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The World Ahead from The Economist podcast

The World Ahead from The Economist

This future-gazing series examines an assortment of speculative scenarios, what-if conjectures and provocative prophecies. Not all of them will come to pass, but thinking about possible futures can help us understand the present, and catch glimpses of the world ahead.

This future-gazing series examines an assortment of speculative scenarios, what-if conjectures and provocative prophecies. Not all of them will come to pass, but thinking about possible futures can help us understand the present, and catch glimpses of the world ahead.

 

#37

The World Ahead: Let food be your medicine

As scientists learn more about the gut microbiome, [what role could personalised nutrition play in the future of health care] (https://www.economist.com/what-if/2021/07/03/what-if-everyones-nutrition-was-personalised?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) ? We imagine a scenario where [biohackers injected themselves with mRNA] (https://www.economist.com/what-if/2021/07/03/what-if-biohackers-injected-themselves-with-mrna?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) , the technology used in some coronavirus vaccines. And, [could an artificial intelligence ever win the Nobel prize for medicine] (https://www.economist.com/what-if/2021/07/03/what-if-an-ai-wins-the-nobel-prize-for-medicine?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) ? Tom Standage hosts. Subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

26 Jul 2021

26 MINS

26:59

26 Jul 2021


#36

The World Ahead: The heat is on

As heat waves become more frequent and deadly around the world, we consider how [two cities in India might weather a deadly one in 2041] (https://www.economist.com/what-if/2021/07/03/what-if-a-deadly-heat-wave-hit-india?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) . Kim Stanley Robinson, science-fiction writer and author of “The Ministry for the Future”, tells us how heat waves could spur humanity’s response to climate change. And we imagine a future in which [dementia is preventable and treatable] (https://www.economist.com/what-if/2021/07/03/what-if-dementia-was-preventable-and-treatable?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) . How might that come about? Tom Standage hosts Subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

28 Jun 2021

26 MINS

26:27

28 Jun 2021


#35

The World Ahead: Preparing for the next catastrophe

The coronavirus pandemic took the world by surprise. But experts had been predicting something similar for decades. Which [other threats] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-ahead/2020/11/16/the-pandemic-showed-up-humanitys-vulnerability?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) deserve more attention—from solar flares and rogue AI to antibiotic resistance? And how has the pandemic affected efforts to [prepare for them] (https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/06/25/politicians-ignore-far-out-risks-they-need-to-up-their-game?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) ? Also, the mission to crash a space probe into an asteroid, and how it could help protect the Earth in future. Tom Standage hosts. Subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

31 May 2021

25 MINS

25:58

31 May 2021


#34

The World Ahead: Government via Siri

Governments’ efforts to move their services and operations online have been accelerated by the pandemic. Host Tom Standage finds out which countries are leading the way, and which are lagging behind. What are the barriers that must be overcome, and where is e-government heading next? Subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

26 Apr 2021

22 MINS

22:32

26 Apr 2021


#33

The World Ahead: Live and direct

How have live events, including sports, music and conferences, changed in response to the pandemic—and which changes will endure, both for in-person and remote attendees? And what do empty stadiums reveal about [referees’ bias] (https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/07/25/empty-stadiums-have-shrunk-football-teams-home-advantage?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) ? Tom Standage hosts. Subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

29 Mar 2021

23 MINS

23:11

29 Mar 2021


#32

The World Ahead: When cities breathe out

Covid-19 has dented the prosperity, populations and popularity of [big cities around the world] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-ahead/2020/11/17/cities-worldwide-will-struggle-but-will-avoid-a-mass-exodus?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) . But adapting to shocks is what great cities do. How will urban centres change in the post-pandemic world and what are the political implications of a shift towards more remote working from suburban areas? Tom Standage hosts. Subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

22 Feb 2021

20 MINS

20:13

22 Feb 2021


#31

The World Ahead: Lockdown lessons

The pandemic has forced universities to move teaching online. Tom Standage asks if attitudes are shifting among students, and academics, towards remote learning. What could this mean for the [ future of higher education] (https://www.economist.com/briefing/2020/08/08/covid-19-could-push-some-universities-over-the-brink?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) ? How would it affect the business models of some universities? And how might online-learning tools evolve in a future, as lifelong learning becomes the new normal? Subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

25 Jan 2021

25 MINS

25:20

25 Jan 2021


#30

The World Ahead: Joe Biden’s in-tray

Looking ahead to 2021, we consider Joe Biden’s domestic-policy agenda: faced with a pandemic and an economic crisis, [where will he start] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-ahead/2020/11/16/joe-bidens-in-tray-is-already-overflowing?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) ? To what extent will the new president be able to heal America’s deep [cultural divides] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-ahead/2020/11/17/americas-culture-wars-will-intensify?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) and how will state-level politics influence his policies? Also, how will the Republican party evolve in 2021? Tom Standage hosts. Subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

28 Dec 2020

23 MINS

23:42

28 Dec 2020


#29

The World Ahead: Post-coronanomics

What is the outlook for the [ world economy in 2021] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-ahead/2020/11/16/governments-must-judge-if-the-economic-recovery-needs-more-help?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) , and how much lasting damage has been done in 2020? Carmen Reinhart, chief economist at the World Bank, explains [how this crisis compares with previous ones] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-ahead/2020/11/17/carmen-reinhart-on-the-consequences-of-the-pandemic?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) . We find out how China’s rapid rebound is taking it [back to the future] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-ahead/2020/11/17/chinas-economy-will-hold-up-well-in-the-coming-year?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) . And, we predict the impact of Joe Biden’s policies on [US-China trade relations] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-ahead/2020/11/17/trade-wars-will-continue-to-smoulder-in-2021?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) . Tom Standage hosts. Subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

30 Nov 2020

22 MINS

22:52

30 Nov 2020


#28

The World Ahead: A shot in the arm

What are the prospects for coronavirus vaccines and the challenges involved in rolling them out around the world in 2021? The Economist's health policy editor explains what regulatory and logistical obstacles must be overcome as vaccines move from the laboratory to the [clinic] (https://www.economist.com/britain/2020/10/07/britain-prepares-to-roll-out-a-covid-19-vaccine?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) . And the CEO of Gavi, the vaccine alliance, explores how political and economic factors will govern [vaccine distribution] (https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2020/10/08/one-in-three-people-want-preferential-access-to-a-covid-19-vaccine?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) . Tom Standage hosts. Subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

26 Oct 2020

22 MINS

22:52

26 Oct 2020


#27

The World Ahead: The future of work

With [work habits] (https://www.economist.com/briefing/2020/09/12/covid-19-has-forced-a-radical-shift-in-working-habits) around the work changing because of covid-19, host Tom Standage considers the [future of the office] (https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/09/12/is-the-office-finished) . What lessons can be learned from companies like GitHub, where most employees are remote? What can providers of flexible workspaces, such as IWG, reveal about trends in office use? What does team-building look like in a world where remote working is more widespread? And what are the implications for pay, housing costs, equality and labour laws? Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) Read more speculative scenarios at "The World If" and please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

28 Sep 2020

21 MINS

21:15

28 Sep 2020


#26

The World Ahead: Peak plane?

In this episode we consider the future of travel. [What if aviation doesn’t recover from covid-19] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-if/2020/07/04/what-if-aviation-doesnt-recover-from-covid-19?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) ? We find out how one airline is turning crisis into opportunity, consider how to make flying greener—and examine how the combination of the pandemic, and growing concern about climate change, is affecting attitudes to travel. Tom Standage hosts Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) Read more speculative scenarios at " [The World If] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-if/?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) " and please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

31 Aug 2020

22 MINS

22:24

31 Aug 2020


#25

The World Ahead: Red, white and green

In this climate-themed episode we imagine how the [Republican party might pivot] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-if/2020/07/04/what-if-the-republicans-pivoted-on-climate?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) on environmental policy and go green for 2024. We consider how climate scientists map out different scenarios for the trajectory of global warming. Also, a journey to 2050 to see how [oil companies have reinvented themselves] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-if/2020/07/04/what-if-carbon-removal-becomes-the-new-big-oil?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere. Tom Standage hosts. Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) Read more from at " [The World If] (https://www.economist.com/the-world-if/?utm_campaign=world-ahead&amp;utm_medium=podcast&amp;utm_source=third-party-host&amp;utm_content=show-notes) " and please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

27 Jul 2020

24 MINS

24:23

27 Jul 2020


#24

The World Ahead: Bus to the future

What is the future of public transport in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic? Also, the United Nations’ Assistant Secretary-General on how countries should prepare for future disasters. And could a “carbon surveillance” system help save the planet? Tom Standage hosts Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

29 Jun 2020

28 MINS

28:25

29 Jun 2020


#23

The World Ahead: After Kim Jong-un

The North Korean leader’s recent disappearance for three weeks led to intense speculation about his health. What would happen if Mr Kim's regime collapsed? Peter Singer, an author and political scientist, explains how his novel, set in the near future, is helping policymakers respond to artificial intelligence. And how feasible is [wireless charging] (https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2020/05/14/wireless-charging-of-electric-cars-looks-increasingly-promising) for electric cars? Tom Standage hosts Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/podcastoffer] (http://www.economist.com/podcastoffer) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

25 May 2020

25 MINS

25:01

25 May 2020


#22

The World Ahead: Viral acceleration

The covid-19 pandemic has triggered an economic crisis, but how will this change the way people use technology—and which of these changes will last? Host Tom Standage speaksto guests from Ark Invest, the Brookings Institution and Alphabet’s drone-delivery company, Wing, to explore which technologies stand to benefit from an acceleration in the pace of adoption. Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/radiooffer ] (http://www.economist.com/radiooffer) [or here for The World in 2020] (https://ukshop.economist.com/products/the-world-in-2020) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

27 Apr 2020

24 MINS

24:54

27 Apr 2020


#21

The World Ahead: Pandemic predictions

As the [covid-19 situation] (https://www.economist.com/news/2020/03/11/the-economists-coverage-of-the-coronavirus) worsens, host Tom Standage explores what the pandemic reveals about the perils of prediction and what other future threats we might be overlooking. Also, what a simulation of a future mission to Mars could teach us about self-isolation on Earth today. And, the hit video game “ [Plague, Inc] (https://www.economist.com/prospero/2020/03/19/the-rise-and-rise-of-video-games) ” is teaching players about the dynamics of pandemics—and how to stop them. Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: [www.economist.com/radiooffer ] (http://www.economist.com/radiooffer) [or here for The World in 2020] (https://ukshop.economist.com/products/the-world-in-2020) &#10; See <a style='color: grey; ' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer' href='https://acast.com/privacy'>acast.com/privacy</a> for privacy and opt-out information. ... Read more

30 Mar 2020

25 MINS

25:20

30 Mar 2020