11 episodes

It's the question of our times: How is technology impacting our humanity? "Should This Exist?" invites the creators of radical new technologies to set aside their business plan, and think through the human side: What is the invention’s greatest promise? And what could possibly go wrong? Show host Caterina Fake (Partner, Yes VC; Cofounder Flickr) is a celebrated tech pioneer and one of Silicon Valley’s most eloquent commentators on technology and the human condition. Joined by a roster of all-star expert guests who have a knack for looking around corners, Caterina drops listeners into the minds of today’s ingenious entrepreneurs and guides them through the journey of foreseeing what their technology might do to us, and for us. Should This Exist? is a WaitWhat original series in partnership with Quartz.

Should This Exist? WaitWhat

    • Technology
    • 4.3 • 32 Ratings

It's the question of our times: How is technology impacting our humanity? "Should This Exist?" invites the creators of radical new technologies to set aside their business plan, and think through the human side: What is the invention’s greatest promise? And what could possibly go wrong? Show host Caterina Fake (Partner, Yes VC; Cofounder Flickr) is a celebrated tech pioneer and one of Silicon Valley’s most eloquent commentators on technology and the human condition. Joined by a roster of all-star expert guests who have a knack for looking around corners, Caterina drops listeners into the minds of today’s ingenious entrepreneurs and guides them through the journey of foreseeing what their technology might do to us, and for us. Should This Exist? is a WaitWhat original series in partnership with Quartz.

    What went wrong with the world wide web – and how we can fix it

    What went wrong with the world wide web – and how we can fix it

    The web is broken. Data is mined, sold, and exploited. Social media is an endless and biased scroll through the worst of humanity. Nobody’s personal information is safe. And worst of all, it’s inescapable. The web is a cornerstone of our lives. It’s how we work, communicate with each other, and get information. And it wasn’t supposed to be like this. How did a utopian vision of a free, open, and democratic internet turn into nothing more than a machine for marketing and surveillance? In the season finale of Should This Exist?, Caterina Fake is joined by early web adopters Steven Berlin Johnson, Anil Dash, and Kevin Delaney to ask: Where did the web go wrong? Could we have prevented it? And what, if anything, can we now do to fix it? It’s a question that affects us all and will determine the future of our lives online… and off.

    • 27 min
    How to hack your way out of aging

    How to hack your way out of aging

    Imagine meeting your great-great-great-grandkids. Or going to law school in your 80s, learning to snowboard at 110, taking a gap decade instead of a gap year. Greg Bailey dreams of a world where everybody lives twice as long, and no one gets sick. His startup, Juvenescence, is developing a whole ecosystem of anti-aging medications to help you live longer, healthier. Which sounds great. But would this world of perky centenarians wreak havoc on our already strained resources? Would natural aging become taboo? Would dying? It's a technology that prompts us to ask some of the biggest questions of all.

    • 32 min
    The next gen of meat will be grown in a lab

    The next gen of meat will be grown in a lab

    Imagine biting into a steak that didn’t come from a cow. Or a chicken breast that did not come from a chicken. Imagine if your favorite meat dish did not involve an animal getting killed. This is Isha Datar’s dream. She is a scientist on a mission to not only reinvent meat but the entire meat industry. If Isha's dream comes true, we'll live in a post-animal bioeconomy where animal products – from meat to leather and wool – are harvested from cell cultures, not animals. And we're able to feed a growing global population sustainably, affordably and safely.




    But does meat grown in a lab really take animals out of the picture? And do we want to step further into a landscape of man-made, mass-produced food? Host Caterina Fake discusses the possibilities and pitfalls with Isha Datar, executive director of New Harvest, and Kevin Delaney (Quartz Editor-in-Chief); Ben Turley and Brent Young (owners, The Meat Hook); and Andrew Pelling (biophysicist).

    • 35 min
    What if you could Photoshop your voice?

    What if you could Photoshop your voice?

    Mike Pappas and Carter Huffman believe their invention fulfills the promise of the digital world: the complete freedom to design your identity. But what if we all used it? The human voice is a key marker of authenticity and individuality, and Modulate uses A.I to transform your voice into anything you want it to be. In real time. If you’re a woman and want to sound like a man, Modulate can help you. If you’re a teen and want to sound like a grandparent, Modulate can do that. If you’re from Italy but want to adopt a French accent, speak into Modulate, and you will. Should this exist? The gift of free expression also comes with a price. Yes: Modulate could allow people to be their true selves and speak in a voice that represents who they are. Yes: Modulate could expose institutional vocal bias against certain sounds and accents. But it also could contribute to the world of deep faking and harassment. At what point is digitizing our real-world identity too much?

    • 37 min
    We can change the DNA of an entire species — in the wild

    We can change the DNA of an entire species — in the wild

    Kevin Esvelt knows the stakes are high. As a geneticist at the MIT Media Lab, Kevin discovered a technique called a gene drive, which gives humans a power we’ve never had before: to change the DNA of entire species in nature. This capacity is so new and so unprecedented that when Kevin made the discovery six years ago, it was “literally unimagined by any human being at that time — not in science fiction, not in any form of literature, not in any scientific journals.” Used successfully for good, a gene drive has the potential to save millions of lives by eliminating diseases like Malaria. But in the wrong hands — or even in well-intentioned hands — the results could be catastrophic. How do we weigh the potential for enormous good against the terrifying unknowns? Host Caterina Fake thinks it through with scientist Kevin Esvelt as well as special guests Baratunde Thurston (Comedian and host of the podcasts Spit and #TellBlackStories); Janna Levin (Director of Science Programs at Pioneer Works, Columbia Professor of Astronomy) and Joi Ito (Director of the MIT Media Lab).

    • 45 min
    When your invention becomes a weapon

    When your invention becomes a weapon

    What do you do if your invention becomes a weapon? This happened to Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired Magazine, who launched DIY Drones, an open source community that helps anyone build their own flying machines. Chris and his community evolved drones from a military tool to an everyday gadget. Now, drones are used by conservationists to monitor bird's nests, contractors to insure safety standards at building sites, and filmmakers to capture sweeping vistas, among other things. But, they're also used by ISIS to drop bombs on civilians. So, what is Chris' responsibility? Did he foster innovation for a community of like-minded do-gooders or democratize a weapon for a terrorist group across the globe? Host Caterina Fake discusses the possibilities with 3DR founder and CEO Chris Anderson and special guests comedian Baratunde Thurston and Quartz Editor-in-Chief Kevin Delaney.

    • 32 min

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5
32 Ratings

32 Ratings

CCYM90 ,

Super Interesting

The first episode was really thought-provoking, and very well produced. Absolutely going to keep listening! Would’ve just like to have heard a bit more about and from real life users of the technology, and results, rather than just straight description and theory.

ludicrous hoop to jump thru ,

Best new podcast for thought provoking futurology

I absolutely can’t wait for next season! I love the show format of finding people of different backgrounds to share their visions and concerns around the technology in question and then letting the creator or someone else working on the project (in the case of large-scale technologies) refute or further explain.

Catering Fake is an excellent podcast host and interviewer who never hogs the spotlight or rambles unnecessarily. This podcast will give you much to think about.

A person who really likes this ,

Mind blown 🤯

Wow! I would recommend this to everyone! I love to learn all these new inventions that people are making! So cool! Must listen too!!! Keep making episodes!!👍🤩❤️👌😎😁😍🤯👌

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