The Received Wisdom

The Received Wisdom

Are robots racist? Should we regulate gene editing? Have people stopped trusting experts? Does scientific research make the world a more unequal place? The Received Wisdom is a podcast about how to realize the potential of science and technology by challenging the received wisdom. Join Shobita and Jack as they talk to thinkers and doers from around the world about governing science and technology to make the world a better place.


December 9, 2022 57 min

This month, Shobita and Jack talk about the recent concerns about academic culture in the science and technology studies community, how to understand FTX's recent implosion, and the bizarre logics of effective altruism. And we chat with Boston University law professor Aziza Ahmed about how the politics of knowledge are shaping abortion politics in the United States.

- Darren Tseng, Stephen Diehl, Jan Akalin (2022). Popping the C...

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Jack and Shobita chat about the disasters in British politics, the CHIPS and Science Act, and how to determine whether self-driving cars are safe. Plus we chat with anthropologist Glenn Davis Stone, Professor at Sweet Briar College and author of the recent book The Agricultural Dilemma: How Not to Feed the World. Stone argues that we've been learning the story of the Green Revolution all wrong, and this has huge implications fo...

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It's a new season of The Received Wisdom!! After their partial summer hiatus, Shobita and Jack discuss the fraud allegations that are rocking the foundations of what we know about Alzheimer's Disease, and the Biden Administration's directive to make freely available all publications based on federally funded research. And, they chat with Macarthur Fellow Mary Gray about the "ghost workers" behind digital technol...

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This episode is the second of Jack’s investigations into self-driving cars. Last time, he was interested in Phoenix, Arizona. This time, he’s back home in London, an old, complicated, messy city with an extensive public transport system. 

The episode was presented and written by Jack Stilgoe and edited by Gemma Milne, with research assistance from Nuzhah Miah.

Relevant links

- Joe Moran, (2006). Crossing the road in Britain, 1931–197...

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This month is a bit different. This episode is the first part of an investigation, led by Jack, into self-driving cars, trying to locate the technology in particular places. The first part focuses on Phoenix, Arizona, a testbed for some of the technology’s most ambitious developers and also the scene of the first self-driving car crash to kill a pedestrian. Jack talks to various experts - historians, crash investigators, journalist...

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This month, Shobita and Jack discuss how scientists are engaging in the boiling politics of abortion in the United States, the implications of large language models (a new type of artificial intelligence), and Elon Musk's possible takeover of Twitter. And we have a fascinating conversation with Morgan Ames about her award-winning book The Charisma Machine, which focuses on the global One Laptop Per Child project. Ames is Profes...

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In this episode, Shobita and Jack discuss this uncertain moment in the pandemic around the world, including the latest negotiations related to the TRIPS patent waiver related to COVID vaccines. They consider emerging efforts to develop a "pangenome" that emphasizes human genetic diversity. And they chat with Professor Sabrina McCormick, a scholar, policymaker, and filmmaker, about her efforts to advocate for climate change ...

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This month, Jack and Shobita discuss the resignation of the Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, African scientists' success in copying the Moderna vaccine and the potential long-term implications, and the politics of long COVID. And we speak with scholar and writer Chris Gilliard about the rise of surveillance technologies, their implications especially for marginalized communities, and what we ...

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In this episode, Shobita and Jack discuss the recent conviction of the now-notorious Elizabeth Holmes, former CEO of Theranos, and what it means for tech hype. They talk about the UK government's recent decision to review the racial bias embedded in medical devices, and consider whether this will move equity objectives forward. And they speak with Kyle Powys Whyte, George Willis Pack Professor of Environment and Sustainability,...

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This month, Shobita and Jack discuss efforts to engage publics in the development and regulation of AI, including the AI Bill of Rights proposed by the White house, and the most recent Facebook controversies. And they talk to sociologist and lawyer Karen Levy about her forthcoming book examining the rise of technology-based surveillance in the trucking industry and its social, political, and labor implications.

- Eric Lander and Alo...

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In this episode, Shobita and Jack compare how the US and UK governments are managing risk and uncertainty in both pandemic policymaking and in their evolving artificial intelligence strategies. And they chat with Jason Delborne, a professor at North Carolina State University who has done both research and public and policy engagement related to gene drives, a new form of biotechnology that could transform our ecosystems.

National Ac...

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Episode 19: Climate Change, Vaccines, AI, and the Lure of Technochauvinism featuring Meredith Broussard

This month, Jack and Shobita discuss the recent IPCC report on climate change and the politics of vaccine "hesitancy", and puzzle over the lure of technological fixes to solve complex problems. And Jack speaks with Meredith Broussard, Associate Professor of the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University a...

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Jack and Shobita talk about her recent experiences giving Congressional testimony about equity in energy innovation, question the meaning of Freedom Day in the UK, puzzle over the FDA's recent approval of a new Alzheimer's drug, and interview Ben Tarnoff, co-founder of Logic Magazine, about tech worker organizing.

- House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Energy, "Fostering Equity in Energy Inn...

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Shobita and Jack discuss the Innovation and Competition Act making its way through the US Congress as well as the most up-to-date geopolitics of COVID, including the TRIPS waiver and the "lab leak" theory. And we interview Kate Crawford, a leading scholar on the social and political implications of artificial intelligence.

- Kate Crawford (2021). Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligenc...

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In this episode, Jack and Shobita talk about the controversy over making COVID-19 vaccines globally available by waiving the patents, and the recent crash of one of Tesla's "self-driving" cars. And they chat with science journalist Angela Saini about her recent book Superior: The Return of Race Science. They discuss why assumptions about the biology of race seem so persistent even in the context of understanding COVID-1...

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Episode 15--Innovation Imaginaries and the Politics of Evidence-Based Policymaking ft. David Goldston

This month, Jack and Shobita talk about the role of government in both funding and regulating innovation, as well as the politics of vaccine approval as European governments suspended distribution of the AstraZeneca vaccine. And we speak with David Goldston, currently director of MIT's Washington office, who has extensive experi...

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In this episode, Shobita and Jack talk about President Biden's plans for science and technology policy and his appointment of Alondra Nelson as Deputy Director for Science and Society in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, as well as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the United States and United Kingdom. And they chat with Maya Goldenberg, philosophy professor at the University of Guelph, about vaccine hesita...

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It's a New Year, and may soon be a new world! Shobita and Jack discuss the big changes brewing in the US and UK, from the new president to Brexit, and consider what it all means for science and technology policy. And we chat with Lina Dencik, Professor and Director of the Data Justice Lab at Cardiff University.

Lina Dencik (2019). "Social Justice in an Age of Datafication." Talk at the Alan Turing Institute. May 28.

Lina ...

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Shobita and Jack reflect on the US election and the future of conservatism and exciting vaccine news, and speak with philosopher and STS forefather Langdon Winner about the politics of technology today. Winner recently released a new edition of his groundbreaking book, The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High Technology.

- Langdon Winner (2020). The Whale and the Reactor: A Search for Limits in an Age of High...

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Episode 11--Patent Activism, Access to Medicines, and The Social Dilemma featuring Priti Krishtel

In this episode, Jack and Shobita discuss the growing politicization of COVID-19 science and at listeners' request, review the Netflix movie The Social DIlemma. And Shobita speaks with Priti Krishtel, co-executive director of the i-MAK, the Initiative for Medicines, Access, and Knowledge about how we can reform the patent system to ...

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