The future


Latest Popular


Animals and humans Anthropology Archaeology Automation and robotics Cities Demography and migration Economic history Economics Education Environmental history Fairness and equality Future of technology Gender Global history History History of technology Human rights and justice Information and communication Making Nations and empires Politics and government Poverty and development Progress and modernity Public health Race and ethnicity Religion The ancient world The environment The future War and peace Work

Poster advertising the 1948 Superman series. Photo courtesy Getty Images

Essay/
Stories and literature
Supermensch

Superman et al were invented amid feverish eugenic speculation: what does the superhero craze say about our own times?

Iwan Rhys Morus

An aerial view shows a typically busy Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei province, deserted amid the deadly coronavirus outbreak that originated in the city. 27 January 2020. Photo by Hector Retamel/AFP/Getty

Essay/
Technology and the self
Collaborators in creation

Our world is a system, in which physical and social technologies co-evolve. How can we shape a process we don’t control?

Doyne Farmer, Fotini Markopoulou, Eric Beinhocker & Steen Rasmussen

The Leonid Meteor Storm, as seen over North America on the night of 12-13 November 1833. Courtesy Wikimedia

Essay/
The future
The end of us

Only since the Enlightenment have we been able to imagine humans going extinct. Is it a sign of our maturity as a species?

Thomas Moynihan

Photo by Christopher Anderson/Magnum

Essay/
Future of technology
Sim ethics

Say you could make a thousand digital replicas of yourself – should you? What happens when you want to get rid of them?

Philip Ball

Commons craft; detail of a plywood farmhouse, built using a CNC machine. Photo courtesy Wikihouse
Essay/
Work
Utopia now

In 1890 William Morris imagined a world free from wage slavery. Thanks to technology, his vision is finally within reach

Vasilis Kostakis & Wolfgang Drechsler

Intelligent assumptions? At the Oxford Union, 1950. From the Picture Post feature, Eternal Oxford. Photo by John Chillingworth/Getty

Essay/
Cognition and intelligence
Intelligence: a history

Intelligence has always been used as fig-leaf to justify domination and destruction. No wonder we fear super-smart robots

Stephen Cave

Will the sun rise? Photo taken from the ISS on 1 March 2016. Photo courtesy NASA
Essay/
Mathematics
Future tension

Facts about the past and present are either true or false. Can knowledge of the future offer the same degree of certainty?

Anthony Sudbery

A prototype 13-kilowatt Hall thruster being tested for solar-electric propulsion. Photo NASA

Essay/
Space exploration
To save Earth, go to Mars

If head-on problem-solving can’t save the Earth, maybe lateral innovation can. Will low-cost space research pave the way?

Joe Mascaro

USA. Montana. 1980. Photo by David Alan Harvey/Magnum
Essay/
The environment
Who owns the earth?

Private land ownership is a beautiful dream gone badly wrong. It’s time to reinstate the forgotten ideal of the commons

Antonia Malchik

The Serengeti National Park. Photo by Medford Taylor/National Geographic

Essay/
Earth science and climate
Half-Earth

Half of the Earth’s surface and seas must be dedicated to the conservation of nature, or humanity will have no future

Edward O Wilson

Photo by Lynn Johnson//National Geographic Creative
Essay/
Genetics
Making the cut

In gene editing, the genetic code now has a workable text editor. Will this mean Ctrl+X for disease and Ctrl+V for talent?

John Parrington