21 episodes

Explore provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. Vox’s Dylan Matthews tackles big questions about the most effective ways to save lives, fight global warming, and end world poverty to create a more perfect future. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

Future Perfect Vox

    • Philosophy

Explore provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. Vox’s Dylan Matthews tackles big questions about the most effective ways to save lives, fight global warming, and end world poverty to create a more perfect future. Produced by Vox and the Vox Media Podcast Network.

    Bonus: The power of the President

    Bonus: The power of the President

    The 2020 candidates have some bold ideas to tackle some of our country's biggest problems, like climate change, the opioid crisis, and unaffordable health care. A lot of their proposals have been tried in the past. This season, The Impact has those stories: how the big ideas from 2020 candidates succeeded — or failed — in other places, or at other times.

    What can Sen. Elizabeth Warren's proposal to fight the opioid crisis learn from what the US did to fight the AIDS epidemic? How did Germany — an industrial powerhouse that invented the automobile — manage to implement a Green New Deal? How did public health insurance change Taiwan?

    Subscribe to The Impact on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast app to automatically get new episodes of the latest season each week.

    On this special preview:

    President Gerald Ford took office at one of the most difficult times in the country’s history. In August 1974, the country had just lived through Watergate, President Nixon’s resignation, and more than a decade of divisive fighting over the U.S. involvement in Vietnam. While millions of Americans fought in Southeast Asia, many others protested the war, at home -- or dodged the draft by fleeing to Canada.

    Ford wanted to find a way to bring the country together. Just a few weeks after he took office, he announced a plan to give those who refused to serve in Vietnam a second chance. Ford created a Clemency Review Board, a bipartisan group of men (and one woman) that would decide the fate of the young Americans convicted of refusing induction, or going AWOL, from Vietnam. Those young men could fill out an application, and the board would decide whether they deserved a pardon -- which would erase a felony conviction from their record.

    Many of the Democratic candidates for President want to do the same thing today. They’re proposing a Clemency Review Board to review applications from federal inmates, many of whom are serving long sentences because of harsh penalties enacted during the War on Drugs.

    In this episode: forgiveness and redress after two long conflicts, the Vietnam War, and the War on Drugs. The Impact looks back at how Ford tried to heal the nation, and how he transformed the lives of two men as a result. And we’ll find out how Ford’s idea might work today, for a new generation of young people behind bars.

    Host:
    Jillian Weinberger, @jbweinz
    About Vox:
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    • 28 min
    Introducing Reset

    Introducing Reset

    Josiah Zayner is a biohacker who’s famous for, among other things, injecting himself with the gene-editing tool CRISPR. At a time when the technology exists for us to change, or hack, our own DNA, what are the ethics of experimenting on ourselves, and others at home? Arielle Duhaime-Ross has been following Zayner’s story and talks to him about how he’s thinking about human experimentation today. Plus: new efforts to come up with a code of conduct for biohackers, from legislation to self-regulation.
    About Reset
    Every story is a tech story. We live in a world where algorithms drive our interests, scientists are re-engineering our food supply, and a robot may be your next boss. Arielle Duhaime-Ross explores why–and how–tech is changing everything.
    If you enjoyed this episode, subscribe to Reset for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast, Pocket Casts, or your favorite podcast app to get new episodes every week.
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    • 30 min
    The money in the moon

    The money in the moon

    Fifty years ago this summer, Apollo 11 landed on the moon.
    Now, NASA’s talking about going back.
    But is it worth it?
    We talk to lunar geologists about what we’ve already learned from the first Apollo missions, and what’s left to discover.
    Then, we take a trip, not through space, but through time—back to a scientific expedition in Greenland almost a century ago. The science done there might have seemed insignificant at the time, but has since proved an important first step towards our current understanding of global warming.
    Further reading:

    Brian's in-depth explainer on moon rocks
    Jon Gertner's book about epic Greenland expeditions, The Ice At The End of The World
    For more on ice coring, this National Geographic article is great, as is this 60 Minutes episode
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    • 31 min
    Your PTA vs. equality

    Your PTA vs. equality

    Big philanthropists can threaten democracy. But so can small ones, like you and me. One big example? Parent-teacher associations. We examine how rich PTAs can hoard opportunity and deny resources to poor kids.
    Dana Goldstein on the Malibu-Santa Monica PTA warsThe harm done by parents who hoard donationsRob Reich on superrich PTAsA Center for American Progress report on PTA donations in rich schoolsThe case that the importance of private donations is overstated
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    • 27 min
    Move fast and break schools

    Move fast and break schools

    When Mark Zuckerberg gave $100 million to Newark’s schools, he raised a big question: Who will decide where this money goes? The answer: Not the people of Newark. We examine why the people of Newark turned against a gift that Zuckerberg and Cory Booker wanted them to celebrate.Dylan Scott explains the Newark giftPatrick Wall at Chartbeat has done some fantastic reporting on the outcomes of the giftDale Russakoff’s history of the gift, and the New Yorker excerptThe Harvard evaluation, and a critique of itAnother evaluation finding the intervention worked
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    • 29 min
    Who's afraid of killer robots?

    Who's afraid of killer robots?

    Most charity is focused on the near term. So what happens when you try to only give to charities that will help humans a long time from now — not just in 100 years, but in a million years? To find out, we talk to Jaan Tallinn, a founding engineer of Skype who is trying to force the world to take threats to the future, threats like AI, seriously.Tallinn explains his concern with AI at an effective altruism conferenceKelsey Piper explains the risks of unconstrained AIAI experts on when they expect AI to outpace human intelligenceTed Chiang’s critique of concern with AI safety
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    • 30 min

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