138 episodes

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. 

FT Tech Tonic Financial Times

    • Technology
    • 4.2 • 38 Ratings

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. 

    AI with military characteristics

    AI with military characteristics

    Last year, the Pentagon watched closely as a human fighter pilot lost to an AI-powered adversary in a simulated dogfight. The US military is working to innovate faster as technology changes the nature of warfare. But many worry it has already fallen behind its main adversary, China. What does AI mean for military might, and how are debates over autonomous weapons unfolding in diplomatic backchannels? In the final episode of this season's Tech Tonic, FT innovation editor John Thornhill is joined by US-China correspondent Demetri Sevastopulo for a dive into military AI. We hear from Colonel Daniel “Animal” Javorsek, former deputy defence secretary Robert O Work, Elsa B Kania of the Center for a New American Security, and David Edelman, who works on AI and public policy at MIT.


    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. You heard the song John Henry performed by Joe Brown and Lonnie Thomas and original scoring composed by Metaphor Music. 


    Review clips DARPA, IISS, AP, ABC, Library of Congress
     
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    • 23 min
    Brainstorm

    Brainstorm

    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.
     
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    • 21 min
    You Can’t Always Get What you Quant

    You Can’t Always Get What you Quant

    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.
     
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    • 28 min
    Trust me, I’m a robot

    Trust me, I’m a robot

    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.
     
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    • 22 min
    Gamechanger

    Gamechanger

    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.”
     
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    • 27 min
    Season 2 coming soon

    Season 2 coming soon

    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.
     
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    • 45 sec

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5
38 Ratings

38 Ratings

Arlie K ,

Top tech insights, every time!

I've been binge listening Tech Tonic for a while now, and I cannot wait for more new episodes soon! I always appreciate the variety of episodes, the timely takeaways, and the genuine conversations John facilitates with each episode. It's an outstanding listen!

WestchesterNY ,

Spot on

The information is fascinating and up to the moment. The interviews get to the heart of the matter and are with leading figures. Worth every minute of listening.

ihjaoanuanaksna ,

US bashing only

They really do LOVE saying how much better China is than USA. Complete garbage

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