13 episodes

The Innovation Civilization podcast by Empasco features conversations with domain experts on the topics of civilizational progress, technology, history, philosophy, and the first-principles of the ideas that shape our world.

The Innovation Civilization Podcast EmpascoHQ

    • Technology
    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

The Innovation Civilization podcast by Empasco features conversations with domain experts on the topics of civilizational progress, technology, history, philosophy, and the first-principles of the ideas that shape our world.

    Why Nations Fail: A Historical Analysis on the Origins of Prosperity & Poverty

    Why Nations Fail: A Historical Analysis on the Origins of Prosperity & Poverty

    Why are some nations rich whilst others are poor?
    Why is Mexico much poorer than the United States?Why is Latin America so fundamentally different from North America? How is it possible that an average American is 40 times richer than an average Sierra Leonean? 
    Is it climate, geography, culture, or could it be the ignorance of domestic leaders?
    Our ICP host Waheed Rahman (@iwaheedo) sits down for an exhilarating episode probing the fundamental reasons why nations develop differently with none other than the world-renowned British economist and New-York Times best-selling author of the book "Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity & Poverty" - James Robinson.
    In the episode, we cover:
    -the basics of institution building-the key differences between inclusive & extractive economic/political institutions and their impact on economies-what spurred development in some parts of the world and why others lagged behind-historical context behind what led to the rise and fall of nations-how to develop sustainable political and economic systems for successful nation building
    Follow our host Waheed Rahman (@iwaheedo),, for more updates on tech, civilizational growth, progress studies, and emerging markets.
    Here are the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players, you should be able to click the timestamp for the episode. 
    (00:00) - Introduction
    (05:54) - James's background and what motivated him to study about institutions, economics & nations?
    (11:09) - Significance of democracy for nation building 
    (13:22) - Definition and importance of political/economic institutions
    (14:07) - Characteristics of inclusive and extractive institutions
    (16:51) - How can political centralization drive economic growth?
    (19:41) - Are inclusive institutions more democratic?
    (21:02) - Does democracy ensure economic development?
    (23:12) - Was the Industrial Revolution the biggest source of inequality in the world?
    (28:08) - Examples of nations with extractive forms of institutions 
    (30:47) - Impact of European Colonialism on poor countries 
    (35:57) - What sort of political/economic system drove China's economic growth?
    (40:36) - Is China's growth sustainable given the current authoritarian regime/institution policies?
    (42:56) - How do geography and culture impact economic development?
    (48:17) - What do virtuous and vicious circles mean in light of developing political/economic institutions?
    (58:05) - Outro

    • 58 min
    The Tech & Innovation History of the Mongol Empire: How the Horde Changed the World

    The Tech & Innovation History of the Mongol Empire: How the Horde Changed the World

    Founded by the infamous Genghis Khan in 1206, the Mongol Empire created the 2nd largest kingdom in the history of the planet.
    What's less well known is that Mongol rule ushered in a plethora of technological innovation and development that shaped the formative years in trade & science infrastructure of a land mass spanning all the way to the East from Korea, through China, Central Asia, Russia, Persia and to even Eastern Europe parts like Crimea and modern day Ukraine.In an attempt to excavate and summarise the lasting impact the Mongol innovation, technology and governance had on the world, Empasco Partner Waheed Rahman (@iwaheedo) sits with historian and Financial Times best-selling author, Marie Favereau. Marie is an Associate Professor of History at Paris Nanterre University. She has been a member of the French Institute of Oriental Archaeology in Cairo, a visiting scholar at the Institute for Advanced Study, and a research associate at the University of Oxford for the major project Nomadic Empires. Her booksinclude The Horde: How the Mongols Changed the World (https://www.amazon.com/Horde-How-Mongols-Changed-World/dp/0674244214) and the Mamluk Sultanate (published in French) and the graphic novel Genghis Khan.In the episode we cover:-the reason for the rise of the Mongol Empire in the 13th & 14th CE.-long-term innovation view that the Mongols took in terms of funding projects-the strategies they took to set up the agricultural production and taxation systems throughout the kingdom-how they built and sustained the system for continuous innovation processes in areas such as astronomy, agriculture, maths, medicine, trade, botany, etc.-Early forms of democracy in the Mongol empires
    - The reasons for the downfall of the Mongol empireFollow our host Waheed Rahman (@iwaheedo) for more updates on tech, civilizational growth, progress studies, and emerging markets.Here are the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players, you should be able to click the timestamp for the episode.(00:00) - Intro(06:10) - Marie's background & inspiration for writing a book on Mongol innovation and tech history(08:05) - Who were the Mongols?(11:08) - What is the "Horde"?(13:33) - Were the Mongols just people who ravaged and conquered land through coercion and fear-mongering?(20:10) - What Military technology did the Mongols use?(27:38) - Mongol innovation,tech,governanace history(39:36) - Mongol economics(42:39) - Mongol system of wealth distribution(43:28) - How did the Mongols manage the Silk Road?(45:52) - About the creation of the largest integrated market in Pre-modern history(47:43) - How did the Mongols set up the infrastructure and economy of the cities within the empire?(52:40) - What was the Mongols' foreign policy to attract new trade and develop connections?(59:23) - The Mongol land law(61:25) - How did taxation help with the agricultural production?(62:30) - What led to the downfall of the Mongol Empire?(65:26) - Mongol Governance
     
    We used the world's most advanced AI 'DALL·E 2' by @OpenAI to generate the episode cover art. Special thanks to Pamir Sevincel (@PamirSevincel)We made this episode a special listening experience btw. Mongolian throat singing & classical instruments used: Yoochin- hammered dulcimer of varying strings struck using two bamboo hammers Khuuchir- two- or four-stringed instrument with a small sound box

    • 1 hr 16 min
    Golden Principles of Change Management : How Can Organizations Thrive in an Era of Rapid Flux

    Golden Principles of Change Management : How Can Organizations Thrive in an Era of Rapid Flux

    The defining periods in world history have always come about as a result of successful change management and revolutionary leadership. Reflecting on the last 2 decades of rapid flux coupled with the ongoing global unrest in trade, politics, and commerce arising from a looming global recession, the Ukraine-Russia War and the after-effects of COVID19 calls for a timely occasion on navigating through the factors leading to successful change management and leadership. 
    For an educative and thrilling episode on understanding the golden principles of change management and how public and private organizations can thrive in an era of rapid flux, we bring you the most revered and one of Time Magazine's top 25 most influential authors ever on business and management - Professor John P. Kotter.(@JohnPKotter) He is the best-selling author, The Konosuke Matshishita Professor of Leadership, Emeritus at the Harvard Business School, award-winning business and management thought leader and founder of one of the leading management consulting firms, Kotter International - a leadership management organization for the Global 5000 company leaders. He is the author of 22 books, 12 of them bestsellers - on business, management, leadership, strategy execution, and transformation and his work has been published in over 150+ foreign languages.
    In the episode, we cover:
    -how Professor Kotter's 8-step change framework and 8 accelators can be applied in today's management processes
    -how private and public organizations can implement and manage change
    -the key distinctions between management and leadership
    -functions of organizational lifecycles and dual operating system
    -how big corporations can incorporate the startup mentality
    -whether leadership training is necessary  
    Follow our host Waheed Rahman (@iwaheedo) for more updates on tech, civilizational growth, progress studies, and emerging markets.
    Here are the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players, you should be able to click the timestamp for the episode.
    (00:00) - Intro
    (06:26) - Professor John P. Kotter's background
    (10:25) - How should modern firm's react to the level of rapid change?
    (12:44) - Is the 8-step change model still relevant today?
    (15:34) - Is the 8 accelerators similar to the 8-step change framework? What are the accelators needed for?
    (16:44) - How to implement and manage change amidst the ever changing nature of work? 
    (19:47) - Management vs leadership
    (29:59) - How are hierarchies and networks connected to the organizational life cycle?
    (35:52) - Use case example of dual operating system
    (39:19) - How to incorporate a startup mentality in large organizations?
    (43:51) - How does change management differ for public vs private organizations?
    (46:43) - Rapid-fire round: Getting to know more about the guest
    (49:47) - About Professor Kotter's most recent book - "Change"
    (52:43) - Can we train people to become better leaders?
    (54:20) - Outro

    • 54 min
    The Past, Present & Future of China’s FinTech Infrastructure Design: Forging the New Economic World Order

    The Past, Present & Future of China’s FinTech Infrastructure Design: Forging the New Economic World Order

    China boasts the largest fintech ecosystem in the world having a penetration rate of 87%  and a total transaction volume of $51.8 trillion via mobile payments only (three times the country’s GDP). The country is setting strong examples for the rest of the world to follow as it continues to develop cashless innovation systems positing road maps and processes for a shared digital currency future. 
    The largely cashless economy is fundamentally changing the very nature of money as it emerges as the world's financial technology leader.
    How are they doing that?
    For an exclusive episode unpacking the FinTech infrastructure of China and its growing dominance in the world of tech-driven financial services, we sat down with one of the leading experts in FinTech and Innovations, Rich Turrin.(@richardturrin) Rich is the author of the best-selling books Cashless: China's Digital Currency Revolution (https://www.amazon.com/Cashless-Chinas-Digital-Currency-Revolution/dp/1949642720) and Innovation Lab Excellence. (https://www.amazon.com/Innovation-Lab-Excellence-Digital-Transformation-ebook/dp/B07PMF4YFL) He is an award-winning fintech innovation expert previously heading fintech teams at IBM, following a twenty-year career heading trading teams at global investment banks where he spent a large part of his career in Shanghai witnessing China's cashless revolution upfront.
    In the episode we deep-dive into:
    -the design and innovation processes that set up the Chinese FinTech infrastructure
    -the core reasons behind the massive adaptation of cashless payment systems in China
    -how the country incentivized its private tech firms to develop and encourage large scale FinTech solutions by provisioning banking licenses for them
    - comparison of NFC payment systems (Square, ApplePay, etc) vs Chinese payment rails (like Alipay)
    - QR codes as a tool for widespread fintech adoption in China
    -how China's central bank digital currency (CBDC) can transform and replace standard payment systems like SWIFT
    -how CBDC differs from ETH/BTC
    -how and why the west is falling behind when it comes to fintech
    -the rise of CBDCs and policy implications for the Emerging Market countries
    Follow our host Waheed Rahman (@iwaheedo) for more updates on tech, civilizational growth, progress studies, and emerging markets.
     
    Here are the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players, you should be able to click the timestamp for the episode.
    (00:00) - Intro
    (03:22) - Rich's journey to writing "Cashless: China's Digital Currency Revolution
    (05:17) - Key differences between the Chinese society and the American society
    (07:51) - Why has the West fallen behind in terms of major fintech adaption vs China?
    (11:17) - What is the reason behind the rapid FinTech adoption in China? What makes the Chinese FinTech so special?
    (15:56) - What is Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC)? Why should we care about it?
    (21:28) - Emergence of the early cashless payment systems (QR codes, NFC, etc.)
    (27:36) - Advantages of having CBDCs compared to the contemporary FinTech payment solutions (Ali Pay, WeChat pay, Apple pay, etc.)
    (34:48) - Crypto maximalist viewpoint vs CBDC
    (36:00) - Disadvantages to having CBDC
    (38:58) - How would CBDCs change/replace the current money transfer system platform such as SWIFT?
    (50:36) - Impacts on western policies 
    (53:24) - When will CBDCs get launched? What stage is it in right now?
    (56:03) - How is China breaking the tech industry?
    (59:42) - How should policymakers in Emerging/Frontier markets think about CBDCs?
     
    Music used in this episode: Reverie Millenary | by PoKeR、李大白k
    (A tune inspired by one of the most famed female figures of ancient China, Empress Wu Zetian. it tells the story of an educated young lady employed in the palace for her academic talents. Through a variety of circumstances and political struggles, she eventually found her way up to the top as the Emperor of Tang Dynasty China, where her talents ushered the ancient kingdom into

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Climate Tech Investing 101: How is Europe’s biggest climate tech VC deploying high-risk capital to undo the climate change crisis?

    Climate Tech Investing 101: How is Europe’s biggest climate tech VC deploying high-risk capital to undo the climate change crisis?

    60 gigatons of Carbon Dioxide (Co2) is discharged into the atmosphere every year. Co2 levels are now higher than they have been in at least 800,000 years making climate change the number 1 threat faced by mankind.
    What tech to invest in in order to 'unf*** the planet'?
    For a momentous & thrilling episode on understanding the successful approach of high-risk tech investing in combatting the climate change crises, our host at Waheed Rahman (@iwaheedo) sat down with Danijel Visevic (@visevic) - the Founding General Partner of World Fund, Europe’s biggest climate tech VC fund.
    We cover :
    - the fundamentals & purpose of climate tech investing- the mechanics of a climate tech fund- how to manage LP expectations- Key technologies to invest in to undo the effects of climate change- Climate change policy prescriptions for government
    Follow our host Waheed Rahman (@iwaheedo) for more updates on tech, civilizational growth, progress studies, and emerging markets.
    Here are the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players, you should be able to click the timestamp for the episode.
    (00:00) - Intro
    (03:05) - Danijel's journey to becoming a leading climate tech investor
    (05:34) - World Fund's investment thesis for decarbonizing the planet
    (07:44) - Distinction between climate tech and clean tech
    (09:39) - Climate tech investing fund mechanics 
    (12:24) - What are the upsides or downsides to being a dedicated fund vs private VCs like Sequoia & SoftBank
    (14:31) - The purpose of investing in climate tech
    (16:47) - Managing Limited Partner's (LP) expectations - How to prioritize between short-term profit maximization vs sustainability? 
    (23:28) - Technologies that can help minimize the impact of climate change 
    (25:07) - What makes Europe the most suitable place for climate tech investing? 
    (28:11) - The different stages of fundraising for a climate tech startup
    (29:50) - How is World Fund developing the climate tech ecosystem in Europe?
    (31:13) - Next-generation climate tech innovations to look forward to  
    (35:25) - What immediate policies can government undertake in mitigating the effect of climate change crises 
    (40:07) - Outro

    • 40 min
    The Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Ethics & Global Value Structures

    The Fundamentals of Artificial Intelligence (AI) Ethics & Global Value Structures

    Given how Artificial Intelligence (AI) is eating our civilization, it's essential to sketch out its first principles and ethical dimensions. We are joined by one of the world's leading AI/ML experts in former founder and co-lead at Google's AI ethical division, and the founder of Ethical AI LLC Margaret Mitchell (@mmitchell_ai) who speaks to our Empasco Co-Founder Waheed Rahman (@iwaheedo) on the fundamentals of artificial intelligence ethics and global value structures. Margaret has published more than 50 blockbuster papers on vision-language and grounded language generation concentrating on the evolution of AI towards achieving positive goals. She is vastly famous for her work on the instinctive elimination of undesired biases concerning demographic groups from machine learning models. And her work is utilized by some of the biggest companies in the world. Margaret was also the founding member of Microsoft's ethical AI group.
    In this episode, we talk about:
    - what is exactly AI? 
    - what's machine learning vs deep learning?
    -the first principles of Ethical AI
    -various types of bias and the existence of a 'good' and 'bad' bias as key components to building an AI model 
    -how governments and policymakers can evaluate ethical AI models
    -development of AI in the western world vs the Emerging markets
    -the possible utopian, dystopian and realistic predictions of a society fully adopting AI
    Follow our host Waheed Rahman (@iwaheedo) for more updates on tech, civilizational growth, progress studies, and emerging markets.
    Here are the timestamps for the episode. On some podcast players, you should be able to click the timestamp for the episode.
    (00:00) - Intro
    (06:03) - Margaret's background on Artificial Intelligence (AI)
    (07:55) - Definition of Artificial Intelligence 
    (09:36) - Difference between Machine Learning & Deep Learning
    (11:56) - Ethics in AI (Definition & Practices)
    (13:43) - The role of the human layer in Ethical AI 
    (15:11) - Categories & Examples of biases that occur in AI
    (22:29) - Normative vs Descriptive approach for selecting biases in machine learning models
    (25:22) - Recent developments in the field of AI
    (26:50) - Effective practices of ethical AI in big tech companies
    (29:33) - Steps Governments & Policymakers can take to build and regulate AI models
    (32:08) - How should tech startups in Emerging Markets develop models in the field of AI ethics?
    (35:07) - Future of AI: Utopian vs Dystopian vision
    (37:41) - Margaret's recent venture on open source AI 
    (40:36) - Outro

    • 40 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

Aessat01 ,

Great if you a history and technology fan

Enjoy how the podcast looks at history and civilisation and technology and how it is all linked. Also, the production of the podcast is top class. Also have had discussions with the presenter and he is extremely well informed.

fadelbou ,

Unique podcast

I know the podcaster personally.
He is one of the most knowledgeable person I befriended.
Lovely to see him flourishing with a new project.
Bless you lad.

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