Video and Audio
Select video and audio from Spotlight Health and the Aspen Ideas Festival. All video and audio is from 2017.
The Aspen Challenge presents three high school teams from Philadelphia and one team from Chicago who developed brilliant solutions to issues they see plaguing their communities. See these young change-makers take to the stage to prove that effective community solutions can be created at any age.
With their flights to DC snowed out and votes imminent on the House floor, these two Texas congressmen took to the road to travel the 1,600 miles to the nation’s capital in a rented Chevy Impala. They invited America to join them via Facebook live, and through their spontaneous town hall on wheels, they learned a lot about the issues Americans are dealing with, each other’s core values, and the inextricably linked processes of listening and finding common ground.
Three of the nation’s most prestigious institutions of higher learning are now led by women with broad accomplishments in health-related fields. Elizabeth Bradley, Vassar College’s newly appointed president, has helped to strengthen health systems around the world; Paula Johnson, president of Wellesley College, has special expertise in women’s health and gender biology; Kathleen McCartney, president of Smith College, is an authority on child development and developmental psychology.
While the act of spacing out has long been attributed to fueling creativity, many of us are downright uncomfortable with being bored. In fact, a prominent social science study reveals that a surprising number of people would rather be electrically shocked than left alone with their thoughts. Add a constant stream of updates, texts, and other technological distractions to an already tense relationship, and it can feel like we’re doomed.
A crisis is emerging that seems likely to pose as grave a threat to public health as obesity or substance abuse: social isolation. Neuroscientists have identified regions of the brain that respond to loneliness, and a powerful body of research shows that lonely people are more likely to become ill, experience cognitive decline, and die early.
The impacts of cybercrime and the proliferation of cyberattacks are unsettling at best and very dangerous at worst. Not only are we experiencing increases in nefarious activity for personal gain, we are seeing threats against nation-states, the likes of which society has not experienced before. Is it time for the world’s governments to implement international rules to protect citizens’ use of the internet?
If you’re white and middle class, you were probably raised thinking that discussing race was impolite. Color blindness was seen as a virtue — and it’s a persistent one. A 2014 poll revealed that almost three-quarters of millennials believe we should not see the color of someone’s skin. But in truth, color blindness is an insidious form of racial oppression.
What went right and what went wrong with health care under the Obama Administration? Surely some reasoned, thoughtful answers lie between the firmly held poles where ideologues have staked their ground.
Technology used to be a lot more accessible, open, and ethical. It was driven by optimistic tinkerers rather than big companies. That changed. The entire industry and ecosystem is now ruled by a handful of companies rather than upstarts. American tech giants are now among the most powerful institutions in the world, rivaling governments in their power over media, culture, and politics.
The health effects of climate change sound a clarion warning that we must attend to a rapidly deteriorating environment. Polluted cities, severe droughts and flooding, and devastating storms are portents of a world in which risks to the health of the planet and the health of families are closely linked.
As the prospect of mass implementation of artificial intelligence begins to alter realistic expectations of its impacts (large and small, positive and negative), the consequences for the business community are only just beginning to be imagined. Unlike the internet, AI is not a new industry — yet its application will radically alter industry. Says one CEO, “Everything invented in the past 150 years will be reinvented using AI within the next 15 years.” But what does this really mean?
It has become almost impossible to have a reasoned conversation about reproductive rights. From birth control to abortion, this minefield is strewn with political passion, convictions of faith, and seemingly irreconcilable moral choices. Women’s health writ large is in jeopardy as a result. What do women want and need? How do we engage in reasoned dialogue in search of common ground?
Artificial intelligence has rapidly and deeply permeated our lives; and for much of the public, these infiltrations were unexpected — some even remain unrecognized. As we develop machines driven by human-created algorithms, it is imperative for us to examine how our moral and ethical biases and assumptions inform our creations, which will in turn change the world. Can and should we approach a consensus on what ethics to instill in AI?
Together, organizational behavior professor Matthew Feinberg and sociologist Robb Willer have extensively studied why liberals and conservatives so rarely succeed at persuading each other — and how to overcome these challenges. They find that people tend to make arguments that appeal to the ethical code of their own side, rather than the values of those they are trying to persuade. This, they say, is because people tend to view their own moral values as universal.
It’s been called one of the worst self-inflicted political wounds of modern times. British Prime Minister Theresa May, seeking to solidify her mandate for a hard exit from the European Union, called for snap elections on June 8th, which ended up dealing the Tories a massive political blow and producing a hung parliament.
From election meddling and economic espionage to financial fraud and personal identity theft, it’s becoming clear that cybersecurity is increasingly central to every aspect of the way we live. Both state-sponsored cyber-spies and transnational organized crime groups pose urgent threats online to our nation’s critical infrastructure, our security, and our fundamental values in a democratic society.
Rachel Dolezal is a white woman who has identified as African American. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren has identified as Native American. Both women have expressed feelings of solidarity for demographic groups that some would argue they ought not claim as their own. What’s wrong with claiming to belong to a historically subordinated population group? This spring, Rebecca Tuvel published an essay, “In Defense of Transracialism,” in the respected academic philosophy journal, Hypatia.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt signed legislation giving birth to the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in 1937, he brought a decade of political wrangling to a close and created the world's foremost cancer research and training infrastructure. Eighty years later, with an annual budget of some $5 billion, NCI remains at the forefront of investigations into cancer biology and clinical trials that sustain cancer patients around the globe.
Scientists at the cutting-edge of neurobiology are studying the rhythms of electrical activity within the brain and learning more about how malfunctioning neural circuitry links to mental illness. Kafui Dzirasa, one of the pioneers in the field, is trying to build a “pacemaker for the brain,” drawing on new technologies to stimulate neurons, alter electrical patterns, and change the communications pathways that underlie complex social behavior.
By 2055, it is estimated that 50 percent of today’s work activities will be automated. This means that some work will be automated within certain professions, while other professions may completely cease to exist. It means a glaring need for new jobs and a new conception of “work.” It means reorganized industries and reorganized landscapes. What else does it mean? Which jobs are safe for now, and which are doomed?