261. Amy Webb: The Future Isn’t So Scary When We Talk About It

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If you feel like the world is “speeding up” technologically and culturally, you're not alone. “Future shock” is real. We are faced with daily decisions that our grandparents could never conceive. This makes planning your life, career, and family rather hard.

Amy Webb is a quantitative futurist, who uses data to imagine the unimaginable. She doesn't predict the future, but plans for every possible outcome so companies can be better prepared.

One area she's been particularly fascinated with is synthetic biology. It's the merging of computer science and genetics. Imagine a world where we can program cells like tiny computers to cure diseases, grow corn in a city warehouse, and manufacture real meat without ever killing animal. It's already happening, and the benefits are huge.

But when people hear about modifying DNA and growing chicken cells in a bio-reactor, they bristle. The “newness” of this science, filtered through politics, media and social media, often disrupts honest discourse about it.

In her new book, The Genesis Machine: Our Quest to Rewrite Life in the Age of Synthetic Biology, Amy explains that healthy skepticism of new things is good, so long as it's tempered with a good faith discussion of the data.

Continued below…

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