In our last episode of the season, we take one one of the most requested futures: telepathy! What would it be like to be able to link minds, and communicate brain to brain? And how likely is it that we’ll ever get this kind of technology? We start the episode by talking to Roger Luckhurst, a Professor in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, University of London, who explains where the word telepathy comes from, and how it totally obsessed men of science in the early 1800’s. Then, futurist and science fiction author Ramez Naam walks us through both the current state of science and the futuristic world of his science fiction series Nexus, that centers around a drug that gives people telepathic powers. After that, we consider what a future full of telepathic people might mean for etiquette with Robin Abrahams, the etiquette columnist for the Boston Globe. And then we talk privacy and digital security with Kit Walsh, a a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. And we finish out the episode by talking to Lateef McLeod, a poet, blogger, activist and doctoral student in the anthropology and social change program at California Institute for Integral Studies, […]
New episodes available at Rose’s new podcast, Flash Forward.
Meanwhile in the Future is a brand new podcast from Gizmodo in which we try to really overthink what the future has in store for us. Every episode will tackle one potential future scenario — everything from a sudden ice age, to the end of antibiotic effectiveness, to a world in which contact sports are banned due to head injury — and try to work out how that future would really go down.
This episode we travel to a future where the 2020 census goes haywire. What happens if we don’t get an accurate count of Americans? Who cares? Apparently the constitution does! The 2020 census is currently in the crosshairs — census watchers say that it’s not getting enough funding, and community organizations and local governments are already worrying about what an inaccurate census might mean for their people. To walk us through the current perils facing the census I talked to Hansi Lo Wang, a national correspondent for NPR who has been covering the census; Phil Sparks, the co-director of The Census Project, an organization that brings together groups who use census data; Susan Lerner, the director of Common Cause New York, a government watchdog group; Cayden Mak, the executive director of 18 Million Rising, an online organizing group that works with Asian American communities; and Dawn Joelle Fraser, a storyteller and communications coach who worked for the census in 2010. Further reading: Could A Census Without A Leader Spell Trouble In 2020? US Census Director Resigns Amid Turmoil Over Funding of 2020 Count Departure of U.S. Census director threatens 2020 count The 2020 Census is at risk. Here are the […]
This episode is all about a world without plastic. What would that look like? Is it even possible? Today, plastic is seen as one of our great environmental enemies. But it actually wasn’t always that way. Bradford Harris, a historian of science and the host of a podcast called How It Began: A History of the Modern World, and Susan Freinkel, a journalist and the author of Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, walk us through how plastic started out as a solution to unsustainable practices. Then we talk to Sherry Lippiatt, California Regional Coordinator for the NOAA Marine Debris Program, about what exactly is going on with garbage in the ocean. And finally I visit Danielle Trofe at her studio in Brooklyn, where she grows sustainable materials using mushrooms. Further reading: Debbie Chachra on peak plastics “On a scale beyond all previous conceptions” [electronic resource] : plastics and the preservation of modernity Bradford Harris: Plastics and Sustainability Our ‘Toxic’ Love-Hate Relationship With Plastics 99 Percent Invisible: The Post-Billiards Age Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean There Is No Island of Trash in the Pacific Global Plastic Production Rises, Recycling Lags Different Types of Plastics and their Classification Health […]
In this episode, we travel to a future where a tech mogul feeds a machine learning system all the religious texts he can find, and asks it to generate a “super religion.” Buckle up because this is a long episode! But it’s fun, I promise. For the intro of this episode I worked with Janelle Shane to actually train a machine learning algorithm on a big chunk of religious texts that I assembled, and spit something back out. The specifics of the texts and the machine learning algorithm come with a handful of caveats and notes, which you can find at the bottom of this post. Janelle has done of ton of really funny, interesting things with machine learning algorithms that you can find here. To analyze the text that this algorithm generated, and talk about the limitations of this kind of project, I spoke with a big group of people from a variety of backgrounds: Linda Griggs is an Episcopal priest and an assisting priest at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church in Providence Rhode Island. Lauren O’Neal and Niko Bakulich are the hosts of a podcast called Sunday School Dropouts, whose tagline is: “an ex-Christian (Lauren) and a non-believing sort […]
This episode we travel to a future where you can choose to turn off your ability to deceive yourself. Are you now a perfectly clear eyed genius? Or a perpetually depressed misanthrope? Maybe both? This episode was suggested by my mom. It begins with two tales of self deception, one from Jacquelyn Gill, an assistant professor of paleo-ecology at the University of Maine and the host of a podcast about climate change called Warm Regards, and the other from Beth Duckles, a writer, researcher, ethnographer and social scientist. Then we talk to Zoë Chance, an assistant professor of marketing at the Yale School of Management and an expert on self-deception. After that, we go to therapy, and Chamin Ajjan, a clinical psychotherapist and author of Seeking Soulmate: Ditch the Dating Game and Find Real Connection explains what she does when she sees a case of self-deception in her office. And finally, Erik Vance, science journalist and author of Suggestible You: The Curious Science of Your Brain’s Ability to Deceive, Transform, and Heal helps us understand what might really happen if we could truly turn off this ability to deceive ourselves. Further reading: Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Self Deception The Elements […]