Festival of Dangerous Ideas

A daily Society, Culture and News podcast
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Episodes of Festival of Dangerous Ideas

If we don’t think our fellow citizens are capable of making the right choices about what they eat and drink, why do we think they are capable of voting? Since researcher Chris Berg presented this 2015 FODI talk, this question rings eerily true
When someone commits a crime, we want them punished. If wrongdoers go to prison more often and for longer, everyone seems happy. But we live in a system where people do eventually come out of prison and rejoin the community. And this is where w
With more people coming out as gender fluid, transitioning or on a spectrum of gender identity, it's clear the biological constraints of gender today have loosened. But how do we deal with enduring gender-based social inequality and injustice?
Today the human race faces existential challenges. Our prosperity has been built on unsustainable economic and environmental practices — but our social and political processes seem incapable of fixing anything. Why are we unable to even acknowl
When you're on a bicycle at a red light with no car or pedestrian in sight, do you still wait for the green? Do you obey every single law? Surely fearful compliance with every niggling regulation defies the much-vaunted "freedom" that is the pr
If you've been enjoying our deep dive festival sessions you might want to check out bite sized conundrums in Little Bad Thing, the new podcast from The Ethics Centre. True stories about the things we wish we hadn’t done. Smart, dark, wry, and s
What does the future hold? A reign of world peace with stunning medical breakthroughs conquering death, illness and disease? Or a world where human beings have destroyed the web of living things and put our own existence at risk by playing with
Why is the right to doctor-assisted dying supported by so many and legal for so few?  Helen Joyce became international editor of The Economist in January 2014 having previously served as International Education Editor and Sao Paulo bureau ch
Edward Snowden has been condemned as a traitor and celebrated as a patriot. In his mind, he is simply a man of good conscience who has followed in the footsteps of family members who have faithfully served the people and Constitution of the USA
No one has a monopoly on truth when it comes to the past and present lives of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. Conservatives tend to deny that Indigenous peoples should have special status in the Constitution. Progressives tend to turn a blind e
Why has humanity still not worked out how to make nuclear weapons safe?  As an investigative journalist, Eric Schlosser continues to explore subjects ignored by the mainstream media and gives a voice to people at the margins of society. He’s
In the West, slavery is often seen as a dark part of the colonial past. Although it’s illegal in all countries, it remains alive and well—and is growing dramatically. Impervious to recession, it forms a thriving part of the globalised sex indu
Is innovation overvalued? It is the dominant ideology of our era. But what if building, maintenance and repair prove much more important to our daily lives than the vast majority of technological innovations?  Co-founder of The Maintainers, 
One of the last bastions of acceptable discrimination is against fat people. Health arguments reinforce the social and cultural pressure to avoid fatness at all costs. But is it possible to imagine things differently and help women to escape fr
With ‘normal’ education on hold, a mountain of public debt, high levels of long-term unemployment and the mental health effects of isolation yet to fully emerge, the legacy of COVID-19 disproportionately falls on the shoulders of one demographi
As lockdowns and quarantines continue, some of us may feel like we're losing our grip on reality. Misinformation and conspiracy theories spread worldwide and algorithms continue to serve up our own custom-made versions of the internet. Are we j
In stripping away so much of ordinary life, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a lot about us – not all of it pretty. It’s also confronted us with brutal ethical choices. Who deserves to be saved when you're running out of ventilators? How muc
COVID-19 has highlighted the particular vulnerability of the aged. However, as we find out more about the ageing process, we are uncovering new ways to treat it. One revolutionary approach is to look at ageing as a disease and tackle its causes
#BlackLivesMatter has become the call to action for a generation of US human rights activists to denounce the violence and prejudice still experienced by African Americans. In the wake of the violent deaths of African Americans George Floyd, Tr
Why are young people worse off than their parents? Why is the gap between older and younger Australians – in terms of work, wealth and wellbeing – growing wider? Is Australia cheating the young? Jennifer Rayner was born into aspirational Austra
Globalism is a Western construct which may not survive in its current form. Asia’s rising powers are starting to look past global institutions to construct alternatives which could see what we know as the global community become obsolete. Micha
The latest science suggests that it is too late to prevent human-induced climate change. Technological optimists are now turning their minds to mitigation through techniques of geo-engineering, like giant space mirrors or seeding the oceans wit
Recorded in 2011 and the beginning of the Arab Spring, Mona Eltahawy reflects on the hunger for freedom and democracy unleashed within Arab populations living under dictatorship. This is considered alongside questions about whether Saudi Arabia
Will we run out of water – and if so, when? Will the Earth suffer? Explore how water drives modern conflict and is not about to stop. Alok Jha is the science correspondent for ITV News in the UK. Before that, he did the same job at The Guardian
In the late 90s, political theorists, economists and politicians were talking confidently about the “end of history” and the undisputed triumph of liberal "democratic" capitalism. Communism was written off as dead and buried. But after 9/11, th
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