December 13, 2018

What the Future Holds, According to Experts

“The future is wonderful, the future is terrifying. That’s our motto at Motherboard.

Envisioning the future defined by our wildest ambitions or our deepest fears is an instinct as old as human culture. But it has taken on new urgency in recent years, as people grapple with profound paradigm shifts worldwide. We are living in the most socially interconnected and technologically advanced society in history. We are discovering far-flung alien exoplanets, designing algorithms that mimic how we think, and becoming fluent in the genetic language of life. What could go wrong? What could go right?

To shed light on those questions, Motherboard asked 105 interdisciplinary thinkers about their fears and hopes about the future. We defined “thinkers” and “smart people” as experts in fields we regularly cover. Participants include (but are not limited to) 19 space scientists, 19 biologists and environmental scientists, 11 computer scientists, eight medical scientists, five lawyers, four historians, a musicologist, a paleontologist, an astronaut, and a digital artist who replied with emojis.

Most of the participants are based in the United States (69), but we also received responses from experts in Europe (20), Australia (5), Canada (4), Singapore (2), South Africa (2), Taiwan (1), India (1), and Bangladesh (1). We talked to 56 women and 49 men.”

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