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WSJ’s The Future of Everything
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WSJ’s The Future of Everything

Author: The Wall Street Journal

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What will the future look like? The Future of Everything offers a kaleidoscope view of the nascent trends that will shape our world. In every episode, join our award-winning team on a new journey of discovery. We’ll take you beyond what’s already out there, and make you smarter about the scientific and technological breakthroughs on the horizon that could transform our lives for the better.

108 Episodes
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When the game clock starts, football players aren’t just heading out with their pads and a game plan. Technology like helmet sensors that track the hits players take are becoming more common, especially for young players. They’re being used to figure out when a player might be at risk for a concussion or another brain injury. The data collected is helping researchers and doctors learn more about what happens to the brain over time. But could these innovations and research shape how we play football? Further reading:  Tua Tagovailoa Is in the NFL’s Concussion Protocols Again - WSJ  Severity, Not Frequency, Sets Football Injuries Apart - WSJ  NFL and Nike Court a New Football Market: Girls - WSJ  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Computer algorithms and artificial intelligence increasingly affect more and more of our lives, from the content we’re shown online, to the music we enjoy, to how our household appliances work. But the results these algorithms produce may be changing our world in ways users may not fully understand. WSJ’s Danny Lewis speaks with psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer, director of the Harding Center for Risk Literacy at the University of Potsdam. He’s spent decades studying how people make choices and find patterns when faced with uncertainty, and has some ideas about how to navigate and improve the relationship between AI and our society. Further reading: The Backstory of ChatGPT Creator OpenAI  New York City Delays Enforcement of AI Bias Law  How AI That Powers Chatbots and Search Queries Could Discover New Drugs  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Our clothes are in need of a refresh, but not in the way you might think. With each wash, everything from sweaters to socks are releasing tiny, microscopic fibers into our water. Almost 35% of the primary microplastics in oceans right now come from laundry, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  From filters in our washing machines to new materials for our clothes, alternatives are in the works to stop microplastics from coming off our clothes. But will it be enough? WSJ’s Alex Ossola and Ariana Aspuru speak about the steps researchers and companies are taking to solve the problem of microplastics in our wash. Further reading:  The Tiny Plastics in Your Clothes Are Becoming a Big Problem - WSJ   Ocean Garbage Patches Have a Microscopic Problem - WSJ  Fashion Firms Look to Single-Fiber Clothes as EU Recycling Regulations Loom - WSJ  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
From paper maps to smartphone apps, the way people navigate the world has changed tremendously due to the rise of the internet. Google Maps is the fourth most popular mobile app in the U.S. by unique visitors, according to Comscore. That makes it more popular than Instagram, Tiktok and Spotify or its closest competitor, Apple Maps. Christopher Phillips, who runs Google’s Geo team and oversees Google Maps, speaks with WSJ’s Danny Lewis about how his company is thinking about the role maps play in bringing more information to our fingertips. Further reading: WSJ: The Future of Transportation  Google Combines Maps and Waze Teams Amid Pressure to Cut Costs  Google Reaches $391.5 Million Settlement With States Over Location Tracking Practices  Slow Self-Driving Car Progress Tests Investors’ Patience  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
This past summer, many parts of the world suffered from some of the worst drought conditions in decades. In an effort to create more rain, the government of China turned once again to cloud seeding, a controversial technique that aims to target precipitation in key areas. WSJ’s Alex Ossola talks to Dr. Katja Friedrich, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Colorado Boulder, about the advantages and disadvantages of using cloud seeding to get more water where it is needed.  Further reading:  China Extends Power Curbs Amid Heat Wave, Drought  China, Thirsty and Craving Rain, Lines Clouds With Silver Bullets  When the U.S. Tried to Control Hurricanes  Indonesian Snapshot: The Rainmakers of Riau  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Thanksgiving often centers around a meal: turkey, sides and a lot of desserts. This year, many Thanksgiving staples are more expensive due to inflation; in the future, many of those staples will cost even more due to the effects of climate change. WSJ’s Alex Ossola looks into how environmental conditions, alongside technological advances, will change what makes its way to our Thanksgiving tables, and how our individual choices may spark new traditions.  Further reading:  The Trouble With Butter: Tight Dairy Supplies Send Prices Surging Ahead of Baking Season  Record Turkey Prices Are Coming for Thanksgiving  Lab-Grown Poultry Clears First Hurdle at FDA  Sean Sherman’s 2018 op-ed in Time  The Essential Thanksgiving Playbook  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
World leaders are still trying to figure out how to handle the hundreds of millions of tons of plastic waste generated every year. Back in the 1990s, it was tough to switch on the TV and not see ads or shows offering viewers a simple solution: to reduce, reuse, and recycle plastics. Nice words, but it turns out that wasn’t enough to solve the problem. New high tech methods have shown promise in breaking down plastics or creating new ones that are easier to recycle. But they’re expensive alternatives. Will the economics work out? WSJ’s Danny Lewis sorts through the future of plastics recycling. Would you pay more for plastic products designed to be easily recycled? Email us at foepodcast@wsj.com  Further reading:  U.S. Recycles 5% of Plastic Waste, Studies Show  The 100% Recyclable Running Shoe That’s Only Available by Subscription  ‘Widely Recyclable’ Label Introduced to Plastic Packaging  Soda Brands Are About to Get Possessive of Their Trash  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Cells are the basic unit of life, but you could be forgiven if you stopped thinking about them after high school biology. In his newest book, “The Song of the Cell,” physician and author Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee explores the myriad ways the humble cell is key to our world and our biology. He speaks to WSJ’s Alex Ossola about how our understanding of the cell is opening up a new frontier in medicine, how it is helping create new treatments for difficult diseases like cancer, and how it could one day help fix or even enhance our bodies.  What’s something you’re curious about that could shape the future? Email us at foepodcast@wsj.com    Further reading:  Book Review: The Emperor of All Maladies  Peeking Into Pandora’s Box  Publisher Tweaks ‘Gene’ Book After New Yorker Article Uproar  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the future, you might leave your doctor’s office with a prescription for a pig whose DNA has been modified to match your own. Scientists are already working on genetically engineering pigs to help predict the progression of a disease, or serve as an organ donor for those who need a transplant. But could pigs one day become keys to truly personalized medicine? WSJ’s Danny Lewis explores the promise and potential pitfalls of using animals to help human health. What’s something you’re curious about that could shape the future? Email us at foepodcast@wsj.com  Further reading: Growing a New Type of Organ Donor  Scientists to Study Pig-Organ Transplants in Brain-Dead People for Longer Periods   Scientists Transplant Human Tissue into Rat Brains, Opening Door to New Research  The Human Genome “Rosetta Stone” and The Future of Health  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Microchips are in pretty much all of our electronic devices—if it’s got a plug or a battery, it’s probably got a chip. For the past 60 years, most of these have been made of silicon. But new devices demand faster, better, and more efficient processors, and engineers are hitting silicon’s physical limits. In this episode of the Future of Everything, WSJ’s Alex Ossola digs into the future of chips—how scientists are boosting silicon’s capabilities and looking for other materials that could take its place. Further reading:  Graphene and Beyond: The Wonder Materials That Could Replace Silicon in Future Tech  The Microchip Era Is Giving Way to the Megachip Age  Chips Act Will Create More Than One Million Jobs, Biden Says Timeline of silicon’s development (Computer History Museum)  Christopher Mims’ tech column for the Wall Street Journal  Deji Akinwande's research page at the University of Texas at Austin  Stephen Forrest's profile page at the University of Michigan  Deep Jariwala's lab page the the University of Pennsylvania Wolfspeed's website  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
From “save the whales” to “protect the bumblebee,” animal conservationists rally advocates and officials to put resources toward ensuring the survival of a threatened species. But can we really save them all? Or are we overlooking the trade-offs as we decide which animals are protected to the detriment of others? WSJ’s Danny Lewis speaks to Dr. Rebecca Nesbit, ecologist and author of the book “Tickets for The Ark: From Wasps to Whales – How Do We Choose What to Save?” about the tricky ethical questions behind conservation.   Further Reading: A Belgian City Opens a Hotel for an Unusual Clientele: Insects | WSJ  Are Shark Attacks a Sign of Conservation Success? | WSJ  Bird Populations Plummet in North America | WSJ  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
With climate change warming the oceans, coral reefs remain some of the most vulnerable ecosystems. Keeping an eye on them can be time-consuming and expensive, since it requires divers to do spot-checks to see if the reefs are bustling, lively environments or if they are degrading into abandoned neighborhoods. But some researchers are increasingly tuning in to how reefs sound to monitor the corals’ health and maybe even make them more resilient. In this episode of The Future of Everything, WSJ’s Danny Lewis explores how listening to reefs may be the next frontier in trying to save them.   Further reading: Financing a Healthy Future for Coral Reefs  Listen: Scientists Are Recording Ocean Sounds to Spot New Species  Divers Discover Coral Reef in Pristine Condition  Google AI Tries to Save the Whales  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Three controversial paintings by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt were lost to a fire in WWII. All that remained were black and white photos - and art historians have discussed what the paintings’ motifs and colors actually looked like for decades. Recently, the Google Arts and Culture Lab gave it a try ... by tapping into artificial intelligence. In this episode of the Future of Everything, WSJ's Ariana Aspuru explores how researchers are using AI to better understand art, artists and the creative process.   Further reading: The Klimt Color Enigma — Google Arts & Culture  ‘Klimt vs. Klimt: The Man of Contradictions’ Review: Exploring an Art-Nouveau Master Online - WSJ   Using AI to recreate how artists painted their masterpieces | MIT CSAIL  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
In the decade since CRISPR gene-editing technology was first developed, it has been used to address a host of issues, such as developing new cancer treatments, designing faster rapid COVID-19 tests and to make biofuel-producing algae. Proponents say CRISPR could also help solve some of the world’s biggest food-related problems: salad greens could be more nutritious, fruits could taste better, and crops of all kinds could be altered to grow using fewer resources. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently gave the go-ahead to bring gene-edited beef to market, and CRISPR-modified purple tomatoes could be coming later this year. But agricultural technology companies still have to figure out how to overcome consumer skepticism. In this session from the WSJ Global Food Forum, leaders from two firms working to scale-up gene-edited foods discuss what it takes to get the new technology out of the lab and into supermarkets. Further reading:   Get Ready for Gene-Edited Food  GMO Tomatoes Could Be Returning After 25 Years. Will People Eat Them?  Crispr’s Next Frontier: Treating Common Conditions  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Neri Oxman spends her time thinking about the future of materials science and how it should influence architecture and design. In this session from the Future of Everything Festival, the architect and former tenured professor at MIT’s Media Lab speaks with WSJ Health and Science coverage chief Stefanie Ilgenfritz about her vision of a future where science, technology and organic design work together to create products and buildings that may counteract climate change in urban areas.  Further reading: A Science of Buildings That Can Grow—and Melt Away | WSJ  JPMorgan’s New Manhattan Headquarters to Be All Electric Powered | WSJ  Biophilic Design Is Helping Big-City Apartment Towers Get Back to Nature | WSJ  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Welcoming a child into your family can be life changing, but for those struggling to get pregnant the process can be emotionally taxing and expensive. Reproductive science is quickly changing, as is society’s approach to the issues around fertility. In this episode, we bring you a conversation from the WSJ Future of Everything Festival, where a handful of medical practitioners and reproductive entrepreneurs discussed the future of fertility with WSJ’s Amy Dockser Marcus. Guests include: sociologist Rene Almeling, Stephen Krawetz, the Associate Director of the CS Mott Center for Human Growth and Development, Daisy Robinton, the CEO of Oviva Therapeutics and Angela Stepancic, the founder of Reproductive Village Cryobank. This conversation was recorded before the Supreme Court’s decision overturning Roe v. Wade. Useful Links: See more videos from The WSJ Future of Everything Festival   GUYnecology: The Missing Science of Men’s Reproductive Health  Krawetz Lab at the C.S. Mott Center for Human Growth and Development Oviva Therapeutics  Reproductive Village Cryobank  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Also: GM shares rise 1.4% after automaker says profits won’t be affected by computer-chip supply shortages. Kohl’s shares fall 19.6% after calling off its sale to Franchise Group. J.R. Whalen reports. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
For decades, a virtual reality version of the internet has been a staple of science fiction. The metaverse is the latest iteration and it has the potential to become something more than a new gaming platform. But years before Facebook changed its name to Meta and launched huge investments into the space, Philip Rosedale was experiment ing with many of these same ideas in the virtual world he helped create: Second Life. In a conversation with Wall Street Journal reporter Christopher Mims during the WSJ Future of Everything Festival, Rosedale shared his vision for a metaverse where data privacy is more important than advertising, and our online and offline lives intersect in a healthier way. Further reading:   From the Wall Street Journal: Meta-morphosis or More Pain? Possible Futures for Facebook’s Parent Company | Christopher Mims Second Life Founder Returns to Take On the Metaverse | Meghan Bobrowsky The Facebook Files | WSJ Investigations How TikTok's Algorithm Figures Out Your Deepest Desires | WSJ Investigations Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
Every year, even as millions struggle with food insecurity, about a third of all the food produced for humans in the world is thrown away, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization. That not only means wasting water and energy resources. The food, rotting in landfills, also emits methane gas linked to climate change. Attorney Emily Broad Leib, the director and founder of the Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic, has dedicated her career to researching ways to end food waste. In this episode, she explains why food waste is such an issue around the world, how laws and regulations inadvertently lead to more food being wasted, and the simple changes to food labeling she says will make for a less wasteful future. Further Reading:  The Harvard Law School Food Law and Policy Clinic  Recent WSJ Food Coverage:  Sustainable Chocolate Made Without Cacao | Mary Holland  How to Read a Food Label: A Healthy Skeptic’s Guide to the Buzzwords | Elizabeth G. Dunn  Emily Broad Leib’s recommended reading:  Waste Free Kitchen Handbook: A Guide to Eating Well and Saving Money By Wasting Less Food | Dana Gunders  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
The pandemic has changed the way we work and where we work. Now, as companies try to coax their employees back to the office, they are encountering new demands and shifting expectations. In this episode, we bring you a conversation from WSJ’s CEO Council Summit between world-renowned designer Thomas Heatherwick, who has spearheaded huge office complexes including Google’s new Charleston East headquarters in California, and London Business School professor Lynda Gratton, who studies how people and organizations interact. They detail why office spaces must be flexible, but also encourage “serendipity” to facilitate vibrant and productive work. 2022 WSJ CEO Council  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices
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Comments (42)

far mina

✨️

Sep 9th
Reply

Reba

I appreciate the points made here about the loan system that is creating this debt but I feel we are missing the root cause....the price of college. Until universities are held accountable for their fees, finding ways to give them more money (aka the government taking on more debt to fund college tuition) isn't solving the problem. We should be examining the details of why colleges feel they can charge what they do? Has our loan system caused it? How about their ballooning administration's and campus build outs?

Sep 17th
Reply

km

A bit short-sighted re:AI. 😔

Aug 1st
Reply

negin shayesteh

what is the song played at the end called?

Jun 3rd
Reply

Old man

one of these women sounds like she's on a treadmill while she's talking. Out of breath and all hyped up

Dec 12th
Reply

Old man

Angie is a horrible and narrow minded person. Why would I do that? To avoid cruelty and murder of a sentient creature, and to help combat climate change Maybe?

Dec 7th
Reply

Abdullah ÖZDEMİR

good

Aug 5th
Reply

ForexTraderNYC

informative easy 2 understand cast..

Aug 3rd
Reply

C Mi

Can these technologies be implemented into police uniforms ? To protect law enforcement from making mistakes?

Jun 5th
Reply

Meditative Potato

Unsubscribing. Ridiculously shallow and biased, no moral concerns at all about using sentient beings as vessels for human spare parts. They are not your slaves, they are individuals! What makes you think your life is worth more than theirs? At least some debate could have been carried around the bioethical side of the matter. Instead, they presented it as a marvel, above any questions. I couldn't expect more from WSJ, which gladly cheers behind ruthless and exploitative capitalism, what's left for "inferior beings", right? Long live the all Christian and compassionate american way of life!

Oct 23rd
Reply (1)

boson96

Nothing works. This channel is broken.

Jul 22nd
Reply (1)

Cam

I usually enjoy this podcast, but haven't found this episode or the last few very engaging.

Jun 11th
Reply

Matt Meshbane

not able to play anything on your channel, WSJ. Fix your shit.

Jun 7th
Reply

Dagad Miner

where has this episode gone?

Jun 2nd
Reply

CJ

Just use QR codes and problem is solved for retailers. No need to POS devices. The US needs to get with it

Apr 20th
Reply

Sam Carroll

NONE of these episodes are downloading. I've been trying for several weeks. I'm on Android, using the Castbox app. No problems with any other podcasts -- just this one.

Apr 10th
Reply (2)

Yunjing Luo

Repeat episode. Love the channel, but the new episodes have been released way too SLOW.

Mar 30th
Reply

Cam

Repeat episode.

Mar 29th
Reply

Tin Mann

i dont like these kind of stories! No injuries 4 u.s. solders! we have the CAP. to wipeout all of bad people without losing troops!

Mar 15th
Reply

Michael Parke

So SJP wants diversity in the workplace but only hires women?

Feb 15th
Reply
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