Invisibilia: The Pattern Problem

Alix Spiegel
Alix Spiegel is a reporter for NPR.
Photo courtesy NPR

Unseeable forces control human behavior and shape our ideas, beliefs, and assumptions. Invisibilia, Latin for invisible things, fuses narrative storytelling with science that will make you see your own life differently.

In this episode of Invisibilia, is it possible to predict a person's future by looking at their past? Co-host Alix Spiegel goes looking for patterns and tries to determine what they can tell us about ourselves.

The Pattern Problem (Season 4 Episode 1)

A panel of judges sits to decide the fate of the young woman.

She's the child of addicts and an ex-addict and ex-felon herself, and she's asking the court to trust her to become an attorney.

The outcome of her case hinges on a question we all struggle with: are we destined to repeat our patterns, or do we generally stray in surprising directions?

It's a question increasingly relevant in an age when algorithms are trying to predict everything about our behavior.

Your hosts: Alix Spiegel and Hanna Rosin.

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