Episode 192: The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Trucker

There is much romance in being on the open road, always on the move. But not for the long-distance trucker, trapped in a moving cocoon, always travelling but getting nowhere slowly. Rajat Ubhaykar joins Amit Varma in episode 192 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe his insights from hitchhiking around India on trucks.
Joint production with IVM Podcasts

Episode 51: Alpha Zero

The chess program Alpha Zero made waves recently when it taught itself chess in four hours — and then thrashed the strongest chess engine in the world, Stockfish. This illustrated a dramatic advance in Artificial Intelligence. Devangshu Datta joins host Amit Varma in episode 51 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about its impact for both chess and AI.

Read show notesEpisode 51: Alpha Zero

Episode 50: The State of Indian Politics

Indian politics is complex to the point of being almost unfathomable. JP Narayan, that rare public intellectual who also embraced electoral politics, joins Amit Varma in episode 50 of The Seen and the Unseen to share his learnings.

Episode 49: Political Discourse

Social media has enabled everyone to have a voice — but no one listens any more. In episode 49 of The Seen and the Unseen, Amit Varma examines why our political discourse is so polarised. One particular bugbear of his is the tendency to shift the focus from the argument to the person, and he outlines a few different ways in which people personalise arguments.

Read show notesEpisode 49: Political Discourse

Episode 48: Reforming Urban Governance

 For almost two decades, V Ravichandar has been “a civic evangelist and a patron saint of lost causes” fighting to reform local government in our cities. He joins Amit Varma in episode 48 of The Seen and the Unseen to talk about the lessons he has learnt, and what keeps him going.

Episode 46: The State of the Media

 

We live in times when media is fragmented and there is no consensus on the truth any more. Journalism has become a race to give people what they want to believe. What are we to do? Prem Panicker joins Amit Varma in episode 46 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the State of the Media.

Episode 44: The Delhi Smog

 It is well known that the key cause of Delhi’s smog is the ‘stubble’ burnt every year by Punjab’s farmers. Vivek Kaul joins Amit Varma to discuss the bad incentives in play, how government sops might have caused this problem, and what can be done about it.

Episode 43: Parenthood

Natasha Badhwar, the author of a celebrated parenting column, recently released her moving book, ‘My Daughter’s Mum.’ In episode 43 of The Seen and the Unseen, she joins Amit Varma to discuss the process of parenting, writing about it, and the Seen and Unseen Effects of Parenthood.

Read show notesEpisode 43: Parenthood

Episode 42: Behavioral Economics

To celebrate Richard Thaler’s Nobel Prize, behavioural econ geek Nidhi Gupta joins Amit Varma in episode 42 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss key concepts from the field — all of which explain many of the Unseen Effects of our actions, and the way we’re wired.

Episode 41: Money in Cricket

Cricket has been transformed in the last four decades, first because of Kerry Packer’s World Series Cricket, and then recently by the IPL. Noted cricket writers Gideon Haigh and Prem Panicker join Amit Varma in episode 41 of The Seen and the Unseen to discuss the enormous impact of this commercialisation.

Episode 40.5: We’re on a break

The Seen and the Unseen takes a one-week break for Diwali. But we have one request for you: we want your feedback on the show. Click here to tell us what you feel about The Seen and the Unseen!

Episode 39: Eating Out

Why don’t Indians eat out as much as people in other countries do? Karthik Shashidhar joins Amit Varma in episode 39 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain how we landed up in an equilibrium in which our restaurants prefer ‘tasty’ to ‘healthy’.

Episode 38: Import/Export

The Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 is an example of a policy that harms those it is meant to help. Sudhanshu Neema joins Amit Varma in episode 38 of The Seen and the Unseen to explain why.

Episode 37: Obamacare

Obamacare is almost an article of faith for elite American liberals, but it has had devastating Unseen Effects. Economist Sudhanshu Neema, who joins host Amit Varma on episode 37 of The Seen and the Unseen, believes that it was responsible for Trump coming to power. Listen up!