Berkeley Talks


Damilola Ogunbiyi on driving an equitable energy transition

Ep. 139

In episode 139 of Berkeley Talks, Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary General for Sustainable Energy for All, gives the UC Berkeley Energy and Resources Group's 28th Annual Lecture on Energy and Environment. In the March 31, 2022 talk, Ogunbiyi discusses how to drive a just, inclusive and equitable transition to affordable and sustainable energy for all, and how the Russia-Ukraine war is affecting energy markets around the world.

Listen to the episode and read a transcript on Berkeley News.

Follow Berkeley Talks and review us on Apple Podcasts.

(Photo by Bamas100 via Wikimedia Commons

More Episodes

Saturday, June 3, 2023

Climate grief: Embracing loss as a catalyst for collective action

Ep. 171
Journalist and climate activist Naomi Klein joins Indigenous scholar Yuria Celidwen and posthumanist thinker Bayo Akomolafe, both senior fellows at UC Berkeley's Othering and Belonging Institute, to discuss climate grief and why they see it not as a reason for apathy, but as an invitation to feel the loss deeply — together — and to use it as fuel for collective action."The moments that we face loss, and we really embody the grieving process, is the total moment of surrendering," said Celidwen at the May 4 event, hosted by the Othering and Belonging Institute. "Realizing that arrogance that keeps humans in a hierarchical organization, feeling that they are somehow exceptional from and different from all others, that arrogance dissolves the moment that we realize we are powerless really to the process of life, to the process of spirit, the process of nature."That idea of bringing not only the possibilities of the mysterious, the possibilities of the stories, that not everything can be measured as Western sciences, but rather as how Indigenous sciences speaks about what we don't know, what we can't know, and how we can make meaning of precisely that unknowing, and resting in that unknowing by finding the right insight to the action that we need to do as a collective.""I was really struck, Yuria, that you said that grief is surrender," Klein said in response. "Because, right before, I was making a couple of notes, thinking about why so many people I know in the climate justice movement are afraid of grief. And I wrote down just now, 'It's because they equate grief with surrender.'"But, what I meant was political surrender. I think there's a fear that if we fall down, we'll never get up. And that, if we let ourselves feel the depths of the loss, the depths of the fear, that we'll just somehow never be able to be galvanized again. And it's the opposite, really. That grief is uncontainable, including that surrender."I work with these students I mentioned, it's not a course on climate anxiety or climate grief. It's a course on climate feelings. And that's the first thing I say is, 'It can be rage, it can be just loss, it can be hope, it can be homesickness. There are so many emotions, and why do we prescribe just this one?''But the main thing I want is just feel anything, feel it a lot, because I feel like what is the source of the hopelessness or despair — those are legitimate emotions — but it's a deadeningness, really, that is what I'm most afraid of in myself and in the people I work with."Listen to the episode and read the transcript on Berkeley News ( of Naomi Klein by Kourosh Keshiri via Flickr. Photos of Yuria Celidwen and Bayo Akomolafe courtesy of the Othering and Belonging Institute.Music by Blue Dot Sessions.
Friday, May 26, 2023

Sociology Ph.D. graduates on the power of family and deep inquiry

Ep. 169
In this episode, two Ph.D. graduates in sociology — Kristen Nelson and Mario Castillo — give the graduate student address at the UC Berkeley Department of Sociology's spring commencement ceremony."Like many of you, I was raised by a single mother," said Castillo at the May 19 event. "Her name is Mariana Leticia Castillo, and she was 17 when I was born. Now, I have tried to imagine what a 16-year-old mother-to-be must have felt as she prepared to bring a new life into this world, how she had hope for my wellness, happiness and success, coupled with an overwhelming sense of worry, anxiety and fear about the uncertain journey ahead."My mother's story, as a young working-class woman of color, finding her way as a single parent, combined with my own unique experiences as a queer person of color, propelled me towards deeper inquiry, self-discovery, and ultimately, the fascinating field of sociology."For Nelson, growing up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the most segregated metro area in the U.S., opened her eyes to the stark inequality in the country and caused her to ask, "Why is it like this?""When issues ... go unspoken, that is a politics of silence that perpetuates exclusion," Nelson said. "This motivates me to practice a politics of articulation, where we choose to say out loud what has been overlooked, because we cannot change what we cover with silence. So, fellow graduates, as we step into the next chapter, one way that we might apply our sociological training is to ask ourselves: What needs to be spoken?"Listen to the episode and read the transcript on Berkeley News ( courtesy of Kristen Nelson.Music by Blue Dot Sessions.
Friday, March 24, 2023

Jitendra Malik on the sensorimotor road to artificial intelligence

Ep. 164
Jitendra Malik, a professor of electrical engineering and computer sciences at UC Berkeley, gives the 2023 Martin Meyerson Berkeley Faculty Research Lecture called, "The sensorimotor road to artificial intelligence.""It's my pleasure to talk on this very, very hot topic today," Malik begins. "But I'm going to talk about natural intelligence first because we can't talk about artificial intelligence without knowing something about the natural variety."We could talk about intelligence as having started about 550 million years ago in the Cambrian era, when we had our first multicellular animals that could move about," he continues. "So, these were the first animals that could move, and that gave them an advantage because they could find food in different places. But if you want to move and find food in different places, you need to perceive, you need to know where to go to, which means that you need to have some kind of a vision system or a perception system. And that's why we have this slogan, which is from Gibson, "We see in order to move and we move in order to see."For a robot to have the ability to navigate specific terrain, like stepping stones or stairs, Malik says, it needs some kind of vision system."But how do we train the vision system?" he asks. "We wanted it to learn in the wild. So, here was our intuition: If you think of a robot on stairs, its proprioception, its senses, its joint angles can let it compute the depth of its left leg and right leg and so on. It has that geometry from its joint angles, from its internal state. So, can we use it for training? The idea was the proprioception predicts the depth of every leg and the vision system gets an image. What we asked the vision system to do is to predict what the depth will be 1.5 seconds later."That was the idea — that you just shift what signal it will know 1.5 seconds later and use that to do this advanced prediction. So, we have this robot, which is learning day by day. In the first day, it's clumsy. The second day, it goes up further. And then, finally, on the third day, you will see that it ... makes it all the way."Malik's lecture, which took place on March 20, was the first in a series of public lectures at Berkeley this spring by the world's leading experts on artificial intelligence. Other speakers in the series will include Berkeley Ph.D. recipient John Schulman, a co-founder of OpenAI and the primary architect of ChatGPT; a professor emeritus at MIT and a leading expert in robotics, and four other leading Berkeley AI faculty members who will discuss recent advances in the fields of computer vision, machine learning and robotics.Listen to the episode and read the transcript on Berkeley News.UC Berkeley photo. Music by Blue Dot Sessions.