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What on Earth is Going on? is a podcast for the curious, where small talk is banned and tangents are prized. Strap yourself in for genuine dialogues with people who think deeply and are ready to tackle the big questions, such as broadcaster Terry O'Reilly, economist Miles Corak and journalist Jessica Vomiero.

Join Ben Charland to peel back the headlines and ask, what are the forces, people and ideas that shape the human story today? Have things always been this nuts, or are they getting crazier by the day? From the Mafia to the Beaverton, from women in politics to women in leadership, from history to artificial intelligence, and from entrepreneurship in the digital age to the art of wheelchair fencing, just what on Earth is going on?

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Nature, Nurture and Social Credit

Apr 19, 2019

Listen to Episode 51: The New Yorker's Profile of Yan Lianke

Today’s episode features a panel discussion with three people from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario – all are previous guests on this podcast. Tricia Baldwin is the Director of the Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts. In Episode 12 Tricia...

Apr 19, 2019

Yan Lianke is one of China's most influential living writers. His often-satirical works have earned him an international readership. He has been touted for the Nobel Prize in Literature. And yet, most of Yan's books are effectively (if not formally) banned in China.

Ben brings together three previous guests (Tricia...

Humanism and AI

Apr 12, 2019

Listen to Episode 50: The Promise of Artificial Intelligence

As you know, I find the subject of AI fascinating. Often my mind wanders along the tangents of science fiction as I consider the breathtaking potential of artificial intelligence – specifically, what is often called artificial general intelligence (AGI), or...

Apr 12, 2019

What is the optimal emotional state of eSports players to increase their win rate? Can the range of emotions displayed in movies determine which are most likely to win an Oscar? And when should Bradley Cooper cry in such a movie to produce the greatest effect?

These are just some of the questions that...

The Changing Business of News

Apr 5, 2019

Listen to Episode 49: The News

Jessica Vomiero

When I first started this podcast, I knew that the state of journalism would be a critical piece of the what on earth is going on puzzle. I don’t even mean the routine post-truth issue of us becoming incapable of a common understanding – but the very business of the news. It’s clear...