38 episodes

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.

The World Ahead from The Economist The Economist

    • News

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.

    The World Ahead: The eagle and the dragon

    The World Ahead: The eagle and the dragon

    The rivalry between China and America will intensify in 2022 as each side strives to demonstrate the superiority of its system of government. As China uses its stage-managed Communist Party congress to cement Xi Jinping in power, Joe Biden and the Democratic Party are expected to face a drubbing in America’s mid-term elections. Editor-in-Chief Zanny Minton Beddoes, US editor John Prideaux and host Tom Standage assess the competition between the two superpowers. 


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    • 22 min
    The World Ahead: Let food be your medicine

    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? We imagine a scenario where biohackers injected themselves with mRNA, the technology used in some coronavirus vaccines. And, could an artificial intelligence ever win the Nobel prize for medicine? Tom Standage hosts.
     
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    • 26 min
    The World Ahead: The heat is on

    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. 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. How might that come about? Tom Standage hosts 
     
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    • 26 min
    The World Ahead: Preparing for the next catastrophe

    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 deserve more attention—from solar flares and rogue AI to antibiotic resistance? And how has the pandemic affected efforts to prepare for them? Also, the mission to crash a space probe into an asteroid, and how it could help protect the Earth in future. Tom Standage hosts.
     
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    • 25 min
    The World Ahead: Government via Siri

    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?
     
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    • 22 min
    The World Ahead: Live and direct

    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? Tom Standage hosts.
     
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    • 23 min

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