How do we think and talk about the future? Why is it so hard to predict? What can we really do to shape it?
Soonish brings you stories about real people inventing and using the emerging technologies that will reshape our world.
The future is never easy to forecast, especially in a time of climate volatility, festering economic unease, and dramatic political upheavals around the world.
But the one thing we can predict is that technology will continue to advance. Since the 18th century, we've been through three or four distinct industrial revolutions. And they're called revolutions for a reason. In the modern era, technology has been by far the biggest force disrupting, reshaping, and improving people's lives.
We can't be sure which advances will define the 21st century. Artificial intelligence? Gene editing? Biowarfare? Geoengineering? Who knows. But it's only through storytelling, conversation, and thoughtful decision-making that we'll be able to steer innovation toward desirable outcomes—and away from catastrophic ones.
Each episode of Soonish explores a niche of our culture or our economy where technological advances are changing our lives in tangible ways, or forcing us to make important decisions as citizens, consumers, or voters.
In the first season you'll hear shows about
- what happens when movie directors try to get the future right, but fail
- why monorails are a neglected but still promising form of urban transit
- how technology can improve the museum-going experience
- how entrepreneurs are working to create skilled factory jobs in an age of automation
- who's working to develop and market substitutes for meat from vertebrates
- why the next phase of space exploration is being led by private companies
- how technology tools can and can't help us manage our personal futures
- why it can be hard for cities with lots of history to plan for tomorrow
- how a lesson from the Apollo 13 moon mission helps us understand Donald Trump
and much more!
how to Be part of it
You can follow posts from Soonish on Twitter and Facebook, and we can always use your help spreading the word about the show on social media—or just by telling a friend. Word of mouth is the most powerful way to get a new show like Soonish off the ground!
If you like the show, please rate and review it at Apple Podcasts. Apple ranks shows based partly on user ratings and reviews, so this is one of the most important things you can do to help us reach more listeners. Here's a helpful article on how to post a podcast review.
You can also sign up for the Soonish e-mail newsletter, which goes out twice a month and includes news about the show and reminders about new episodes.
Your comments on past shows and suggestions for new ones are always welcome! Please get in touch.
The most direct and substantive way to help Soonish grow is to set up a per-episode pledge at Patreon. Every dollar raised at Patreon means I'm one step closer to making Soonish my full-time job!
At the Future Force Hall of Fame you can check out the list of supporters who helped me reach my initial goal of $250 in pledges per episode. I couldn't be more grateful to this stellar group. Now, on to $500 per episode!
What people are saying about Soonish
Wade’s storytelling is so precise and thoughtful that you can just tell the guy has a PhD from MIT. I love his ambitious approach to the show, which is remarkably produced by a team of one. It truly feels like he’s on an epic quest to discover the future and I’m along for the ride. You will literally be smarter just by listening!—Alex Braunstein, Community Manager, PRX Podcast Garage, Five Local Podcasts To Try for #Trypod
I listened to all your episodes so far over the past few days and I just finished "Meat Without the Moo." I'm so impressed! The stories you're telling are fascinating, production quality is super high and I find the optimistic tone extremely refreshing.—Daniel Imrie-Situnayake, founder and CEO, Tiny Farms
Wow! This is like an NPR show. It's like This American Life, except I'm not depressed at the end of it. —Chris Revill, @letschatpodcast
Wade Roush is on to something really big in this podcast. The juxtaposition of what we imagine the future to be and the reality makes for a wide-reaching, limitlessly fascinating kind of storytelling. It's intelligent, well-produced, and a quirky blend of intellect and pop culture that lends itself of a really diverse audience.—Faceupandsing, a reviewer at the Apple iTunes Store
Awesome podcast about tech and the soonish future—@TechCompassion
Discover Soonish—a transporting podcast program about the future, created by @MITPSTS alum @wroush—@MIT_SHASS
Soonish is a terrific combination of great science knowledge, well edited interviews with engaging subjects, and great sound design. Not at all surprising given Wade's journalism background but all the more delightful because of his obvious passion for the subject and the medium.—Badger08, a reviewer at the Apple iTunes Store
@soonishpodcast Love your work - so looking forward to new episodes. A great recommendation from @RadioPublic!—@bmason
What's better, the joy of conversation with @wroush, or being a part of this great episode? Why not both?—@thelonelypalette
Fascinating episode on advanced manufacturing, jobs, and America's place in the world.—@gthuang
Ordinarily, shows about the future of factories involve drone delivery services and a spike in unemployment. This episode addresses the positive potentials of reimagining manufacturing—a world in which skilled workers create customized products using high-tech tools that are increasingly available to the average individual. In short, robotizing the assembly line could actually be a good thing.—Bello Collective #28, February 27, 2017
Fair Observer—In July 2017 this multimedia journal of global news and commentary republished Episode 1.09, A Tale of Two Bridges.
Let's Chat with Chris Revill and Friends—Wade was the guest on the April 4, 2017 edition of this talk show hosted by Providence, RI-based podcaster Chris Revill. The conversation stretched from space to AI to the business of podcasting and newspaper journalism.
What's Gimlet co-founder Matt Lieber listening to?—My own future-themed podcast playlist, News from the Future, is one of five lists featured this week by RadioPublic, makers of a great new app for finding and following podcasts. More details here.
Lowenstein's Lens on Wireless—Mark Lowenstein of the consulting firm Mobile Ecosystem plugged Soonish in a February 2017 issue of his newsletter. He called me "one of the foremost science/tech journalists, and a true thought leader." Geez, thanks Mark!
For more info
If you'd like to write about the show or help spread the word, check out the Soonish Swipe File. It's a public document on Google Drive containing relevant links, logos, social media handles, and some pre-written copy that you are welcome to adapt and share.
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