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Overheard at National Geographic

154 EpisodesProduced by National GeographicWebsite

Come dive into one of the curiously delightful conversations overheard at National Geographic’s headquarters, as we follow explorers, photographers, and scientists to the edges of our big, weird, beautiful world. Hosted by Peter Gwin and Amy Briggs.


The Battle for the Soul of Artificial Intelligence

With every breakthrough, computer scientists are pushing the boundaries of artificial intelligence (AI). We see it in everything from predictive text to facial recognition to mapping disease incidence. But increasingly machines show many of the same biases as humans, particularly with communities of color and vulnerable populations. In this episode, we learn how leading technologists are disrupting their own inventions to create a more humane AI.


For more information on this episode, visit


Want more?

In 2020 widespread use of medical masks has created a new niche—face-mask recognition. The technology would help local governments enforce mask mandates, but is it worth it?

Thanks to evolution, human faces are much more variable than other body parts. In the words of one researcher, “It's like evolving a name tag.”

Most people have difficulty accurately recognizing strangers. But a few individuals—called super-recognizers—excel at the task. London police have employed some of these people to help find criminal suspects.


And for subscribers: 

Artificial intelligence and robotics have been improving rapidly. Our cover story from September 2020 explores the latest robotic technology from around the world. 

In 1976 Isaac Asimov wrote an article for National Geographic predicting how humans might live in 2026.


Also explore: 

Take a look at the documentary Coded Bias, featuring AI researcher Joy Buolamwini. The film explores Joy’s research on racial bias in facial recognition AI.

Read the NIST report, co-authored by Patrick Grother and discussed in this episode.

If you like what you hear and want to support more content like this, please consider a National Geographic subscription. Go to to subscribe today. 

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