What future The year's best ideas to reclaim, reanimate & reinvent our future

Book - 2017

"... The pieces we've brought together here in What Future are some of the best, most interesting, and most prophetic essays and articles we've found about the future : what it might look like, how we might think about it, and what it might mean. We limited our selection to work published in 2016, with a few exceptions, and tried to balance the mix to address some of the most salient issues we see facing human civilization and American culture over the short-to-middle-term horizon...."--page 13.

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  • Introduction
  • Our generation ships will sink /
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
  • My life on (simulated) Mars /
  • Sheyna Gifford
  • Genetic engineering to clash with evolution /
  • Brooke Borel
  • The virtual world in a real body /
  • Michael W. Clune
  • The neurologist who hacked his brain
  • and almost lost his mind /
  • Daniel Engber
  • Our automated future /
  • Elizabeth Kolbert
  • Let them drink blood /
  • A.M. Gittlitz
  • Black Americans and encryption : the stakes are higher than Apple v. FBI /
  • Malkia Cyril
  • Policing the future : in the aftermath of Ferguson, St. Louis Cops embrace crime-predicting software /
  • Maurice Chammah
  • Donald Trump ushers in the anti-future age /
  • Hal Niedzviecki
  • The battle for the great apes : inside the fight for non-human rights /
  • George Johnson
  • One Swede will kill cash forever
  • unless his foe saves it from extinction /
  • Mallory Pickett
  • The one-armed robot that will look after me until I die /
  • Geoff Watts
  • Selfless devotion /
  • Janna Avner
  • What would self-driving cars mean for women in Saudi Arabia /
  • Sarah Aziza
  • Fear of feminist future /
  • Laurie Penny
  • The disturbing science behind subconscious gender bias /
  • Shoshana Kordova
  • Recalculating the climate math /
  • Bill McKibben
  • The future consumed : the curse of consumption will save the world, if consumers don't eat it first /
  • David Biello
  • Can wind and solar fuel Africa's future ? /
  • Erica Gies
  • Anthropocene city : Houston as hyperobject (or, when the next hurricane hits Texas) /
  • Roy Scranton
  • Haunting in the anthropocene : an initial exploration /
  • Jeff VanderMeer.
Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Introducing this vital collection of forward-looking writing published in 2016, editors Bosch and Scranton (Fire and Forget) pull no punches: "The future is already here," they write, "and it's confusing as hell." They've gathered together a solid collection of writers—Elizabeth Kolbert, Bill McKibben, and Laurie Penny, among others—to explore "what the future means as an idea" and how to come to terms with it. Formats range from short fiction to long investigative essays, and subjects include virtual reality, global warming, and "crime-predicting software." Sarah Aziza investigates what self-driving cars would mean for women in Saudi Arabia, while Jeff VanderMeer looks at how "weird fiction" can make reality more understandable. Though a few pieces aren't as polished as one might expect given their authors' reputations, such as Kim Stanley Robinson's choppy essay "Our Generation Ships Will Sink," about space travel, their ideas they express and the explorations they undertake will endure. Indeed, Scranton's essay "Anthropocene City," subtitled "When the Next Hurricane Hits Texas," has already taken on the ring of prophecy thanks to Hurricane Harvey. The overall tone is worried but optimistic. Don't look for utopian fantasies here—look for topical, intelligent projections of a realistically better future. (Nov.) Copyright 2017 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

One of The Smithsonian Magazine's Best Science Books of the YearThe future is here and, frankly, it sucks. Without doubt, our culture is at a crossroads. Political strife and economic crises are byproducts of a larger looming challenge, one in which we will have to ask ourselves what constitutes a meaningful life. We must do the hard work of imagining a different kind of reality for ourselves. It's work that anticipates the worst but sees hope on the other side of catastrophe, or at least possibility; that presumes disaster and says, now what?A best-of-the-year anthology, What Future is a collection of long-form journalism and essays published in 2016 that address a wide range of topics crucial to our future, from the environmental and political, to human health and animal rights, to technology and the economy. What Future includes writing from authors Elizabeth Kolbert, Jeff Vandermeer, Bill McKibben, Kim Stanley Robinson, as well as the scientists, journalists, and philosophers who are proposing the options that lay not just ahead, but beyond, in prestigious magazines and journals such as The Atlantic and The New Yorker.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

An anthology of writing that looks at the interplay between technology and our environment to imagine the future and feature the innovators creating the future