EconTalk
EconTalk
Nov 30, 2020
Emily Oster on the Pandemic
Play • 1 hr 4 min

Economist and author Emily Oster of Brown University talks with EconTalk host Russ Roberts about the challenge of reopening schools in a pandemic. Oster has been collecting data from K-12 schools around the country. Her preliminary analysis finds little evidence that schools are super-spreaders of COVID. She argues that closing schools comes at a high cost for the students with little benefit in reducing the spread of the disease. The conversation ends with a discussion of parenting.

Conversations with Tyler
Conversations with Tyler
Mercatus Center at George Mason University
Noubar Afeyan on the Permission to Leap
“The world of innovation is very much one of toggling between survival and then thriving,” says Noubar Afeyan. Co-founder of Moderna and CEO of Flagship Pioneering, the biomedical innovator, philanthropist, and entrepreneur credits his successes to his “paranoid optimism” shaped by his experiences as an Armenian-American. Exceptional achievements like the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccine, he believes, aren’t usually unpredictable but rather the result of systematic processes that include embracing unreasonable propositions and even unreasonable people. He joined Tyler to discuss which aspect of entrepreneurship is hardest to teach, his predictions on the future of gene editing and CRISPR technology, why the pharmaceutical field can’t be winner takes all, why “basic research” is a poor term, the secret to Boston’s culture of innovation, the potential of plant biotech, why Montreal is (still) a special place to him, how his classical pianist mother influenced his musical tastes, his discussion-based approach to ethical dilemmas, how thinking future-backward shapes his approach to business and philanthropy, the blessing and curse of Lebanese optimism, the importance of creating a culture where people can say things that are wrong, what we can all learn by being an American by choice, and more. Follow us on Twitter and IG: @cowenconvos Email: cowenconvos@mercatus.gmu.edu Follow Noubar on Twitter Follow Tyler on Twitter Facebook Newsletter
56 min
Hidden Forces
Hidden Forces
Demetri Kofinas
Restoring Trust in an Age of Political Polarization | Kevin Vallier
In Episode 175 of Hidden Forces, Demetri Kofinas speaks with Kevin Vallier, an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Bowling Green State University, whose interests lie primarily in political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of religion, and economics. In his latest book, “Trust in a Polarized Age,” Kevin draws on empirical data and liberal political philosophy to demonstrate that rising levels of political polarization can be largely attributed to a multi-decade decline in trust. If we want to reduce political polarization, argues Kevin, “we have to start by rebuilding social and political trust.” While this may seem like a tall order during a time in which Americans are less trusting than at any point since at least the 1960’s when measurements began, the situation is not hopeless. In this conversation we discuss the causes and consequences of declining social and political trust, the two-way relationship between trust and polarization, and what sorts of practical steps can be taken at both an individual and societal level to begin to restore faith in each other and in our political and legal institutions. In the overtime, Kevin and Demetri touch on a number of timely topics, including concerns about domestic terrorism and the parallels that can be drawn between the early 1990’s and today. One of the more interesting parts of the discussion deals with the “mainstreaming” so to speak, of conspiracy theory. Unlike in the early 1990’s where domestic terror groups and individuals were motivated primarily by extreme ideological beliefs, those being monitored today, some of which were involved in the attack on the US Capitol building, combine political violence with mainstream views that are shared by a significant percentage of the American people. You can access the second part of this conversation, as well as the transcript and rundown to this week’s episode through the Hidden Forces Patreon Page. All subscribers gain access to our overtime feed, which can be easily added to your favorite podcast application. If you enjoyed listening to today’s episode of Hidden Forces you can help support the show by doing the following: Subscribe on Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | SoundCloud | YouTube | CastBox | RSS Feed Write us a review on Apple Podcasts Subscribe to our mailing list through the Hidden Forces Website Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou Subscribe & Support the Podcast at https://patreon.com/hiddenforces Join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at @hiddenforcespod Follow Demetri on Twitter at @Kofinas Episode Recorded on 01/12/2020
59 min
Macro Musings with David Beckworth
Macro Musings with David Beckworth
Mercatus Center
Caleb Watney on *Cracks in the Great Stagnation* and How to Boost Economic Growth
Caleb Watney is the director of innovation policy at the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) and he joins Macro Musings to talk about his recent piece, *Cracks in the Great Stagnation* and the reasons why we should all be techno-optimists. Specifically, David and Caleb discuss greater skilled immigration, further government R&D spending, innovative energy solutions, and more as ways to help repair an economy plagued by secular stagnation. Transcript for the episode can be found here: https://www.mercatus.org/bridge/tags/macro-musings Caleb’s Twitter: @calebwatney Caleb’s PPI profile: https://www.progressivepolicy.org/people/caleb-watney/ Related Links: *Cracks in the Great Stagnation* Caleb Watney https://www.agglomerations.tech/cracks-in-the-great-stagnation/ *The Egghead Gap* by Caleb Watney https://www.thenewatlantis.com/publications/the-egghead-gap *Are Ideas Getting Harder to Find?* by Nicholas Bloom, Charles Jones, John Van Reenen, and Michael Webb https://www.aeaweb.org/articles?id=10.1257/aer.20180338 *Is the Rate of Scientific Progress Slowing Down?* by Tyler Cowen and Ben Southwood https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cEBsj18Y4NnVx5Qdu43cKEHMaVBODTTyfHBa8GIRSec/edit *The Productivity J-Curve: How Intangibles Complement General Purpose Technologies* by Erik Brynjolfsson, Daniel Rock, and Chad Syverson https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w25148/w25148.pdf David’s blog: macromarketmusings.blogspot.com David’s Twitter: @DavidBeckworth
56 min
The Munk Debates Podcast
The Munk Debates Podcast
Antica Productions and iHeartRadio
Munk Members-Only Pod: Episode 3
This is a sample of the Munk Members-Only Podcast. To access the full length episode consider becoming a Munk Member. Membership is free. Simply log on to www.munkdebates.com/membership to register. Under your membership profile page you will find a link to listen to the full length editions of Munk Members Podcast. The Munk Members Podcast provides a focused, half-hour masterclass on current events with Janice Gross Stein, the founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs and bestselling author. Rudyard Griffiths, Chair of the Munk Debates, is the podcast moderator. Janice and Rudyard unpack the big issues in the news and drill down into the people, events and trends that are shaping our lives in this extraordinary moment. The full length episode digs into three big stories in the news this week — President Biden’s Inauguration address; will his calls for national unity have any effect on America’s polarized political institutions and discourse? — Biden’s Keystone XL pipeline cancellation; what are the implications for Canada’s energy dependent economy? Is a new national unity crisis in the making? — Canada’s Governor General resigns; are governments appointing people for their own communications proposes as opposed what important institutions actually need in terms of executive leadership? We debate. If you like what the Munk Debates is all about consider becoming a Supporting Member. For as little as $9.99 monthly you receive unlimited access to our 10+ year library of great debates in HD video, a free Munk Debates book, monthly newsletter, ticketing privileges at our live events and a charitable tax receipt (for Canadian residents). To explore you Munk Membership options visit www.munkdebates.com/membership. This podcast is a project of the Munk Debates, a Canadian charitable organization dedicated to fostering civil and substantive public dialogue. More information at www.munkdebates.com.
12 min
COMPLEXITY
COMPLEXITY
Santa Fe Institute, Michael Garfield
Cris Moore on Algorithmic Justice & The Physics of Inference
It’s tempting to believe that people can outsource decisions to machines — that algorithms are objective, and it’s easier and fairer to dump the burden on them. But convenience conceals the complicated truth: when lives are made or broken by AI, we need transparency about the way we ask computers questions, and we need to understand what kinds of problems they’re not suited for. Sometimes we may be using the wrong models, and sometimes even great models fail when fed sparse or noisy data. Applying physics insights to the practical concerns of what an algorithm can and cannot do, scientists find points at which questions suddenly become unanswerable. Even with access to great data, not everything’s an optimization problem: there may be more than one right answer. Ultimately, it is crucial that we understand the limits of the technology we leverage to help us navigate our complex world — and the values that (often invisibly) determine how we use it. Welcome to COMPLEXITY, the official podcast of the Santa Fe Institute. I’m your host, Michael Garfield, and every other week we’ll bring you with us for far-ranging conversations with our worldwide network of rigorous researchers developing new frameworks to explain the deepest mysteries of the universe. We kick off 2021 with SFI Resident Professor Cristopher Moore, who has written over 150 papers at the boundary between physics and computer science, to talk about his work in the physics of inference and with The Algorithmic Justice Project. If you value our research and communication efforts, please consider making a donation at santafe.edu/give — and/or rating and reviewing us at Apple Podcasts. You can find numerous other ways to engage with us at santafe.edu/engage. Thank you for listening! Join our Facebook discussion group to meet like minds and talk about each episode. Podcast theme music by Mitch Mignano. Follow us on social media: Twitter • YouTube • Facebook • Instagram • LinkedIn Related Reading: Cris Moore’s Google Scholar Page The Algorithmic Justice Project “The Computer Science and Physics of Community Detection: Landscapes, Phase Transitions, and Hardness" _The Ethical Algorithm _by SFI External Professor Michael Kearns “Prevalence-induced concept change in human judgment” co-authored by SFI External Professor Thalia Wheatley “The Uncertainty Principle” with SFI Miller Scholar John Kaag SFI External Professor Andreas Wagner on play as a form of noise generation that can knock an inference algorithm off false endpoints/local optima Related Videos: Cris Moore’s ICTS Turing Talks on “Complexities, phase transitions, and inference” Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency: Lessons from predictive models in criminal justice Reckoning and Judgment The Promise of AI Easy, Hard, and Impossible Problems: The Limits of Computation. Ulam Memorial Lecture #1. Data, Algorithms, Justice, and Fairness. Ulam Memorial Lecture #2. Related Podcasts: Fighting Hate Speech with AI & Social Science (with Joshua Garland, Mirta Galesic, and Keyan Ghazi-Zahedi) Better Scientific Modeling for Ecological & Social Justice with David Krakauer (Transmission Series Ep. 7) Embracing Complexity for Systemic Interventions with David Krakauer (Transmission Series Ep. 5) Rajiv Sethi on Stereotypes, Crime, and The Pursuit of Justice
1 hr 12 min
Future Positive
Future Positive
XPRIZE Foundation
AI in Contact Tracing and Data Privacy
When it comes to fighting infectious disease outbreaks, contact tracing is a key public health response. Mobile technologies including GPS, Bluetooth, cellphone masts and AI-powered big data analytics, can help collect data that helps decision-makers understand and manage the spread of pandemics like COVID-19 within their own communities.   But when using this kind of technology, it’s critical to preserve personal privacy to not only maintain public trust but especially to protect vulnerable individuals during a crisis. This episode explores how privacy-preserving techniques such as homomorphic encryption and solutions for mobile phone contact tracing can be deployed, including real-world examples from Israel and the US. Today’s episode was originally recorded at AI For Good, an annual global summit hosted by ITU and XPRIZE, and while some elements of the conversation are more timely to COVID’s spread in April 2020 at the time of recording, our guests discuss explore how developers are creating tracing software, its importance in early response efforts and technical specifics, all of which are especially relevant challenges still today.   Thomas Wiegand is a German electrical engineer who substantially contributed to the creation of the H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and H.265/MPEG-H HEVC video coding standards. For H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, Wiegand was one of the chairmen of the Joint Video Team (JVT) standardization committee that created the standard and was the chief editor of the standard itself. He was also an active technical contributor to both standards. Wiegand also holds a chairmanship position in the ITU-T VCEG and previously in ISO/IEC MPEG standardization organizations. In July 2006, the video coding work of the ITU-T jointly led by Gary J. Sullivan and Wiegand for the preceding six years was voted as the most influential area of the standardization work of the CCITT and ITU-T in their 50-year history. Wiegand is Professor at the Technical University of Berlin and executive director of the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute, Berlin, Germany. He heads research teams working on : Video processing and coding, Multimedia transmission, Machine learning, Mobile Communications (management) and Computer Vision (management). Kurt Rohloff is the co-founder and CTO of Duality Technologies, a technology start-up enabling privacy-preserving analytics and collaboration on sensitive data. He leads the development of PALISADE, an open source homomorphic encryption software library that encrypts data so that they can be safely used for predictive analytics while preserving private information. Prior to co-founding Duality he was a professor of computer science at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He received his PhD from the University of Michigan. He is the recipient of a DARPA Director’s Fellowship.   Links:  https://dualitytech.com/  https://aiforgood.itu.int/  xprize.org/blog See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
51 min
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