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FT Tech Tonic

Author: Financial Times

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We are in the midst of a digital revolution, where the line between our physical world and cyberspace is blurring. Tech Tonic is the show that investigates the promises and perils of this new technological age. 


This season, FT innovation editor John Thornhill takes us into the emergency rooms, city centres and even cruise ships where tech innovation is solving some of the unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic, as he explores what this tech-driven world means for us all. 



137 Episodes
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Brainstorm

Brainstorm

2021-08-0222:111

In this episode of Tech Tonic, we ask whether AI's potential in the fight against the climate crisis justifies the massive amounts of energy it takes to run these systems. The computing power required to train AI concerns some researchers, who have built a calculator to count the tech's carbon footprint. But AI advances have also opened new avenues to fight climate change, by helping Arctic scientists, weather modellers, and green energy gurus. This week the FT’s innovation editor John Thornhill and environment and clean energy correspondent Leslie Hook, debate AI’s climate effects. We also hear from Jennifer Jackson, a molecular biologist at the British Antarctic Survey, and Sasha Luccioni, an AI researcher at Mila research institute in Quebec.  Alice Fordham is the senior producer. Josh Gabert Doyon is the assistant producer. Oluwakemi Aladesuyi and Liam Nolan are the development producers. Sound design and mixing by Breen Turner. Cheryl Brumley is the executive producer for this series. Hydrophonic recordings kindly supplied by Ellen White at the University of Southampton.  Review clips: Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Sonos, Samsung, Google, Rogers, Universal Pictures, Three, NBC, Nintendo.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
From picking the best stocks to listening in on earnings calls, AI-powered systems are changing finance. But how big are the rewards, really? And what are the risks? In this episode Robin Wigglesworth tells us how AI has been used in investing, what happens when programs must adapt to new risks and what the robots could learn from watching children play. Hosted by John Thornhill, innovation editor at the Financial Times, and featuring Luke Ellis (chief executive of Man Group), Ewan Kirk (founder of Cantab Capital Partners and chairman of Deeptech Labs), Andrew Ng (founder of DeepLearning.AI and co-founder of Google Brain), and Alison Gopnik (professor of psychology and affiliate professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley). Alice Fordham is senior producer. Josh Gabert Doyon is assistant producer. Oluwakemi Aladesuyi and Liam Nolan are the development producers. Sound design and mixing by Breen Turner. Cheryl Brumley is the executive producer for this series. Original scoring composed by Metaphor Music.  Review clips: Alphabet, Netflix, Amazon, Man Group.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
What does it mean for AI to augment human perception? In this episode the FT’s Madhumita Murgia takes us to a small village in rural India where AI is being used to help doctors better diagnose tuberculosis and looks at a healthcare system where it is helping patients who doctors may have overlooked. Hosted by John Thornhill, innovation editor at the Financial Times, and featuring Ziad Obermeyer (Associate Professor at University of California, Berkeley) and Dr. Ashita Singh (head of Medicine at Chinchpada Christian Hospital). Alice Fordham is senior producer. Josh Gabert Doyon is assistant producer. Oluwakemi Aladesuyi and Liam Nolan are the development producers. Sound design and mixing by Sean McGarrity. Cheryl Brumley is the executive producer for this series. You heard the song Down in the Coalmine by The Ian Campbell Folk Group, as well as original scoring composed by Metaphor Music.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Gamechanger

Gamechanger

2021-06-2128:131

In this first episode of ourselves five-part series on AI, the FT’s innovation editor and host John Thornhill talks to some of the biggest names in AI research including the CEO of Google's DeepMind Demis Hassabis. He explores some of the latest innovations and asks a core question: will AI live up to its promise or succumb to its pitfalls? John speaks with Demis Hassabis, Pushmeet Kohli (head of AI for Science at DeepMind), and Margaret Mitchell (AI research scientist and former co-lead of the Ethical AI team at Google). Alice Fordham is senior producer. Josh Gabert Doyon is assistant producer. Oluwakemi Aladesuyi and Liam Nolan are the development producers. Sound design and mixing by Breen Turner. Cheryl Brumley is the executive producer for this series. Original scoring was composed by Metaphor Music.  Review clips: Columbia Workshop/CBS, Charlie Rose, WPIX, Electronic Arts, DeepMind.  When asked for comment on claims made by Margaret Mitchell in the show, a Google spokesperson said:   “After conducting a review of this manager [Margaret Mitchell]’s conduct, we confirmed that there were multiple violations of our code of conduct, as well as of our security policies, which included the exfiltration of confidential business-sensitive documents and private data of other employees.”  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The digital revolution will be shaped by whoever controls our data. What does this mean for consumers and businesses? Tim Bradshaw, the FT’s global tech correspondent, looks at the increasing power of ecommerce giants. The idea of a few big companies controlling the market is an uneasy one for many so has the pandemic finally created the impetus to rein in the power of Big Tech? Hosted by the FT’s innovation editor, John Thornhill. Produced by Camille Petersen. Sound design and mixing by Breen Turner. The executive producers are Cheryl Brumley and Liam Nolan. Review clips: C-SPAN, Reuters, US Department of Justice, The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation & Institution.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The digital graduate

The digital graduate

2021-03-2224:393

About 1.4bn students in more than 130 countries have spent parts of the past year adapting to learning online. The crisis has put the education sector into overdrive, and accelerated the way we use technology to study. For adult learners, distance learning offers a cheaper and more flexible alternative to the university degree. Are online qualifications about to gain greater credibility and create more flexibility in the job market, or is this surge in digital education a passing fad? The FT’s San Francisco correspondent Patrick McGee speaks to edtech innovators who are rethinking traditional degrees and a trucker who learned to code. Hosted by John Thornhill, innovation editor at the Financial Times. Review clip: "I adore my Commodore 64" advert (1983, music by Terry Bush). Produced by Camille Petersen, with additional producing and editing by Oluwakemi Aladesuyi. Sound design and mixing by Breen Turner. Original music was composed by Metaphor Music. The executive producers are Cheryl Brumley and Liam Nolan.   See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Early in the pandemic, Taiwan legally gathered location data from more than 600,000 of its citizens to stem the spread of coronavirus. South Korea, another east Asian democracy, has similar legal measures in place. How far are those of us who live in democratic societies willing to trust "big government" with our data? The FT’s Greater China correspondent Kathrin Hille speaks to Taiwan's digital minister Audrey Tang and the country's former deputy prime minister Chen Chi-mai about this data-driven approach to solving a public health emergency. Hosted by John Thornhill, innovation editor at the Financial Times.  For insights on Asia's booming tech scene, here is a free sign up to our #techAsia newsletter: https://www.ft.com/newsletter-signup/tech-asia The producer and editor was Liam Nolan. Sound design and mixing was by Breen Turner, with additional audio editing by Howard Shannon. Location sound was recorded by Aki Chen. The executive producer was Cheryl Brumley. Additional reporting by Nicolle Liu in Hong Kong and Edward White in Seoul. Emma Zhou in Beijing helped with translation. Original music was composed by Metaphor Music. Review clip: CNN.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Disrupting the hospital

Disrupting the hospital

2021-03-0823:366

Could a piece of high-tech cloth keep Covid-19 patients out of hospital and allow them to be monitored at home? The FT’s pharma and biotech correspondent, Hannah Kuchler, reports on the wearable technology changing healthcare during the pandemic, and examines what it means for the future of patient care. Hosted by John Thornhill, innovation editor at the Financial Times. Produced by Liam Nolan. Sound Design by Breen Turner and Louise Burton. Aimee Keane is the editor and the executive producer is Cheryl Brumley. Original music by Metaphor Music.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The future is here now

The future is here now

2021-03-0120:124

Our lives are increasingly moving from the offline to the online world, leaving a long trail of data in our wake. These data can be used to wield economic and political power, and to define us as communities and as individuals. What are the opportunities and risks? Hosted by John Thornhill, innovation editor at the Financial Times. Produced by Liam Nolan. Sound Design by Breen Turner and Louise Burton, with additional production by Oluwakemi Aladesuyi. The editor is Aimee Keane, and the executive producer is Cheryl Brumley. Original music was composed by Metaphor Music. Review clips: NASA, Reuters, Computer History Museum, BBC, Thames TV/Freemantle, CBS.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Season 2 coming soon

Season 2 coming soon

2021-06-1300:452

There is a huge amount of hype surrounding AI. It powers technology that can detect disease through scent, translate between languages in milliseconds, and write music almost as good as Bach. Yet this vast potential also stirs a great deal of fear. The power of AI is used to develop weapons and increase surveillance. We unwittingly encode our biases into its systems. The question of who is crafting AI and for what becomes increasingly important.  Season two of Tech Tonic, explores the philosophical, ethical and technological cruxes of AI’s ever expanding role in medical research, modern warfare and investments. FT innovation editor John Thornhill and FT journalists take the listener on a journey through Google DeepMind’s turbo-powered scientific discoveries, to a hospital in rural India.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
The show that investigates the promises and perils of our digital age is back with a new season. FT innovation editor John Thornhill will take us into the emergency rooms, city centres and even cruise ships where tech innovation is solving some of the unprecedented challenges brought about by the pandemic, as he explores what this tech-driven world means for us all. Tech Tonic returns on Monday, March 1.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
AI research and big tech

AI research and big tech

2019-12-1631:391

John Thornhill talks to David Barber, director of the UCL Centre for Artificial Intelligence in London, about how academic researchers can work with business and the wider community to create the best outcomes for society.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Niklas Zennström, founder of Skype and Atomico and Tom Wehmeier, Atomico partner and author of The State of European Tech report, talk to the FT's John Thornhill about whether Europe is becoming a tech hub.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Dave Ferrucci, CEO, founder and chief scientist of Elemental Cognition, talks to Richard Waters, the FT's West Coast editor, about his efforts to train computers to use language to reason.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Kate Brandt talks to John Thornhill about Google’s drive to minimise and offset the energy used in its operations and supply chains, and about its environmental insights explorer which helps cities find ways to reduce their carbon emissions.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
Economist Stefan Dercon tells John Thornhill about the findings of a research project he led, showing how, used wisely, technology can enable development, rather than just replace labour and put people out of work. Read his report here  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
John Thornhill talks to Jeni Tennison, chief executive of the Open Data Institute, about her work in helping to develop best practice for the use and sharing of data, and about how Brexit will affect Britain's data economy.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
John Thornhill talks to Scott Kupor, managing partner at Andreessen Horowitz, about his book Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It, about the conditions needed to grow tech companies and the potential drawbacks of a venture capital dominated market.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
John Thornhill talks to FT colleague Rana Foroohar about her book Don’t Be Evil - How Big Tech Betrayed Its Founding Principles - And All Of Us  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
John Thornhill discusses how to make artificial intelligence safe for humans with Stuart Russell, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of new book ‘Human Compatible: Artificial Intelligence and the Problem of Control’.  See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.
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Comments (5)

Theresa Bedeau

excellent channel!

Sep 11th
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Michael Morgan

Great podcast thankyou! I just boughts Reich's book on Audible.

Jul 31st
Reply

Argha Bhattacharya

Very interesting.

Apr 19th
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David Long

trance house

Mar 4th
Reply

Victor Gasp

wow!! this episode with Y.Noah abt data ruling the world was just great!!! @Johnthornhillft asking the best questions, as usual. Highly recommend.

Feb 24th
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