New Scientist Weekly


#157 Computer lawyer takes first court case; brains speed up with age

Season 1, Ep. 157

Will artificial intelligence replace lawyers in the future? The team learns about a new, chat-bot style bit of tech that fights your legal battles for you, and is about to be tested in a real court room. But is it ethical, or even legal?

Gibbons love to sing, but what we’ve just learnt is male and female gibbons also enjoy belting out synchronised musical duets. The team plays some of these delightful sounds, and finds out what this tells us about the evolution of rhythmic capabilities in humans.

There’s good news for those of us who are getting on a bit. The team finds out about the very welcome news that some parts of our brains actually speed up when we age.

Wind turbines today are already pretty massive - some as high as 250 metres tall. But a new type of turbine has been dreamt up that would rival the tallest skyscrapers. The team discusses the type of engineering that will go into this mega wind turbine, if its inventor can find the $1 billion needed to fund its creation.

Stories passed down through aboriginal cultures may provide a roadmap on how to survive the current climate crisis. The writer and theatre-maker David Finnigan speaks to Cassie Lynch, a descendant of the Noongar people of Australia, who’s been studying their storytelling tradition. She reveals ancient knowledge from thousands of years ago, usually only shared among indigenous people.

On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Madeleine Cuff and Matt Sparkes. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at

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More Episodes


#176 Human organoids are new AI frontier; Listening to the big bang through the cosmic microwave background

Season 1, Ep. 176
Brainoids - tiny clumps of human brain cells - are being turned into living artificial intelligence machines, capable of carrying out tasks like solving complex equations. The team finds out how these brain organoids compare to normal computer-based AIs, and they explore the ethics of it all.Sickle cell disease is now curable, thanks to a pioneering trial with CRISPR gene editing. The team shares the story of a woman whose life has been transformed by the treatment.We can now hear the sound of the afterglow of the big bang, the radiation in the universe known as the cosmic microwave background. The team shares the eerie piece that has been transposed for human ears, named by researchers The Echo of Eternity.Artificial intelligence can now read our minds…under a very specific set of circumstances. The team looks at a mindblowing new study which feels very sci-fi.Pop legend and environmentalist Feargal Sharkey makes a cameo to highlight the campaign New Scientist is running in collaboration with the i newspaper, to draw attention to the shocking state of Britain’s rivers. Great apes like to twirl around like ballerinas. As the team finds out, it turns out it’s not just humans who like to spin around and make themselves dizzy, it’s fun for many other species of ape too.Bonnie Garmus, author of the bestselling novel Lessons In Chemistry, speaks to comment and culture editor Alison Flood about the success of her debut novel. She explains the inspiration behind her protagonist and why she made her a chemist. And she discusses fan-favourite character Six-Thirty the dog and the intelligence of animals.On the pod are Rowan Hooper, Penny Sarchet, Michael Le Page and Alison Flood. To read about these subjects and much more, you can subscribe to New Scientist magazine at and discount codes:NS JWST Event: