Brains Byte Back

Jan 19 2021 33 mins 5

The weekly podcast looking at how our brains, psychology, and society are impacted by the ever-evolving technology that surrounds us. Every Monday we bring you the best stories and guests from around the world relating to technology, psychology, and society.

Brain Plasticity: How Technology, Environments, and Language Change Our Brains
Jan 12 2021 25 mins  
Theoretical physicist Michio Kaku once said, “The human brain has 100 billion neurons, each neuron connected to 10,000 other neurons. Sitting on your shoulders is the most complicated object in the known universe.” Our brain is undeniably an incredibly complex and impressive object, and this is best demonstrated with brain plasticity, a term that refers to the brain's ability to change and adapt as a result of experience. Listen to this podcast on Spotify, Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Breaker, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Overcast, Listen Notes, PodBean, and Radio Public. To better understand how the brain does this and the processes that take place when we learn new skills, we spoke with Alicia Walf, Ph.D., a neuroscientist and a senior lecturer in the Department of Cognitive Science at Rensselaer. Walf studies the brain mechanisms of stress and reproductive hormones as they relate to behavior and cognition, brain plasticity, and brain health over the lifespan. Her specific areas of expertise are memory, emotions, and social interactions and how these functions not only arise from the brain but change the brain itself. In this episode, Walf explains how the job of London cab drivers impacts their hippocampus (the area of the brain responsible for memory), how capable we are to retrain in tech jobs relating to cyber and coding at a later age, and what studies on frequent video game players vs novices show us about brain plasticity. She also discusses how the olfactory sense can help us better understand dementia and memory.

Increasing Happiness With Evidence-Based Techniques
Dec 22 2020 41 mins  
According to The Guardian, lockdown measures significantly increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression in the UK. And according to the American Psychological Society, Americans across the pond also felt the stress of living in lockdown. It has been a stressful year for many of us. In light of this, we want to dedicate this episode to happiness and explore what makes us happy, along with actions we can take to improve our levels of happiness in our everyday lives, based on psychological research. Today we are joined by Dr. Alan Chu, an Assistant Professor and Chair of the Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology Program at the University of Wisconsin. He joins us on the show to discuss research relating to happiness based on positive psychology, the PERMA model (Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment), and how to implement practices based on this model in our everyday lives. In this episode, you will learn Dr. Chu's four steps and how to incorporate these happiness practices in your daily life. In addition to Dr. Chu, we are joined by Dr. Mike Rucker, Chief Digital Officer for Active Wellness, a company that delivers wellness services to inspire people toward a healthy, active life. He is also the author of The Fun Habit that will be coming out next year. He joins us to discuss why he believes traditional psychological research into happiness is inaccurate, and what we should aim to achieve in order to obtain a greater level of happiness in our everyday lives.

Building A More Efficient, Privacy-Focused Future With Smart Cities
Nov 30 2020 41 mins  
According to data from the UN, in 2018 55% of the world's population lived in urban areas, and that is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. With an increasing number of people living in densely populated, urban areas, our cities will be forced to adapt. From transportation to sustainability, cities will need to harness technology to tackle these challenges that come with a larger population. In this episode of Brains Byte Back, we explore what these smart cities might look like, how they will function, and how they stand to change our quality of life. To discuss this, we are joined by Jonathan Reichental, the CEO of Human Future, a global business and technology education, advisory, and investment firm. He is also the former Chief Information Officer (CIO) for the City of Palo Alto and the author of Smart Cities for Dummies. Alongside Reichental, we are also joined by Sumeet Puri, the Chief Technology and Solutions Officer of Solace, a company that specializes in the smart movement of data. We discuss what transportation will look like in an ideal smart city, how smart cities will be better equipped to deal with accidents and emergencies, and how smart cities will be better equipped to handle and monitor crime. In addition to the above, we will also look at how drones will facilitate deliveries, how cities can be redesigned based on AI observations, and what an increased number of sensors and cameras means for our privacy.

The Past & Present of CBD with Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Cannabis Formulator
Sep 28 2020 38 mins  
The hype surrounding CBD, one of over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant, has exploded in recent years. In fact, the global CBD oil market is estimated to reach around $3.5 billion by 2027. But the benefits of CBD are nothing new for many cultures around the world, especially in Eastern medicine. In this episode, Brains Byte Back co-host Mags Tanev explores the benefits, uses, and history of CBD. She is joined by Dr. Jenelle Kim, the founder, and formulator for JBK Wellness Labs. Dr. Kim is an expert in East Asian ancient medicine, she completed a doctorate in acupuncture and Chinese medicine and has been working to preserve the medical history of her family lineage while also training with leading doctors and herbologists. Dr. Kim has been formulating with CBD since 2012 and created the first luxury CBD skincare line in the world. In the episode, they discuss Dr. Kim’s professional background and family history, the properties of CBD and how it has been historically used in East Asian medicine, how Dr. Kim reconciles ancient traditions with western medicine, why and how people are using CBD today, industry malpractices and how to choose a good quality CBD product. Kim also shares with us why CBD was considered among the top 50 most important herbs 4,000 years ago in ancient Eastern medicine, how it was used, and what properties make it so beneficial for skincare products. You will also find out why Kim initially refused to work with CBD when approached by an external company, and what changed her mind.

Neuromarketing: Psychology That Influences Consumer Behavior
Sep 14 2020 30 mins  
Advertising is a multibillion-dollar industry, with everyone in the industry competing to grab your attention. With so much money at stake, it probably comes as no surprise that there is a large body of research into the psychology of advertising. This is known as neuromarketing. In its simplest, neuromarketing is the practice of studying the brain to predict and potentially manipulate consumer behavior and decision making. To discuss this topic we are joined by Brett Frieman, the director of marketing at Marpipe, a company that conducts creative experiments for brands. In addition to Frieman's work at Marpipe, he also studied economics and psychology at Rutgers University and has closely followed the industry for many years. In this episode, you will learn how the gaze of a model in an ad impacts our purchasing decisions, how fear-based ads evoke mirror neurons triggering an emotional response, and how the famous "Nudge Theory" can influence the decisions we make. We also discuss the work of famous behavioral economists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman and their popular book "Thinking Fast and Slow" which won them the noble prize in economics. In addition to Tversky and Kahneman, Friedman shares with us how the psychology and marketing research of Nick Kolenda helped him develop his own knowledge and understanding of these subjects. Furthermore, Friedman also shares what further research he believes needs to be done to advance our understanding of how to effectively use neuroscience to improve advertising.

Libido in Lockdown: Exploring Copulation in Isolation
Jul 27 2020 34 mins  
Since the start of the pandemic, many aspects of our regular lives have been turned upside-down, and this seems to also be true for our sex lives. In fact, an article published by The Washington Post at the start of the pandemic stated that we might see "a Coronavirus baby blip," as a result of couples isolated together looking to pass the time. Meanwhile, for singletons, it would seem that social distancing and quarantines have thrown a spanner in the works for any hopes of dating. In this episode of the podcast, we will explore how sexual behavior has been impacted by the quarantine. To discuss this topic we will be joined by a number of guests from different backgrounds, all working to better understand and help us navigate the complicated changes to our sex lives during these unusual times. To kick off the show we are joined by Mat Rezaei, the Founder and CEO of UPGUYS, a company that offers professional advice and prescription drugs with direct to door delivery, with a strong focus on erectile dysfunction treatments. Rezaei shares with us how the company's client profile has changed since the start of the pandemic, why he believes we are witnessing this change, and what the impact of the pandemic will be on how men approach their sexual health in the future. Following Rezaei, we are joined by Jerusha Bennett, Senior Director of Brand Strategy & Innovation at The Sound, a brand strategy and product innovation agency, alongside her co-worker, Annie Pecoraro, Director of Creative Analytics. They join us to discuss research conducted by the pair which takes a quantitative look at the impact of Covid-19 on people's sexual life and behavior. They share with us finds such as how the quarantine has impacted masturbation, the lives of singletons, and what it means for couples with children who are home all the time, to name a few.

Who owns the rights to AI's new artistic talents?
Jul 20 2020 33 mins  
On March 18, 2018, Elaine Herzberg of Phoenix, Arizona was the first person to be killed by a self-driving car. This brought into question the complicated issue of accountability when AI makes a mistake, who do we hold responsible for this type of accident? However, on the other end of the spectrum, if AI produces something marvelous, who takes ownership of this? That is the topic of discussion on today’s episode. Joining me on today’s show is Sekou Campbell, an attorney whose practice focuses on the meeting place between art and technology and his clients have included an AI music composition software company and other art-focused startups. His practice includes intellectual property, media and entertainment, and startups.  He is also a partner of Culhane Meadows law firm. In addition to Campbell, we are also joined by Maya Ackerman, an expert on AI and Computational Creativity, she is the CEO and co-founder of WAVE AI, that allows anyone to create original songs in minutes using its AI-based tool ALYSIA. She is also an invited speaker at the United Nations, Google, IBM Research, Stanford University, to name a few. On this show, we discuss how attitudes towards tools used to produce music have changed over the years, what AI's influence in art means for the artists, and what are the legal implications surrounding ownership of art produced by AI. Music credits -  Believe in Us: Dusti Miraglia (producer - backing track),  Sara Miraglia & Maya Ackerman (vocalists) ALYSIA was used as a songwriter (for lyrics/vocal melodies).

Ex-Cybercrime Police Officer on the Evolution of Fighting Cyber Threats
Jul 13 2020 41 mins  
According to Statista, in 2018, 16,128 cases of online identity theft and 65,116 cases of non-payment or non-delivery fraud were reported to the U.S. Internet Crime Complaint Center. But cybercrime has not always been this prevalent in our lives. Though it is hard to imagine in today's modern world, there was a time before computers where cybercrime wasn't considered a threat. To understand how cybercrime has evolved from nothing to the ubiquitous threat that it is today, we spoke with Cindy Murphy, a retired cybercrime police officer, and the president and founder of Tetra Defense. Brought up around computers at an early age thanks to her father, who taught her how to use DOS and file systems when she was six, Murphy had a technological advantage when it came to her peers. This was evident in high school, she was told she must submit her essay in written form instead of a word processor as it was considered cheating and gave her an unfair advantage. Murphy then went on to serve 31-years in the police force helping to combat cybercrime across the US, before leaving the police force with one year left until retirement. Murphy was offered a very large offer to work for a private company, which she turned down. The company continued to increase the offer, and she continued to turn them down. It wasn't until she was invited to see what they were working on in their forensic lab that made her retire from the police force, almost immediately. They showed her something she "thought was impossible". To find out what they showed her, along with some interesting cybercrime stories along the way, check out this episode of the Brains Byte Back podcast.

How accurate is Mr.Robot?: The Technology + The Psychology
Mar 09 2020 38 mins  
"I’ve never found it hard to hack most people. If you listen to them, watch them, their vulnerabilities are like a neon sign screwed into their heads.” - Elliot Alderson Mr.Robot! The show which stylishly intertwines hacking, psychology and geopolitical events with a great mix of characters. However, while it might have style, Elliot's powers are so limitless that it is fair to questions how realistic some of the hacks are. In addition to hacking, the show also dives into a dark and complex world of psychology. In this episode of the podcast, we will seek to understand how realistic the show is from a technological perspective and a psychological approach. To do this I am joined by two experts. My first guest, Mark Puckett,  joins me to examen the accuracy of the hacking techniques used on the show. He is the founder and CEO of Raxis, a penetration testing company of ethical hackers. And to discuss the psychological elements of the show, I am joined by Kevin Gilliland, a clinical psychologist, and mental health expert, who is also the Executive Director of Innovation 360, an outpatient group of Counselors and Therapists helping patients overcome a variety of mental health issues. If you haven’t seen all of Mr.Robot, or any of it, then maybe you should have a sit-down and question the choices you have been making in your life, but in all seriousness, there are spoilers so you have been warned. And for our Weird Wide Web piece, we will look at a study that attempts to quantify the perceived financial value of online privacy and data across a number of countries.

Living everywhere and nowhere: What it's really like to be a digital nomad
Oct 28 2019 35 mins  
If you have spent any time in cities such as Medellin or Chiang Mai, you have probably met a digital nomad. In its simplest form, a digital nomad is an individual that is location independent and use technology to perform their job. With the freedom to work anywhere, digital nomads often live nowhere, at least for long periods of time. This unconventional lifestyle has created its own culture of nomadic individuals, traveling the world with nothing more than a laptop and smartphone. While this lifestyle might sound idealistic, it is not without its troubles. In this episode, you will learn how digital nomads combat loneliness on the road, why coworking spaces are so important to them and how anyone can become one. To discuss this topic we are joined by Andrew Alexander, a digital nomad since 2014 and is in charge of Product, Sales, and Systems at, a location-independent company with team members scattered across the world. We are also joined by Lucas Seyhun, the founder and CEO of The Farm Soho, New York coworking spaces designed to nurture a community to promote organic collaboration between its members. And for our side feature today, we have a new one call Computer says LOL, where we focus on technology-related jokes and humor. In this episode, we will listen to a 2001 comedian’s skit, that has aged well, on how to work for an IT help desk which will make you laugh.

Technology and the loneliness of young generations
Oct 07 2019 43 mins  
We can all relate to feeling alone at some point or another, but for younger generations, this is a sensation that is becoming increasingly common. According to a survey conducted by the Young Women’s Trust in the UK, One in four 18 to 30-year-olds report feeling isolated compared to one in 10 older people, aged 64 to 72. And in the US, millennials are the loneliest generation today according to research by YouGov. Technology and social media have been heavily criticized for amplifying sensations of loneliness with one study conducted by psychologists at the University of Pittsburgh claiming the more time a young person spends on social media, the more likely they are to feel socially isolated. To get a better understanding of how technology could be exacerbating feelings of loneliness, we spoke with two experts. Our first guest is the Director of Research at Hopelab, a social innovation lab focused on designing science-based technologies to improve the health and well-being of teens and young adults. Dr. Danielle Ramo. In addition to Dr. Ramo, we will be joined by Dr. Lisa Strohman -- a clinical psychologist and the founder of Digital Citizen Academy, a program created to help educate parents and children about the proper use of technology and the repercussions that technology may have. And for our Weird Wide Web feature, where we highlight a bizarre story from the world of tech, we have a story about AI-generated head shots putting stock photo companies on edge.

No review available yet...