Human Centered features conversations about projects and research undertaken by CASBS fellows and affiliates whose work engages central themes of concern to the Center. The podcast also features audio versions of events from CASBS's online webcast series, Social Science for a World in Crisis, as well as interviews with renowned fellows from CASBS history.
CASBS brings together deep thinkers to address wicked problems and significant societal challenges. It empowers them to challenge boundaries and assumptions in order to advance our understanding of the full range of human beliefs, behaviors, interactions, and institutions. As a leading incubator of human-centered knowledge, CASBS is a place that is, well…human centered.
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Toward Cross-disciplinary Consensus About Our (Mis)Information Environment
November 2, 2023
Fully understanding and regulating our complex information ecosystems will require creating new cultures and modes of collaborating, new organizational frameworks and, yes, working with generative AI models in service of aggregating actionable scientific knowledge. Angela Aristidou (CASBS fellow, 2022-23) navigates the crucial questions and challenges with Phil Howard (CASBS fellow, 2008-09), a renowned scholar of tech innovation and public policy as well as co-founder and chair of the new International Panel on the Information Environment (IPIE).
The Memory Science Disruptor
September 11, 2023
Dan Simon, a 2022-23 CASBS fellow and USC law professor, joins in conversation with Elizabeth Loftus, a 1978-79 CASBS fellow and Distinguished Professor at UC Irvine. Loftus is known in the public sphere through her decades-long study of memory – specifically, its malleability and fallibility – as well as her application of findings as an expert witness or consultant in hundreds of legal cases. Loftus's book "Eyewitness Testimony," completed at the Center, charted the course of her career that followed and serves as this episode's launching point.
Jonathan Jansen's Power of Craft
August 28, 2023
While you're listening to this episode, 2016-17 CASBS fellow Jonathan Jansen likely will write another few thousand words. As a scholar of education & leader of educational institutions, Jansen is South Africa's most towering figure. To call him prolific is a gross understatement. He writes a steady stream of books & more books. As a public intellectual he writes a separate steady stream of columns & essays. And he's written a family memoir too. We bring 2022-23 CASBS fellow Zimitri Erasmus, a social anthropologist who is working on a book on writing praxis, in conversation with Jansen to unlock some secrets & insights into his most powerful & liberating weapon for engaging the world – writing.
Frederick Cooper's Illumination of History
July 10, 2023
Drawing upon a career of scholarship extending from studies of labor, citizenship, and the state in Africa to explorations of global empire, colonialism, and globalization, three-time CASBS fellow Frederick Cooper – in conversation with 2022-23 fellows Jean Beaman and Martin Williams – gives a master class on how critical and relational thinking serve historical inquiries that advance our understandings.
Developing AI Like Raising Kids - Alison Gopnik & Ted Chiang
June 1, 2023
Should we care for machines the way we do for children? The question helps animate this fascinating conversation between renowned psychologist Alison Gopnik, a former CASBS fellow (2003-04) and current leader of a CASBS-based project on "The Social Science of Caregiving," and acclaimed science fiction author Ted Chiang.
Episode guest co-producer: CASBS program director Zachary Ugolnik.
New Visions for Effective Worker Influence
May 22, 2023
John Ahlquist (2017-18 CASBS fellow), Oren Cass, & Veena Dubal (2022-23 CASBS fellow) join in conversation with Roy Bahat to explore how we can build effective workers' organizations in an era of precarious employment, fissuring workplaces, distributed supply chains, & outmoded labor laws & regulations. Episode produced in association with the Center's Creating a New Moral Political Economy program.
A Different Glenn Loury
April 27, 2023
2022-23 CASBS fellow Rohini Somanathan chats with renowned economist, public intellectual, & 2015-16 CASBS fellow Glenn Loury. Having recently completed a draft of his memoir, Loury reflects on why he pursued economics; the role of institutions in providing intellectual space and stimulus; his latest thoughts on the persistence of racial inequality, and much more.
Interdependence & Climate Change - Robert Keohane
March 27, 2023
Three-time CASBS fellow and social science titan Robert Keohane chats with 2022-23 CASBS fellows Henry Farrell and Rebecca Slayton on applying aspects of his classic works in international relations theory to the comparative politics of climate change policy; projects that failed or went unrecognized; the genesis of the famous methods book coauthored with King and Verba, and more.
Bob Scott is Trending
December 6, 2022
Former associate director and CASBS legend Robert A. Scott discusses the open-access compendium "Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences," a cross-referenced collection of hundreds of essays by leading scholars. We learn why Bob was uniquely positioned to shepherd the project. We also hear about his history with the Center, what makes interdisciplinary efforts succeed, and why volleyball is more than just volleyball.
Toward Better Evidence-Based Policymaking
December 2, 2022
How can scholarly researchers and government policymakers advance their collaborative relationships in service of generating evidence-informed outcomes that yield more prosperous, equitable, and inclusive communities? Panelists Jake Bowers (CASBS fellow, 2018-19), Carrie Cihak (2017-18), Dan Hopkins, and Piyush Tantia (2021-22) join IDinsight CEO & 2019-20 CASBS fellow Ruth Levine in this enriching conversation. From a CASBS webcast episode produced in association with the Center's Causal Inference for Social Impact Lab project.
Creating a New Political Economy Framework
September 1, 2022
Debra Satz, a 2017-18 CASBS fellow and dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences at Stanford, moderates a discussion on the prospects for economic theory to contribute to a more equitable, dignified & ethical political economy. The distinguished panel consists of Elizabeth Anderson, Samuel Bowles, Nobel laureate Sir Angus Deaton, and Amy Kapczynski.
Don Norman: By Design
June 6, 2022
Don Norman, cognitive scientist, design legend, and 1973-74 CASBS fellow chats with 2021-22 fellow Piyush Tantia. They discus the evolution of behavioral science in contemporary design practice. From an early run-in with B.F. Skinner, to the study of neural networks and cognitive processes, his time at Apple, CASBS, and more.
Understanding Gen Z
April 7, 2022
Authors Roberta Katz, Sarah Ogilvie, Jane Shaw, & Linda Woodhead chat with Kat Tenbarge about their new book "Gen Z Explained" -- the product of a CASBS project -- which explores the values, perceptions, motivations, and habits of the generation that has never known a world without the internet.
Psychology of Political Beliefs
February 28, 2022
Psychology scholar & 2020-21 CASBS fellow Vivian Zayas interviews David O. Sears, a two-time CASBS fellow (1988-89, 1992-93) and distinguished professor of psychology and political science at UCLA. The two discuss political attitudes and biases in the context of immigrant and minority communities, rural America, and social media.
Minds Memes & Windsurfing
November 9, 2021
Allison Stanger (2020-21 CASBS fellow), professor of international politics and economics at Middlebury College, interviews former 1979-80 CASBS fellow and world renowned philosopher Daniel Dennett. He discusses his time at CASBS, his journey through academia, recent works, artificial intelligence, why Darwin’s idea is the best anyone ever had, memes, gods, and, yes, windsurfing at CASBS.
Violence & Self-domestication
September 28, 2021
CASBS faculty fellow James Holland Jones interviews former CASBS fellow Richard Wrangham, professor of biological anthropology at Harvard University. They discuss the early development of their discipline, primate and human violence, and the value of evolutionary frameworks and interdisciplinary approaches to understanding human behavior.
The Voices of Americans in Crisis
September 14, 2021
The American Voices Project is a bold new experiment in understanding the everyday experiences of Americans. Renowned author and journalist James Fallows moderates a conversation with key AVP researchers Corey Fields, David Grusky, and Hazel Markus.
The Active Society
August 31, 2021
CASBS fellow Jerry Davis (2020-21) interviews legendary scholar-activist Amitai Etzioni, a 1965-66 CASBS fellow, about his influential book “The Active Society,” the fracturing of our shared realm of fact, the necessity of re-encapsulating capitalism, and his project to promote civil dialogues.
What Does Human Flourishing Look Like?
June 25, 2021
Gillian Tett of the Financial Times engages in conversation with Jenna Bednar, Hilary Cottam, and James Manyika on rethinking the fundamental logic of how we define human flourishing and successful societies. All are members of CASBS's Creating a New Moral Political Economy network.
An Earth-friendly Political Economy
May 28, 2021
Arun Majumdar guides a discussion on the considerations and challenges of shaping a sustainable political economy with guests Eric Beinhocker, Genevieve Bell, & Kim Stanley Robinson, all members of CASBS's "Creating a New Moral Political Economy" program.
The Death of Nature
April 29, 2021
Stanford historian & former CASBS fellow Paula Findlen chats with renowned environmental history, philosophy, & ethics scholar - and two-time former CASBS fellow -- Carolyn Merchant, on the 40th anniversary of her revolutionary book “The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology, and the Scientific Revolution.”
What Will Become of Work and Workers?
November 13, 2020
CASBS Director Margaret Levi leads a panel discussion on the changing political and economic context for workers in light of the COVID pandemic with former CASBS fellows Tara Behrend, Louis Hyman, Phyllis Moen, and current CASBS research affiliate John Irons.
Analyzing Social Media Influence
November 6, 2020
John Markoff chats with Sandra González-Bailón, Associate Professor of Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and 2019-20 CASBS fellow, about the influence of social media platforms on news and political activism.
Higher Ed at the Crossroads
September 29, 2020
Debra Satz moderates a conversation with Nina Bandelj, Jonathan Jansen, and Caitlin Zaloom on the COVID-induced pressures faced by colleges and universities, and their to struggle to balance their students’ education with public health concerns and financial sustainability.
Metrics & Misconduct in Scholarly Publishing
September 8, 2020
The creativity of academic cheaters will amaze you: Mario Biagioli, a UCLA Distinguished Professor of Law and Communication as well as a 2019-20 CASBS fellow, chats with Host John Markoff about the history and recent trends of fraud and gaming in scholarly publishing.
Race and the Movement for Justice in America
August 26, 2020
Join Clayborne Carson, Douglas McAdam, and Brenda Stevenson in conversation with Xavier de Souza Briggs as they explore how insights from America’s distant and near past can inform the possibilities for durable, transformational change in our time.
Polarization and Contentious Politics in the Age of Covid
August 6, 2020
California Supreme Court Justice & CASBS board chair Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar moderates a conversation with former CASBS fellows Christian Davenport and Rachel Kleinfeld, on the topic what polarization is, why it exists, and why it persists.
America As a Developing Country?
July 20, 2020
California Supreme Court Justice & CASBS board chair Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Stanford political scientist & former CASBS fellow Barry Weingast, and CASBS director Margaret Levi use a recent article they coauthored as a jumping off point for a discussion on what we can learn from the U.S. in its political-economic development in the first half of the 20th century that applies to the U.S. and its state capacity today and in the future.
Welfare as Tool of Repression in China
July 16, 2020
Jennifer Pan, a 2019-20 CASBS fellow, is an associate professor of communication at Stanford University. Host John Markoff chats with her about her recent book “Welfare for Autocrats,” which explores how the Chinese government has reshaped a social assistance program into a tool of surveillance and repression.
Ethically Editing Genomes
July 16, 2020
Alta Charo, a 2019-20 CASBS fellow, is a professor of law and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin. Host John Markoff spoke with Charo about the ethics of genome editing in the fields of ecology and human biology.
Shout out to CASBS information manager Jason Gonzales for opening this episode for us!
Freedom To Oppress
May 28, 2020
Historian and 2019-20 CASBS fellow Jefferson Cowie talks with host John Markoff about the inescapable legacy of slavery, the political fracturing of labor, anti-statism, and whether the current structure of federalism can adequately address issues like climate change and pandemics.
Repairing Political Redistricting
April 23, 2020
Host John Markoff chats with Wendy K. Tam Cho, a 2019-20 CASBS fellow, Senior Research Scientist at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, and professor of political science, statistics, mathematics, law, and Asian American studies at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Cho’s computer modeling produces and analyzes millions of finely tuned district maps. Cho and Markoff discuss the ways in which technology can reshape the process of political redistricting.
Shout-out to Drina Adams, finance associate on the CASBS staff, for opening the episode for us!
From Big Data to Big Variables
March 31, 2020
Susan Holmes, a Stanford professor of statistics and 2017-18 CASBS fellow, chats with host John Markoff about her applied work on the human microbiome, the difficulty with P-Values, the power of heterogeneous data, and her research on Claude Shannon - widely known as the father of information theory and himself a CASBS fellow in 1957-58.
The Complexity Economist
March 5, 2020
Economist and 2019-20 CASBS Fellow Brian Arthur chats with John about the evolution of technology, the application of complexity theory in economics, and society’s struggle with distributive economics in an age of increasing productivity.
The AI Ethics Landscape
February 19, 2020
Host John Markoff chats with artist and AI ethics advocate Şerife (Sherry) Wong about “Fluxus Landscape,” her interactive map - created in partnership with CASBS - of private and public organizations engaged in work on the ethics and governance of artificial intelligence.
Putting Peer Pressure to Work
February 5, 2020
Robert Frank, professor of economics at Cornell University and CASBS fellow 1992-93, sat down with host John Markoff to discuss his latest book “Under the Influence: Putting Peer Pressure to Work”.
Foreclosing on America
January 8, 2020
Anthropologist and former CASBS fellow Noelle Stout teaches and researches at Apple University. Host John Markoff speaks with Stout about her 2019 book Dispossessed: How Predatory Bureaucracy Foreclosed on the American Middle Class, partially written at CASBS during her 2016-17 fellowship year, as well as her current work integrating social science into technologies like artificial intelligence.
Sexual Violence & Institutional Courage
December 4, 2019
Jennifer Freyd, a CASBS fellow in 1989-90 & 2018-19, is a professor of psychology at the Univ. of Oregon and a renowned expert on interpersonal and institutional trauma caused by sexual violence and discrimination. Host John Markoff speaks with Dr. Freyd about her career of groundbreaking research, from developing betrayal trauma theory to current work supporting institutional courage.
Homo economicus: An Endangered Species?
November 13, 2019
Dan Kelly, 2018-19 CASBS Fellow, is an associate professor of philosophy at Purdue University who focuses on the intersection of philosophy, cognitive science, moral theory, and evolution. Dan chats with host John Markoff talk about implicit and algorithmic bias, social norms and morality, and ethics in technology.
An Organized Labor Revival?
October 31, 2019
Former New York Times labor reporter Steven Greenhouse visited CASBS to share insights from his 30 years of reporting with fellows and members of CASBS’s Creating a New Moral Political Economy project. While at the Center, Greenhouse also sat down with host John Markoff and guest host Paul Saffo to discuss his new book, Beaten Down, Worked up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor (2019).
The Boundaries in Our Heads
October 22, 2019
Host John Markoff speaks with 2018-19 CASBS fellow Cara Wong, a political scientist based at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about the relationship between place and politics, and the ways in which place is represented in the minds of individuals.
Tech Innovation Needs Social Science
October 18, 2019
Host John Markoff spoke with 2017-18 CASBS fellow Arati Prabhakar, former director of DARPA, NIST, and now Founder and CEO of Actuate Innovation. They discussed the state of R&D in the US, Silicon Valley, data privacy, autonomous weapons, and more.
Policy Tools to Fight Community Poverty & Inequality
September 17, 2019
John Markoff spoke with 2018-19 CASBS Fellow Kirsten Wysen about her work as a public policy analyst for King County, WA - which includes Seattle - and its “Communities of Opportunity” program. They discussed structural racism and debt in poor communities, and their relation to health.
Social Science and Saving Democracy from the Internet
September 3, 2019
John Markoff sat down with Nate Persily, a 2017-18 CASBS fellow and the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. They discussed the challenge of ethically using social media data in both social science and politics, election security and law, and whether democracy can survive the internet.
Digital Media, Platforms, and Governance
September 3, 2019
2018-19 CASBS fellow and USC associate professor of communication Mike Ananny chats with host John Markoff about the intersection of journalism, technology, and media regulation.
Black America & Art: Sociology, Diversity, & Identity
August 5, 2019
Patricia Banks, a 2018-19 CASBS fellow and sociologist at Mount Holyoke College, discusses African American representation in the art world, the interplay of patronage and cultural identity, and the concept of diversity capital.
Social Movements in Contentious Times
July 22, 2019
2018-19 CASBS fellow and political scientist Kim Williams sat down to discuss Black Lives Matter, social movements, the census, and the contentious political landscape of the last decade.
New is Old: Robots & Tech in Antiquity
June 7, 2019
Is the concept of artificial intelligence really that modern? John Markoff sat down with 2018-19 CASBS fellow and historian Adrienne Mayor to discuss Ancient Greek notions of robots and manufactured life.
Death and Chimp Behavior
May 7, 2019
2018-19 CASBS fellow Elizabeth Lonsdorf, a primatologist at Franklin and Marshall College, discusses the state of wild chimpanzee research and the question of whether chimps have a concept of death.
Embracing Tech While Saving Democracy from It
March 30, 2019
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, former president of Estonia and 2018-19 CASBS fellow, discusses recent technological attacks on democracies around the world, and how we can address them.
Labor & Work in the Era of AI & Automation
March 30, 2019
Jerry Jacobs, a 2018-19 CASBS fellow and University of Pennsylvania sociologist, discusses labor dynamics with regard to automation, job replacement, and historical statistics.
Tech and the Evolution of Silicon Valley
March 30, 2019
Jacob Ward, a 2018-19 CASBS fellow and a technology and science correspondent for NBC News, discusses techno-utopianism and its relation with Silicon Valley.
Producer: Mike Gaetani
Co-producer, sound engineer, and editor: Joe Monzel
CASBS thanks 2017-18 fellow and renowned journalist John Markoff, co-founder of Human Centered and its inaugural host (episodes 1-25, 29, 32).