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2.10 Making music with machines

From the moment a composer writes the first note, to the moment that note resonates in your earbuds, music creation and consumption are now thoroughly digital. But with so much user-friendly music software out there, how is music itself evolving? Meet musicians and engineers on the cutting edge of music creation, from the electronic dance music world to Google's AI labs. 

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2.09 Tomorrow, Today with Ministry of ideas

When we picture the future, we're drawing partly on a commercial, Western-centric vision created for big international expositions such as the New York World's Fair of 1939. But as Ministry of Ideas explains in this crossover episode, the fairs included unexpected corners of resistance to this vision.

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2.08 Sci-fi that takes science seriously

For the last year and a half, I’ve been part of a project to revive "hard" science fiction that respects the rules of science. This episode is all about Twelve Tomorrows—the new anthology of hard sci-fi stories I edited for MIT—and why it pays to keep it real.

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2.07 the future is clear

What’s ubiquitous but invisible, versatile yet temperamental, goopy when it’s hot and brittle when it’s cold, as old as civilization yet as new as the screen on your smartphone? The answer is glass. This week on Soonish, we ask what glass really is, and we look at how it will fit into our world in the future.

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2.06 Looking virtual reality in the eye

A groundbreaking virtual reality exhibit called "The Enemy" explores the psychology of war—and drives home the new medium's power of persuasion. If VR is an empathy machine, could it also become a propaganda machine?

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2.05 A space shuttle isn't cool. you know what's cool? a Space Elevator (soonish on Soonish)

This week Soonish, the podcast, is all about Soonish, the book! It's Kelly and Zach Weinersmith's hilarious and informative look at "ten technologies that'll improve and/or ruin everything."

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2.04: back to the futurists with Tamar Avishai

In this special crossover episode, Tamar Avishai of The Lonely Palette explores Italian Futurism, the art world's first serious (and seriously wacky) attempt to deal with modernity and technology.

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2.03: Mapping the future with Tim o'reilly

A new book from Silicon Valley's master trend spotter argues that we need to understand the driving algorithms behind  "WTF technologies" before they wreck our economy.

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2.02: introducing Hub & SPoke

Big news! Soonish has joined Hub & Spoke, a new Boston-centric collective of smart, idea-driven podcasts. In this episode, hear "The Shape of History," the pilot from our fellow founding show Ministry of Ideas.

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2.01: Shadows of August: The Eclipse Road Trip Edition

Our unfinished arguments about the past make it harder to come together to think about the future. Can a stunning natural event like a total solar eclipse help unify us?

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1.10: Washington, We have a problem

Journalist and biographer Walter Isaacson thinks democracy in the US is protected by a "constitutional gyroscope." If that's true, Donald Trump is doing his best to break it. 

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1.09: A tale of two bridges

Can a city's history crowd out its future? We ask how Boston's ultra-modern Zakim Bridge got built, and why officials are spending more than twice as much to restore (rather than replace) the much older Longfellow Bridge. 

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1.08: Hacking time

Why do our so many of our productivity tools, like email, to-do lists, and calendars, make us want to run and hide? This week we look at technologies for managing our personal futures, and why it's conceivable that less is more.

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1.07: Astropreneurs

When humans return to the moon, will they be government-employed astronauts, or private citizens? This week we explore the #newspace boom—the veritable meteor shower of startups working to develop space for economic gain.

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1.06: origin story

Hear how Carl Sagan and extraterrestrials helped to kickstart my science journalism career, how the Challenger disaster woke me up to technology’s double-edged nature, and how the New York World’s Fair of 1939 got me thinking about the world of the future.

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1.05: meat without the moo

Livestock farming can't meet the protein needs of a burgeoning world population. Meet entrepreneurs and researchers developing alternatives, including lab techniques for growing cultured meat, and better ways to farm insects.

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1.04: Future factories, with workers built in

A cultural and technological revolution sweeping the United States promises to redefine manufacturing, make it drastically more accessible, and create a ladder to new kinds of jobs.

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1.03: can technology save museums?

Attendance at art museums is in steep decline. Meet curators and educators who are helping museums in Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Boston use technology to re-engage with visitors.

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1.02: Monorails: Trains of Tomorrow?

Since the 1950s, monorails have been emblems of the future. And today they're being built everywhere in the world—except the United States. Soonish visited Seattle to find out why.

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1.01: How "2001" Got the future so wrong

In their quest for plausibility, Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke sweated every detail of 2001: A Space Odyssey. We ask why so few of the movie's predictions came true.

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I'm Wade Roush, a technology journalist and audio producer based in Boston. Welcome to Soonish—a podcast where we learn how to navigate the future, together.

Wade Roush

Why does the present look and feel so different from the past? How do we know the future will be different from the present? The answer is technology, which keeps giving us new ways to work, build, and live.

But a lot of people seem to think technological change is just something that happens to them. They see new inventions like social media or Siri or self-driving cars coming into their lives, and they feel they have no power to alter their course.

I don't believe that's true. When we understand where tech ideas really come from—and how we adopt them, or abandon them—we can see that we each have a real say in how technology spreads. And then we can be a little more intentional about the kind of future we’re building. That's what the show is about.