Video and Audio
Select video and audio from Spotlight Health and the Aspen Ideas Festival. All video and audio is from 2017.
“Our people are our most important asset” is a common refrain from the C-suite — but does the walk match the talk? For decades, working Americans have seen rising living expenses and flat paychecks, resulting in widespread financial stress among American families, communities, and the nation. What constitutes a “good job”? What roles should business and government play in creating them?
Often overshadowed by terrorism, nuclear weapons, and cybercrime in the public imagination, pandemics may actually be the more existential threat to human civilization. And most experts agree: We’re woefully unprepared, and crucial funding for basic research, foreign aid, and preparedness is on the chopping block. What lessons have we learned from the Ebola crisis that can be applied to Zika and other threats, both natural and manmade in the months and years to come?
What does our system say, and do, about impeachment? Professor Cass Sunstein will offer a nonpartisan, historical guide, with some reverence, and even awe, for our constitutional order, and for the power it gives to We the People.
From Broadway to the bestseller lists, the members of the United States's founding generation are enjoying renewed popularity. But what do they have to teach the present?
Despite controlling both the White House and the US Congress, the Republican Party has had a bumpy ride for the first few months of the Trump administration. With a president who is not a traditional party standard-bearer, can the party and the White House get in alignment on priorities and core values? Will President Trump and the party’s traditional conservatives ever get in sync — or at least make some deals?
The 2016 presidential campaign broke down previously established rules and distinctions between insiders and outsiders and various types of media — all accelerated by the Internet. The velocity of information and viral communication can create dysfunction in campaigns and within democracy.
Most people think the only problem with empathy is that we don’t have enough of it. Drawing on research into psychopathy, criminal behavior, charitable giving, cognitive neuroscience, and Buddhist meditation practices, Yale psychologist Paul Bloom argues that this is mistaken. Empathy makes us worse as people. We are better off, Bloom says, in both public policy and intimate relationships, drawing upon a combination of reason and distanced compassion. In this session, Bloom explains why.
Meet Shimon, the marimba-playing robot that can improvise with fluency and skill exceeding that of most professional musicians. This atypical frontman’s band isn’t your average performance group either: Shimon’s band of humans hails not from a conservatory, but from the Center for Music Technology at Georgia Tech. And did we mention the drummer lays the rhythm with a bionic arm?
Authoritarian populists are gaining power from Ankara to Athens, from Warsaw to Washington. Meanwhile, popular support for democratic values is sliding in many countries around the world. Is our political system in existential danger? And what can we do to save it?
How has artificial intelligence become so powerful, so ubiquitous, so quickly? What used to seem impossible for machines is now yesterday’s news: This current generation of AI brings phenomenal power to problems such as understanding natural language, image recognition, even self-driving vehicles. And while AI seems to promise us the world, it is also limited. So how can we predict a future powered by the new electricity?
Time to start listening to the growing set of young entrepreneurs who are actually making things in America — they might be driving a renaissance in manufacturing right here at home. How is this possible? Technology makes design and production more efficient now, labor is available, and yes, governing principles stand for a lot. For many young leaders, “making it in the USA” — making it local — is a matter of principle, and, importantly, economically competitive.
Whether they are tending to an elderly parent, a disabled partner, an injured child, or an ailing friend, most people are deeply committed to caring for those they love. But surely compassionate public policies, generous employer benefits, access to respite and other supportive services, and strategies to train and reward a caregiving workforce can make that arduous task easier.
Historian Jon Meacham has written extensively about the presidency, with acclaimed books on Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Franklin Roosevelt, and most recently, George H. W. Bush. He is currently working on a book on James and Dolly Madison. What does his research into these presidents suggest about the nature of the office? What might we learn from the past about the current state of politics, the White House, and perhaps more broadly, democracy in America?
2017 Harman Eisner Artist in Residence Jeff Koons and entertainment industry titan and former Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Michael Eisner, join in a conversation about creating wonder. From household appliances to iconic large-scale inflatables, Koons has pioneered transforming familiar subjects into captivating works of art, and democratizing access through major public art displays.
The confluence of globalization and the information revolution has primed the United States, and the world, for a resurgence of populism. Fareed Zakaria, host of CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS,” explains how the populist ideology helped President Trump win the White House. Trump’s message of cultural anxiety connected with voters. It’s not an unfamiliar ideology. Zakaria opens the history book and explains how past trends are re-emerging today.
As scientists have slowly come to grasp the seriousness of climate change, many have begun to doubt that humans can transition away from fossil fuels fast enough to avoid serious ecological collapse on land and in the oceans. Some researchers have suggested that we should take unusual measures to prevent these outcomes. Among the more familiar of these “moonshots” is the plan to cool the planet by seeding its atmosphere with sun-reflecting aerosols.
Who are you? That question has become ever more complicated over the last decade of scientific discovery. Our genomes show signs of ancestry from Neanderthals and other extinct hominins, not to mention the genetic fossils of ancient viruses. Our bodies are home to trillions of bacteria and other microbes that sculpt our organs, train our immune systems, digest our food, and influence our minds. Our brains are made up of about 80 billion neurons in 100 trillion connections.
From a young age, we are taught that answers matter more than questions. As adults, we experience powerful organizational and societal forces that keep us from asking (or hearing) uncomfortable questions. This creates an isolated, answer-centric world, often at our own peril. Business threats strike, seemingly out of nowhere. Innovations and new players, never before imagined, blindside us.
Hate groups and hate-fueled incidents are spiking in America. The Southern Poverty Law Center, through aggregating media reports and gathered submissions from its website, recently catalogued 1051 acts of intimidation and hate in the first month after Trump won the presidency. What is the evidence of this rising tide, and what does it look like in our communities? What groups are most frequently targeted today?
What has been predictable about the Trump Administration so far? What has been surprising? What have been the greatest successes — according to both pundits and the public — and the most significant failures? Will this administration ever settle in to “business as usual”? Underwritten by Southern Company