19-09 Segment 1: What Big Data Can Teach Us About Ourselves

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These days, there is data on just about everything. Our social media presence, our careers, our web search history- it’s all crunched into data points. And author Seth Stephens-Davidowitz says all that data can shed plenty of light on the truth about who we really are underneath all of our social formalities.

Guest:

  • Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, author, Everbody Lies: Big data, new data, and what the internet can tell us about who we really are

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19-07 Segment 2: Considering the Precarious Future of AI

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Between Alexa, Google and Siri, artificial intelligence is here. But looking forward, AI will only get more and more intelligent. Author and researcher James Rollins discusses why AI has long scared scientists and storytellers, and what the future of our technology could look like if we aren’t careful.

Guest:

  • James Rollins, researcher and author, Crucible 

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19-06 Segment 2: The Written Word: A history of storytelling

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Throughout history, stories have been told but sometimes preserving them for future generations has proven difficult. We examine the ways stories have been passed down, and the role the written word has played in shaping our civilizations.

Guest:

  • Martin Puchner, Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Harvard University, and author, The Written Word: The power of stories to shape people, history, and civilization

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18-50 Segment 1: The Many Planets Outside Our Galaxy and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

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We know about the planets within the Milky Way Galaxy, but what about planets outside of our neighborhood? We talk to Dr. Donald Goldsmith about “exoplanets” and where science stands on the issue of life thriving somewhere else in the universe.

Guest:

  • Dr. Donald Goldsmith, author of Exoplanets: Hidden Worlds and the Quest for Extraterrestrial Life

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Culture Crash 18-48: Watching Sports with a Second Screen

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Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture–what’s new and old in entertainment.

It used to be that when you were watching sports, you were only watching with the people in the same room as you. Maybe your family gathered around to watch Sunday Night Baseball, maybe you went to a friend’s Super Bowl party. Either way, you discussed the matchups amongst yourself, relying on the person next to you to pick up on any subtleties you missed.

Now, sports have become the gold-standard for entertainment that demands a second-screen. Watching a game is aided immensely by having your phone or a tablet at your fingertips. You can look up in-game stats, you can track scores of other games, or you can look through your Twitter timeline to share in the agony or ecstasy of your team’s failures and successes with a host of other fans and analysts in real time.

No longer do you have to sit at home and watch a game independently. Now, you’re at a bustling sports bar for every game, and the entire internet is sitting alongside you. The NBA Finals, World Series, and Super Bowl all completely take over the social media world, dominating the trending charts with hashtags and relevant players and coaches names. Within minutes of last year’s NBA Finals Game 1 ending, already the internet was full of memes making fun of the moment LeBron James yelled at JR Smith for not knowing the score in a crucial situation down the stretch.

It’s not all memes, though. The internet can also truly illuminate what’s happening on your TV screen. Have a question about a particular penalty or play? You can submit it to your local newspaper’s beat writer and occasionally get a response. Think Drew Brees looks slightly off in the third quarter? You can make that observation on Twitter and see if others agree or disagree with your assertion.

Management and coaching staffs have analytics guys crunching numbers to decide who starts and who sits. Now, us fans have social media, where we can parse through that same information to second-guess our teams every step of the way. Gone are the days when you have to watch a live event in the dark. Now, QB ratings, field goal percentages, and trade rumors are constantly just a click away, and as soon as the game your watching is over you can trust that social media has all the highlights you need to see from the other games you missed.  

I’m Evan Rook. 

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18-42 Segment 1: The Art of Video Games

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Video games are often considered child’s play, or at least something below “real” art. Author Andrew Ervin argues that’s not true, and that video games are now big-business for TV networks and advertisers, as well as a source of true artfulness.

Guest:

  • Andrew Ervin, author, Bit by Bit: How video games transformed our world

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18-38 Segment 1: The Uncertain Future of Cash

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As technology evolves, more and more of us are relying on credit cards, debit cards and even apps like Venmo or Zelle to make payments. Gone are the days of physically cashing your check, now almost all of us use all direct-deposit. So what is the future of cash? We talk to one expert who lays out some of the nefarious uses of bills and coins.

Guests:

  • Kenneth Rogoff, professor of economics at Harvard University and author, The Curse of Cash

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