Welcome to “Future Human,” a new podcast series exploring the human potential of technology. Many of the innovations we take for granted have been hatched over decades, forged by an unlikely and ongoing collaboration between emerging artists and the keenest engineering minds in the world. As the science fiction of days past – self-driving cars, Star Trek-like communicators and interstellar tourism – becomes everyday reality, where will the next great ideas come from? Listen in as today’s most adventurous creators inspire their scientific peers to unleash a more connected world.
This episodic audio documentary blends the work and insights of key Bell Labs figures with a host of artists, musicians, researchers, honorees and pundits to weave a compelling narrative of the interdependence between the aesthetic and the scientific, and the quest to enable more fulfilling lives.
Episode 19 - The loneliest competition in the world
The Vendée 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 challenges facing technological innovation: the “remote problem.” AI, advanced sensing and automation are becoming commonplace in industrial environments, leading to huge boosts in productivity and efficiency. But moving those complex systems off of the factory floor and onto a solitary boat sailing in the middle of the ocean creates an entirely new set of challenges. Listen in as champion racer Alex Thomson and Marcus Weldon, President of Nokia Bell Labs and Corporate CTO of Nokia, 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’s prompted one neuroscientist to note: “[he] can make at least three sounds simultaneously [with his mouth] -- and theoretically you're not supposed to be able to do that.” 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’s training 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.
To learn more about Reeps One and this groundbreaking journey, check out the recently released, six-part web documentary entitled “We Speak Music.”
Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by Audiation.fm.
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. If you haven’t already, please check out Episode 16 to get some behind the scenes insight and commentary from Pentland. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by Audiation.fm.
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. Listen in to 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. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by Audiation.fm.
Episode 15 - Dr. Benjamin Ebert's Nokia Bell Labs Shannon Luminary Lecture
Presented in its entirety, here is the full Shannon Luminary Lecture from Dr. Benjamin Ebert – a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chair of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, among many other vaunted positions. If you haven’t already, please check out Episode 14 to get some more insight from Dr. Ebert in conversation with Bell Labs President/Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
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. Indeed, the US saw a 26% reduction in the cancer death rate from 1991-2015. Dr. Benjamin Ebert – a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chair of Medical Oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, among many other vaunted positions – recently delivered a Shannon Luminary Lecture where he laid out the current state of play with 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 Nokia 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, please enjoy the full Shannon Luminary Lecture from Vint Cerf – Google’s Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, and a man considered by many to be a ‘Father of the Internet.’ If you haven’t already, please check out Episode 12 to get some more insight from Vint himself in conversation with Bell Labs President/Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
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 co-developed the TCP/IP protocol - over which all Internet traffic flows – Cerf is considered one of the ‘Fathers of the Internet’. On this episode, Cerf, who now serves as Google’s Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist, gives us the scoop on his recent Shannon Luminary Lecture, in which he issues a rare and resonant call for how to make our future of connected devices – dubbed ‘The Internet of Things’ – more humane. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
Episode 11 - I Know What You Did This Summer
If – like me – 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, New Jersey. Instead of slathering sunscreen on toddlers or beating a malfunctioning printer to death, these folks were: teaching robots how to navigate buildings; pressure testing materials that will enable factories to operate more efficiently; enhancing the capabilities of potentially life-saving wearables; improving the technology that powers facial recognition; and turning live concerts into a personal surround sound experience. And they’re just getting started. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
Episode 10 - Stalking BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals)
When Nokia Bell Labs launched their own Prize competition in 2014, its goal was simple but audacious: they were 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 has 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. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
Bonus Episode - The Artists Residence "Only Human" Exhibit Opens!
Shortly before the first major exhibition of NEW INC's artists' collaboration with Nokia Bell Labs researchers, Marcus Weldon, President of Nokia Bell Labs and CTO of Nokia, gives us a sneak peek at what to expect, and how you can view and participate.
"Only Human," featuring works and performances by Sougwen Chung, Lisa Park and HAMMERSTEP, opens April 29 at 1PM, kicking off the Spring Open Season at Mana Contemporary arts center in Jersey City, New Jersey. It's Bell Labs' first public-facing event of its kind since the historic "9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering" in 1966. The exhibit also includes two galleries full of audio-visual documents from that seminal event. On Saturday May 12, Mana will host a very special symposium entitled "Experiments in Art & Technology—Then & Now." Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
To reserve your free tickets and get more information, go to: http://manacontemporary.com/onlyhuman
Episode 9 - Go Where You are Rare
“Our ability to share emotions at a distance using technology is non-existent, and we’re trying to build those aspects into what we do” – Domhnaill Hernon, Nokia Bell Labs.
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, we’ll 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. Turns out their collaboration with research teams across the company is yielding unforeseen - and entirely welcome - outcomes for all parties.
For more information about the artists and to see and hear samples of their work, check out https://www.bell-labs.com/explore/experiments-art-and-technology/.
Episode 8 - Stephen Fry's Nokia Bell Labs Shannon Luminary Lecture
Presented in its entirety, please bask in the tour de force that is Stephen Fry’s Nokia Bell Lab’s Shannon Luminary Lecture. If you haven’t already, please check out Episode 7 to get some more insight from Stephen himself and Bell Labs President/Nokia CTO Marcus Weldon. Also, you can watch the video of the lecture here. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
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. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
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: “The Future of Human Agency: Exploration of the Role of Art and Technology in Determining Risk, Awareness, and Free Will.” Check out Episode 5 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: http://bit.ly/FriendsWarning. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
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 need to reclaim “endangered experiences” where we have a dialogue with ourselves. Bell Labs’ Marcus Weldon calls this lecture “the bravest talk I’ve ever seen.” Listen to this episode to understand why; then, listen to the full lecture in Episode 6. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
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.” Two spiritual descendants, neuroscientists Henry Markram and David Eagleman, are relentlessly focused on uncovering the workings of the brain – perhaps even improving on it. Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
Episode 3 - Ceremony and Ubiquity
The latest chapter of the Bell Labs relaunch of Experiments In Art and Technology – E.A.T., a 50-years long collaboration between artists and engineers – features a first-of-its-kind album premiere: Beatie Wolfe performing live in one of the quietest rooms in the world, as the imagery and lyrics of her songs come to life around her with 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? We check in with various experts to get the scoop.
Also mentioned in the podcast are Firstage.com, the Augmented Reality concert company; DigitalDomain.com, a leader in digital effects, virtual humans and VR; the “Raw Space” visual design crew Design-IO; and the engineering and design firm ARUP. The songs from this episode are featured on Beatie’s just-released new album, “Raw Space,” available at https://www.beatiewolfe.com/music/ - music-raw-space-section.
Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
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.
This episode features the song “Need Somebody” by musician Beatie Wolfe. Find out more about her groundbreaking music and dementia project here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C3sPtaw9ew and check out more of her music at beatiewolfe.com.
To learn more about the inspiring work of Dr. Connie Tomaino, please check out the Institute For Music and Neurologic Function at http://www.imnf.org/.
To hear more about Bell Labs’ anechoic chamber, check out the episode of the Radiolab podcast entitled “Hallucinating Sound” (http://www.radiolab.org/story/91792-hallucinating-sound/).
For a heartwarming glimpse of how music reawakened an inert, elderly patient named Henry, take a look here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fyZQf0p73QM (have some tissues on hand).
Future Human is a presentation of Nokia Bell Labs, produced by audiation.fm.
Episode 1 - Future Human Introduction
In the series debut, 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.