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Season One

Season One of the show lived at Gizmodo, and was called Meanwhile in the Future. You can see all the episodes here. Go ahead, binge listen!

If you want to pick and chose, here’s a little summary of each episode.

Episode 1. A Womb Away From Home: What happens when women no longer have to physically bear children? Who wins? Who loses? Who takes artificial wombs to a far away planet to create a colony of super-beings?

Episode 2. The Moon is a Harsh Second Mistress: What would happen if the Earth suddenly had a second moon? This week, we work through the impact an additional satellite would have on our planet, from tides, to the night sky, to the potential destruction of Earth. Oh also there are space pirates.

Episode 3. Forcing the Hand: What if Earth had a robotic overlord who decided to ban all weapons? All fights would have to be hand to hand. Would there be less death that way? Less casualties? What counts as a weapon anyway?

Episode 4. The Most Dangerous Game: What would it take to create a future in which the most dangerous sports die out? What are those sports to begin with? What does a world without football look like?

Episode 5. Revenge of the Germs: Over the past 85 years, antibiotics have been miracle drugs. They’ve kept infections at bay and opened up a world of medical possibilities: organ transplants, heart surgery, chemotherapy. But they’re not going to work forever. The age antibiotic resistance is coming. So what does a world without these drugs look like?

Episode 6. Sleepless: If there was a drug that meant you never had to sleep again, would you take it? Would those who didn’t need to sleep have special advantages over those who did?

Episode 7: The Day the Internet Broke: If you’re reading this, you have access to the Internet. But what would happen if the Internet suddenly went away? And what would it take to make that happen?

Episode 8: The Supernova Next Door: We often think of stars as twinkling, harmless little points of light that fill our night sky with majesty. But stars can be dangerous too. When they come to the end of their lifespan, some stars explode fantastically as supernovae. So what would happen if one of those giant explosions happened nearby?

Episode 9: The Bodybuilders: We all want to be our best selves. But what if you could add almost anything to your body and mind? A camera here, an exoskeleton there. This is the world that some biohackers imagine—one in which humans can extend their abilities beyond the limits biology has set for us. But what does that world look like?

Episode 10: Grounded: Need to get from New York to Paris? Or San Diego? Chances are, you’re hopping on a plane. But commercial flights aren’t just annoying and expensive — they also input a ton of carbon into the environment, contributing to climate change. So what if we stopped flights to save the planet? What would happen next?

Episode 11. Winded: What would happen if a company put up so many wind turbines that they actually changed the climate on Earth? I know this sounds totally crazy, but I swear to you this is something that scientists have actually looked into. So naturally, I talked to one of those scientists.

Episode 12. Face to Face: Your face is one of your most valuable possessions. But what happens when facial recognition is so good that any company can grab an image of your face while you’re walking down the street, and link it to everything from your social media profiles, to your credit score, to your workplace?

Episode 13. Sunward Bound: If the Earth, somehow, stopped circling around the sun, it would have exactly 64 1/2 days before it crashed into the fireball at the center of our solar system. Here’s what would happen during those last 64 1/2 days.

Episode 14. Eternal Life in Prison: What if “life in prison” could mean 100 or 200 or 400 years? Does that change the way that sentences are dolled out? What happens when a person gets out of prison?

Episode 15. A Drone of One’s Own: What does the world look like when everybody with a smartphone also has a drone?

Episode 16. Caged: What would happen if humans give up on saving species where they live and instead put them in armored zoos?

Episode 17. The Empathy Machine: When you were a kid and stole your friends’ toys, your parent probably asked you this angry hypothetical: “How do you think that made them feel?” But what if you actually could feel what another person is feeling? This week, we travel to a future where humans have invented an empathy machine.

Episode 18. Greetings: Humans spend a lot of time and energy wondering if there’s anybody else out there. But what if we got unequivocal evidence that there was? In this week’s future, a probe that is extremely similar to the Voyager probes that we sent out in the 1970’s shows up in our galaxy.

Episode 19. Unseen: Humans have long dreamed of what it would be like to be able to disappear, vanish in thin air, move about undetected. But what if scientists actually invented an invisibility cloak? What would people use it for, and how would lawmakers and the public react?

Episode 20. The Climate Gene: There’s a lot we could do to curb climate change  — reduce our driving, eat different foods and stop taking so many flights. But what if instead we decided to alter our genes to make climate change prevention easier?

Episode 21. Bye Bye Binary: Today’s world is struggling to understand gender, when it matters, when it doesn’t, and what the rules are. But what if we lived in a future where gender was simply irrelevant. A world where the line between man and woman becomes insignificant and the distinction is abolished altogether.

Episode 22. Crossing: Every time you go from one country to the next, you cross a border. And that usually means dealing with some kind of border agency that enforces each country’s idiosyncratic rules and regulations. But what if the whole process were standardized and run by a single organization?

Episode 23: Reputationville: What would it be like if we lived in a world where everything you do is subject to a rating doled out by a combination of machines and other people? Other drivers can rate and review your road etiquette. Your coworkers can review your work and your personality. Your teammates can review your performance on the soccer field. Your partners can review your, ahem, performance.