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HomePodcastsHistory
Past Present Future

Past Present Future

Podcast Past Present Future
Podcast Past Present Future

Past Present Future

David Runciman
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Past Present Future is a new weekly podcast with David Runciman, host and creator of Talking Politics, exploring the history of ideas from politics to philosoph... More
Past Present Future is a new weekly podcast with David Runciman, host and creator of Talking Politics, exploring the history of ideas from politics to philosoph... More

Available Episodes

5 of 6
  • AI: Can the Machines Really Think?
    Gary Marcus and John Lanchester join David to discuss all things AI, from ChatGPT to the Turing test. Why is the Turing test such a bad judge of machine intelligence? If these machines aren’t thinking, what is it they are doing? And what are we doing giving them so much power to shape our lives? Plus we discuss self-driving cars, the coming jobs apocalypse, how children learn, and what it is that makes us truly human.Gary’s new podcast is Humans vs. Machines.Read Turing’s original paper here. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
    5/25/2023
    52:16
  • History of Ideas: Montaigne
    For the first episode in the new series of History of Ideas – on the great essays and the great essayists – David discusses Montaigne, the man who invented a whole new way of writing and being read. From the fear of death to the joys of life, from the perils of atheism to the pitfalls of faith, from sex to religion and back again, Montaigne wrote the book of himself, which was also a guide to what it means to be human. Elephants, civil war, gout, cosmology, torture, tennis balls, disease, diets, and politics too: all life is here. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
    5/18/2023
    52:03
  • Living Behind the Iron Curtain
    This week David talks to Katja Hoyer and Lea Ypi about life under communism. East Germany was the most successful of the communist states of Eastern Europe, measured by economic prosperity and sporting success. Did the GDR ever really offer a model of how Soviet-style communism could give people what they wanted, including social mobility and consumerism? Why did it fall apart in the end? And how did the GDR experiment look from inside Albania, where Lea grew up? A conversation about freedom, dissent, paranoia and blue jeans.Katja Hoyer’s latest book is Beyond the Wall: East Germany 1949-1990.Lea Ypi’s prize-winning Free: Coming of Age at the End of History is available in paperback now.To hear more about Rosa Luxemburg, this is from Season 2 of History of Ideas. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
    5/11/2023
    54:01
  • How Dallas Saw the Future
    This week David talks to Helen Thompson about Dallas and the end of oil. How did the world’s most popular soap opera come to explain the energy crisis and the future of a world hooked on fossil fuels? Is the fate of the Ewing family – fire and ruin – going to be the fate of America? And did J.R. Ewing really pave the way for President Donald Trump? Plus David and Helen discuss ‘oil fictions’, from Isaac Asimov to Italo Calvino.Watch the moment when ‘Miss Ellie Saves the Day’.Helen Thompson on ’the cosmic stakes of the age of oil’.Isaac Asimov’s imaginary report on a world without oil.Italo Calvino’s short story, ’The Petrol Pump’.Past Present Future is brought to you in partnership with the London Review of Books. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
    5/4/2023
    50:34
  • The Novel that Unravels Democracy
    David talks to Ian McEwan about Italo Calvino’s The Watcher (1963), one of the greatest of all works of political fiction. Challenging, disturbing, redemptive: this is a book about who gets to count and who doesn’t, and what identity politics really means. David and Ian also discuss how political fiction works - and why the climate change novel is so hard to write. Plus they argue about whether children should be allowed to vote. Next week: Helen Thompson on Dallas and the end of oil.Ian McEwan’s latest novel is Lessons, available now.To read more about Calvino, here is a recent appreciation of his later writings in the New Yorker.On the children’s focus groups, here is the report. For more links and info about future episodes, follow Past Present Future on Twitter @PPFIdeasPast Present Future is brought to you in partnership with the London Review of Books. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
    4/27/2023
    52:35

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About Past Present Future

Past Present Future is a new weekly podcast with David Runciman, host and creator of Talking Politics, exploring the history of ideas from politics to philosophy, culture to technology. David talks to historians, novelists, scientists and many others about where the most interesting ideas come from, what they mean, and why they matter.


Ideas from the past, questions about the present, shaping the future. Brought to you in partnership with the London Review of Books.


New episodes every Thursday.


Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

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