Scientists as Problem-Solvers: Applying Scientific Insights to Global Challenges, with Nicholas Dirks, Ph.D.


This episode of the show features Nicholas Dirks, Ph.D., President and CEO of The New York Academy of Sciences.

Discussion Highlights:

  • The rapid pace of technological change, from AI to gene editing, outpacing policy-making mechanisms.
  • Reflections on historical instances where scientific advancement outpaced understanding and regulation, like the development of nuclear weaponry.
  • Notable scientific advancements: AI, structural biology, gene editing, and the need for regulatory frameworks.
  • Challenges in building and restoring public trust in societal institutions.
  • The importance of incorporating emotion and narrative in science communication to rebuild public trust.
  • The changing role of faith-based organizations in supporting and shaping scientific endeavors.
  • Dr. Dirks’ upcoming book, “City of Intellect: The Uses and Abuses of the University,” focusing on the need for universities to adapt and change.
  • Dr. Dirks’ pride in establishing a pioneering Data Science program at UC Berkeley, offering a multidisciplinary approach to computational literacy.
  • Introduction of the International Science Reserve, a network of scientists preparing for future global crises.
  • The Academy’s initiatives in addressing the challenges and ethical considerations surrounding artificial intelligence.

Resources mentioned in the episode: