Beyond Human

Humans aren’t the fastest or strongest animal, but we do make the best tools. From plows to pacemakers, we’ve always used technology to transcend our human limits. This week, we ask how far that project can go. We’ll tell you how the first farmers in history transcended the limits of meat and muscle, only to create a very different kind of boundary. And we’ll present the story of two scientists excited to leave their human skin behind. Also, the story of a man who cannot walk, but who can fly; why PCs can be our friends; and finally, robot phenomenology.


Host: Mischa Shoni

Producers: Charlie Mintz and Rachel Hamburg

Featuring: Ian Morris, Byron Reeves, BJ Fogg, Edward Maibach, Shyam Sundar, Laurie Mason, Henry Evans, Jackson Roach

Release Date: 20 May 2014

Music used during transitions: Fabrizio Paterlini (Veloma); Gillicuddy (Porthlaze Glove); Podington Bear (Delphi); Latché Swing (Hungaria)

image via flickr



Intro story: Feeding Back Into Us

After the last ice age, we humans moved from hunting and gathering to farming. With the plow, farming became a whole lot easier — but there was a dark side too.



Producer: Charlie Mintz, Bojan Srbinovski

Featuring: Ian Morris 

Music:  Broke For Free (Night Owl, The Gold Lining, Only Knows); Wilted Woman (Turing); Podington Bear (Dole It Out); Black Hoods (Talking Cure)

image via web



Story 1: Robots Are My Freedom

As an adult, Henry Evans suffered a medical trauma that left him paralyzed and unable to speak. Then the second half of his life began. 


Producers: Eileen Williams, Miles S.

Featuring: Henry Evans

Links: Robots For Humanity

Music: Broke For Free (My Always MoodOne And, Budding), Audionautix (Atlantis)

Image via web



Story 2: With 18 Arms and Compound Eyes

A scientist visits a relative in the hospital and finds the best available cures lacking. He and a partner go to work at the next frontier of medicine. They wind up bumping into the question of what makes us human.


Producer: Rachel Hamburg

Featuring: Xander Honkala, Andre Watson

Links: Ligandal

Music: Podington BearChristian BjoerklundRolemusic

Image via wikimedia



Story 3: Sympathy for the Dell

This story is a tribute to the late Stanford professor Clifford Nass. Friends and colleagues described him as one of the most human humans you could ever meet. He discovered ways that computers can be human too, and one consequence of that research is coming to a hospital near you.


Producers: Charlie Mintz, Josh Hoyt

Featuring: Clifford Nass, Byron Reeves, BJ Fogg, Laurie Mason, Edward Maibach, Shyam Sundar, Chris Corio

Link: Engineered Care

Music: Podington Bear (Lake Victoria, Formless)Broke For Free (Note Drop, Like Swimming, Luminous, Blown Out, One And); memotone (This Is The Room, Fractal, Sleeping With the Insects); 2ndMOUSE (Arc Reactor); Audionautix (Namaste);

Image via wikimedia



Story 4: The Simulation Deck

A radio play about the strawberry-sized gap between humans and machines.


Producer: Jackson Roach

Featuring: Andrew Brassel, Matthew Libby

Links: Robot voice created by Cepstral Voices