490 episodes

Babbage is our weekly podcast on science and technology, named after Charles Babbage—a 19th-century polymath and grandfather of computing. Host Alok Jha talks to our correspondents about the innovations, discoveries and gadgetry shaping the world. Published every Wednesday.
If you’re already a subscriber to The Economist, you’ll have full access to all our shows as part of your subscription.
For more information about Economist Podcasts+, including how to get access, please visit our FAQs page here https://myaccount.economist.com/s/article/What-is-Economist-Podcasts

Babbage from The Economist The Economist

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    • 4.8 • 547 Ratings

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Babbage is our weekly podcast on science and technology, named after Charles Babbage—a 19th-century polymath and grandfather of computing. Host Alok Jha talks to our correspondents about the innovations, discoveries and gadgetry shaping the world. Published every Wednesday.
If you’re already a subscriber to The Economist, you’ll have full access to all our shows as part of your subscription.
For more information about Economist Podcasts+, including how to get access, please visit our FAQs page here https://myaccount.economist.com/s/article/What-is-Economist-Podcasts

Listen on Apple Podcasts
Requires subscription and macOS 11.4 or higher

    SpookGPT: spycraft in the digital age

    SpookGPT: spycraft in the digital age

    Spies have always relied on technology to stay one step ahead of their adversaries. In the age of ubiquitous camera surveillance, smartphones and the internet, they now have access to more data and information than ever before. But all that technology is also making other parts of their job harder—staying undercover has become more difficult. How are the tools of the spy trade—and the role of intelligence officers themselves—evolving in the digital age?

    Host: Alok Jha, The Economist’s science and technology editor. Contributors: Shashank Joshi, The Economist's defence editor; General Sir Jim Hockenhull of Britain’s Strategic Command; Vice Admiral Frank “Trey” Whitworth of America’s National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency; Tanja Lange of Eindhoven University of Technology.

    Transcripts of our podcasts are available via economist.com/podcasts.

    Listen to what matters most, from global politics and business to science and technology—subscribe to Economist Podcasts+.

    For more information about how to access Economist Podcasts+, please visit our FAQs page or watch our video explaining how to link your account.

    Magic formula: why it’s so hard to replicate breast milk

    Magic formula: why it’s so hard to replicate breast milk

    Milk is a baby’s first source of water and nutrients, providing everything that’s needed to grow for the first six months of life. Mothers can provide this milk themselves, through breastfeeding, or by giving their babies carefully-curated formula milk. But it’s only recently that scientists have started to discover that human breast milk is way more complex than previously thought. And that’s prompted researchers to find ways to improve formula milk too.

    Host: Alok Jha, The Economist’s science and technology editor. Contributors: Emilie Steinmark, science correspondent at The Economist; Cat Bohannon, author of “Eve”; Sharon Donovan, a professor of paediatric nutrition at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign; Laura Katz, founder and CEO of the company Helaina; Victoria Slaughter of the company BIOMILQ; Shyam Sharan of the National Cancer Institute in Maryland; Emily Winup, midwife and mother of Alex; Esme, mother of Tallulah.

    Transcripts of our podcasts are available via economist.com/podcasts.

    Listen to what matters most, from global politics and business to science and technology—subscribe to Economist Podcasts+.

    For more information about how to access Economist Podcasts+, please visit our FAQs page or watch our video explaining how to link your account.

    Rays of hope: the solar revolution

    Rays of hope: the solar revolution

    Solar power is the world’s fastest-growing source of energy. It currently provides 6% of the world’s electricity but, by the mid-2030s, solar cells will probably be the planet’s single biggest source of electricity. A decade later they may be the world's largest source of energy. Access to this cheap, abundant power will make nearly everything else cheaper, too. How did solar energy get to this point and what will its rise mean for the future of the world? Plus, where does solar power technology go next—could unlimited energy from the Sun be collected from space?

    Host: Alok Jha, The Economist’s science and technology editor. Contributors: Jenny Chase of BloombergNEF; Ali Hajimiri of Caltech; Sam Adlen of Space Solar; and The Economist’s Hal Hodson and John McDermott.

    Transcripts of our podcasts are available via economist.com/podcasts.

    Listen to what matters most, from global politics and business to science and technology—subscribe to Economist Podcasts+.

    For more information about how to access Economist Podcasts+, please visit our FAQs page or watch our video explaining how to link your account.

    Going platinum: the new economy in space

    Going platinum: the new economy in space

    A new economy is emerging in space. Elon Musk’s SpaceX has driven down launch costs, helping to revolutionise space travel. As the cost of reaching Earth orbit falls, ideas for new businesses that could operate there are gathering steam—from manufacturing drugs to hotels and tourism. At the more exhilarating end of the spectrum is asteroid mining. Once a staple of science fiction, could it soon become reality?

    Host: Alok Jha, The Economist’s science and technology editor. Contributors: Peter Diamandis, founder of the XPRIZE Foundation; Sara Russell of Britain’s Natural History Museum; Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University; Mitch Hunter-Scullion of the Asteroid Mining Corporation; The Economist’s Geoff Carr and Laurence Knight.

    For more on this topic, see our podcast on Starship at www.economist.com/starship-pod

    Transcripts of our podcasts are available via economist.com/podcasts.

    Listen to what matters most, from global politics and business to science and technology—subscribe to Economist Podcasts+.

    For more information about how to access Economist Podcasts+, please visit our FAQs page or watch our video explaining how to link your account.

    AI meets reality: How to make robots for a human world

    AI meets reality: How to make robots for a human world

    After years of slow progress, robots have suddenly been getting a lot cleverer and more capable. The technology behind ChatGPT—large language models—has given machines in the real world a dramatic brain upgrade. How is artificial intelligence bringing about a renaissance in robotics and allowing them to finally work in the world of humans?

    Host: Alok Jha, The Economist’s science and technology editor. Contributors: Dinesh Jayaraman, Arjun Krishna and Jason Ma of the University of Pennsylvania; Tom Standage, Shailesh Chitnis and Trisha Parayil of The Economist.

    Want to learn more about generative artificial intelligence? Listen to our series on the science that built the AI revolution.

    Transcripts of our podcasts are available via economist.com/podcasts.

    Listen to what matters most, from global politics and business to science and technology—subscribe to Economist Podcasts+.

    For more information about how to access Economist Podcasts+, please visit our FAQs page or watch our video explaining how to link your account.

    Explaining the paranormal: An interview with Chris French

    Explaining the paranormal: An interview with Chris French

    Have you ever had a visit from an angel, a ghost or perhaps even an alien? Plenty of people throughout history think they have. Some even report real, physical symptoms from their interactions with supernatural beings. But, although alien abductions and ghosts are not likely to be real, the stories around these paranormal events tell scientists a lot about how the human mind works.

    Alok Jha, The Economist’s science and technology editor, interviews Chris French, a psychologist and author of a new book, “The Science of Weird Shit”.

    Transcripts of our podcasts are available via economist.com/podcasts.

    Get a world of insights for 50% off—subscribe to Economist Podcasts+

    For more information about how to access Economist Podcasts+, please visit our FAQs page or watch our video explaining how to link your account.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
547 Ratings

547 Ratings

Ray Bod ,

Intelligent Content

Babbage from Economist is great intelligent podcast for geeks to listen to.

Gilbert Coyle ,

Paywall

I loved this podcast with its intelligent interviews and fascinating subjects but it all changed. They have now locked all future episodes behind their Economist Podcast+ service. They have lost a listener.

Jared Herbert ,

Another solid podcast

Another solid podcast offered by The Economist

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