The Future Is Here

A collection of some of the best links from around the web, manually curated.

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How Paris Kicked Out the Cars

Flying cars used to be a defining feature of how we imagined futuristic cities. Paris wants to be a different kind of futuristic (or, rather, future-proof) city: One where cars have become an afterthought. This is a nuanced look at how Paris is transforming, and how this is about so much more than just transportation. All based on a simple, powerful premise: A city dominated by cars is a choice, and there is no reason it cannot be reversed.

From Weekly Filet #436, in April 2023.

Citizen future: Why we need a new story of self and society

It’s one of the defining themes of our times: More and more people losing trust in institutions. However, maybe we should talk more about the flip side of the coin: Are institutions trusting people enough? That’s the core premise of this essay. It calls for a change in perspective: «Those in positions of power need to see that people are neither Subjects nor Consumers. We are Citizens.»

From Weekly Filet #412, in October 2022.

VR Gloves: Where air guitar meets the future of remote surgery

This podcast tells the stories of inventions and inventors that were ahead of their time, and still went on to shape the future. The first episode begins with the question «What if you could actually play your air guitar?» and takes us into an underappreciated aspect of virtual reality: not just seeing things that aren’t there, but touching things that aren’t there (for remote surgery across oceans, obviously, not what you thought…)

From Weekly Filet #409, in September 2022.

How to future-proof your life from pandemics and other threats

Think about a difficult, potentially traumatising period in the future. Now write down a short journal entry as if you’re just living through that experience. Ask yourself questions like: What will I feel in this future? What will I and others need most? How will I use my unique strengths to help others? This is how game designer and forecaster Jane McGonigal is teaching people to «future-proof» themselves. This article is part of a series by on «the upgrades we can make to prepare for the next pandemic». I liked this one best because it is useful well beyond the context of a future pandemic.

From Weekly Filet #390, in April 2022.

How Africa will become the center of the world’s urban future

The numbers are staggering: By 2100, Lagos is predicted to be home to 80 million people. A city ten times the size of current New York City. Of the 20 most populous cities in the world, 13 will be in Africa. This piece by The Washington Post offers an excellent deep dive into urban development, with portraits of five megacities (Lagos, Khartoum, Kinshasa, Mombasa, Abidjan).

From Weekly Filet #372, in November 2021.

In 2030, You Won’t Own Any Gadgets

The title of this piece is an understatement — unless you consider anything one can own «a gadget». It gives a glimpse into the near future when the software-isation of everything turns using without owning into the default. Sounds convenient — until you learn that even the things you thought you owned, you will no longer really own.

From Weekly Filet #355, in July 2021.

How We Treat Animals Will Inform Our Future With Robots

Always worthwhile to listen to robot ethicist Kate Darling (who, fun fact, happens to come from the same village as I). In this interview, she explains how we can (and should) learn from how we interact with animals in order to find appropriate ways of interacting with robots. Because if we don’t, «we might be in for a rude awakening». Read it now.

From Weekly Filet #342, in April 2021.

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