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“I know how awful it is to watch people you love struggle as the disease robs them of their mental capacity, and there is nothing you can do about it.”
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Episode five
Can people really change?
In our podcast’s season finale, we talk to Bono and Kerry Washington about what it takes to change hearts and minds.
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Over the last four episodes, Rashida and I have explored questions that are fundamentally about change: Will things be different after Covid-19? Can society become more equal? Can (and should) people stop lying? Will we make the changes needed to stop a climate disaster?

In the season finale of our podcast, we decided to explore the question that underlies our whole series and ask ourselves, “Can people really change?

Bill Gates and Rashida Jones Ask Big Questions - Episode 05
Can people really change?
Episode transcript
December 14, 2020
2020 has been a year of change. From the presidential election to the pandemic, it’s clear that the world will never be the same after this year—and neither will all of us who experienced it. In the season finale, Bill and Rashida explore how progress hinges on society’s ability to evolve, how our view of the world shifts as we get older, and whether it’s actually possible to change someone’s mind. Then they’re joined by two people who are using their positions as artists to change the world for the better: Bono and Kerry Washington.
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This is a particularly interesting year to think about in terms of change. On the one hand, I think it’s safe to assume we’re all ending the year at least a little different than we started it. The pandemic will leave a lasting imprint on all of us, just as older generations were forever changed by World War II—and life will never be the same for people who lost a loved one. On the other hand, 2020 has made it clear how polarized society has become and how set so many people seem to be in their beliefs. Both Rashida and I are worried about how this polarization could make the progress we’ve talked about in previous episodes more difficult to achieve.

Our guests this week are two people who are using their positions as artists to change the world for the better: Bono and Kerry Washington. I’ve known Bono for a long time, and he’s been an invaluable partner in the fight against HIV/AIDS. I hadn’t met Kerry before (although I’m a fan of Scandal), but I knew she was an outspoken advocate for racial justice, voter suppression, and other issues.

It was fascinating to hear both of them talk about how they use their creative endeavors to push for change. I’m glad that they’re bringing so much public attention to important issues. Our conversation was a good reminder that there are a lot of different ways you can help make the world a better place.

It’s been a lot of fun working on this project, and I hope you’ve enjoyed listening to it.

Behind The Scenes – Bonus Content 5
Personal and global change
December 21, 2020
Behind The Scenes – Bonus Content 5
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