It's the question of our times: How is technology impacting our humanity? "Should This Exist?" invites the creators of radical new technologies to set aside their business plan, and think through the human side: What is the invention’s greatest promise? And what could possibly go wrong? Show host Caterina Fake (Partner, Yes VC; Cofounder Flickr) is a celebrated tech pioneer and one of Silicon Valley’s most eloquent commentators on technology and the human condition. Joined by a roster of all-star expert guests who have a knack for looking around corners, Caterina drops listeners into the minds of today’s ingenious entrepreneurs and guides them through the journey of foreseeing what their technology might do to us, and for us. Should This Exist? is a WaitWhat original series in partnership with Quartz.
Can we trip our way to better mental health?
You’d be forgiven for being surprised if your doctor wrote you a prescription for ecstasy, ayahuasca, magic mushrooms, or LSD. But a recent resurgence in psychedelic research shows that a number of mental health conditions can be treated directly and effectively with potent psychoactive drugs. Dr. Dave Nichols has been studying the chemistry of these drugs for over 40 years, and he’s convinced of their therapeutic potential — and aware of the dangers of abuse. After a long psychedelic winter, are we ready to welcome these drugs back into the psychiatric fold?
Recommended: Spark & Fire
If you love Should This Exist, I think you’ll love Spark & Fire – so I’m sharing a trailer with you now for this new show that launches on January 5, 2021.
Why do I think you’ll like it? Because, a lot like our show, Spark & Fire is about the hero’s journey of bold, creative thinking.
On each episode of Spark & Fire, an iconic creator — designers, architects, authors, filmmakers, musicians — tells their own story about what really happens on the road to success, from the initial spark down the twisting path of invention. It's told entirely in their own words. No host. No interview. Just captivating stories set to terrific music.
If this sounds good to you, subscribe to the Spark & Fire feed now so you’ll get the first full episode in early January. It will help you think more creatively about everything.
Subscribe at sparkandfire.com or on your favorite podcast platform.
Nuclear power in a six-pack
Small-scale nuclear reactors could help wean us off fossil fuels, but first they need to overcome the public fear shaped by nuclear accidents.
Cloud brightening for climate fever
Kelly Wanser is a climate activist who wants to use a strategy called cloud brightening to fight climate change, using a naturally occurring process to bounce rays from the sun back out to space. She and others have described it compellingly as “emergency medicine for the earth’s climate fever,” and suggest it could buy us more time to implement policies addressing the root causes of climate change. But climate change is a planetary problem – so who gets to decide what countries or groups are allowed to take the risk of geoengineering to fix it? How can one country pursue a risky mitigation strategy if neighboring countries would be the most adversely affected if things went wrong?
Get the Should This Exist? newsletter! Discussion questions, reading list, more: http://eepurl.com/gnZTf9
The promise of a bioartificial kidney
UCSF bioengineer Shuvo Roy and his team have created the world’s first bionic kidney. The coffee-cup-sized device includes a silicon nanotechnology filter to cleanse the blood, while living kidney cells grown in a bioreactor perform the other functions of a natural kidney. A bioartificial kidney could save kidney patients from being stuck on a dialysis machine for life – or dying while waiting for a rare transplant. But is the promise of such a life-changing device enough to convince investors to bring such a thing to market? We talk through the ethics of artificial organs.
A world without our devices
Could you, would you, go one full hour without your phone? The average American spends one-third of their waking hours on a smartphone; we’ve been told our devices make life better, faster, and easier. What happens when we choose to live without them – or when we are forced to? In this episode, we’ll talk to media studies professor Douglas Rushkoff, get the down low from a U.S. senator who sat in a “digitally sequestered” hearing for three weeks (guess which one) – and travel to the WiFi-free town of Green Bank, West Virginia, to find out exactly what happens when we unplug.
Listen to Douglas Rushkoff’s podcast Team Human: http://teamhuman.fm
Get Douglas’ book Team Human: https://rushkoff.com/books/team-human-book
Find more resources about this episode at shouldthisexist.com
Subscribe to our excellent newsletter at http://eepurl.com/gnZTf9
Sometimes You Just Know...
I listen to and love a lot of podcasts, but it took just a couple of episodes to become convinced that this is the one. I look forward to many future listens.
Makes you think
Great podcast concerning the ethical implications of new technologies.
Loved the episode about alternatives to standardized testing. inspiring and innovative. And beautifully produced.