There’s a powerful new voting bloc in America. They’re white, working class, and they live in places that have been left behind. We'll talk with "Hillbilly Elegy" author J.D. Vance, and country music star Brandy Clark joins us in the studio to play some music and talk about her hometown.
The kind of people who live in places like Jackson, Kentucky often get characterized as poor, white and angry. And worse, as redneck and racist – hillbilly white trash. J.D. Vance knows them well. They’re his people. He grew up in Kentucky coal country and the Ohio rust belt - places he left behind when he went to Yale Law School. Today he practices in Silicon Valley, but he’s just written a book called “Hillbilly Elegy," which should be required reading for this election year. Welcome to Jackson, Kentucky.
Poor, broke and white. Country musician Brandy Clark's been there, but she made it out. She’s 40 years old and won the country music awards’ Song of the Year and was also nominated for best new artist. Charles Monroe-Kane caught up with Brandy, along with her guitar player and backup singer Miles Aubrey, in a studio in Nashville, to talk about her latest album, Big Day in a Small Town.
Youngstown, Ohio is the center of the Rust Belt. During steel's heyday, Youngstown was a city of nearly 200,000. Now, it’s under 70,000. The steel mills closed in the 1980’s, people left, and no one replaced them. Steve Paulson sat down with urban planner Justin Hollander talk about what to do next - what Hollander calls "smart decline."
White Americans of European descent will make up less than half the population by 2042, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In other words, white people will soon become a demographic minority. Philosopher Linda Martin Alcoff says that shift represents a sea change in how we'll think about American identity. She’s the author of the new book “The Future of Whiteness.” Alcoff told Steve Paulson that before we contemplate the future, we need to grapple with what it means to be white today.
Automated machines are taking over our lives. They're not the scary robots you see in movies, but more and more of today's technology - from smart phones to airplanes - is automated. And some of the world's biggest companies are racing to come up with a "master algorithm" - a formula that will let machines learn anything. This could lead to self-driving cars and even a cure for cancer. But do we want to give machines so much control?
Machines that program themselves are all around us and they get smarter every day. Computer scientist Pedro Domingos says there's now a race to create the one algorithm to rule them all. But are you ready for the master algorithm that can tell a machine how to learn anything?
Robots that clean the bathroom, cars that drive themselves, computers that diagnose disease. They may sound appealing, but technology writer Nicholas Carr warns that the new age of automation could mean we'll lose basic life skills.
Androids may seem like a modern idea, but there were life-size androids in the 18th century - beautiful robot women who could look around and even play the harpsichord. Historian Heidi Voskuhl tells this remarkable story.
Garth Risk Hallberg's "City on Fire" is this year's big debut novel. It's a sweeping 900-page story about New York City in the mid-70s, chronicling everything from the punk music scene to the rise of Wall Street's runaway hedge funds. Hallberg says he's fascinated by the idea of creative destruction.