Our Week in Podcasts - 18 Jan 2022

This week at the beach we caught up on:

  1. the 2021 BBC Reith Lectures presented by Stuart Russell on artificial intelligence. There is so much positive potential to be better humans if we get it right. However It will be critical to ensure that we design and properly regulate our cyberphysical future rather than just drift into The Matrix set 😊. Real stupidity can disrupt and corrupt the positive promise of AI;
  2. Steve Jobs thought that the biggest innovations of the 21st century would come from the intersection of technology and biology. People using AI, robotics and biology for good were covered in the ABC’s Science Show – 3D printed ears making use of collagen and seaweed that might otherwise go to waste and leveraging human skills and collaboration with Professor Gordon Wallace at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electroscience Materials;
  3. In the same vein an Instant Genius episode with Professor Fyodor Urnov covered a little of CRISPR’s potential. (Nobel Laureate Emmanuelle Charpentier’s birthday was on 11 December and it is her co-winner Jennifer Doudna’s birthday on 19th This year is also the bicentenary of pioneering geneticist Gregor Mendels 2o July 1822 birth); {The monarch butterfly and a pea-headed Mendel monk in the blog image reference characters in the Alfred P Sloan-award winning film “Son of Monarchs” directed by Dr Alexis Gambis, a biologist and filmmaker at NYU}.
  4. To ensure we could not be accused of being too anthropocentric we also listened to Feline Philosophy on that great CBC Ideas podcast series whilst pondering John H Conroy’s surreal numbers … and in a hypnagogic state conceived of Eschers cat, after playing through the many dimensions of string theory, rescuing Schrodingers cat;Eschers Cat Rescues Schrodingers Cat
  5. Daniel and Jorge’s Frequently Asked Questions About The Universe Always interesting we can’t help think that we are missing something very fundamental. Quantum theory predicts outcomes with exquisite precision. However we don’t really, it seems to us, understand time, space is foamy, particles are neither particles nor waves in what we characterize as quantum fields – just what is our reality??? Humanity really needs more funding for basic research as well as better thinking, maths and / or a MAD black hole where we can really see quantum and general relativity interacting up close. Or maybe scientists just need to outsource more thinking to AI… or a 17-dimensional alien octopus (or SQUID!)? Or maybe Jorge can work up his clothes dryer powered wormhole generator idea to get a link to the alien Arxiv equivalent?

(Quanta magazine’s article on SANE =  Stable And Normally Accreting black holes in contrast to  magnetically arrested disk (MAD) black holes can be found here and a Nature article here). Daniel and Jorge Explain The Universe podcast featuring them is here

 

The Reith Lectures website can be found here