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“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.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"Political leaders from all French parties, including former presidents Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy, joined Jews and non-Jews in Paris’s Place de la Republique to condemn antisemitic acts."
"Eighty years ago tonight, thousands of Americans gathered in New York to rally behind the Nazi Party and its ideals. An Oscar-nominated short documentary retrieves footage of the event, but leaves out the context that gives it meaning."
"The PM has persuaded the religious-Zionist Jewish Home to partner with the Kahanists of Otzma Yehudit. It makes cynical political sense for his interests, but what of Israel’s?"
"IFC’s series Documentary Now! began as an affectionately parodic tribute to the classics of nonfiction cinema. Its first episode, “Sandy Passage,” was a note-perfect evocation of the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens..."
"Making our choices count is, however, far from straightforward, and this is the subject of Martin Hägglund’s book This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom."
"Teens in the United States are coming of age at a time when digital technology is truly ubiquitous, where smartphones are all of our “constant companions.”"
"...the Smollett story, if the “trajectory” leads to evidence of fakery, would actually reveal something else modern America is about: victimhood chic."
"Cool in the humanities isn’t that different from cool in other areas of cultural life, like planking, hotdog-legs photography, mason jar rehabilitation, and novels whose main character is a city."
"It’s true that high-octane, hardworking child-rearing has some pointless excesses, and it doesn’t spark joy for parents. But done right, it works for kids..."
"Cape Town in South Africa is a foodie destination. Some people in its renowned restaurant industry are trying to spread the food wealth citywide."
"...for many “space expansionists,” escaping Earth is about much more than dodging the bullet of extinction: it’s about realizing astronomical amounts of value by exploiting the universe’s vast resources to create something resembling utopia. "
"After facing persecution in the former Soviet Union and a new wave of antisemitism in the United States, Marya Zilberberg decides to put her Jewishness on display."