Can a robot be a person? Image

Can a robot be a person?

17 September - 35 mins
Podcast Series Futureproof with Jonathan McCrea

While the question of 'what is a robot?' might have been easily answered just a few years ago, it is increasingly difficult to define.

So, rather than try to fit robots into the existing categories of what is a person and what is a thing, do we need a new framework for the twenty-first century?David J. Gunkel thinks so.

He is Professor of Media Studies at Northern Illinois University and author of ‘Person-Thing-Robot: A Moral and Legal Ontology for the 21st Century and Beyond’ - he joins Jonathan to discuss.

35 mins

Series Episodes

Futureproof Extra: Just how big can our brains get?

Futureproof Extra: Just how big can our brains get?

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have conducted the largest-ever study of the genetics of our brain structure. But how can the shape and size of our brain impact our understanding of neurological and psychiatric conditions? Joining Jonathan to discuss is the co-lead of this study Professor Richard Bethlehem who specialises in brain imaging, genomics, and computational neuroscience. 

13 mins

3 October Finished

Are we too fixated on optimising our world?

Are we too fixated on optimising our world?

What are the consequences of living in a world so driven by efficiency, pace, and cost? Applied mathematician Coco Krumme, uses mathematical modelling to get to the bottom of this in her new book 'Optimal Illusions: The False Promise of Optimisation' - she joins Jonathan to discuss. Also joining Jonathan to go through the top news stories from the world of science is Dr. Fergus McAuliffe from iCRAG & Laura Healy, Sustainable Food Production Scientist with Teagasc.

33 mins

1 October Finished

Futureproof Extra: Toxoplasma Gondii

Futureproof Extra: Toxoplasma Gondii

What if we told you that a tiny parasite might be influencing the very core of wolf behaviour, making these fierce predators act in ways contrary to their survival instincts? Enter Toxoplasma Gondii, the unseen puppeteer. Kira Cassidy, a leading research biologist from the Yellowstone Wolf Project - who has delved deep into the mysteries of this parasite and its staggering effects not just on wolves, but possibly on us humans as well - joins Jonathan to discuss.

16 mins

26 September Finished

Lessons in longevity from the naked mole-rat

Lessons in longevity from the naked mole-rat

Listeners to the show might remember that last year we spoke to Dr. Vera Gorbunova from Rochester Aging Research Center at the University of Rochester about her work on SIRT6 - often referred to as the “longevity gene” because of its important role in organising proteins and recruiting enzymes that repair broken DNA. Since then, she and her team have made significant progress in the study of longevity by successfully transferring a different gene from naked mole rats into mice, resulting in improved health and an extension of the mouse’s lifespan. Jonathan is joined by Dr. Vera Gorbunova to discuss.

27 mins

24 September Finished

Futureproof Extra: Protecting our underwater cultural heritage

Futureproof Extra: Protecting our underwater cultural heritage

Walk into any national museum, in any part of the world, and you will see artifacts of significance – from coins and jewellery, to weapons, utensils, artwork, clothing, and even human remains. They are preserved because these objects tell us something about who we are and where we came from. But what if there is an artifact that is tens, or even hundreds, of meters underwater? How do we protect it from deterioration? Joining Jonathan to discuss this is Dr. David Gregory, Senior Researcher and Honorary Professor from the National Museum of Denmark.

19 mins

19 September Finished


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