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Podcast Profile: Futuremakers

podcast imageTwitter: @PhilFacOx (followed by 278 philosophers)
Site: podcasts.ox.ac.uk/series/futuremakers
41 episodes
2018 to 2020
Average episode: 52 minutes
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Categories: Interview-Style • Philosophy+/Philosophyish/Ideas/Etc. • Science and Technology

Podcaster's summary: Welcome to Futuremakers, from the University of Oxford, where our academics debate key issues for the future of society. | | Season Three: The History of Pandemics | | Season Two: Climate Change | | Season One: Artificial Intelligence | | Special Episode: A brief history of Quantum Computing

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List Updated: 2023-Mar-24 12:17 UTC. Episodes: 41. Feedback: @TrueSciPhi.

2020-Dec-20 • 84 minutes
S3 Ep11: History of Pandemics: Coronavirus and ‘Disease X’
Peter interviews the Oxford scientists working at the forefront of research into Disease X - a pathogen which the World Health Organization added to their shortlist of blueprint priority diseases in 2018 to represent the hypothetical cause of our next pandemic... | | | | This episode is part of our History of Pandemics season - follow Professor Peter Millican as he talks to researchers from around the world about some of the devastating pandemics humanity has experienced. Peter and his colleagues will di...
2020-Dec-13 • 50 minutes
S3 Ep10: History of Pandemics: Ebola
Peter begins the final episode of the series in 2014, at the onset of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. Whilst that pandemic officially ended in 2016, this virus has caused a brutal outbreak nearly every year since. After his discussion at the start of the series about whether Ebola may have been the disease that caused the Plague of Athens, has Peter arrived back where he started? | | | | This episode is part of our History of Pandemics season - follow Professor Peter Millican as he talks to research...
2020-Dec-13 • 52 minutes
S3 Ep9: History of Pandemics: HIV and AIDS
In the ninth episode of our History of Pandemics season, Peter leaves the perils of influenza behind, only to discover an entirely new virus: HIV. Many of you may remember the emerging panic that became the media narrative around HIV and the disease it can lead to, AIDS, and in this episode Peter follows the story from the beginning, with medical experts who’ve worked on the front line of this pandemic since the early days. | | | This episode is part of our History of Pandemics season - follow Profess...
2020-Dec-13 • 47 minutes
S3 Ep8: History of Pandemics: The 'Spanish' Flu
Peter arrives in the twentieth century, during the last years of the Great War, to a pandemic which you may have read a lot about during the early coverage of our current COVID-19 outbreak. After the Black Death, the so-called ‘Spanish’ Flu has one of the most famous monikers of any pandemic, but does it deserve such notoriety? | | | | This episode is part of our History of Pandemics season - follow Professor Peter Millican as he talks to researchers from around the world about some of the devastating ...
2020-Dec-13 • 46 minutes
S3 Ep7: History of Pandemics: The 'Russian' Flu
In this episode, Peter discusses a controversial outbreak... So-called 'Russian' Flu is either the first influenza pandemic we’ll be discussing, or it wasn’t the flu at all. It was either a disease which emerged from and then devastated the country it was named after, or an outbreak which the Russian people barely noticed at the time. It either deserves its place as the seventh pandemic we’re covering in the series, or it’s the pandemic that never was, an outlier in our historical narrative… | | | | Th...
2020-Dec-13 • 38 minutes
S3 Ep6: History of Pandemics: Cholera and John Snow
Peter makes it to the nineteenth century to discuss the achievements of John Snow - a man who either played a central role in the history of epidemiology, or was just one of many trying to tackle that centuries’ foremost threat; cholera. Peter discusses Snow's role, water pump handles, and how we may very well still be experiencing this devastating pandemic today. | | | This episode is part of our History of Pandemics season - follow Professor Peter Millican as he talks to researchers from around the wo...
2020-Dec-06 • 2 minutes
S3: Mid-series break: a message from Professor Sir John Bell
We'll be publishing the second half of our History of Pandemics series next week; featuring episodes on Cholera, the pandemic that wasn't, the so-called Spanish Flu, HIV/AIDS, and the West African Ebola outbreak. In the meantime, here's a short message from Oxford's Professor Sir John Bell on the importance of learning from past pandemics. | | | Please do continue to enjoy our first five stories, from the Plague of Athens to Smallpox, and tell everyone you know about the show! You can find out more at ht...
2020-Nov-29 • 43 minutes
S3 Ep5: History of Pandemics: Smallpox, and Jenner
Welcome to the eighteenth century, at a point when Europe is going through another major smallpox outbreak, a disease that by this point has been plaguing populations around the globe for centuries. Peter will discover why milkmaids may be to central to the story of vaccination, how smallpox features in popular contemporary literature and what Napoleon thought of an English physician called Edward Jenner. | | | This episode is part of our History of Pandemics season - follow Professor Peter Millican as h...
2020-Nov-29 • 67 minutes
S3 Ep4: History of Pandemics: The Great Plague
In the final plague episode of the series, Peter talks to his guests about the last major outbreak of this horrific disease in seventeenth-century England. Along the way they dispel some myths – for example it wasn’t the Great Fire of London that finally defeated the disease – and he drops in on one of the outbreaks most famous commentators – Samuel Pepys. Stay tuned to the end for a bonus conversation on Shakespeare’s experience during the plague outbreaks which led up to this final Great Plague. | | |...
2020-Nov-29 • 45 minutes
S3 Ep3: History of Pandemics: The Black Death
Peter arrives in the fourteenth century and meets history's most notorious plague outbreak. The Black Death is a gruesome name well-matched with a grim disease, and as you'll find out, it's not just the name which has survived to the modern period... | | | This episode is part of our History of Pandemics season - follow Professor Peter Millican as he talks to researchers from around the world about some of the devastating pandemics humanity has experienced. Peter and his colleagues will discuss ten major...
2020-Nov-29 • 56 minutes
S3 Ep2: History of Pandemics: The Plague of Justinian
Welcome to the Eastern Roman Empire in the sixth century. This time, Peter discusses a plague that historians and medical experts agree was likely the first plague pandemic humanity experienced. You may not have heard much about the emperor Justinian I, or why he’s got a plague outbreak named after him, but by the end of this episode you’ll hear just how devastating and long-lasting this pandemic was. | | | This episode is part of our History of Pandemics season - follow Professor Peter Millican as he t...
2020-Nov-29 • 46 minutes
S3 Ep1: History of Pandemics: Athens: the first plague?
Join Peter in 5th century Athens, a crowded city in the midst of a siege, where a devastating disease had just erupted. Our guests discuss whether this really was plague, the breakdown in law and order that began to emerge, and how the historian Thucydides survived the disease that hit his city. | | | This episode is part of our History of Pandemics season - follow Professor Peter Millican as he talks to researchers from around the world about some of the devastating pandemics humanity has experienced. Pe...
2020-Nov-22 • 42 minutes
S3: The Future after COVID-19
Just before our third season starts we talk with Dr Peter Drobac, a global health physician and Director of the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, and Dr Aoife Haney, Research Lecturer in Innovation and Enterprise, about the social, economic and environmental changes that may well be heading our way after our current pandemic. | | | | Coming soon... Follow Professor Peter Millican as he talks to researchers from around the world about some of the devastating pandemics humanity has experienced. Pe...
2020-Mar-22 • 30 minutes
S2 Ep15: Live Special: Artificial Intelligence Q&A
Originally recorded back in September 2019 at the [email protected] Conference held at the University of Oxford's Saïd Business School, this 'live' episode sees Prof. Millican joined by: | | | | | Mitchell Baker | (Chairwoman, Mozilla Foundation); | Mike Wooldridge | (Professor of Computer Science, University of Oxford); | Safiya Omoja Noble | (Associate Professor, University of California Los Angeles), and; | Jim Wilkinson | (CFO, Oxford Sciences Innovation). | | | | In it, they revisit a number of topics f...
2020-Mar-15 • 39 minutes
S2 Ep14: Will climate migration lead to conflict?
Climate migration hit the headlines in January, when the United Nations made a landmark ruling about the legal rights of those displaced by a climate crisis. | | The UN High Commission for Refugees has warned that millions of people could become climate refugees in the coming years, and meanwhile, tensions over scarcity are stoking fears of conflict. | | With temperatures and anxieties rising, how do we prepare for changing human mobility and new kinds of conflict? | | Joining Prof. Millican in this epis...
2020-Mar-08 • 66 minutes
S2 Ep13: Climate change: What is the future of our food?
The world is getting hotter, drier, and more crowded. By 2050, there will be ten billion humans across the globe, while at the same time there may be far less land suitable for growing food. | | There's also a growing awareness that our diet and food choices can have a significant impact on our carbon footprint: while innovations like lab-grown foods may provide lower emission options, and new technologies may make our food supply more adaptable and robust, there are clearly many challenges ahead. | | Put...
2019-Dec-19 • 22 minutes
S2 Ep12: COP 25 – what happened?
In this bonus ‘reaction’ episode, we chat to several Oxford academics who were either at, or closely following the recent events at COP 25. | | We ask them what (if anything) was decided at the meeting in Madrid, whether enough action was taken, and where we might go next - ahead of COP 26 in Glasgow, Scotland (2020). | | Interviewed on this episode were Professor Fredi Otto, Professor Nathalie Seddon, Dr Helen Gavin, DPhil students Alex Clark and Lisa Thalheimer, entrepreneur Charmian Love and lawyer B...
2019-Dec-15 • 24 minutes
S2 Ep11: Mark Carney on Climate Change
In this special bonus episode, originally recorded on 25th November, Professor Millican travels to the Bank of England to interview its Governor, Mark Carney. This episode was recorded before it was announced that Mark Carney will become the UN Special Envoy for Climate Action and Finance in 2020. | | The interview covered a range of topics, but focused in particular on the challenges that markets may need to overcome if we hope to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees C, how federal banks are working to...
2019-Dec-08 • 59 minutes
S2 Ep10: Solving climate change... nature or technology?
Solving climate change can involve either mitigation – reducing the greenhouse gases we’re putting into the atmosphere – or adaptation – the process of adjusting to our changing environment. In the last episode of series two, we wanted to learn more about how these solutions are developing, what form they take, and where we should be applying them. We were particularly interested in the contrast between two climate change solutions: engineering approaches (such as technical methods of carbon capture, novel ...
2019-Dec-01 • 50 minutes
S2 Ep9: Is climate conflict inevitable?
In 2010, Jeffrey Mazo outlined in his book ‘How global warming threatens security and what to do about it’ four ways in which climate and environmental change could produce security threats: | · a general systemic weakening, | · boundary disputes, | · resource wars, | · and by multiplying instability in already fragile or weak states. | Yet so far in our second series, with conversations around energy use, international treaties and individual choices, talk of conflict has received much le...
2019-Nov-24 • 57 minutes
S2 Ep8: Climate change: Who should we sue?
To date, there have been climate change legal cases in at least 28 countries. From Greta Thunberg leading a group of young people in filing a lawsuit against five countries at the UN to the Hague Court of Appeals upholding a historic ruling against the Dutch government, increasing numbers of people are taking legal action together to demand governments do more. | | And with various oil and gas companies being sued by US cities for costs of climate-related damages, today on Futuremakers, we’re asking: wha...
2019-Nov-17 • 88 minutes
S2 Ep7: Can we be green and capitalist?
Many of our panellists in season two have described barriers that are standing in our way if we hope to restrict global warming to the 1.5 degrees C limit that the 2018 IPCC report outlined, and some have advocated how our current economic system could be used to overcome them. But can markets really provide a tool to promote necessary action? In this episode we ask; can we be green AND capitalist? | | | Joining Professor Millican on this latest episode of Futuremakers are: | | Thomas Hale, Associate Pro...
2019-Nov-10 • 62 minutes
S2 Ep6: Should nuclear power be part of our energy system?
Nuclear energy is still a controversial idea for many people, with dangerous accidents and destructive bombs being at the top of their minds when they hear the words, yet other renewable energy sources are not without their critics, and arguably are not yet at a place where they can entirely replace our current energy systems. So what role can, or should, nuclear be playing in the UK energy sector as we move towards a sustainable future? | | | Join our host, philosopher Peter Millican, as he explores this...
2019-Nov-03 • 64 minutes
S2 Ep5: What did the Paris Climate Agreement change?
On the 12th December 2015, at the 21st COP in Paris, representatives of 196 states reached an agreement to combat climate change that was celebrated around the world. With the long-term goal of keeping global temperature to below two degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels, and covering areas such as nationally determined contributions and global stocktakes, Paris was heralded as a huge break-through. But four years on, and against the backdrop of the United States announcing its intention to withdra...
2019-Oct-27 • 56 minutes
S2 Ep4: Climate change: do individual actions matter?
With a lot of Government work relying on geo-political understanding between nation states and large multinational corporations, is there still potential for actions on an individual level to shape the future of the planet? Do actions such as changing our diets, varying how we commute or even joining in with mass demonstrations, have the possibility of being anywhere near as effective as changes that can be made on an international level? Can one person save the planet? | | Join our host, philosopher Peter...
2019-Oct-20 • 60 minutes
S2 Ep3: How do you build a greener country?
What does the current infrastructure in the UK look like, and how far is it from where we need to be to meet our international commitments, or even our own challenge to be Net Zero by 2050? | How much do our working practices and lives contribute to how ‘green’ the country is, and how can we promote and preserve biodiversity across the globe? | How do we compare to other countries, and what can we learn from them? | Finally, how do you build a ‘greener’ country? | | Join our host, philosopher Peter Millic...
2019-Oct-13 • 55 minutes
S2 Ep2: Climate change and politics - why haven’t we done more?
With the IPCC warning that policymakers have limited time to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5° C, beyond which the climate-related risks to humans and natural systems rise quickly, it’s clear that we need to act sooner rather than later. This may be why we’re seeing increasing public action from the likes of Extinction Rebellion and the Youth Strikes for Climate, but what action have we seen from governments in the UK and beyond since this stark warning was delivered? What confidence can we have in o...
2019-Oct-06 • 66 minutes
S2 Ep1: Twelve years to climate disaster?
The IPCC’s 2018 Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C broke into the public consciousness through media reporting that we only had twelve years to limit climate change catastrophe. | But was this really the conclusion of the report? | If it was, do we really only have twelve years to fix our climate, and if not, how soon should we take action? | | Join our host, philosopher Peter Millican, as he explores this topic with Professor Myles Allen, Coordinating Lead Author on the IPCC’s Special Report on...
2019-Sep-22 • 2 minutes
S2: Trailer: Futuremakers season two coming soon...
| Rising sea levels? Burning forests? 12 years to act? | | These are the issues that will come to define our time. Join us as we bring together leading experts from Oxford and beyond to discuss the existential threats from climate change, and how we should rethink our governance, infrastructure, working practices and lives to help prevent them. | | As Futuremakers returns for its second season, we're looking at the cutting-edge research into climate, energy, food, waste, water and biodiversity, and expl...
2019-Apr-07 • 47 minutes
Could quantum computing change the world?
Once we believed that the world around us behaved according to the laws of classical mechanics, and it took us hundreds of years to work out that actually something else was going on. Quantum computing offers what we believe to be the best way to process information based on the laws of physics as we now know them. But how did we discover that quantum mechanics could offer such developments in computing? And why did this realm remain hidden for so long? For this special episode of Futuremakers, Peter Milli...
2018-Dec-23 • 106 minutes
S1 Ep10: Season Finale: AI selection box
In the final episode of our series, we’re looking back at the themes we’ve discussed so far, and forward into the likely development of AI. Professor Peter Millican will be joined by Professor Gil McVean, to further investigate how big data is transforming healthcare, by Dr Sandra Wachter, to discuss her recent work on the need for a legal framework around AI, and also by Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt on where the field of artificial intelligence research has come from, and where it’s going. To conclude, Pet...
2018-Dec-16 • 47 minutes
S1 Ep9: Is China leading the way in AI?
In the penultimate episode of series one, we’re looking at the development of AI across the globe. China has set itself the challenge of being the world’s primary innovation centre by 2030, a move forecast to generate a 26% boost in GDP from AI related benefits alone, and some claim they’re already leading the way in many areas. But how realistic is this aim when compared to AI research and development across the world? And if China could dominate this field, what are the best, and worse, case scenarios f...
2018-Dec-09 • 61 minutes
S1 Ep8: What does AI mean for the future of humanity?
So far in the series we’ve heard that artificial intelligence is becoming ubiquitous and is already changing our lives in many ways, from how we search for and receive information, to how it is used to improve our health and the nature of the ways we work. We’ve already taken a step into the past and explored the history of AI, but now it’s time to look forward. Many philosophers and writers over the centuries have discussed the difficult ethical choices that arise in our lives. As we hand some of these cho...
2018-Dec-02 • 65 minutes
S1 Ep7: Has AI changed the way we find the truth?
Around the world, automated bot accounts have enabled some government agencies and political parties to exploit online platforms in dispersing messages, using keywords to game algorithms, and discrediting legitimate information on a mass scale. Through this they can spread junk news and disinformation; exercise censorship and control; and undermine trust in the media, public institutions and science. But is this form of propaganda really new? If so, what effect is it having on society? And is the worst yet...
2018-Nov-18 • 72 minutes
S1 Ep6: From Ada Lovelace to Alan Turing – the birth of AI?
Many developments in science are achieved through people being able to ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’ and in the history of AI two giants in particular stand out. Ada Lovelace, who inspired visions of computer creativity, and Alan Turing, who conceived machines which could do anything a human could do. So where do their stories, along with those of calculating engines, punched card machines and cybernetics fit into to where artificial intelligence is today? Join our host, philosopher Peter Millican,...
2018-Nov-11 • 62 minutes
S1 Ep5: Should AI have gender?
As chatbots and virtual assistants become an ever-present part of our world, and algorithms increasingly support decision-making, people working in this field are asking questions about the bias and balance of power in AI. With the make-up of teams designing technology still far from diverse, is this being reflected in how we humanise technology? Who are the people behind the design of algorithms and are they re-enforcing society’s prejudices through the systems they create? Join our host, philosopher ...
2018-Nov-04 • 49 minutes
S1 Ep4: Is AI good for our health?
With AI algorithms now able to mine enormous databases and assimilate information far quicker than humans can, we’re able to spot subtle effects in health data that could otherwise have been easily overlooked. So how are these tools being developed and used? What does this mean for medical professionals and patients? And how do we decide whether these algorithms are making things better or worse? Join our host, philosopher Peter Millican, as he explores this topic with Alison Noble, Technikos Professor o...
2018-Oct-28 • 64 minutes
S1 Ep3: Is the banking sector about to change for ever?
AI is already playing a role in the finance sector, from fraud detection, to algorithmic trading, to customer service, and many within the industry believe this role will develop rapidly within the next few years. So what does this mean for both the people that work in this sector, and for the role banking and finance plays in society? Join our host, philosopher Peter Millican, as he explores this topic with Professor Stephen Roberts, Royal Academy of Engineering and Man Group Professor of Machine Learni...
2018-Oct-21 • 71 minutes
S1 Ep2: Are all algorithms biased?
Our lives are increasingly shaped by automated decision-making algorithms, but do those have in-built biases? If so, do we need to tackle these, and what could happen if we don’t? Join our host, philosopher Peter Millican, as he explores this topic with Dr Sandra Wachter, a lawyer and Research Fellow at the Oxford Internet Institute, Dr Helena Webb a Senior Researcher in the Department of Computer Science, and Dr Brent Mittelstadt, a philosopher also based at the Oxford Internet Institute.
2018-Oct-21 • 65 minutes
S1 Ep1: How will the automation of jobs progress?
In 2013 two Oxford academics published a paper entitled “The Future of Employment: How Susceptible Are Jobs to Computerisation?”, estimating that 47% of U.S. jobs were at risk of automation. Since then, numerous studies have emerged, arriving at very different conclusions. So where do these estimates diverge, and where do we think the automation of jobs might be heading? Join our host, philosopher Peter Millican, as he explores this topic with one of the authors of that paper, Professor Mike Osborne, Dr ...
2018-Oct-12 • 1 minutes
Trailer: season one launching 22nd October!
Down winding streets, beyond the dreaming spires, inside the college walls, debates are happening - in every study room and lecture theatre - about the future of society. Futuremakers, from the University of Oxford, invites you to that debate. Join your host, philosopher Peter Millican, and three experts as we discuss the movements that are shaping the future of our society. Our first series is all about Artificial Intelligence, and we’ll explore topics from the inherent bias of algorithms to the fu...