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Should This Exist?

A weekly Technology, Business and Science podcast featuring Caterina Fake
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Episodes of Should This Exist?

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 direct
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 h
When you think of nuclear power, what do you envision? For many people, the answer is Chernobyl or Fukushima: massive meltdowns that turned vast areas into radioactive wastelands. But those were meltdowns — and without meltdowns, nuclear power
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
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 f
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 withou
Standard college admissions tests are: a. based on an outdated model of intelligence; b. exclusionary; c. a lucrative business and a near-monopoly; d. all of the above. 28-year-old Harvard dropout Rebecca Kantar is disrupting the paradigm of pe
A VR system called Bravemind allows combat veterans with PTSD to confront and process their trauma in a virtual environment. The therapy, developed by psychologist Skip Rizzo, shows promise for PTSD and potential for other issues like phobias a
What if you could extend your healthy life by 10 or 20 years – with a blood transfusion from someone younger and healthier than you? Research by Stanford professor Tony Wyss-Coray shows potential to treat Alzheimer’s and prevent age-related cog
Is it the loneliest idea you’ve ever heard? Or an ingenious hack that helps human caregivers be more attentive and empathetic? You might have these questions when you meet the robot caregivers who roam the halls at retirement homes, doing basic
It’s one of the best weapons we have to contain a pandemic. But can it defeat the disease without spying on people who might carry it? MIT’s Kevin Esvelt has a bold idea: Let’s try a new form of contact tracing that could more than double the p
Chances are, you’ve seen a “deepfake” video. But did you know it? A new breed of tech detectives are building tools to spot these hyper-realistic videos – built with AI – where people say things they didn’t say or do things they’d never do. Som
How is technology impacting our humanity? It’s the question of our times. Join host Caterina Fake for Season 2 of Should This Exist – where each week we take a single technology and ask: What’s its greatest potential? And what could possibly go
This short trailer offers a taste of a new podcast from the team that created Should This Exist? And just like STE, it's unlike anything you've heard before. In each episode of Meditative Story, you'll hear a storyteller who will transport you
The web is broken. Data is mined, sold, and exploited. Social media is an endless and biased scroll through the worst of humanity. Nobody’s personal information is safe. And worst of all, it’s inescapable. The web is a cornerstone of our lives.
Imagine meeting your great-great-great-grandkids. Or going to law school in your 80s, learning to snowboard at 110, taking a gap decade instead of a gap year. Greg Bailey dreams of a world where everybody lives twice as long, and no one gets si
Want your voice heard on Should This Exist? An upcoming episode explores gerontology, the science of aging, and new technologies being developed to help humans live longer and healthier lives. Host Caterina Fake and her panel of guests will exa
Imagine biting into a steak that didn’t come from a cow. Or a chicken breast that did not come from a chicken. Imagine if your favorite meat dish did not involve an animal getting killed. This is Isha Datar’s dream. She is a scientist on a miss
Mike Pappas and Carter Huffman believe their invention fulfills the promise of the digital world: the complete freedom to design your identity. But what if we all used it? The human voice is a key marker of authenticity and individuality, and M
Kevin Esvelt knows the stakes are high. As a geneticist at the MIT Media Lab, Kevin discovered a technique called a gene drive, which gives humans a power we’ve never had before: to change the DNA of entire species in nature. This capacity is s
What do you do if your invention becomes a weapon? This happened to Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired Magazine, who launched DIY Drones, an open source community that helps anyone build their own flying machines. Chris and his community ev
Throughout human history, we’ve wanted to fly – and to fly fast. So it’s hard to resist Blake Scholl’s idea. His startup, Boom, is building a new supersonic jet, which will fly at twice the speed of sound. If he succeeds, it could be the bigges
What if your computer had an "emotion chip" — AI that could read the expression on your face (or the tone in your voice) and know how you’re feeling? Could online courses teach you better if they knew when you were bored or confused? Could your
Woebot is a mobile app that gives one-on-one therapy and gets 2 million messages a week. But Woebot isn't a person – it's a chatbot. It was invented and developed by psychologist Alison Darcy and it uses AI to guide users through a session, any
Neuroscientist Daniel Chao created a headset that hacks your brain with electricity so you can learn as fast as a kid again. It’s called Halo, and it helps you learn motor skills faster. Athletes use it; musicians too. But we’re not far from a
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