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Listen to talks presented at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas – the original disruptive festival. FODI features a line-up of leading experts from around the world, who bring bold ideas to complex issues. The festival seeks to challenge orthodox opinion, interrogate accepted truths, break through filter bubbles, and promote healthy and vibrant civil debate.
 
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show series
 
We may not want to admit it, but there is a spectrum of perversion along which we all sit. Whether it’s voyeurism, exhibitionism, or your run-of-the-mill foot fetish, we all possess a suite of sexual tastes as unique as our fingerprints—and as secret as the rest of the skeletons we’ve hidden in our closets. In his 2012 talk Jesse Bering humanises s…
 
A playerless piano performs a repeating piece of music in which every note of a scale is played on every beat of the bar. The melody is absorbed into chaos, as the words of Noami Klein and Waleed Aly speak of our interconnectedness and entanglements. Produced by The Festival of Dangerous Ideas, The Ethics Centre and Audiocraft.…
 
On the precipice of a new age, what are the forces that will bring us together, and what is driving us apart? Simon Longstaff sits between Waleed Aly and Naomi Klein as they discuss the decline of meta-narratives in society and politics, reconciling coloniser and Indigenous histories and narratives, and trends of hyper-individualism and conspiracy.…
 
CellF is a cybernetic musician and the world’s first neural synthesiser, created by Perth-based artist and researcher, Guy Ben-Ary. Its ‘brain’ is made of biological neural networks bio-engineered from the artist’s own cells, that grow in a petri dish and control in real time its ‘body’ – an array of synthesizers that play music live with human mus…
 
From the ancient tale of Gilgamesh to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, the dream of immortality has long captured the imagination of writers and scientists. But how close are we to conquering death? In a conversation moderated by Simon Longstaff, neuro-ethicist S. Matthew Liao speaks with stem cell-researcher John Rasko about the age of regenerative med…
 
Tongues is an explicit, potent musical manifesto, exploring having your voice taken away, in response to Roxane Gay and Kate Manne’s discussion. Tongues is written and performed by Tanya Tagaq, a Canadian Inuk improvisational singer, avant-garde composer, bestselling author, and Saul Williams, Sumach Valentine, Jesse Zubot; published by Songs of Si…
 
Roxane Gay and Kate Manne speak to this moment in time, the nature of progress, and their hopes and fears for the future. In a conversation moderated by Ann Mossop, they discuss modern feminism, online communication and social media, and the “lean white male” bodies that history has centred over those that exist on the periphery. Roxane Gay is a co…
 
A text-generating AI that has been trained with FODI transcripts speaks in conversation with a deepfake AI about violence, conspiracy theories and what it means to be human. Our FODI-trained AI was created using Max Woolf’s simplified version of OpenAI’s Generative Pre-trained Transformer 2 (GPT-2) and Google Colab; Max has created a tutorial so th…
 
By the year 2062, it is predicted that we will have built machines that are as intelligent as humans. Modern weapons will become more autonomous, machines will further infiltrate our daily lives, and the way we think of humanity will be permanently altered. To understand what lies ahead and learn from our past, Ann Mossop sits between Joanna Bourke…
 
Recording art for a post-human world, a machine attempts to describe a human dance. The piece responds to Eleanor Gordon-Smith and Slavoj Žižek’s discussion, the power of words to create reality, and the experience of emotion between the digital or artificial and what we take as ‘real’. Produced by The Festival of Dangerous Ideas, The Ethics Centre…
 
Against the pillars of Enlightenment, how can we make sense of conspiracy theories, tribalism, and deepening divisions between our beliefs? In a conversation moderated by Simon Longstaff, Eleanor Gordon-Smith and Slavoj Žižek discuss the proliferation and saturation of knowledge, the rise of conspiracy theories, and whether or not the Age of Enligh…
 
During Sydney’s most recent lockdown, sound artist Alexandra Spence submerged a 15 minute-long piece of cassette tape in seawater. The cassette tape contained a field recording of waves, and a recording of Alex’s voice offering a non-definitive, and non-hierarchical list of things found in the Pacific Ocean. The resulting physical deterioration of …
 
Lee Vinsel and Tyson Yunkaporta speak with Ann Mossop about the passing age, apocalypses, and the cyclical nature of eras. Their conversation is anchored in language: both speak of systems, entropy, the roles of maintainers or custodians, and the machines and languages of capitalism. Tyson explains entropy by connecting an incident of Aboriginal pe…
 
We hear the recorded sound of the invisible electromagnetic landscape that humans created unintentionally, allowing us to tune in to what our environment has to endure. Against a backdrop, we hear the voices of anonymous FODI listeners, recording their hopes and fears for the future of humanity, and a poem by Sylvie Barber and Simon Longstaff. Anth…
 
A conversation between business sustainability advisor Sam Mostyn and moral philosopher Peter Singer, moderated by Simon Longstaff. Sam and Peter discuss the role of business in sustainability and climate action, the discrepancies between our values and monetary donations for global aid, and the ethics of responsibility we have toward the generatio…
 
Sydney-based writer Tasnim Hossain records her written take on the meandering histories of Enlightenment discussed by Joya Chatterji and Stephen Fry, and the experimental sounds of the first known recordings of the human voice. Music is composed from sounds found in the archives of firstsounds.org, and recordings taken from a museum of mechanical m…
 
In a conversation moderated by Simon Longstaff, historians Joya Chatterji and Stephen Fry discuss whether the age of Enlightenment is truly coming to an end. They share varying Enlightenment narratives that cross geographical, cultural and class borders and challenge the attempt to define an era of history as linear, with a definitive start and end…
 
FODI: The In-Between is an audio time capsule recording this moment in time. It asks: Are we in-between two eras? And if so, what does this mean about the past and the future? 8 conversations between 16 of the world’s biggest thinkers, featuring Stephen Fry, Roxane Gay, Waleed Aly, Peter Singer, Sam Mostyn, Slavoj Žižek, Naomi Klein and more . Acco…
 
When it comes to good governance, conventional wisdom has it that less corruption would translate into more economic growth, a healthier body politic and reduced likelihood of conflict. But what if this isn’t always the case? Although there are cases where corruption has promoted conflict, in other instances it has helped restore peace in a country…
 
A.C. Grayling says “to read is to fly”. The distinguished philosopher who has dedicated his life to examining knowledge believes we need a revolution in education. But many of us grapple with the question: what is education for? And is this the right question to ask? A.C. Grayling is a distinguished philosopher notable for his ability to make philo…
 
In our current state of the world, are scientists the new gods? Do we increasingly rely on science to solve our problems, and are we stretching the scientific method to mystique? If we can’t trust scientists, is it possible to still trust science? Tim Flannery is a scientist and one of Australia’s leading writers on climate change. Alok Jha is the …
 
If we don’t think our fellow citizens are capable of making the right choices about what they eat and drink, why do we think they are capable of voting? Since researcher Chris Berg presented this 2015 FODI talk, this question rings eerily true to what many individuals are experiencing today. Who is best placed to make the decisions for us – we the …
 
When someone commits a crime, we want them punished. If wrongdoers go to prison more often and for longer, everyone seems happy. But we live in a system where people do eventually come out of prison and rejoin the community. And this is where what has happened to them in prison really starts to matter. If prisons are a rank breeding ground for reci…
 
With more people coming out as gender fluid, transitioning or on a spectrum of gender identity, it's clear the biological constraints of gender today have loosened. But how do we deal with enduring gender-based social inequality and injustice? Will we ever get to a point in society where gender doesn’t matter? Jesse Bering is an award-winning scien…
 
Today the human race faces existential challenges. Our prosperity has been built on unsustainable economic and environmental practices — but our social and political processes seem incapable of fixing anything. Why are we unable to even acknowledge the truth of our predicament? Chaired by Rebecca Huntley. Satyajit Das is a former financier. He anti…
 
When you're on a bicycle at a red light with no car or pedestrian in sight, do you still wait for the green? Do you obey every single law? Surely fearful compliance with every niggling regulation defies the much-vaunted "freedom" that is the premise of democracy. Maybe that’s what drives our fascination with film and fiction criminality: we envy re…
 
If you've been enjoying our deep dive festival sessions you might want to check out bite sized conundrums in Little Bad Thing, the new podcast from The Ethics Centre. True stories about the things we wish we hadn’t done. Smart, dark, wry, and surprising, this is a show for anyone who’s made a big decision or regretted a small one. Search for Little…
 
What does the future hold? A reign of world peace with stunning medical breakthroughs conquering death, illness and disease? Or a world where human beings have destroyed the web of living things and put our own existence at risk by playing with science we don’t fully understand? Must we think in terms of these extremes to create a positive future o…
 
Why is the right to doctor-assisted dying supported by so many and legal for so few? Helen Joyce became international editor of The Economist in January 2014 having previously served as International Education Editor and Sao Paulo bureau chief. Before joining The Economist she worked as editor of Plus, an online magazine about maths published by th…
 
Edward Snowden has been condemned as a traitor and celebrated as a patriot. In his mind, he is simply a man of good conscience who has followed in the footsteps of family members who have faithfully served the people and Constitution of the USA since the War of Independence. This was the motivation behind his revelation of US secrets. Governments a…
 
No one has a monopoly on truth when it comes to the past and present lives of Australia’s Indigenous peoples. Conservatives tend to deny that Indigenous peoples should have special status in the Constitution. Progressives tend to turn a blind eye to the profound dysfunction that plagues so many Indigenous communities – and refuse to accept that Ind…
 
Why has humanity still not worked out how to make nuclear weapons safe? As an investigative journalist, Eric Schlosser continues to explore subjects ignored by the mainstream media and gives a voice to people at the margins of society. He’s followed the harvest with migrant farm workers in California, spent time with meatpacking workers in Texas an…
 
In the West, slavery is often seen as a dark part of the colonial past. Although it’s illegal in all countries, it remains alive and well—and is growing dramatically. Impervious to recession, it forms a thriving part of the globalised sex industry run by organised crime. International trafficking of women and children for sex is a multi-billion dol…
 
Is innovation overvalued? It is the dominant ideology of our era. But what if building, maintenance and repair prove much more important to our daily lives than the vast majority of technological innovations? Co-founder of The Maintainers, a research group focused on maintenance, repair, infrastructure and mundane labor, Lee Vinsel is an Assistant …
 
One of the last bastions of acceptable discrimination is against fat people. Health arguments reinforce the social and cultural pressure to avoid fatness at all costs. But is it possible to imagine things differently and help women to escape from the complex web of body image, food and weight concerns? Sarai Walker received her MFA in creative writ…
 
With ‘normal’ education on hold, a mountain of public debt, high levels of long-term unemployment and the mental health effects of isolation yet to fully emerge, the legacy of COVID-19 disproportionately falls on the shoulders of one demographic above all others … the nation’s youth. Hear from three of Australia’s most dynamic youth voices as they …
 
As lockdowns and quarantines continue, some of us may feel like we're losing our grip on reality. Misinformation and conspiracy theories spread worldwide and algorithms continue to serve up our own custom-made versions of the internet. Are we just a few lines of code away from being a conspiracy theorist? Hear about technology’s role in the spread …
 
In stripping away so much of ordinary life, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a lot about us – not all of it pretty. It’s also confronted us with brutal ethical choices. Who deserves to be saved when you're running out of ventilators? How much are we willing to give up so others can get by? Who gets to decide and what beliefs are shaping their dec…
 
COVID-19 has highlighted the particular vulnerability of the aged. However, as we find out more about the ageing process, we are uncovering new ways to treat it. One revolutionary approach is to look at ageing as a disease and tackle its causes. With breakthroughs in genetics and emerging technologies, scientists have been able to make animals live…
 
#BlackLivesMatter has become the call to action for a generation of US human rights activists to denounce the violence and prejudice still experienced by African Americans. In the wake of the violent deaths of African Americans George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and many others call for change is insistent and consistent. So w…
 
Why are young people worse off than their parents? Why is the gap between older and younger Australians – in terms of work, wealth and wellbeing – growing wider? Is Australia cheating the young? Jennifer Rayner was born into aspirational Australian suburbia during the Hawke years and came out of age in the long boom of the Howard era. Her lifetime …
 
Globalism is a Western construct which may not survive in its current form. Asia’s rising powers are starting to look past global institutions to construct alternatives which could see what we know as the global community become obsolete. Michael Wesley deconstructs our current realities as finite as “just because globalism is so basic to how we li…
 
The latest science suggests that it is too late to prevent human-induced climate change. Technological optimists are now turning their minds to mitigation through techniques of geo-engineering, like giant space mirrors or seeding the oceans with iron to prompt carbon-absorbing algal blooms. But projects to alter the entire planet will expose all li…
 
Recorded in 2011 and the beginning of the Arab Spring, Mona Eltahawy reflects on the hunger for freedom and democracy unleashed within Arab populations living under dictatorship. This is considered alongside questions about whether Saudi Arabia's oil makes Western support for freedom and democracy melt away, and whether the west can't afford to pre…
 
Will we run out of water – and if so, when? Will the Earth suffer? Explore how water drives modern conflict and is not about to stop. Alok Jha is the science correspondent for ITV News in the UK. Before that, he did the same job at The Guardian for a decade, where he wrote news, features, comment and presented the award-winning Science Weeklypodcas…
 
In the late 90s, political theorists, economists and politicians were talking confidently about the “end of history” and the undisputed triumph of liberal "democratic" capitalism. Communism was written off as dead and buried. But after 9/11, the GFC, the Arab Spring, and the protests spreading over Europe, the ideological gloss of capitalism may be…
 
Compassion has become a commodity whose possession marks us as a better person, or better than other people. Writer and commentator Helen Razer diagnoses society with compassion fatigue – and the physical burn out, trauma and psychological depletion is real. Helen Razer is a writer, broadcaster and commentator who is now chiefly engaged in the work…
 
Society preaches forgiveness for the rich and retribution for the poor. Entrenched inequality and its companion, poverty, are the dark side of the American dream for a citizenry united by name, but not by rules. Is the divide fair, the result of natural winners and losers, or is it built into the system? We know that inequality is bad for the rich …
 
In a complex and fast-moving world, if we want to move ahead we need to rethink the conditions for making progress in science, business and society in a fundamental way. We need to realise there is no 'right way', lose our fear of failure, embrace opportunity and take risks. We need to stop looking for leaders who can provide us with all the answer…
 
The stories of Anders Behring Breivik and Lance Armstrong may seem to have little in common, but each shows the consequences of the epidemic of narcissism that marks our age. Our lives no longer centred on social and family groups, but have become highly individualistic. We are primed for narcissism by consumer culture, changing family dynamics and…
 
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