Video and Audio
Select video and audio from Spotlight Health and the Aspen Ideas Festival. All video and audio is from 2017.
What does neuroscience have to offer education? A panel of leading developmental neuroscientists and master educators explain how a deepening understanding of interdependent neural processes can revolutionize teaching and learning. Emotions do not interfere with learning, as we once believed, but rather are crucial to our ability to engage complex ideas, process and retain information, and build on experience.
Poverty is a powerful stressor that influences growth and development in children, and physical and mental health throughout adulthood. Science and imaging technology are making its impact visible, demonstrating how the socioeconomic disparities that flow from historical injustice alter brain structures. We’re also learning that social capital can be a protective layer against the health effects of poverty, even as the gap widens between those who can access it and those who cannot.
Within 20, maybe 40, years, most people in developed countries will stop having sex for the purpose of reproduction. Instead, prospective parents will be told as much as they wish to know about the genetic makeup of dozens of embryos, and they will pick one or two for implantation, gestation, and birth. And it will be safe, lawful, and free.
The Rev. Adam Hamilton, who ministers to nearly 20,000 Methodists in and around Kansas City, is determined to mollify the deep divisions that he observes in his congregation and, he thinks, are tearing at our social fabric. His plan: to get people to think differently by focusing on influencing, not irritating, and seeing the humanity in others — even those they strongly disagree with. What role does faith play in his quest to bring people together?
Breakthrough research has revealed that the brain is especially open to change during specific periods in life – notably infancy and childhood, adolescence, and the transition to parenthood. During these sensitive times, interpersonal relationships play a central role in supporting healthy brain adaptation. What other key inputs help to grow and maintain a healthy brain, both at times of great change and across the lifespan?
Art historian Sarah Lewis (Harvard University) and architect Michael Murphy (MASS Design Group) discuss the art and architecture of social justice in America. How do our artistic works create the fabric of national memory both cherished and shameful? How do our structures provide the framework of collective conscience? How does culture help us learn from history and inform today’s struggles?
Community health workers, social media networks, and local residents serve as the first line of defense against global health risks, especially infectious diseases and bioterrorism. While top-down initiatives provide essential resources to detect looming threats, including sophisticated surveillance and diagnostic tools, outbreaks are most likely to be detected first at the local level.
With nearly 40 million people, the innovation powerhouse of Silicon Valley, and the sixth-largest economy in the world (larger than France’s, Italy’s, and India’s), California is a force to be reckoned with. And it’s got bones to pick with Washington, on issues from environmental protections and health care to immigration enforcement and drug policy.
Infectious diseases represent one of the greatest threats to global health and security. The failures of the Ebola crisis demonstrated that we remain woefully unprepared, but they also served as a wake-up call at the highest levels of policymaking across nations.
Human morality is a set of cognitive devices designed to solve social problems. The original moral problem is the problem of cooperation, the “tragedy of the commons” — me vs. us. But modern moral problems are often different, involving what Harvard psychology professor Joshua Greene calls “the tragedy of commonsense morality,” or the problem of conflicting values and interests across social groups — us vs. them.
Latino evangelicals — a fast-growing population that is nearing 20 percent of American Latinos, and rising — exemplify the difficult positions many Christians find themselves in today, where social conservatism and deep Christian faith run headlong into hard questions about immigrants, refugees, the poor, and moral leadership. The Rev. Dr. Samuel Rodriguez exemplifies this complexity.
Pope Francis has praised the internet as "a gift from God," extolling the possibilities it provides for "encounter and solidarity." But on many days, the internet doesn't feel so much like a gift as a curse. Increased access to information through new technologies that connect us has changed the way we live – from our need to immediately respond to emails to our constant pull towards our devices to see if someone has “liked” our latest post.
The genius of artificial intelligence (AI) is its capacity to swiftly mine repositories of data, such as the vast amounts of information stored in electronic health records and medical literature, recognize patterns, and respond with recommended actions. AI is already being used to diagnose unfamiliar symptoms, predict drug responses, and perform robotic surgery, and seers predict a limitless future for machine learning.
In a well-functioning democracy, people do not live in echo chambers or filter bubbles; rather, citizens are exposed to myriad ideas and perspectives even if not their own. Constitutional scholar Cass Sunstein suggests that our current obsession with social media and our online friend groups narrow the scope of the kinds of daily and serendipitous interactions that might otherwise broaden our perspectives, nurture our curiosity, and fuel our compassion.
Global health today is characterized by a mix of promising developments and troubling trends. Life expectancy is on the rise, and maternal and child mortality rates are falling. But millions lack basic nutrition, primary health care, and access to vaccinations; we are ill-prepared for the next global pandemic; tobacco use kills six million people annually; and noncommunicable diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, have emerged as leading killers.
Join Walter Isaacson, Margaret Low, Peggy Clark, Katie Drasser, and Select Spotlight Health Presenters to kick off the Spotlight Health Festival.
Technology may teach the pleasures of controlled exchanges—admit it, texting is often so much easier than real-time talking. But here is what we know about life: We lose out as individuals and as citizens in a democracy when we don’t take the time to talk to each other and when we don’t learn how to listen to each other, especially when it comes to talking and listening to others who aren’t like us.
The robots are coming and they’re getting smarter, evolving from single-task devices (think Roomba) into machines that can make their own decisions and autonomously navigate public spaces. From transportation systems, hospitals, and the military, to the robotization of our workplaces and households, robots will be everywhere and will increasingly interact with people.
Do you think of yourself as an introvert or an extrovert? Or have you discovered that you are an ambivert, a balanced person with some features of both personality types? At cocktail parties these days, there is talk that introverts are on the rise, but in truth there is no one “right” way to be – just ways that work best for each one of us.
In recent years, the founding fathers have almost become deities—figures to be revered for their role in creating our nation. But do they deserve being ascribed these God-like qualities? After all, many of them were slave owners, had personal lives filled with scandal, and had feuds that impaired their focus on the country. And, almost all of them had serious reservations about democracy and the viability of country they were creating.