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FROM THIS EPISODE

Mid-term elections are less than six weeks way, and very close races in very few states will determine whether the US Senate is run by friends or foes of President Obama in his waning days. In Kansas it’s all about the governor. In Colorado, it’s gynecology. In North Carolina, a pizza delivery man could tip the election. Unless the Democrats can pull off some minor upsets in Red States, they may soon be dealing with “Mitch McConnell, Senator Majority Leader.” We’ll survey races across the country and hear what a Republican-controlled Senate might mean for appointments, climate change and Obamacare.

Also, an update on the protests in Hong Kong. Plus: the possibility of robot superintelligence.

Banner Image Credit: Roman Boed 

Producers:
Evan George
Benjamin Gottlieb
Jenny Hamel

Pro-Democracy Protests Continue in Hong Kong 6 MIN, 30 SEC

“Pro-democracy” demonstrators continue to pack the streets of Hong Kong in the thousands, defying local police who have fired tear gas to disperse the crowds. The protesters are calling on Beijing to make good on a promise to allow Hong Kong to choose its next leader without interference.

Mei Fong is a fellow at the New America Foundation, a Washington DC-based think-tank. She’s also a former Hong Kong correspondent for the Wall Street Journal, and won a Pulitzer for her coverage of China.

Guests:
Mei Fong, New America Foundation (@meifongwriter)

GOP Chances of Winning the Senate Are Looking Up 34 MIN, 19 SEC

There are some certainties in the mid-term elections: Republicans will hold the House. The Democrats still have the White House. But control of the US Senate is surprisingly close. Yet by most accounts, Republicans maintain an edge — right now they have a 67% chance of gaining a majority in the Senate according to the Upshot’s Senate Forecasting Model.

Guests:
David Leonhardt, New York Times (@DLeonhardt)
Vin Weber, Mercury/Clark & Weinstock
Jonathan S. Miller, RecoveringPolitician.com (@RecoveringPol)
Lynn Bartels, Denver Post (@lynn_bartels)

Super Smart Robots: Not Your Enemy, But Not Your Friend 8 MIN, 57 SEC

It sounds like science fiction, but by 2050, Nick Bostrom says we have a 50/50 chance of creating robots that are more sophisticated than humans. Its a theme that’s already hitting popular culture with films like Transcendence. Once that happens, some say these machines will almost certainly be able to improve their own capacities at an astonishing rate. If this “intelligence explosion” is coming, how do we ensure that our machines don’t turn against us, but rather work as a friend to mankind?

Guests:
Nick Bostrom, Oxford University

Superintelligence

Nick Bostrom

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