Science and technology are everywhere in our lives. This podcast takes a look not only at the science itself, but its role in society, how it affects our lives, and how it influences how we define ourselves as humans. Episodes also throw in a mix of culture, history, ethics, philosophy, religion, and the future! Hosted by Elizabeth Fernandez, an astronomer and science communicator. Let’s spark some dialog!  How to subscribe to and rate the podcast.

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SparkDialog Podcasts is now on Patreon!  Patreon is a way for you to show support for the podcast, pledge to help with production costs, and even become a part of the podcast!  So check it out and thanks for your support to help keep the podcast going!

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Floods in India – A View of Climate Change from Under the River

There are places in the world where climate change cannot be ignored.  One of those areas is North Bihar, India.  Today’s podcast guest, Dr. Luisa Cortesi, is an environmental anthropologist studying water disasters.  She just happened to be living in India when two of the region’s largest floods hit.  Today she speaks on climate change, caste, culture, and what it’s like when an enormous river suddenly changes course.

Floods in Bihar
AI Ethics Vatican

AI, Ethics, and the Vatican

Pope Francis has taken a special interest in science. Part of his interest is AI – particularly, how to make AI systems more ethical. Today, we are joined by Dr. Brian Patrick Green, the Director of Technology Ethics at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. We discuss why ethics in AI systems is important, from suggested videos on YouTube to privacy to how AI algorithms decide who is approved for a loan. We also discuss what exactly morality is, if AI could ever approach human intelligence, and what exactly makes the human mind so special.

Grief in the Time of COVID

Today we are joined by Kristel Clayville, a hospital chaplain who served during COVID to discuss medicine, grief, religion, how sparse medical resources are allocated, how fractured our medical system is, and what it’s like to stand in for family for those dying of COVID.

Grief and Covid
quantum entanglement and consciousness

Quantum Entanglement, Consciousness, and the Nature of Reality

Quantum entanglement is weird. Two particles can share properties no matter where they are in the Universe. Have they always shared these properties, and they are somehow hidden from us, or do they decide these properties the moment they are measured, and somehow communicate across the vastness of space, instantaneously? Or is something else at work? Can people become entangled? Can we put a human consciousness in a sort of “Schrodinger’s Cat” situation, where they are in two states at once? And is your reality the same as my reality? Guest Dr. Eric Cavalcanti addresses these questions and more on this episode of SparkDialog Podcasts.

Gratefulness, Hope, and COVID

Gratefulness and COVID feel like they don’t belong in the same sentence. But a year into this pandemic, perhaps there are some lessons we can learn, and some ways that this year has changed us all – maybe for the better.  Today, our guest is John Van Sloten, a pastor who often preaches on the connections between science and religion.

Social Distancing
transhumanism

Merging Man and Machine: Transhumanism and Religion

Today, I am joined by Seth Villegas from Boston University’s School of Theology to talk about transhumanism – gradually merging body with machine to become faster, stronger, or even live forever. Why is this movement so appealing? And what does this apparently secular movement have to do with religion?

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