Future Human Podcast

Who is the “Future Human”? How will future innovation shape the way he or she views and interacts with the world? How will technology change the role of the Future Human and society?

What is a “Future Human”? How will future innovation shape the way they interact with the world? And how will the world change as a result?

Presented and created by Nokia Bell Labs and Audiation.fm, the Future Human Podcast Series explores the human potential of technology, looking beyond technology’s nuts and bolts, transistors and code, systems and platforms, to the larger impact innovation will make on human endeavour. The podcast presents fresh, unique viewpoints with guests ranging from Nokia Bell Labs researchers and renowned scientists exploring exciting new technology disciplines to athletes and artists embracing technology to further their crafts.

We will have regular installments of the Future Human Podcast, all of which will be available on this page and on multiple podcast platforms: Spotify, iTunes, Google Podcast.

Feature Episodes

Future Human introduction

In the series debut of Future Human we examine the origins of E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology) – an unlikely pairing of artists and engineers in the 1960s which heralded some of the most impactful technological advances of the last century – and uncover the motivations for the recent reinvigoration of the program.

Episode 23 - Old wires, new tricks

With so much focus on wireless and 5G, it's easy to disregard the massive wired infrastructure that runs through our cities and encircles our homes. But with so many transitioning to remote work - and in many cases retreating to heavily insulated steel cages that can hinder wireless signals - it turns out those same copper wires our forefathers plugged their rotary phones into hold previously unforeseen promise for the future of faster data rates, as long as we get the science right.

Episode 22 - Miguel Nicolelis’s Nokia Bell Labs Shannon Luminary Lecture

Presented in its entirety, here is the Shannon Luminary Lecture by Miguel Nicolelis, founder and co-director of the Duke University Center for Neuroengineering. Listen in as Nicolelis describes a future where brain-machine interfaces restore movement to paralyzed limbs and allow humans to manipulate their environments with their minds rather than their muscles. If you haven’t already, then please check out episode 21 of Future Human for further insight into Nicolelis’s groundbreaking work. 

Episode 21 - The kick heard around the world

At the opening of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, 1 billion viewers watched as a paraplegic young man walked on to the field with the assistance of a futuristic exoskeleton and, against all odds, was able to kick a ball using only his mind. Miguel Nicolelis, the colorful Brazilian co-director of the Duke University Center for Neuroengineering, explains that this kick was the culmination of decades of research – and offers an intriguing glimpse into the ways that science will help us heal ourselves. 

Episode 20 - Better signals, better people

As remote work becomes the new norm in the face of our ongoing health crisis, we explore the technologies that enable us to stay productive and connected. Speaking to Bell Labs President and Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon, Stuttgart-based researcher Stefan Wesemann explains how massive MIMO technology will improve 5G capacity and be less taxing on our phones. And, more intriguingly, it may even help us live healthier lives.

Episode 19 - The loneliest competition in the world

The Vendee Globe – an around-the-world, solo sailing competition – is considered one of the most grueling sporting events of the modern age. As such, it presents an intriguing opportunity to solve one of the most vexing problems facing widespread deployment of AI (Artificial Intelligence) and IA (Industrial Automation) systems: how to augment and automate mission critical remote systems. Listen in as Bell Labs President and Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon and champion racer Alex Thomson discuss the potential of their unique collaboration.

Episode 18 - Reeps One meets Reeps Two

So skilled is Harry Yeff – better known as champion beatboxer Reeps One – at his craft that he is capable of producing three different simultaneous sounds with his mouth, which, according to one neuroscientist, is theoretically impossible. Having been the subject of scientific studies since 2012, Reeps One continues to hone his craft and explore the outer limits of what is possible with the human voice. Now, as a Bell Labs Artist In Residence and collaborator, he has trained a sophisticated deep learning artificial intelligence system to beatbox – setting the scene for a most unusual duet. We get the full, behind-the-scenes scoop in our latest episode.

Episode 17 - Alex Pentland's Nokia Bell Labs Shannon Luminary Lecture

Presented in its entirety, here is the Shannon Luminary Lecture from Alex “Sandy” Pentland, a data scientist and serial entrepreneur who directs the Connection Science and Human Dynamics labs at MIT. Listen in as Pentland explores how society can build a system incorporating both humans and AI. If you haven’t already, please check out Episode 16 of Future Human to get some behind the scenes insight and commentary from Pentland.

Episode 16 - Better data through diversity

Alex Pentland, who directs the Connection Science and Human Dynamics labs at MIT, has been called “one of the seven most powerful data scientists in the world” by Forbes magazine. Now, he’s taking on what he considers the “one thing” that needs to change in our country: our tribal disconnection. Hear Pentland’s vision for something he calls “HumanAI.” Along the way, he explains why org charts are useless, why where you buy your morning coffee matters, and most importantly, how we can all reclaim a bit of our precious digital privacy.

Episode 15 - Ben Ebert's Nokia Bell Labs Shannon Luminary Lecture

Presented in its entirety, here is the full Shannon Luminary Lecture from Ben Ebert, a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chair of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.. In his lecture, Ebert describes his vision for the future of cancer prevention. If you haven’t already, please check out Episode 14 of Future Human for a discussion between Ebert and Bell Labs President and Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon on engineering better cancer outcomes.

Episode 14 - Engineering better cancer outcomes

Cancer research is at an inflection point. While the disease is poised to overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death this century, massive strides are being made in treatment. Indeed, the US saw a 26% reduction in the cancer death rate from 1991-2015. Ben Ebert – a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chair of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – recently delivered a Shannon Luminary Lecture in which he laid out the current state of cancer research, and how the quest to study pre-malignant patients has given rise to new insights that stretch beyond cancer prevention. Listen in as he discusses his findings with Bell Labs President and Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.

Episode 13 - Vint Cerf’s Nokia Bell Labs Shannon Luminary Lecture

Presented in its entirety is the full Shannon Luminary Lecture from Vint Cerf, Google Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, and a man considered by many to be a “Father of the Internet.” Cerf delivered his lecture on the future of the Internet of things. If you haven’t already, please check out Episode 12 of Future Human for more insight from Cerf on the role of AI, IoT and machine learning in the internet of common sense.

Episode 12 - The Internet of common sense

When Vint Cerf talks, people listen. Whether it’s because he had a hand in creating the first commercial email system or because he co-developed the TCP/IP protocol over which all Internet traffic flows, Cerf is considered one of the “Fathers of the Internet.” In this episode of Future Human, Cerf – who now serves as Google Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist –issues a rare and resonant call for how to make the Internet of things more humane.

Episode 11 - I know what you did this summer

If your high school/college summers were filled with menial office work, flipping burgers or babysitting, well, you did it wrong. In this episode, we check in with a few fearless students who spent their summer on the Nokia Bell Lab campus in Murray Hill, NJ. Instead of slathering sunscreen on toddlers or beating a malfunctioning printer to death, these folks taught robots how to navigate buildings, pressure-tested materials that will enable factories to operate more efficiently, enhanced the capabilities of potentially life-saving wearables, improved the technology that powers facial recognition and turned live concerts into a personal surround-sound experience. And they’re just getting started.

Episode 10 - Stalking BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals)

When Nokia Bell Labs launched its own prize competition in 2014, its goal was simple but audacious: it was seeking proposals that “change the game” in the field of information and communications technologies by a factor of 10. For the Bell Labs Prize’s 2017 winners, that sounds almost too conservative. Listen in as Bell Labs President and Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon decodes the philosophy behind the competition, and hear first-hand from the amazing 2017 winners: Kaushik Sengupta, Jason Azoulay and Tina Ng and Colm O’Dwyer. In addition to cash awards, each winner had the opportunity to collaborate with Bell Labs researchers to bring their vision to fruition, with amazing implications for the future of health care, wearables and much more.

Bonus Episode - The Artists Residence "Only Human" exhibit opens!

Shortly before the first major exhibition of NEW INC artists' collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs researchers, Marcus Weldon, President of Bell Labs and CTO of Nokia, gave us a sneak peek at what to expect, and how you can view and participate. "Only Human" featured works and performances from Sougwen Chung, Lisa Park and HAMMERSTEP.

Episode 9 - Go where you are rare

Why has the world’s preeminent communications research facility thrown in its lot with a crew of up-and-coming multimedia artists? On this episode of Future Human, we explore Bell Labs’ relaunch of the groundbreaking Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) initiative and hear firsthand from some of the Artists in Residence about the work they’re creating. It turns out their collaboration with research teams across the company is yielding unforeseen – and entirely welcome – outcomes for all parties.

Episode 8 - Stephen Fry's Nokia Bell Labs Shannon Luminary Lecture

Please bask in the tour de force that is Stephen Fry’s Nokia Bell Lab’s Shannon Luminary Lecture, presented here in its entirety. If you haven’t already, please check out Episode 7 of Future Human to gain more insight on the curious mind of Stephen himself as he has a conversation with Bell Labs President and Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon. Also, you can watch the video of the lecture here.

Episode 7 - Stephen Fry's curious mind

Actor, author, activist, playwright and student of technology Stephen Fry – a wryly self-described “all round national treasure” – gives us a glimpse into the thinking behind his show-stopping Nokia Bell Labs Shannon Luminary lecture. With his guidance, we’re able to see how the myth of Pandora, the invention of chess and the imminent singularity are all of a piece – and whether we have a fighting chance against the robots.

Episode 6 - Stephen Friend's Nokia Bell Labs Shannon Luminary Lecture

We’re excited to present the full Shannon Luminary Series lecture by renowned cancer researcher Stephen Friend. In his talk, Friend elaborates on the future of human agency, exploring the role of art and technology in determining risk, awareness and free will. Check out Episode 5 of Future Human to hear why Bell Labs President Marcus Weldon called this “the bravest talk I’ve ever seen.” Also, you can watch the video of the lecture here.

Episode 5 - A Friend's warning

Revered cancer researcher Stephen Friend has a message: not only do we need to take more agency in our own healthcare, beyond the “priestly experts” we entrust, but we also need to reclaim “endangered experiences” in which we have a dialogue with ourselves. Bell Labs President Marcus Weldon calls this lecture “the bravest talk I’ve ever seen.” Listen to this episode of Future Human to understand why.

Episode 4 - The humane brain

Claude Shannon: “Father of the Information Age,” inveterate tinkerer, restless polymath. His work made digital computing possible, yet he refused to rest on his laurels, always turning his attention to solving the next “problem that interested him most.” In this episode of Future Human we talk to two spiritual descendants of Shannon, neuroscientists Henry Markram and David Eagleman, who are relentlessly focused on uncovering the workings of the brain – and perhaps even improving on it.

Episode 3 - Ceremony and ubiquity

The latest chapter of the Bell Labs relaunch of Experiments in Art and Technology – E.A.T., a 50-year-long collaboration between artists and engineers – features a first-of-its-kind album premiere. Beatie Wolfe performs live in one of the quietest rooms in the world, as the imagery and lyrics of her songs come to life around her through augmented reality. Forget about a “lyric video” – this is like waking up inside a song. Could this be the future of how music artists perform? In this episode of Future Human, we check in with various experts to get the scoop. The songs from this episode are featured on Wolfe’s album “Raw Space” and are available for download.

Episode 2 - E.A.T. then and now

This episode of Future Human takes us from one of the world’s quietest rooms – Bell Labs’ anechoic chamber – into the voluminous history of sound innovation and the amazing potential of music-based therapy.

Episode 1 - Future Human introduction

In the series debut of Future Human we examine the origins of E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology) – an unlikely pairing of artists and engineers in the 1960s which heralded some of the most impactful technological advances of the last century – and uncover the motivations for the recent reinvigoration of the program.

Upcoming Episodes

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Future of AI/ ML Methods

William Sean Kennedy