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Science news and events started out the show. Brian spoke on new research on concussions and Stevie on the Chinese space station that fell to Earth recently. 45 minutes in, Professor Matt Weinberg came on the mic to speak on his work as a theoretical computer scientist. He researches mechanism design – these are algorithms that take user incentives in to account. He considers human decision making and economics to design algorithms to guide the user to interact with the algorithm in the optimal way. He uses the example of online dating, ad auctions on sites like Facebook and Google, and cryptocurrencies.
In this edition of These Vibes, Professor Edward Felten joined us back in the studio to discuss electronic voting — what that means, what are the alternatives, the pros and cons, and the current state of voting technology in the US. Edward Felten is professor of computer science and public affairs here at Princeton University, and founding director of the Princeton Center for Information Policy. Additionally, he was Chief Technologist for the Federal Trade Commission from 2011-2015 and joined the Obama administration as Deputy US Chief Technology Officer in 2015.
Our discussion gives particular attention to usability issues with the current voting computers used in US elections and their vulnerability to attacks. Professor Felten discusses the role of hacking in the 2016 election, and, to wrap-up, what the ideal voting system would be, using our current technology.
Ed Felten previously joined us at WPRB last May to discuss the intersection of policy and technology — think self-driving cars and trucks, and AI in the criminal justice system. You can listen to that full show here, and the interview has been podcasted – find wherever you get your podcasts!
In this installment of These Vibes, Stevie spoke with Alexander Todorov, psychology professor at Princeton and author of the new book “Face Value: The Irresistible Influence of First Impressions,” which just came out in hardcover earlier this month. The book dives in to his research on first impressions — the very human way we make character judgments after only a glance at another person’s face. These impressions are often incorrect, but can affect important decisions we make, like elections and criminality. In this interview we take a deep dive in to the history of the pseudoscience of physiognomy, as well as current research in psychology and the effect of first impressions on elections, criminal justice, and more.
Additionally, science historian Ingrid Ockert joins us to discuss the text “Programmed Inequality: How Britain Discarded Women Technologists and Lost Its Edge in Computing.”