45 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: Technologies to watch

    The World Ahead: Technologies to watch

    The rapid development and roll-out of coronavirus vaccines has been a reminder of the power of science and technology to change the world. Host Tom Standage considers some of the technologies to watch in 2022, from 3D-printed housing and heat pumps to flying electric taxis and meetings in the metaverse. 


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    • 19 min
    The World Ahead: Following the money

    The World Ahead: Following the money

    Inflation in America has reached its highest level in four decades. What is the outlook for 2022? Host Tom Standage asks former US treasury secretary Larry Summers. Meanwhile, China is pushing ahead with its plans for a “central bank digital currency”. How do such digital coins stack up against cryptocurrencies?


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    • 28 min
    The World Ahead: On the borderline

    The World Ahead: On the borderline

    China is unlikely to reopen its borders in 2022 as it continues its zero-covid policy. What will the long-term impact of the pandemic be on tourism and business travel? Meanwhile, the tourist map of South-East Asia will look very different in 2022 as the number of destinations adopting the “sandbox” model is set to grow. Tom Standage hosts. 


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    • 17 min
    The World Ahead: COP-out?

    The World Ahead: COP-out?

    After a major UN climate summit, momentum behind climate policy often falters. But will that happen in 2022 in the wake of COP26? Climate cooperation is leading to some unlikely alliances and new reports on the impact of global warming underline greater urgency. Will significant action follow? Tom Standage hosts.


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    • 32 min
    The World Ahead: The new space race

    The World Ahead: The new space race

    Space was one of the only tourist destinations in 2021 that boomed. What are the prospects for extraterrestrial travel in 2022? Host Tom Standage talks to Sian Proctor, the first African-American woman to pilot a spacecraft, who took part in the first all-civilian orbital mission. And, how does science fiction relate to the new reality of space exploration?


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    • 23 min
    The World Ahead: Working it out

    The World Ahead: Working it out

    Why will 2022 be the year of the worker? Workers around the world suffered hardship in 2020 and 2021, but labour markets across the rich world have outperformed expectations.
    For workers the work from home experiment has gone fairly well and they have more bargaining power than they have had for years. But how can employers ensure that the future of work is fair for all? Tom Standage hosts. 


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    • 24 min

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