to launch satellites to connect the entire world to the internet. We talk to psychologist and geneticist Robert Plomin, about his career and his latest book. And, is the fax machine facing extinction? Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/12/1820m 48s

Babbage: Waymo to go

Waymo, a division of Google's parent company Alphabet, launched its self-driving taxi service, but is it really a landmark for driverless vehicles? Also, a vast study seeks to understand the genetic underpinnings of ADHD. And we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the “Mother of all demos” computing presentation. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
05/12/1818m 6s

Babbage: The baby crisperer

A Chinese scientist has claimed to have edited the genomes of two babies using the revolutionary genome-editing technique called CRISPR-Cas9. Also, how the production of semiconductors is becoming a new battlefield. And Kenneth Cukier asks the author, technology executive and investor Elad Gil what it takes for a startup to become a technology giant.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
28/11/1819m 16s

Babbage: The dos and don'ts of data

In this special episode we examine the controversial gang-mapping database of London's Metropolitan Police Service. Also, a new pilot project to study how a "data trust" might increase access to information while retaining privacy. And how sharing mapping data by the big web platforms could unlock innovations for companies and society. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
21/11/1818m 7s

Babbage: The blame game

Should climate change be a matter of human rights? Also, gene drives' controversial potential to wipe out entire species of mosquitoes. And, a novel watch spring that could change the way mechanical watches are designed. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
14/11/1815m 10s

Babbage: Economist in space

Highlights from The Economist’s Space Summit in New York, including an interview with Apollo 9 astronaut Russell 'Rusty' Schweickart. Also, how to prepare for space exploration with Dava Newman, Apollo Program Professor of Astronautics at MIT. And, astrophysicist Simonetta Di Pippo and astronaut Leroy Chiao discuss worldwide cooperation in space. Tom Standage hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1823m 11s

Babbage: Turning the oceans green

Can greenhouse emissions be cut in maritime transport? Also, with the US midterms a week away, Courtney Kennedy from PEW Research Centre discusses the reliability of polling data. And the artificial intelligence system being tested as a way to cut down train delays. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1820m 26s

Babbage: Pie in the sky

Could delivering goods by drone soon become a common occurrence? Also, cyber-security expert Bruce Schneier discusses his latest book. And a new innovation for the disposing of human waste from Mount Everest. Hal Hodson hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 41s

Babbage: The quantum conundrum

Is the internet about to be unravelled by quantum computing? And how artificial intelligence could be used to diagnose the need for lung transplants in patients with cystic fibrosis. Also, our technology correspondent, Hal Hodson, discuss some of the latest happenings in robotics. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 8s

Babbage: What a difference half a degree makes

This week's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report recommends keeping the global increase in temperature below 1.5°C. We ask how governments and companies can reach "net zero" and whether the global economy can both grow and go green? Kenneth Cukier talks to one of the authors of the report, an advisor to Costa Rica on its pioneering decarbonisation plan and the European refineries industry body on its green efforts.Music: Smooth as Glass by The Freeharmonic Orchestra (CC x 4.0)  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1823m 28s

Babbage: The Nobel winners explained

Economist science correspondents break down the discoveries that won this year's Nobel prizes. Tristan Harris, a former design ethicist at Google, discusses the dangerous ways that the tech industry competes for our attention. And: the story of blackest fish in the deep ocean. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 22s

Babbage: Lessons from Spanish flu

What can we learn from the Spanish flu pandemic which killed over 50 million people a hundred years ago? Carl Malamud, founder of public.resource.org, wants to make more data public. And, is food actually scarce at the bottom of the ocean? Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 10s

Babbage: Up in smoke

Are e-cigarettes the answer to giving up tobacco smoking? And SpaceX revives its plans to send tourists around the moon. Also, we speak to Zia Chishti of Afiniti about the role of artificial intelligence in business. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
19/09/1817m 6s

Babbage: Ma waves ali bye bye

How China will struggle to produce another Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, who steps down as chairman next year. And we discuss cyber-security with former United States Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/09/1815m 14s

Babbage: Content liability

Should tech companies be legally responsible for all their content? Also, major European research funders have announced ‘Plan S’ to make all scientific works free to read. And how optical fibre made in orbit could be better than the terrestrial sort. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 20s

Babbage: Peaks and Valleys

Has Silicon Valley’s influence as a technology hub peaked? Also, how artificial intelligence is gaining a sense of curiosity. And how a shampoo bottle is saving lives in Bangladesh. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 30s

Babbage: Will Google translate?

If Google does reintroduce its search engine to China what will it have to omit? And how future helicopters will fly in new ways, with pilots optional. Also, the discovery of a 3,200-year-old ancient Egyptian cheese and what we can learn from it. Hal Hodson hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 38s

Babbage: Jumping the Q

Is quantum technology getting ahead of itself? And we look into what is being done to find a cure for celiac disease. Also, we explore random control trials and the placebo effect of sham surgery. Tim Cross hosts Music by Daniel Birch "Brushed bells in the wind" (CC by 4.0)  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 23s

Babbage: My corona

We speak to project scientist for the Parker Solar Probe, Dr Nicola Fox, about the spacecraft's upcoming mission to the sun's atmosphere. We also discuss the upsides of artificial intelligence with professor Max Tegmark. And how seal whiskers are helping to create new underwater sensors. Kenneth Cukier hosts   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 32s

Babbage: Drive.ai time

Should AI systems be more human-centric? We look at how a trial of self-driving vehicles in Texas is focusing on what the technology can do now. Rufus Pollack, the founder of Open Knowledge International, discusses how freedom of choice promotes innovation. And, a simple solution to increasing productivity in India. Kenneth Cukier hosts   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 29s

Babbage: Too hot to handle

Are the recent heat waves around the world a sign of things to come? Geoffrey Carr, our science editor, finds out at the meeting of the International AIDS Society what more needs to be done to eradicate the disease. Also, has liquid water on Mars finally been found? Kenneth Cukier hosts.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 45s

Babbage: Paranoid android

What does the European Commission's record fine of Google mean for the future of its Android operating system? And how a popular gene editing tool is raising a few questions. Also, we speak to Dr David Fajgenbaum about the first ever World Castleman Disease Day. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 45s

Babbage: The Roboburger

Are robots going to replace chefs in the kitchen? And how footsteps can be used for ID and health checks. Also, we focus on the very latest discoveries from the Gaia space mission. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 39s

Babbage: Saving white rhino

How IVF could save the northern white rhino from extinction. And Jaron Lanier tells us why we should delete our social media accounts. Also, how understanding animal behaviour could reduce errors in the operating theatre. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1820m 5s

Babbage: Fixing the internet

The internet was meant to make the world a less centralised place, but the opposite has happened. The Economist’s technology editor Ludwig Siegele explores why it matters and what can be done about it. Music by Fabian Measures “Open Cab” cc by 4.0  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 25s

Babbage: Fuel for thought

How a privately owned Chinese company called OneSpace is using solid fuel for launching rockets. Also, the worrying growth of bogus scientific journals. And is there an optimal strategy for the dreaded penalty shoot-out? Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 41s

Babbage: Polio returns

Why has polio made a comeback in Venezuela and how does it spread? Tien Tzuo, founder of Zuora, says there will be no need to own anything in the future — you will subscribe to everything.  And research into how marine mammals respond to predators shows there is safety in numbers. Tom Standage hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1821m 48s

Babbage: AI will see you now

How companies are using artificial intelligence in medicine to help with diagnosis. We hear why a Dutch park that mimics nature is riling animal-rights activists. Also, what can be learnt from a new study on the calls of the bottlenose dolphin. Tim Cross hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 21s

Babbage: Gene genius

Has new research into the human genome discovered the secret to human evolution? And how studying HIV in every organ helps understand how to eliminate it. Also, we review the book “Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup”. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 24s

Babbage: Fake views

Deep-fakes – how can we trust what people appear to be saying in online videos? Also, how to contain the recent outbreak of ebola in the DRC. And, a new study of biomass that is putting human’s place in the world into perspective. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 52s

Babbage: Show me the way to Cordillera

Now that the war between the Colombian government and the FARC has ended, scientists are exploring parts of the country previously held by the rebels. The aim is to make Colombia a "bio-power" by 2030. Also, how lead pollution in Greenlandic ice shows evidence of ancient European societies. And the new insect-sized drones that are causing a buzz. Tim Cross hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 30s

Babbage: When an algorithm decides your fate

Computer algorithms are being used with increasing frequency to make decisions about humans - from whether a job applicant makes it through a selection process or if a prison inmate gets released on parole. But how are the algorithms making their decisions? And what if they make a mistake? In this special episode of Babbage, we explore the complex work of algorithmic decision-making. Music by Chris Zabriskie “Divider” (CC by 4.0 UK)  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1820m 33s

Babbage: Big data versus privacy

Data is becoming the world's most valuable resource. Governments use it to monitor and control their citizens. Corporations use it to persuade consumers to buy their products. But as machine learning and algorithms advance, will people still be able to harness the power of big data without losing too much individual privacy? Music by Chris Zabriskie “Divider” (CC by 4.0 UK).  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1831m 28s

Babbage: Insane in the methane

What is causing the rising rates of methane in the atmosphere? Also, how an amphibious life for the Bajau people has led to unique evolutionary traits. And the excitement around the Gaia space probe’s latest data release. Hal Hodson hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 27s

Babbage: The planet hunter

Professor Sara Seager joins us to discuss the launch of the spacecraft TESS, and its two-year mission to discover new planets. Also, physicist and author Leonard Mlodinow explains elastic thinking. And, how robots are learning to assemble flat-pack furniture. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 32s

Babbage: Zuckerberg faces Capitol Hill

Hal Hodson, our technology correspondent, joins us from Washington to discuss Mark Zuckerberg and the future for Facebook. Also, the connection between personality and music. And, how possible is it to populate other planets? Kenneth Cukier hosts.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1820m 19s

Babbage: The information game

How requesting personal data from companies leads to a bureaucratic tangle. Also, nurturing scientific talent in Africa. And, the surprising importance of paint colour for self-driving cars. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 41s

Babbage: Working AI to five

Alexandra Suich Bass, our US technology editor, discusses the rise of artificial intelligence in the workplace. Also, the link between genetics and exam success. And, understanding the language of bees. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 16s

Babbage: Saving Face...book

Silkie Carlo from Big Brother Watch joins host Tim Cross to discuss the latest privacy issues involving Facebook. Also, ageing the rings of Saturn. And, the cost of using antibiotics on the human gut.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 34s

Babbage: Remembering Stephen Hawking

We speak to leading scientists about the life and legacy of Professor Stephen Hawking. And, what is being done to help the ailing Coral reefs? Also, the out of control Chinese space station. Hal Hodson hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 54s

Babbage: Exploring the ocean's hidden depths

In this week's programme, we dive into The Economist's Technology Quarterly issue on oceans. We discuss offshore aquaculture, how to map the sea floor and the threat of plastics. Joining us is Dr Jyotika Virmani, from the Ocean XPRIZE  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 43s

Babbage: Automation for the people

What are the social problems facing the world of vehicle automation? Also, the rise of robot laboratories. And looking for life in the Atacama desert. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 34s

Babbage: Bad AAAS

We bring you the highlights from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, including how children can inherit acquired characteristics from their fathers, asteroid mining and how to grow a human organ. Tim Cross hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 18s

The World in 2018: Technology and us

In the final episode in our six-part series, we look at the scientific and technological advances that will shape the coming year - from algorithms that can make judgments about us online, to robots that are more effective than humans in the work place. Cathy O'Neil, author of "Weapons of Math Destruction" and Shane Wall, the Chief Technology Officer of HP join our hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1825m 22s

Babbage: Cars to Mars?

Oliver Morton, our briefings editor, wonders what’s next after Elon Musk’s latest mission to Mars. We ask whether homemade drones can fight conventional armed forces - and could there be lithium under Cornwall? Tim Cross hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 47s

Babbage: Tech giants go to medical school

The world’s biggest technology firms are poised to transform health care. Will it empower patients and lead to a better diagnosis? Also, ways to prevent passengers in driverless cars from feeling queasy. And how genes play a role in the likelihood of divorce. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 26s

Babbage: Out-of-body organ

A medical breakthrough means a human liver can now be kept alive outside the body. Will this result in more transplants? Also, a new idea for deadening an aircraft’s sonic boom. And the universal signals in music that cross cultural boundaries. Hal Hodson hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 8s

Babbage: The ethics of AI

Artificial intelligence heralds the fourth industrial revolution. But what are its ethical challenges? Also, Anne McElvoy and producer Cheryl Brumley head under Manhattan to inspect New York’s newest water tunnel. And the biggest rocket in the world prepares for its maiden flight. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1820m 42s

Babbage: Submarine drones hunt for missing flight

A Norwegian research vessel has joined the search to find missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370. Can its contingent of self-navigating submarine drones find what others have missed? Also, do we really understand the laws of physics? And what’s new at the world’s biggest gadget show? Hal Hodson and Ananyo Bhattacharya host.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 16s

Babbage: Trees take a bough

They are the longest living organisms on earth and supply a timber industry worth $600 billion. But do we value trees enough? Also, how reforesting is one of the biggest changes to land use changes. And the growing threat to tree health. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 17s

Babbage: Highlights special

In this special festive episode, we look back at some of the highlights from this year’s coverage. A better way to sail into the stars, why birds are weaving cigarette butts into their homes and what the future of electric cars might look like when charged through thin air. Jason Palmer hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1812m 6s

Babbage: Remaking tigerland

Science correspondent Hal Hodson tells the story of T3, a tiger whose bid for freedom and remarkable journey across India highlighted the underlying tensions between humans, nature and conservation  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1821m 0s

Babbage: Greetings, Earthlings

Astronomers say a curious cigar-shaped asteroid passing by the sun is not native to our solar system. Could it be an alien spacecraft? Also, a pioneering patient who set out to find a cure for his own life-threatening disease. And the great avocado shortage. Jason Palmer hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 7s

Babbage: Archeology without the digging

Google is changing how we view ancient artefacts. Plus, governments could soon regulate video games, as a new money-making method using 'loot boxes' emerges. Some say it's too similar to gambling. And Melinda Gates discusses the importance of contraception in reducing poverty.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 14s

Babbage: The electric-flight plan

Electric cars have become a common sight. So are battery-powered planes likely to take off soon? Also, the engineered bacterium that uses two synthetic DNA letters to make artificial proteins. And how digital technology is transforming speakers and headsets. Jason Palmer hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 18s

Babbage: The whizz of Oz

China’s rising demand for electric car batteries has produced a mineral boom in the Australian outback. But is there enough mined cobalt to go round? Also, how the European Union is working towards mitigating climate change. And why the humble fusebox could soon make your home more energy efficient. Tim Cross hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 9s

Babbage: Negative emissions

Countries around the world have agreed to cut carbon emissions but what are they doing to remove the existing CO2 from the air? And how a new generation of surgical robots is about to enter the operating theatre. Also, why do birds really have such colourful bodies? Jason Palmer hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 22s

Babbage: Leapfrogging forward

Technology in Africa is making huge advances but will it enough to close the economic gap between Africa and the West? Plus, how scientists are trying to harness the microbiome to rid us of tooth rot. And scientists have developed a 'spaghetti' probe that can map our brains much more accurately. We ask what the future of this technology is. Jason Palmer hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 57s

Babbage: Unidentified flying rock

The first interstellar visitor to the solar system arrives, turns and leaves. What can be learned from the mysterious object? Also, researchers are kitting out drones to deliver supplies to the battlefield. And if wireless charging takes off, electric vehicles could—in theory—run forever  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 37s

Babbage: All about that base

Minutes ago, Nature announced an important development in gene editing. Host Hal Hodson and Natasha Loder discuss how this technique is so precise and what this means for curing genetic diseases. Plus, why sperm whales like heavy metal music. And why are we so negative about our future?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 0s

Babbage: Deus ex machina

With the release of Blade Runner 2049, we explore the future of artificial intelligence and whether it could teach us how the human mind works. The Economist's Oliver Morton and Jan Piotrowski debate with host Tim Cross.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1822m 24s

Babbage: Are C-sections fuelling the obesity epidemic?

Babies born via a Caesarean section are more likely to be obese says new research. Plus how glass is getting a makeover and we explore the question of why you’re attracted to the people you’re attracted to. The Economist's science correspondent Tim Cross presents.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 40s

Babbage: Sleep, space and a striking storm-source

This year's Nobel science prizes have been announced and The Economist's science team explain the discoveries behind them. Plus: the link between international trade and lightning strikes, and research suggests that standing desks might be good for your productivity as well as your health.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 59s

Babbage: Send in the microbots

The hunt is on among the world’s airlines for faster and more efficient ways to keep jet engines in tip-top condition. Could the answer be tiny robots that inspect and fix them from the inside? Also, a new study shows that birds deliberately weave cigarette butts into their nests to help keep parasites away. And is it right to relinquish control of our identities to private companies? Jason Palmer hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 53s

Babbage: Sailing through space

Electronic sails could lead to faster, cheaper space exploration by harnessing the energy from solar wind. A new paper suggests climate change predictions could have been slightly overheated. And some antivenoms might be more like snake oil than salvation   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 41s

Babbage: Curing cancer

Miracles in a test tube won't cure cancer; using and adapting the technology we've already got will. Plus how WiFi's little brother LoRa will enable our smart cities to flourish. And why Saturn's space probe Cassini is diving to its death on Friday.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 14s

Babbage: I can see you

Facial recognition software can identify you in a crowd. But it will soon be able to judge your mood, your age and ethnicity. We discuss the merits and pitfalls of this fast-advancing technology. Plus, could fish food be the source of antibiotic resistance? And host Jason Palmer gets stuck in a virtual swamp.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 8s

Babbage: Weird weather

As heatwaves sear across Europe and hurricanes wreak havoc in Houston, we ask why extreme weather events are becoming more common. Plus why the anti-inflammatory injection canakinumab will not be the next miracle drug and why Norway might leave $65 billion of oil in the earth. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 9s

Babbage: Memorable moments in technology and science this year

In this special summer episode, we look back at this year's coverage. What are the ethics of human cloning? Is it possible to fuse a computer into the human brain? And could mysterious signals picked up by an observatory really be from space aliens?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 20s

Babbage: Water and the Jevons Paradox

Technology is helping us access previously inaccessible water reserves. But the more efficient we become at extracting it, the more we use. Is the world’s water crisis set to get worse? Also, we ask the Royal Horticultural Society how we should prepare our gardens to survive while we are away on vacation. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 5s

Babbage: A plug for batteries

Better batteries are providing the jump start that electric cars need. Plus, could nuclear power plants soon be floating at sea? And why most areas on Earth are more biodiverse now than ever before, thanks to humans  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 9s

Babbage: Hollow-grams?

Holograms have fallen short of the vivid, floating projections seen in science fiction. However, one scientist is copying an iridescent butterfly to create better effects. Also, how blow flies are helping to solve murder mysteries. And why genetic testing is threatening the insurance industry. Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 9s

Babbage: A boring episode

Elon Musk may be the most prominent advocate of boring technology, but there are projects across the world revamping the way we dig tunnels. The co-founders of the venture firm Public discuss how technology is transforming public services. Also, military researchers are using electricity to get more from the human brain  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1820m 40s

Babbage: Winter is coming

Scientists have pinpointed the cause of a catastrophic freeze across Europe during the Middle Ages—could a similar event be on the horizon? Author Douglas Rushkoff on why technology firms are criticised so often. And beauty in the eyes of artificial intelligence  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 47s

Babbage: The power of young blood

Scientists are investigating the apparent benefits of infusing young blood into the body of an older animal. Author and academic Tim Wu explains why our attention is such a vital commodity. And virtual reality is breathing new life into old rollercoasters  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 11s

Babbage: Fluid intelligence

Zapping the brain with a weak electric current enhances its visual cortex. Is this a way to help squeeze more value out of our grey matter? Also, how a new miniature phone camera is making us rethink every aspect of photography. And why whales have become so good at filtering food. Hal Hodson hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 33s

Babbage: Printing the future

3D printing is finally revolutionising the mass production of everything from trainer soles and teeth to metal car parts. We explore a new realm of fake news, as creating convincing video and audio of false events becomes far easier. Also, how to stop rogue icebergs from wreaking havoc.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 7s

Babbage: Taxi for Travis

What next for Uber following the departure of the company's CEO Travis Kalanick? A pathogen that causes cystic fibrosis is being used to fight tuberculosis. Also, the head of Bloomberg's venture capital fund Roy Bahat on the complexities of AI replacing jobs  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 58s

Babbage: Civilian drones take flight

Most drones today are either cheap toys or expensive weapons. But innovative commercial uses are emerging in the middle, says our deputy editor Tom Standage. Also, physicist Geoffrey West on his theory of scale and how it relates to cities. And do pollsters deserve their bad reputation?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 34s

Babbage: Battle of the maps

Companies are striving to control an evolving digital infrastructure that will guide everything from self-driving cars to drones. Veteran investor Bill Janeway explains the parallels between artificial intelligence and electricity. Also, a Braille-controlled camera system offers an efficient way to guide the blind  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 14s

Babbage: When AI makes music

Can computer-generated composition compete with human creativity? 3D printing is adopting traditional techniques to give us reinforced floors. And cricket adds yet more technology into the game: what does this mean for the sport's hallowed commentators?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 16s

Babbage: Anticipating terrorism

In the wake of the Manchester bombing, Dr Robert Wesley explains how artificial intelligence can spot extremist behaviour early. Coloured light can now be used to control how genetically-engineered organisms behave. Also, what we must to do to preserve the oceans  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 24s

Babbage: Megatech: Technology in 2050

This feature-length episode dives into the technology that will shape our world over the next decades. Host Kenn Cukier and The Economist's Executive Editor Daniel Franklin are joined by experts in artificial intelligence, cyber-security, healthcare and warfare to discuss how technology will transform many aspects of our lives  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1831m 6s

Babbage: Goodbye glaciers

Miranda Johnson explains why ice in the Arctic is melting at such an alarming rate. Philip Auerswald takes us on a 40,000-year history of human society. And an idea borrowed from lizards could make your waterproof jacket last even longer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 53s

Babbage: Soundscape of the deep ocean

A new form of bioengineering ditches the cell and could speed up innovation. Five giant tech firms are hoarding most of the world's data. Is it time to break up the oligopoly? Also, an ambient soundscape from the deepest known part of the ocean  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 42s

Babbage: When cars fly

Uber announces flying cars to replace taxi systems in the future. How realistic is this? Plastic-munching moths could save the world from the scourge of shopping bags. And an artificial womb could one day help premature babies to survive  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 2s

Babbage: The new world of voice cloning

The debate over internet regulation is heating up again in America. Also on the show: genetically-engineered bacteria could be used to light up hidden landmines. And voice-cloning technology can now reproduce speech. What does this mean in an era of fake news?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 21s

Babbage: What can science do for my garden?

The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew has unlocked the DNA sequence of thousands of plants. Is the ability to manipulate colour and smell good news for the worldwide floral industry? Also: Pests and pathogens thriving in a warmer climate could wipe out our woodlands. And is Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank the ultimate horticultural insurance policy for the planet? Kenneth Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1824m 33s

Babbage: Defending data

Security crises soar as computers meld further into our lives, but who is liable when hacking happens? We explore a potential charter to exploit the commercial value of data while also protecting privacy. And how humans can teach computers to avoid racist behaviour.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 29s

Babbage: Of machines and men

Elon Musk's new venture Neuralink wants to meld computers with the human brain. We explore how this concept could lead to artificial memory. Also, a paralysed man is able to use his own arm again after chips were implanted in his brain. And a new glove lets people detect deadly toxins with touch alone  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 8s

Babbage: Uber's trail of woes

Why the ride-sharing company is in turmoil following the departure of its president Jeff Jones. Scientific publishing is slowing down progress; how might it be reformed? Also, dust devils in the Atacama desert solve one mystery—and spark another  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 15s

Babbage: Little green men

Earth has received a cluster of mysterious radio signals; some scientists believe they could be propelling alien spacecraft across the universe. So what's the verdict? Also, an outbreak of yellow fever in Brazil is decimating local monkey populations. And the true worth of spiders is revealed, in how much they eat  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 18s

Babbage: Building from the atom up

A second quantum revolution is happening at the atomic level. What will it mean for the future of computers? Also: a new battery based on aluminium provides up to ten times the power. And why yellow taxis are much less likely to get into accidents. Kenn Cukier hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 29s

Babbage: Dragon’s blood medicine

Komodo dragon blood contains compounds that help combat human diseases. So can lizards help in the battle against antibiotic-resistant infections? Also: switch the power off and a microprocessor forgets everything but now there’s a way to give it a permanent memory. And did life on earth really begin 3,770 million years ago? Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 41s

Babbage: Oceans of pollutants

Even the deepest reaches of the sea have been contaminated by man-made pollution. Author Alan Schwartz reveals the extent of ADHD overdiagnosis in America. And how is the scientific community reacting to President Trump?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 10s

Babbage: Cloning time

Twenty years ago, Dolly the sheep became the first adult mammal clone. Are we on the cusp of copying humans, too? And we explore how technology is aiding refugees and migrants with their treacherous journeys to Europe  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 13s

Babbage: Game of drones

Robotic insects could help pollinate plants if bee numbers continue to decline. Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales on the pitfalls of crowdsourcing knowledge in an era of disinformation. And a protein's structure is key its function but hard to decipher; we explore how citizen science is solving the problem  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 48s

Babbage: Adding to reality

Augmented reality technology blends the virtual with the real world, so how might this alter the way humans interact with computers, and each other? Also, we explore how artificial intelligence can enhance selling techniques.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 34s

Babbage: Printing parts

We're now pretty good at printing body parts, so what are the possibilities and limitations? Healthcare expert George Halvorson explains the importance of language development in the first few months of life. Also, the researchers trying to tune in to the particles of dark matter  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 56s

Babbage: The automation game

How quickly will robots disrupt global industries and what will the implications be? We explore with economist Andrew McAfee at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Also, neuroscientists often compare the human brain to a computer chip, so what happened when the idea was put into practice?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1823m 41s

Babbage: Conversational computers

When will computers truly be able to understand what we are saying? We discuss with our guest, Amazon's Alexa. Also, long-distance electrical supergrids could flood the planet with renewable energy  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 56s

Babbage: War of the words

We explore a clutch of new words from 2016 and how technology contributes to the evolution of language. Vishal Sikka, the CEO of a technology services company explains how artificial intelligence can enhance the labour force. Also, science correspondent Matt Kaplan on a new device to sniff out disease  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1819m 47s

Babbage: year end review and preview of 2017

How artificial intelligence moved from the research lab into the real world, plus the challenges facing cyber security. And we explore the development of data donorship in the year ahead. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 52s

Babbage: The man himself

Charles Babbage was a British polymath, mathematician and a man widely hailed as the father of modern computing. In this special episode, host Emma Duncan is joined by two renowned computer science experts to explore the life and work of the eponymous inventor  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 9s

Babbage: Thinking deeply

Alphabet's artificial intelligence company DeepMind doesn't make a profit, so why it is arousing long-term interest? Dr Pedro Alonso from the World Health Organisation explores advances in the fight against malaria. And the amateur enthusiast who found meteorite dust in the gutter  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 27s

Babbage: What Einstein got wrong

This week: clues to dinosaur evolution lurk in the amber mines of Myanmar. Author David Bodanis tells us about Einstein’s greatest mistake. And why solar energy is due soon to pay back its carbon debt. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 8s

Babbage: Big bomber is watching

This week: how optical navigation can help a bomb find its target without GPS. Researchers at MIT are investigating super-slippery surfaces. Also, why computers are replacing manpower in port security. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 40s

Babbage: Snapping planets

Long-distance photography could help us understand far more about exoplanets. We report on the sense of global resilience at climate talks in Marrakech and an audacious plan to tackle air pollution using old jet engines  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 7s

Babbage: No news like fake news

Our deputy editor Tom Standage weighs in on the debate about false news in the aftermath of America's presidential election. We speak to female entrepreneurs at the Web Summit in Lisbon about gender balance in the technology industry. And a new way to measure fish stocks using DNA  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1820m 22s

Babbage: Fighting falsehoods

We are joined by Martin Sweeney, co-founder of Ravelin, to explain how artificial intelligence is being used to stop fraud. Our environment correspondent discusses climate-change scepticism in America. Also, a long-standing bet about the underpinnings of the universe needs to be settled  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 48s

Babbage: Super new defibrillator ameliorates prognosis

Host Kenneth Cukier explores new research into light-based treatments for patients at high risk of fatal heartbeat irregularities. Also: a new crypto-currency promises greater privacy and how to blend wine via touch screen  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 0s

Babbage: Can the American election be hacked?

In the second episode of Economist Radio specials running up to the presidential election, security expert Bruce Schneier examines vulnerabilities in electoral voting systems. We hear from Dr Darren Schreiber about whether our political inclinations are hardwired. Also: what impact is big data having in this year's election? Cheryl Brumley speaks to online campaigning expert Dr Matt Hindman  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1818m 5s

Babbage: Prospects for new life

Scientists in Japan grow artificial mouse pups from skin cells; could the same technique one day be used for humans? Planetary scientist Dr Claire Cousins explains where we might find life on Mars as the ExoMars satellite and probe arrive at the red planet. And we explore why virtual reality has taken a foothold in China  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 33s

Babbage: Samsung's meltdown

Our technology editor examines the long-term fallout after Samsung's flagship smartphone is pulled from production. The Food and Drug Administration's approval of a new drug for muscular dystrophy proves controversial and Matt Kaplan explains why higher-class people spend less time looking at their fellow humans  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 22s

Babbage: Elevated intelligence

Google launches a handful of hardware to deliver its artificial intelligence. We speak to Professor Chris Phillips about this year's Nobel prize for physics, and research analyst Alberto Noel discusses how machine learning is enhancing factory automation and what the global implications are in the world of work  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 26s

Babbage: Interplanetary travel

We assess Elon Musk's ambitious intentions to make humans a multiplanetary species. As the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission ends, Dr Matt Taylor explains what information the probe will gather on its final descent and we discuss the consequences of voice-activated computers becoming integrated into our lives  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 45s

Babbage: A climate of change

Our environment correspondent, Miranda Johnson, assesses the latest efforts to curb climate change as the UN General Assembly gets underway. Dr Brent Seales explains how we can now read an ancient, burnt scroll without unrolling it. And Ananyo Bhattacharya explains why bad science may be hereditary  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 57s

Babbage: Undermining infection

Should disease-bearing mosquitoes be made extinct? Natasha Loder lays out the arguments for using gene drives to do so. We hear an update on the known unknowns of the Zika virus from Slavea Chankova and whether “feed a fever, starve a cold” is sound advice. Jason Palmer hosts.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 53s

Babbage: The renaissance of wood

Paul Markillie explains why wooden skyscrapers could soon be on the horizon, we hear from an Indian scientist making electricity with fish scales and Tim Cross explores the fallout for Space X after last week's explosion at Cape Canaveral  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 40s

Babbage: The Countess of Computers

The Economist's Emma Duncan and author Sydney Padua explore the story of 19th century data geek, Ada Lovelace, who presaged the power of computers by writing one of the first programs. And have we entered a new geological epoch? Tim Cross discusses the evidence. Kenneth Cukier hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 58s

Babbage: Exploring the final frontier

An E​arth-like planet has been discovered orbiting the nearest star to our solar system, reveals astronomer Richard Nelson. Oliver Morton discusses the new space technology closer to home, and Tom Standage describes the state of the art in — and the worries about — facial-recognition software  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 21s

Babbage: The brain that stopped remembering

Paul Markillie buckles up for a future of 48-volt hybrid cars. Matt Kaplan examines whether self-control is really a finite resource. And Luke Dittrich, the author of a new book, explains how a lobotomy gone wrong paved the way for the science of memory. Tom Standage hosts  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 37s

Babbage: The evolution of bromance

Host Jason Palmer ​asks Natasha Loder if scientists are getting ever closer to the fountain of youth in pill form. Richard Wrangham explains why men are more touchy-feely than women after competitive sport. A​nd Matt Kaplan ​examines how one sea creature's means​​ of self-repair​​ ​​could help humans with damaged hearing  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 34s

Babbage: Didi overtakes Uber

As Didi buys up Uber China, Kenneth Cukier discusses the implications with editors Tom Standage and from Shanghai, Vijay Vaitheeswaran. And Tim Cross explains the importance of IBM's new artificial neuron-on-a-chip  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 37s

Babbage: When AI meets reality

How can artificial intelligence leave the lab and get down to business? Kenneth Cukier explores an innovative method with Tractable founder Alexandre Dalyac. Also, a new way to measure ancient oxygen is changing our understanding of evolution, and we crunch the numbers to reveal the long-term risks of air pollution.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 4s

Babbage: What's the matter with the universe?

The asymmetry between matter and antimatter in the Universe perplexes physicists. Could the tiny particle, the neutrino, offer an explanation? Kenneth Cukier explores the issues with our Babbage producer, Louisa Field. Also, a flaw in the way brain-scan data was collected throws thousands of studies into doubt  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 31s

Babbage: Fishing beyond borders

Bigger trawlers and better mapping allow fishermen to cast their nets where fish were once plentiful. Kenneth Cukier and environment correspondent Miranda Johnson explore the possibilities of monitoring the unregulated frontier of fishing. Also, Trevor Darrell explains how robots can "hallucinate" sensory experiences they lack, and a new approach to reduce the growth of cancerous tumours by starving them shows promise  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 35s

Babbage: Autonomous cars put to the test

A fatal accident in a Tesla vehicle on autopilot calls the technology into question. Kenneth Cukier and innovation editor Paul Markillie discuss the use of virtual reality to test driverless safety. Also on the show: Should algorithms be transparent to the public? And a new study suggests that climate-change models need rethinking  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 3s

Babbage: The origins of Jupiter

This week: After five years of travel, the Juno spacecraft finally nears Jupiter. Our science correspondent, Tim Cross speaks to host Jason Palmer about its vital and dangerous mission. And, Matt Kaplan discusses how the shifty eyes of gamblers can explain how our brains process numbers.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 52s

Babbage: What history might tell us about AI

Concerns abound about the impact of artificial intelligence, but could history suggest a brighter future? A new algorithm is designed to hunt down hateful videos on the Internet. And we hear from two scientists, Mauro Costa-Mattioli and Shelly Buffington, whose new study links obesity to autism. Hosted by Kenneth Cukier  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 1s

Babbage: Gaming goes to Hollywood

Green screens could soon be a thing of the past as studios switch to video game technology to build special effects*; and a group of scientists in Syria and Europe find a nifty way to rid of a nasty, organic pollutant ^ See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5mkm22yO-bs for The Jungle Book Official Trailer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 25s

Babbage: The price of a private phone call

Would you spend £10,000 on a smartphone? Tom Standage and Anne McElvoy visit the world of luxurious technology. Matthew Kaplan explains how your holiday snaps can have scientific uses, and researcher Lauren Sherman reveals how teenage brains react to social media  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 57s

Babbage: Escaping black holes

Stephen Hawking revises his theory of black holes and argues that everything may not be lost at the "event horizon" after all. And new sensors made by inkjet printers can tell when a new layer of sunscreen is needed to prevent sunburns. Hosted by Kenneth Cukier  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 12s

Babbage: The evolution of intelligence

New technology combines 3D printing with traditional machining, and a fresh theory on how humans became so smart  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1812m 51s

Babbage: Trending: The demise of antibiotics

We talk to Jim O’Neill about how the overconsumption of antibiotics has eroded their effectiveness and discuss whether Facebook is turning into a news publisher  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 20s

Babbage: Yellow fever - the next pandemic?

Kenneth Cukier investigates the burgeoning yellow fever outbreak in Angola. Also, astrobiologist Sanjoy Som fills us in on his research into the Earth's early atmosphere, and there's some eggstatic news for the egg industry  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 9s

Babbage: Will your surgeon be a robot?

Surgical operations become more akin to driverless cars. And users try out IBM's quantum computer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 4s

Babbage: The legacy of Chernobyl

We discuss the political and scientific impact of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster on its 30th anniversary, and a new way to protect cells from many different kinds of virus  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1815m 59s

Babbage: One blockchain to rule them all?

This week we discuss how to keep drones away from manned aircraft and talk to Vitalik Buterin, inventor of Ethereum  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1812m 24s

Babbage: Better lives for autistic people

Researcher Simon Baron-Cohen joins our writers to discuss autism in the workplace. And our innovation editor on mapping technology in driverless cars.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1816m 23s

Babbage: Mark Zuckerberg's vision

An efficient, low-cost way to detect explosives, and our US technology editor analyses Facebook’s future after an interview with its boss, Mark Zuckerberg  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 27s

Babbage: What’s in a yeast?

New yeasts could open up new flavours for clever chocolate and coffee producers, and sonic booms may become less loud, unleashing faster private air travel  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1812m 36s

Babbage: How to crack an iPhone

The FBI claims it may be able to bypass the privacy protections on a terrorist's Apple phone. But the broader dispute over balancing user privacy and national security remains.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 38s

Babbage: Data heard, memories retrieved

Scientists find ways of analysing data sonically, not visually, and a new study suggests how memory problems in Alzheimer's disease aren't with storage, but with retrieval  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 20s

Babbage: The future of computing

In a milestone for artificial intelligence, a program designed to play the ancient Asian game of Go has won the first of its five games against a human champion. It's an example of how smarter software, not just more powerful hardware, will drive progress in the computer industry in future  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 48s

Babbage: From footies to selfies

Brain scans of American footballers reveal the darker side of contact sports and a new study on social media uncovers why we take selfies  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 18s

Babbage: Apple and the reason for sex

Apple clashes with the FBI over accessing iPhone data and scientists finally prove why we keep having sex  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/189m 23s

Babbage: 5G to unite them all

The fifth generation of mobile network promises to take us one step closer to wireless paradise and researchers infect patients with modified viruses to fight cancer  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1812m 8s

Babbage: Slimy, underwater light-eaters

This week we look at how selectively bred coral-dwelling algae might survive warmer waters and at how bacteria bend light to direct their tiny bodies toward the sun  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1812m 25s

Babbage: Frosty organs and doped-up horses

A charity in America rallies transplant-organ preservation scientists, and researchers in Hong Kong think they've found a way to detect doping in racehorses  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1812m 55s

Babbage: Schizophrenic genes

Scientists identify the genes that are driving schizophrenia and as touchscreens become more responsive, imaginative new uses may emerge  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 21s

Babbage: Viruses and Facebook friends

A mosquito-borne virus is linked to a worrying number of birth defects in Brazil and has social media expanded the number of friendships we can maintain?  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 21s

Babbage: The pollution solution

How big data can help tackle air pollution and a bright idea makes for a better light bulb  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1812m 30s

Babbage: Blackholes and hoverboards

Scientists are learning more than ever about black holes as astronomical objects and an American firm brings a real McFly hoverboard to market  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1810m 30s

Babbage: The ghosts of Babbage future

In our second holiday special, our hosts look back from 2115. Pluto’s portraits may be humdrum by then, but AI, gene editing and quantum computing may have changed the world  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 51s

Babbage: The ghost of Babbage past

In the first of two holiday specials, our hosts look at the stories of a century ago, from X-ray crystallography to sonar, continental drift and the first sighting of Pluto  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 43s

Babbage: Climate of change

A look at last week’s climate talks in Paris: what was agreed on, how realistic the goals are and whether there is reason to be optimistic  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1817m 36s

Babbage: A bit of peace, round the corner

The end of bitcoin’s civil war and a look at new technology that can be used to see round corners  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 50s

Babbage: Materials for making and cleaning

New materials are changing the way we make things from light bulbs to cars and aircraft, and there's a better way to capture carbon from fossil fuels before it is burned  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 48s

Babbage: Relativity's revelations

Our correspondents discuss the importance of Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity and how it is still revealing the secrets of our cosmos  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 22s

Babbage: The rise of the drone-selfie

Google makes its core machine-learning system, TensorFlow, open-source and the Flying Robot International Film Festival kicks off in San Francisco  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 52s

Babbage: Things visible and invisible

How satellites can save lives in the aftermath of an earthquake and a tantalising signal looks increasingly like it could be from dark matter  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 10s

Babbage: The big chill

Hypersonic air-breathing engines may at least be a reality and the Cassini spacecraft has a close encounter with Saturn's icy moon  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 10s

Babbage: Time and energy

Why stock traders will soon need atomic clocks and Dupont finally tries to crack cellulosic biofuel  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 47s

Babbage: Fusion and confusion

Fusion energy gets a new star player and an unusual find in our galaxy both perplexes astronomers and gives hope to alien hunters  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 34s

Babbage: Swine lifelines

Dell makes a $67 billion bet in the form of the technology industry's largest ever merger and scientists prepare pig organs for human transplants  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 24s

Babbage: Nobel's neutrinos

A data transfer pact between the EU and America is struck down in Europe and two scientists working on the changing identities of neutrinos receive the Nobel Prize in Physics  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1814m 14s

Babbage: Opportunity and curiosity

Countries pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris and NASA discovers water on Mars reigniting hopes for life on the red planet  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 56s

Babbage: Zoning drones

The rise in drone hobbyism raises questions about how best to control the skies, and scientists hope to catch sight of Einstein's gravitational wave  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1812m 50s

Babbage: Hybrid fliers

The hybrid and electric plane industry takes off and advanced artificial intelligence is used to diagnose disease  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 24s

Babbage: What lies beneath

Radar scans reveal an enormous site of underground stone monoliths near Stonehenge and subterranean plant seed banks could save harvests and lives in the face of climate change  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1810m 57s

Babbage: Inspectors' gadgets

New technology used by nuclear weapons inspectors and 3D printing buildings on Earth and in outer space  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 43s

Babbage: The microbes in our midst

Scientists say a universal flu vaccine is on the horizon and a new study unearths the thousands of bacteria and fungi in our homes  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1810m 55s

Babbage: Climate's wild child

A new technique makes editing the human genome much easier and this year's El Niño, a disrupting climate phenomenon, could be the strongest ever  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 42s

Babbage: Thinking with your tentacles

The secret to the intelligence of the octopus lies in its genome and scientists explore how big data disrupts the principle of anonymity  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 11s

Babbage: Notes from the oeno files

Fine wine is priced by using artificial intelligence and President Obama announces new rules to reduce carbon emissions  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1810m 44s

Babbage: Sunset and sunrise in the Kuiper belt

Scientists fit living cells with lasers to track what they get up to and New Horizons gets a stunning final look back at Pluto  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 34s

Babbage: The Jodie Foster moment

Clinical trials for drugs are not as closely scrutinised as they should be and a Russian billionaire is on the hunt for extraterrestrials  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1813m 10s

Babbage: Atomic vision

Hackers threaten the "internet of things", and scientists use atomic microscopes to observe and control chemical reactions in real time  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 5s

Babbage: Hacking the hackers

The Hacking Team gets hacked, exposing alleged illegal activities, and NASA's New Horizons probe flickers back to life as it approaches the planetoid Pluto  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/189m 2s

Babbage: Break-ups

Embryos frozen during relationships lead to legal troubles down the road, and SpaceX loses a cargo carrier in the risky business of rocketry  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1811m 32s

Babbage: Mapping crises with mobiles

How mobile phone data can help aid workers during humanitarian crises and start-ups which tweak your phone’s connectivity take on the big mobile network companies  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/1810m 28s

Babbage: Quantum leaps and bee-conomics

Computer companies are harnessing the power of quantum mechanics and why the majority of bees have no economic value  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/189m 10s

Babbage: Up in e-smoke

Organs on chips allow researchers to mimic complicated human systems and Wales plans to ban e-cigarettes  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/187m 15s

Babbage: AI and IA

Ad-blocking software has reached the mainstream and is going mobile, and handheld robots begin to marry what both man and machine do well  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/189m 27s

Babbage: Thin-skinned

Nokia attracts bids for its HERE mapping service and tests of a few brave mice suggest space travel could be terrible for the skin  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/187m 33s

Babbage: Home-brewed heroin

How lab experiments got a step closer to yeast that can make morphine, and how app experiments by developers such as Facebook happen in New Zealand  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/188m 11s

Babbage: LEDtime

This week our correspondents discuss the effects gadget-use can have on teenagers’ sleep, and Silicon Valley's billion-dollar "unicorns".  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
12/11/186m 33s
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