I must confess that I get frustrated with best-selling books that paint epic visions of the future.
Too often, they seem to sacrifice nuance and thoughtfulness in favor of crowd-pleasing extremes, from how technologies will utterly transform humanity, to how our technological mis-steps will ultimately destroy us all.
And in many cases they’re plagued with a certainty of insight that belies the depth and breadth of the expertise underpinning it.
And yet I find myself writing books that are part of this very genre. What on earth went wrong?!
A few weeks back I started a new podcast based on the book Future Rising. The podcast is a series of short reflections on our relationship with the future that, together, paint a bigger picture of this relationship. And today’s episode-the last in this current season-tackles reason.
Reason is both complex and controversial. In some quarters it has overtones of a very narrow way of understanding the past and the future. …
This summer we took my course on socially responsible and ethical innovation (which conveniently uses science fiction movies as a starting point) online.
This is an exciting departure from the in-person course, and one that has led to a number of innovations in how the course is taught. It’s also meant that I’ve needed to capture some of the essence of that course on video.
One of the introductory videos for the new course format is a version of a 20 minute lecture I give on the need to think differently about the intersection between technology, society and the future.
For over a year now there have been conspiracy theories swirling around that COVID was designed and engineered in a Chinese lab, that the research has its origins in the US, and even in some cases that Anthony Fauci-Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases-is the evil mastermind behind all of this!
Despite their contorted implausibilities, these theories have persisted in the face of evidence to the contrary. And in recent weeks they have been given a boost as a new wave over concerns around “gain-of -unction research” have hit the headlines.
What exactly is the future, how are we connected to it, and what is our responsibility to it?
These are questions that the new podcast Future Rising grapples with as it takes listeners on a journey that starts with the Big Bang, and ends with our responsibility to future generations within an increasingly complex world.
They’re also questions that are deeply pertinent to my work as an Associate Dean in the Arizona State University College of Global Futures as I grapple with how we build a more just, equitable and vibrant future together — and how we help everyone to…
Several years ago now, I had the pleasure of being the inaugural Charles and Rita Gelman Professor of Risk Science at the University of Michigan. As is often the case with such positions, I was asked to give a public lecture to mark my inauguration.
I gave that lecture back in the fall of 2010. And throughout it it, I had a rather curious device sitting on the desk in front of me.
The device was a double pendulum that was identical to the one that featured in the 2010 movie Iron Man 2, and that ended up being a…
Mission: Interplanetary is a collaboration between Arizona State University’s Interplanetary Initiative and Slate, and was created to form unique conversational platform for exploring some of the big questions around the future of humans in space. We’ve just completed our first season of the podcast and, looking back, we’ve been pretty successful here!
My co-host former NASA astronaut Cady Coleman and I, have had an incredible series of guests on the show, covering topics ranging from space debris with former astronaut Mark Brown and the end of the universe with astrophysicist Katie Mack, to how to make space accessible to everyone…
If you haven’t had the chance to check out the new Mission: Interplanetary podcast from ASU and Slate, I’d highly recommend it-and not just because my co-host is the fabulous former astronaut and ASU Global Explorer in Residence Dr. Cady Coleman!
With the podcast, we set out to explore fresh perspectives on how we think about space. And I think we’re doing a pretty good job so far.
This week’s episode is a great example of this. Our guest is the space theoretician Dr. …
Back in March, I was asked to give the first FRANKx lecture at ASU. These lectures are designed to draw on ASU experts and visionaries who “strive to challenge, disrupt and redefine the landscape of higher education with innovative ideas that encourage conversation and thinking outside the status quo.” Rising to the challenge with some relish, I crafted my lecture around the topics of “base-coding,” “bounded infinities,” “metaphorical quantum tunneling,” and the future of education. I took the brief quite seriously! These notes draw from my reflections as I prepared for the lecture and the lecture itself (which you…
Face masks should protect you, not place you in greater danger. However, last Friday Radio Canada revealed that residents of Quebec and Ottawa were being advised not to use specific types of graphene-containing masks as they could potentially be harmful.
The offending material in the masks is graphene — a form of carbon that consists of nanoscopically thin flakes of hexagonally-arranged carbon atoms. It’s a material that has a number of potentially beneficial properties, including the ability to kill bacteria and viruses when they’re exposed to it.
Yet despite its many potential uses, the scientific jury is still out when…
Author of Future Rising: A Journey from the Past to the Edge of Tomorrow, and Associate Dean in the ASU College of Global Futures