Latest Episodes

Identity, adoption and China's one-child policy

Whose Century Is It? February 11, 2016

Identity can be a tricky thing, especially if you're adopted from a country and culture that sees ethnic identity as immutable, to one where people reinvent themselves and their identities all the time. So it's been for many of the Chinese kids adopted into the United States, after landing in Chinese orphanages as a result of the one child policy. One of those kids, now grown, and her journalist mom have launched a project that reflects on identity, and led to an American daughter returning to her Chinese village of birth.

Protecting internet rights in an age of anxiety

Whose Century Is It? January 28, 2016

How are we, and the rest of the world, doing in striking the right balance between protecting Internet rights and serving national security concerns? How much should citizens in democracies get a say in what that balance is? Rebecca MacKinnon, a former CNN correspondent in China and now director of the New America Foundation's "Ranking Digital Rights Project," weighs in.

Connecting Myanmar

Whose Century Is It? January 14, 2016

In a few short years, Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, has gone from being one of the world's most isolated countries, to one most rapidly embracing change and connection with the outside world. Speeding the process has been the swift adoption of mobile phones, and especially smart phones. Just five years ago, a single SIM card could sell for $1,000. Deregulation has driven those prices down. Cheap Chinese knock-offs — and cheap Chinese-made solar panels to power them — have put mobile phones in the hands of one in three Burmese, and many have smart phones. These have empowered them, connected them, educated them and entertained them, in ways they're just beginning to explore. And it's helping their once-isolated country join the 21st century.

Bonus: Teaching China's next generation of journalists to question everything

Whose Century Is It? January 06, 2016

Journalists love to ask why, and authoritarian governments don't much like to be questioned. So how to teach China's future journalists to do good work despite the censors and other pressures? Former CBS veteran Peter Herford talks about his decade teaching his craft to China's next generation of journalists. A Whose Century Is It bonus episode, to accompany Episode 9: And That's the Way it Was, about the past and future of journalism from a guy who's spent the better part of a century in it.

Know yourself (genes and all)

Whose Century Is It? December 16, 2015

How much privacy would you give up for a shot at better health and a longer life? How about pooling data from your genome? And if your genome could tell you what might be coming — cancer, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis — would you want to know? Might you go so far as to seek to get that gene edited out? New technologies make much of this possible; scientists are weighing the risks, rewards and ethical considerations. This take on the subject comes from a recent gathering of top geneticists from around the world at BGI in the southern Chinese city, Shenzhen.

Episode 7: Ending global poverty through new tech (high and low)

Whose Century Is It? December 03, 2015

Will the poor always be with us? The global poverty rate is dropping fast, and the UN and other groups are working, together and apart, to come up with creative ways to help the world's poorest pull themselves into a better life. Shashi Buluswar, who leads the Institute for Globally Transformative Technologies, at Lawrence Berkeley Lab, talks about harnessing emerging tech solutions to solve age-old problems.

Seeing into the Future: A Practitioner's View

Whose Century Is It? October 22, 2015

The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed, science fiction writer William Gibson has famously said. But how do you separate the signal from the noise? It helps to ask someone who does it for a living. Marina Gorbis, executive director of the Institute for the Future, shares the tricks of the trade, reflects on growing up in the former Soviet Union, and predicts that an age of transformation has just begun.

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Development & Education

Bonus: Teaching China's next generation of journalists to question everything

Journalists love to ask why, and authoritarian governments don't much like to be questioned. So how to teach China's future journalists to do good work despite the censors and other pressures? Former CBS veteran Peter Herford talks about his decade teaching his craft to China's next generation of journalists. A Whose Century Is It bonus episode, to accompany Episode 9: And That's the Way it Was, about the past and future of journalism from a guy who's spent the better part of a century in it.

Arts, Culture & Media

From JFK to Black Lives Matter, he's seen journalism up close. And he's more optimistic than ever about it.

Over the past half century, Americans have gone from getting most of their news from the three big networks, to having unprecedented choices in news sources, thanks to the Internet. Navigating those choices, and deciding who to trust, is still a challenge. But Peter Herford, a former writer for Walter Cronkite and producer for 60 Minutes, reflects on his 60 years in journalism and says, for consumers of news, it's never been better.

Health & Medicine

Does a Chinese company's combination of genomics, big data and AI offer hope for a healthier future?

Your genome tells part of your story; so do your biometrics, data about how and where you choose to live your life. A new approach to medicine, and genomics, aims to bring together many different layers of such data, resulting in precision medicine, targeted for you. What is that worth to you? Enough to give up some privacy? Enough to pool your data with many others, so scientists can better understand how and when certain genes are expressed? In southern China, leading genomics sequencing company BGI, and a new venture, iCarbonX, are among the global players exploring what's possible.