Episodes
Is it an earworm or an icon? The Super Mario Bros. theme is the soundtrack to many childhoods and has remained resonant today. Recently inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry, the song was not easy to write. Video game composer Koji Kondo faced musical and technical challenges in creating the song. Columnist Ben Cohen talks to New England Conservatory musicologist Andrew Schartmann about how Kondo created this lasting and genre-changing piece of music. What do...
Published 02/23/24
AI has brought new challenges for corporate executives in managing their workforces and supply chains. Flex CEO Revathi Advaithi tells WSJ reporter Emily Glazer how she is adjusting to uncertainty and gives her outlook on the future of the workplace and manufacturing. This conversation was recorded at WSJ’s CEO Council Summit on December 12, 2023.  What do you think about the show? Let us know on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or email us: [email protected] Further reading: Leading in...
Published 02/16/24
Badge swipes and passwords are cornerstones of security in the modern workplace. But in a world where security is increasingly tied to biometrics and personal devices, your face or fingerprint may soon become the key to workplace security. While biometrics could provide better protection for sensitive information than an easily forgettable password, what are the privacy risks of biometric tech going mainstream? WSJ’s Danny Lewis explores the future of biometric security at work, and whether...
Published 02/09/24
Will the human resources department be replaced by robots? Not quite, but the use of generative artificial intelligence in HR is on the rise. WSJ reporter Chip Cutter tells us how companies are incorporating AI tools internally and what might change in the future. Plus, we hear from Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code and Moms First, who recently introduced paidleave.ai, a free AI-powered chatbot designed to help workers navigate paid family leave benefits. Saujani tells WSJ’s...
Published 02/02/24
Nvidia's Jensen Huang is Silicon Valley's longest tenured CEO, and his company recently joined the trillion dollar club. But if he knew at the start what he knows now, would he do it all again? WSJ Science of Success columnist Ben Cohen explains Huang’s approach to success and what that might mean for tomorrow's entrepreneurs. What do you think about the show? Let us know on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or e mail us: [email protected]  Further reading:  He Built a Trillion-Dollar...
Published 01/26/24
Fake images are already turning heads online, and Hany Farid, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, says we’re only going to see more of it. Farid specializes in image analysis and digital forensics. He tells WSJ’s Alex Ossola why it’s so easy to use generative AI to create convincing fake images, and why it could cause problems in the future. Plus, he discusses the potential tech solutions that will help us decipher whether an image or video we’re seeing...
Published 01/19/24
AI voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa have become part of our everyday lives. But for people with atypical voices, including those with conditions like Parkinson’s disease and muscular dystrophy, these tools can be frustrating to use. Now a number of big tech companies including Amazon and Google, as well as research organizations are coming up with ways to make them more useful. What will it take to create voice assistants that work for everyone right out of the...
Published 01/12/24
One of AI’s biggest, unsolved problems is what the advanced algorithms should do when they confront a situation they don’t have an answer for. For programs like Chat GPT, that could mean providing a confidently wrong answer, what’s often called a “hallucination”; for others, as with self-driving cars, there could be much more serious consequences. But what if AIs could be taught to recognize what they don’t understand and adjust accordingly? Usama Fayyad, the executive director for the...
Published 01/05/24
Sail-powered cargo ships are making waves on the seas. High-tech versions of old tools are being installed on existing cargo ships in order to reduce fuel costs and help decarbonize the industry, which currently generates 3% of all human-created greenhouse gasses. Retrofitting cargo ships with sails could make maritime shipping greener and cheaper, and even change how the complicated shipping industry works. WSJ host Danny Lewis reports. What do you think about the show? Let us know on...
Published 12/22/23
Breast milk imparts a number of long-term health benefits to babies, including a lower risk of asthma, obesity, Type 1 diabetes and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But for a variety of reasons, many parents turn to formula. Now, several startups such as BIOMILQ and Helaina are working on new kinds of infant nutrition products that promise to better mimic parts of human breast milk—and may lead to advances in adult nutrition...
Published 12/08/23
The next generation of nuclear power plants could be tiny, and that could mean big things for carbon-free electricity. Several companies including NuScale Power and Bill Gates’ TerraPower are developing small modular reactors that promise to be more adaptable than the towering conventional nuclear power plants. After years of development and growing investment, the first of these next-generation reactors could go online by 2030. But will their promises to provide safe and plentiful energy...
Published 11/22/23
There may come a day when everyone will be wearing hearing aids. That’s because today’s hearing aids can do much more than clarify and amplify sound. Companies like Starkey are adding features like cognitive activity tracking and exercise monitoring. They’re developing tech that aims to warn users before they might fall and predict aspects of mental health too. If barriers like high cost and social stigma are addressed, hearing aids could become a vital accessory, whether or not you’re one of...
Published 11/10/23
What if there were a way to generate clean solar electricity from space and send it directly to Earth? It sounds like science-fiction, but Caltech engineers are working on ways to collect solar energy on orbiting satellites and wirelessly beam that power back to stations on the ground. The results of their experiments suggest that space-based solar power may have a bright future. But while they’ve been able to show it’s possible on a demonstration satellite, getting power from orbit to Earth...
Published 10/27/23
Want to go electric? We might need to dig a little deeper… into the Earth’s crust. Researchers and startups are testing new technology and drilling techniques to harness geothermal energy – heat from the Earth that can be used to generate electricity. It’s a renewable energy source that has been billed as a way to boost energy independence while reducing carbon emissions. But because of technical limitations, geothermal made up just 0.4% of all electricity generated in the U.S last year. The...
Published 10/13/23
Is there life on planets other than Earth? For generations, scientists have puzzled over the question, searching for planets that might have the right conditions both inside and outside the Milky Way. There are thousands of exoplanets – those beyond our solar system – ranging from gas giants, to balls of rock, to possible ocean worlds and so-called “super Earths.” But even as new technology has given scientists a glimpse at these distant worlds, one lingering question is whether any of them...
Published 09/29/23
AI-generated or manipulated images are quickly becoming a lot more realistic. Soon, it may be impossible to tell the difference. That could create an opportunity for people to spread misinformation, and make it difficult to know what’s real. Tech companies like Adobe, Microsoft and Google, academics and government agencies are coming up with frameworks to verify images and, in some cases, show how they’ve been altered. But, these techniques may come with security risks of their own. WSJ’s...
Published 09/15/23
The great American road trip has long been powered by gasoline. Gas stations are everywhere, making it easy to fill-up when your gas tank nears empty. But what if you’re trying to travel long-distance in an electric car and can’t find a charger? WSJ’s Danny Lewis speaks to WSJ tech columnist Christopher Mims about his recent road trip in an ultralong-range Lucid Motors EV. The car aims to eliminate range anxiety by traveling an Environmental Protection Agency-estimated range of more than 500...
Published 09/01/23
When you think of a robot, what comes to mind? A big metal arm in a car factory? A shiny android like C3PO from “Star Wars”? What about a robot that’s soft, floppy and looks a little more like the hot dog fingers from “Everything Everywhere, All at Once”? Soft robots are engineered for more delicate tasks that used to require a human touch – like handling food or conducting tests inside our bodies. But for now, they’re isolated to specific fields, like manufacturing and medicine, and haven’t...
Published 08/18/23
Farmers across the U.S. are facing challenges from extreme weather. From intense heat and drought roasting crops to rain-delayed harvests, many who grow the food we rely on are having to find new ways to adapt. For some, that means going high-tech, using sensors that can tell them when their plants need more water or fertilizer. WSJ’s Jala Everett looks into how modern sensors are changing the world of farming and how some sensors the size of “bandages” could deliver even more precise data...
Published 08/11/23
The risks from fungal pathogens are increasing. Severe infections used to be rare, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 75,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized for fungal diseases each year, and the World Health Organization says rates of severe fungal infections are likely to increase as fungi adapt to warmer temperatures and become resistant to drugs. Could a vaccine be the answer? WSJ’s Danny Lewis explores how scientists are looking into new ways of...
Published 08/04/23
 So-called “forever chemicals” are seemingly everywhere. A recent government study found close to half of U.S. tap water contains at least one PFAS chemical. They’re also on a lot of our clothes, where the chemicals are used to promote water resistance or repel stains. But some of the things that make PFAS so effective also means they stay in our bodies for years. And these chemicals have been linked to health issues, including high cholesterol and an increased risk of kidney cancer. Now, as...
Published 07/21/23
You may have heard about Ozempic, Wegovy and Mounjaro. It’s tough to miss the online chatter, the ads on TV and all the news coverage. They are part of a class of drugs originally designed to treat diabetes, and all three have been shown to help people lose significant amounts of weight. That’s leading to big sales for drug companies and helping change the way we think about weight loss. WSJ’s Ariana Aspuru digs into how these drugs work, the big money involved and what it means for millions...
Published 07/14/23
For the first time in decades, NASA is planning to send astronauts back to the moon. Their spacesuits will be very different from what Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin wore when they walked the lunar surface in 1969. Spacesuits today are thinner and lighter, while still making sure astronauts can complete tasks and stay alive. In this conversation from the Future of Everything festival in May, WSJ’s Danny Lewis speaks to Amy Ross, one of NASA’s top spacesuit engineers. She explains how the...
Published 07/07/23
Forecasting hurricanes is an inexact science. That's why they're called forecasts. But government researchers and meteorologists are working to make their predictions better, to help people know when they should evacuate and when it's safe to stay put. And that means using all sorts of new technology, including drones that sail right into the storms. WSJ's Ariana Aspuru visited the National Hurricane Center in Florida to find out how those forecasts come together and see the new models in the...
Published 06/23/23