Several years ago I became interested in the potential for YouTube to be used as a powerful way for academics to make their expertise relevant and accessible to casual learners–people who are self-motivated to seek out new knowledge through non-traditional means.

The result was the YouTube channel Risk Bites, which launched in 2012. Over the years, this has become a personal platform for experimenting with ways of reaching diverse audiences and “mobilizing” knowledge.

With Risk Bites I set out to use very simple whiteboard-style graphics with smart and informed narratives to make the science behind risk as accessible and informative to as wide an audience as possible. The channel attracts over 1500 views per day, is watched over 2,000 hours per month, and to date has accumulated well over 3 million views — not bad for an academic with little talent and even less time!

The channel, I have to confess, is a personal labor of love, and one that I consider to be an incredibly important way to make my expertise freely available to others. It’s also been a highly instructive learning exercise in how to use YouTube as a casual learning platform for people in my position.

You can read more about the backstory behind the channel and its impact here.

A small sampling of videos:

How Effective are Face Masks Against COVID Infection?

How effective are your face mask-wearing habits at reducing the spread of COVID?

What is Responsible Innovation?

Risk Bites takes a dive into why socially responsible innovation and ethical entrepreneurship matter, and what you can do to ensure good intentions really do end up making people’s lives better.

Ethical Challenges of Brain Computer Interfaces

Advanced brain computer interfaces like the one being developed by Elon Musk’s Neuralink have the potential to transform our lives for the better. But they also come with complex ethical challenges.

The science behind face masks and respirators

What’s the science behind face masks and respirators, and how do they prevent you from inhaling potentially harmful airborne particles?

How safe are self-driving cars?

How safe are self-driving cars? And how safe should they be before they’re widely used?

Ten risks associated with Artificial Intelligence

How dangerous could artificial intelligence turn out to be, and how do we develop ethical AI?

A Quick Guide to the Fourth Industrial Revolution

What is the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and why should you care?

What’s a gene drive?

A gene drive is a radical new way of re-engineering the genetic makeup of an entire species. As we develop the technology, what are the risks, and how can we ensure that it is used safely and responsibly without causing harm?

Hazard and Risk — What’s the difference?

What is risk, and what’s the difference between hazard and risk?

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