A Matter of Days

Let me tell you something important about your life. This is something that you know to be true about your life, but maybe you haven’t thought about it in a while, or maybe you have never thought about it in exactly these terms. Your life is a matter of days. So is mine. So is […]

What’s Real? Does It Matter?

In my new piece at H+ Magazine, I provide not so much a review of the movie Her as an exploration of the one of the bigger issues it raises, an issue that I don’t think is getting as much attention as it deserves. Some take the film to be a biting commentary on the state of […]

We’re Better Off Now; We’ll Be Much Better Off Soon

Virginia Postrel has written an intriguing piece at Bloomberg that some dill-weed of an editor gave a really unfortunate, and misleading, headline. Her piece suggests that quality of life, in this instance measured by something as seemingly trivial as entertainment options, is increasing even as other standard economic markers of well-being stay flat or dip […]

How Likely Is Your Life?

Check out this wonderful video from Jason Silva. I love what Jason says about changing perspectives. Right now I am standing at a desk, but I am also standing on the surface of a planet. (Actually, I’m standing a bit below the surface, seeing as I’m in the basement.) I’m also hurtling through space, following […]

Becoming Less Human

On this week’s podcast we talked about disturbing futures — future worlds that aren’t necessarily dystopias, but that nonetheless don’t look terribly appealing to us back here in the past. I focused mainly on futures in which the population has abandoned some traditional aspect of the human experience. It isn’t always a bad idea to […]

How Long Is the World’s Longest Book?

Our new book project, a collection of ideas for making the world a better place entitled The World Transformed, has been going by the nickname “the World’s Longest Book.” I want to be quick to point out that the proposed Abridged Edition of the The World Transformed will not be anything remotely approaching the world’s […]

Opening up the New Frontier: Government Work?

Neil deGrasse Tyson thinks so. He doesn’t believe that Elon Musk’s plan to send people to Mars is going to fly. I’ll just let him lay out his argument in his own words: The Columbus analogy is fairly persuasive, but it ultimately it rests on the assumption that things in the future are more or […]

Only So Many Noises

Ricky can laugh it up about the UFO magazine and the horse in the pub, but Karl is correct that there are only so many noises that can occur. The piano keyboard analogy is actually kind of brilliant. Where Karl gets it wrong is his estimate that all noises have been used five times. More […]

A Painting from a Dying Flower

This is my favorite XKCD strip ever, and that is saying something: Wow. Why do I feel so sad? Somehow, the idea of the  bee image embedded in the orchid reminds me of this story, in which I raised the following question: This makes me wonder…are there other past events that we might get a […]

Ad from the Future

Imagine when we’ll see advertisements for 3D printer supplies that look no different from ads for inkjet cartridges or printing paper that we’ve seen for years. Things like this: (hat-tip: Shawn Thuris) My immediate thought — these spools look exactly like the ones I load into my lawn edger / trimmer. I wonder if they […]

False Dichotomies

They’re everywhere. Superman or Batman? Star Trek or Star Wars? Football or baseball? It’s one thing to be asked to state a preference, but these choices are increasingly offered as absolutes. The idea that you might really like both of the items in question (in different ways, for different reasons) seems to get in the […]

The Shocking Truth — Answers and Sources

Here we have the quiz plus answers and sources from last week’s show about The Shocking Truth. Due to out-of-control residential and commercial real estate development, total U. S. forest acreage is the smallest it has been in a century. Driven by economic injustice and environmental deterioration, infant and child mortality rates are surging in […]

Driverless Future Approaches

From Science Daily: First Driverless Vehicle to Hit the Roads Singapore’s first clean and green driverless shuttle transportation system will soon see passengers shuttling between Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and JTC Corporation’s (JTC) CleanTech Park. In a partnership between NTU, JTC and Induct Technologies, and supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), an autonomous […]

Background on the Men Who Sold the Moon

Related to this week’s The World Transformed — here is some background on the billionaires we’ll be discussing as well as their achievements. Technology: Vanity or visionary? As the son of an angel investor who had made his fortune during the industrial revolution, the younger Darwin was the beneficiary of a similar fount of personal […]

A Question for Patternists

On last week’s World Transformed, we talked about parallel universes in their various theoretical permutations. (This piece on Better All the Time walks through the various levels that we discussed on the show.) The discussion followed the news that evidence for universes outside our own may have been found. Thinking over the discussion, a question occurred […]

Infinite Universes

New findings suggest that our universe is not the only one. It may be one of many, or one of an infinite number of universes. Phil and Stephen discuss the implications. Does it matter if there’s more than universe? If so, how? And why? Check it out.

Seven Questions About the Future

Ten years ago, in the early primordial days of The Speculist, I came up with a list of 7 questions that I thought could help us shape an ongoing conversation about the future. Whenever I did a Speculist interview, it would include these seven questions. (A shortened version of these questions were later used in […]

Evidence of Other Universes

The Planck space observatory has provided us the clearest and most complete picture of the early universe we have ever had, a composite picture of the background radiation of the entire sky. Interestingly, that picture doesn’t look quite like what we were expecting: Cosmologists studying a map of the universe from data gathered by the […]

Doctors and Travel Agents

Nick Van Terheyden has some interesting speculation about the future of health care in a piece written for fast Company with the title Could The Future Of Health Care Mean No Waits In Hospitals? He has some interesting ideas. In one scenario, a conversational user interface and SIRI-like assistants help doctors to focus on the […]

And We’re back

We just passed the the 10th anniversary of The Speculist, and I think I know how I want to mark the occasion. This is too good a site to let it go fallow. I’m bringing the Speculist back. Speculist Media publishes three blogs — this one, The World Transformed, and Better All the Time. I […]

The Future of ISMs

The future isn’t just about technological change. Some of the biggest changes we have ever seen and can expect ever to see occur in the realm of ideas. With that in mind, hosts Phil and Stephen contemplate the future of some of the mostly dearly held and hotly debated of all ideas. Which isms will […]

Mind-Blowing technologies

Futurist George Dvorsky joins hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon to discuss his recent io9 piece: 10 Mindblowingly Futuristic Technologies that Will Appear by the 2030′s. Are we really just a couple of decades away from self-directed killer robots, invisible computers, and a Star Trek style replicator in every home? The guys discuss George’s list, plus […]

We’re Moving

After nearly ten years of blogging here at The Speculist and more than five years of podcasting under the name FastForward Radio, we will be moving both the blog and the radio show to worldtransformed.com and, going forward, The World Transformed will be the name both of this blog and our radio show. Why the change? […]

It’s the End of the World as We Know It

UPDATE: We have put the show announcement up for Thursday’s End of the World Special on FastForward Radio. As we all know, the last day on the ancient Mayan calendar is December 21, 2012. To commemorate this historic landmark, FastForward Radio will be doing a special Countdown to the End of the World show starting […]

Into the Nexus — FastForward Radio

In the near future, cyber culture meets counter culture with the introduction of Nexus, a drug that integrates human minds with machines…and with each other. Does this capability represent the next step in human evolution or the end of humanity as we know it? Or both? Author Ramez Naam joins Phil and Stephen to discuss […]

Speaking of the Future

You, too, can be a Speculist! Hosts Phil Bowermaster and Stephen Gordon provide a quick introduction to putting together your own group dedicated to talking about accelerating change, abundance, the Technological Singularity, and related topics. They will discuss: The Top 10 Hot Topics About the Future The Three Big Changes Everybody Wants to Discuss Finding […]

Socrates on the Future

Phil and Stephen  welcome blogger, futurist, and fellow web broadcaster Nikola Danaylov (AKA “Socrates”) to FastForward Radio. Nikola reports daily about major trends in science, technology, and society which indicate big changes to come. He also discusses these changes with some of the world’s most fascinating people on his podcast, Singularity One on One. Join us […]

The Possibility Explosion — FastForward Radio

In the first of a three-part series, Phil and Stephen discuss The Possibility Explosion, one of three radical transformations that are reshaping our world and our lives. Think of the many things you can do right now, right where you are (wherever that happens to be.) A few examples: In the first of a three-part […]