People have long tried to figure out the future—but today, life seems more unpredictable than ever. What can we expect to come our way and will we be ready for it? Longtime journalist and Spectrum News Chief National Political Reporter Josh Robin has asked probing questions of presidents, business moguls, artists and sports figures. In this podcast, he helps us understand what could happen next, in all areas of our lives, from families to work; health to schools; politics to the arts; technology to civility. Join Josh every Thursday as he discusses the future with leaders in their fields, who hold a range of backgrounds and opinions, to help us all imagine “What Could Be.”
For clues on the end of the pandemic, the U.S. turns to Israeli scientists
Israel is something of the world’s research lab when it comes to COVID-19. It was one of the first countries to start mass vaccinations, and scientific research there often forms the basis for global public health and medical decisions, including in the United States. In this episode, Dr. Cyrille Cohen, who advises the Israeli Ministry of Health, talks about why booster shots are needed now; why this winter may prove difficult; and why he remains an optimist.
A couple of billionaires just blasted off to space. Here’s why you could be next.
When Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos blasted off on their own private spacecrafts this summer, it became clear that space travel was no longer solely the domain of government agencies. The question now is: How long will it be for those who aren’t super-wealthy to one day hitch rides beyond the Earth’s atmosphere? Josh Robin interviews Dr. Wendy Whitman Cobb of the U.S. Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies. They talk about the cost of space travel, why leaving Earth on a rocket doesn’t neglect problems on our planet -- and the Jetsons. Plus, a debunked prediction about bacon of the future.
We might be sleeping less and recording our dreams in the near future
Humans have always slept, but our descendants may be doing it quite differently than current generations. Dr. Clete Kushida, former president of the World Sleep Society and a neurologist at the Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine, tells Josh Robin that technological advancements may make fewer hours of shut-eye just as healthy; that deep sleep may one day prove easier to get; and that one day we may even be recording our dreams. Scientists are also hoping to answer the most basic, but elusive question: Why are our bodies programmed to need sleep at all? Plus, a debunked prediction on pajamas.
Division, denial, economics and war: Revisiting the 1918 pandemic
The Delta variant is continuing its deadly march -- particularly among those who haven’t been vaccinated. It’s also draining the optimism of only a few months ago that the U.S. had turned the corner on COVID-19. For perspective, we look back to the far deadlier influenza pandemic of 1918: how it started; how it was treated; how it divided people; how it ended; and what it helped create. Laura Spinney, author of Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918, and How it Changed the World joins Josh Robin to discuss the parallels.
No snow days, more sleep and mental health check-ins: The future of schools
Students are returning to schools amid another spike in COVID-19 cases and a heated debate over mask mandates. But even as more kids return to traditional classroom environments, experts say the pandemic has already changed the education landscape forever. In this episode of What Could Be, Josh Robin talks with Liz Willen, editor in chief of the education news site The Hechinger Report about the future of virtual school; mental health check-ins; and why weather-related days off may be a thing of the past. Plus, a debunked prediction about the future of writing instruments.
Meeting up used to be fun. Can it be again?
Gathering in the era of the pandemic has made the once-pleasurable increasingly stressful. But how can we get the authentic social interactions we need, without getting sick -- or worrying ourselves sick about getting sick? Josh Robin talks with noted author and facilitator Priya Parker about hosting, hugging and handshakes -- and embracing controversy in conversation.