The future


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Cosmology
Exodus

Elon Musk argues that we must put a million people on Mars if we are to ensure that humanity has a future

Ross Andersen

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Computing and artificial intelligence
Omens

When we peer into the fog of the deep future what do we see – human extinction or a future among the stars?

Ross Andersen

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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

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Ecology and environmental sciences
Scorched Earth, 2200AD

Climate change has done its worst, and now just 500 million humans remain on lifeboats in the north. How do they survive?

Linda Marsa

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Automation and robotics
The golden age

The 15-hour working week predicted by Keynes may soon be within our grasp – but are we ready for freedom from toil?

John Quiggin

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Food and drink
Freedom from food

It takes time to plan a meal, to say nothing of cooking and eating it. What if we could opt out of food altogether?

Nicola Twilley

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History
Future perfect

Social progress, high-speed transport and electricity everywhere – how the Victorians invented the future

Iwan Rhys Morus

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Information and communication
Perfect genetic knowledge

Human genomics is just the start: the Earth has 50 billion tons of DNA. What happens when we have the entire biocode?

Dawn Field

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Information and communication
Fast-world values

For all the smart tech, we still feel pressed for time. Are digital services the problem, or are we humans to blame?

Judy Wajcman

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Engineering
A fault in our design

We tend to think that technological progress is making us more resilient, but it might be making us more vulnerable

Colin Dickey

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History of ideas
The end is not near

Thanks to science, most of us accept the deep past – so why are our imagined futures so shallow?

J L Schellenberg

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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

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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

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Automation and robotics
RoboCorp

Get ready for companies that run themselves. But will the autonomous economy set us all free, or just make the rich richer?

David Z Morris

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Cultures and languages
Talk like an Egyptian

If we want to safeguard our languages, stories and ideas against extinction, we had better study Egyptology

Grayson Clary

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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

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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

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Architecture
Desert utopia

It might be pleasing to dream of arcologies, mega-cities, and space colonies – but no one can design the perfect human community

Jared Keller

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Computing and artificial intelligence
The robots are coming

The invasion has already begun: the only question is when, not if, humanoid robots will work, play and war beside us

Michael Belfiore

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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

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Consciousness and altered states
The great escape

Digital technology allows us to lose ourselves in ever more immersive fantasy worlds. But what are we fleeing from?

Damien Walter

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Automation and robotics
How to design the future

As technological choices become ever more complex, design fiction, not science, hints at the future we actually want

Jon Turney

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Fairness and equality
Votes for the future

Democracies are notoriously short-sighted. With one simple device, we could give unborn citizens a say in our present

Thomas Wells

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Political philosophy
Ninety-degree revolution

Right and Left are fading away. The real question in politics will be: do you look to the earth or aspire to the skies?

Steve Fuller