Episode 5 | Entropy: The Universal Disorder

Recent Extinction Rebellion protests saw key sites across London shut down in an attempt to force the government to declare an 'eco-emergency.'

Our dissatisfaction with breakdown on a global, individual and societal level pushes many of us into activism. Increased numbers of people report suffering from ‘eco-anxiety’, and a recent study showed only 29% of American millennials currently believe that the country is heading in the right direction.

But can decay be completely reversed by human effort?

In this podcast, Tom Cozens speaks with Dr Mark Hocknull, who points out that decay finds its cause in deeper laws governing the physical universe. According to the principle of entropy, breakdown and decay are inescapable aspects of the natural world. The second law of thermodynamics states that decay and disorder are inescapable, and will always increase over time, despite human effort to reverse the process.

In the face of a world inescapably programmed towards breakdown, should we fight back or give up?

Episode 4 | Uploading our memory

The Futurist Ray Kurzweil is predicting that by the year 2045 it will be possible to upload the entire content of the human memory to a computer. Technologies are also currently being developed to assist the elderly with memory recollection, in an effort to alleviate the pain and stress associated with memory loss in later life.

Yet is there a reason our brains are wired to forget?

In this podcast Professor Noreen Herzfeld from St John's University Minnesota looks at recent studies on human memory, and asks whether capturing the past in a purely digital format will destroy the very thing that makes human memories precious in the first place.

Would you upload your memory?

Episode 3 | Can technology save humanity

Advances in technology over the past 200 years have extended the human lifespan three times over. In this episode, we ask whether it will be possible to overcome mortality completely through artificial intelligence, as it quickly becomes one of the most reliable sources of human flourishing.

We speak with Noreen Herzfeld, Professor of Science and Religion at St. John's University in Minnesota. Noreen holds degrees in computer science and mathematics and a PhD in theology. She is the author of numerous articles and journals in popular press, as well as several books, including The Limits of Perfection in Technology, Religion, and Science.

Episode 2 | Are we different from machines?

With the development of AI systems that can now create original artwork, make leading breakthroughs in the field of medicine, and even beat the most successful lawyers in identifying legal problems, we ask the question - can the best of our humanity be reduced to a mechanical process? 

In this second installment of the "Science & Eternity" series we continue our journey around Japan and meet with Professor Peter Robinson, Computer Scientist at Cambridge University, whose research concerns problems at the boundary between people and computers. 

Episode 1 | Can we manufacture intimacy?

Can we manufacture intimacy? 

With huge proportions of our population suffering with chronic loneliness, we are seeing a rise of interactive machines including humanoid robots, robotic animals, and on-screen avatars.

In this first installment of the "Science & Eternity" series we meet with Professor John Wyatt, ethicist on developments in AI and robotics, and travel around Japan in search of answers to the question - is the connection that we feel with each other replicable in machines?