WSJ’s The Future of Everything

WSJ’s The Future of Everything

What will the future look like? The Future of Everything offers a view of the nascent trends that will shape our world. In every episode, join our award-winning team on a new journey of discovery. We’ll take you beyond what’s already out there, and make you smarter about the scientific and technological breakthroughs on the horizon that could transform our lives for the better.

Episodes

May 24, 2024 10 mins
 How did a sandal that originally entered the U.S. market as a health product become a fashion staple and the crowning shoe of a multibillion dollar company? Margot Fraser originally brought Birkenstocks to the U.S. thinking that the comfort of the German sandal would appeal to women. But she couldn’t get shoe stores to sell them. They finally made it into the U.S. market through health food stores. Now, the seductively ugly shoe i...
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How does your doctor know that a drug or procedure will work to treat a condition before they try it? Often, they don’t. Researchers are looking to create “digital twins,” digital versions of individual organs, to see how a patient will respond. Eventually there could be digital twins of entire bodies that are updated in real time with patient data. WSJ’s Alex Ossola speaks with WSJ senior special writer Stephanie Armour about how ...
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Ultrasound is known for its use in imaging during pregnancy. But new advancements in the technology suggest that in the future, ultrasound could be used to disrupt the blood-brain barrier. This would allow doctors to more easily diagnose and directly treat illnesses like brain cancer without major surgery. WSJ’s Danny Lewis and Charlotte Gartenberg examine the new ways that ultrasound could be used more specifically and subtly to ...
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A day when people can interact directly with computers using their thoughts could be on the horizon. Several companies, including Elon Musk’s Neuralink, have begun preliminary human trials of brain-computer interfaces - devices that decode the electrical signals in their brain and translate them into digital bits. Neurosurgeon Benjamin Rapoport is a co-founder and chief science officer of Precision Neuroscience, a company working o...
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What does the brick and mortar bookstore of the future look like? For Barnes & Noble, it looks more like the indie bookstores they once threatened to put out of business 20 years ago. The company recently redesigned their national chain of over 500 bookstores, shedding the big box personality in favor of a look reminiscent of local bookshops. On this week’s Science of Success, WSJ columnist Ben Cohen speaks to Barnes & Noble CEO Ja...
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April 19, 2024 18 mins
Can technology help us design the perfect running shoe that’s stronger, faster and better for the environment? David Allemann, co-founder of On, thinks technology can get us part of the way there, but it’s not the whole story. The performance running shoe and sportswear company is experimenting with computer simulation and bio-based materials to design sneakers to advance both runners and sustainability goals. WSJ men’s fashion col...
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3D printing isn’t just for hobbyists – it could be central to the future of manufacturing. Companies are turning to this technology to make everything from car and airplane parts to houses faster and cheaper than with traditional techniques. Now, as 3D printing – also known as additive manufacturing – is getting quicker, researchers are testing its limits. WSJ’s Alex Ossola and Danny Lewis take a look at how this tech is building t...
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When Tesla started developing the Cybertruck, CEO Elon Musk tasked the company's chief designer with creating a car that "feels like the future." But did it break the mold on what a pickup truck is? And how will it change truck design in the future? WSJ auto columnist Dan Neil test drove the Cybertruck. He spoke with WSJ’s Charlotte Gartenberg about his take on Tesla’s polarizing vehicle, and what it means for the future of EV desi...
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This year, several high profile incidents have kept flying in the limelight. Yet air travel is currently safer than ever. The biggest U.S. commercial airlines have now gone 15 years without a fatal crash. So, how did hurtling through the sky in a giant metal tube become this safe? WSJ columnist Ben Cohen speaks with former FAA and International Civil Aviation Organization executive William Voss about the voluntary self-reporting pr...
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After years of promises that driverless cars were just over the horizon, one of the industry's biggest players is headed for the freeway. Now, for the first time, Alphabet’s Waymo is allowing robotaxis to take its employees on high-speed roads in Phoenix, Arizona without a human driver. The move comes just as the industry is facing a harsh reality after high-profile crashes: GM’s Cruise had its permits to operate driverless robotax...
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Imagine driving down a road that recharges your electric car as it moves. Companies around the world are experimenting with new technology that can wirelessly charge EVs while they drive, thanks to copper coils buried beneath the asphalt. It could mean less time spent plugging in at slow chargers, no need for heavy, expensive lithium-ion batteries and wave goodbye to range anxiety. WSJ’s Danny Lewis reports on what it would take fo...
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In recent months, an Alaska Airlines jet lost a door plug mid-flight, and a Japan Airlines plane collided with another aircraft at an airport in Tokyo. Accidents like these are uncommon, but they could help engineers design safer airplanes. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University associate professor Anthony Brickhouse tells WSJ’s Danny Lewis how advanced materials and computer systems could bring flight into a safer future, while mak...
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Is it an earworm or an icon? The Super Mario Bros. theme is the soundtrack to many childhoods and has remained resonant today. Recently inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry, the song was not easy to write. Video game composer Koji Kondo faced musical and technical challenges in creating the song. Columnist Ben Cohen talks to New England Conservatory musicologist Andrew Schartmann about how Kondo creat...
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AI has brought new challenges for corporate executives in managing their workforces and supply chains. Flex CEO Revathi Advaithi tells WSJ reporter Emily Glazer how she is adjusting to uncertainty and gives her outlook on the future of the workplace and manufacturing. This conversation was recorded at WSJ’s CEO Council Summit on December 12, 2023.  What do you think about the show? Let us know on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or em...
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Badge swipes and passwords are cornerstones of security in the modern workplace. But in a world where security is increasingly tied to biometrics and personal devices, your face or fingerprint may soon become the key to workplace security. While biometrics could provide better protection for sensitive information than an easily forgettable password, what are the privacy risks of biometric tech going mainstream? WSJ’s Danny Lewis ex...
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Will the human resources department be replaced by robots? Not quite, but the use of generative artificial intelligence in HR is on the rise. WSJ reporter Chip Cutter tells us how companies are incorporating AI tools internally and what might change in the future. Plus, we hear from Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code and Moms First, who recently introduced paidleave.ai, a free AI-powered chatbot designed to help worke...
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Nvidia's Jensen Huang is Silicon Valley's longest tenured CEO, and his company recently joined the trillion dollar club. But if he knew at the start what he knows now, would he do it all again? WSJ Science of Success columnist Ben Cohen explains Huang’s approach to success and what that might mean for tomorrow's entrepreneurs. What do you think about the show? Let us know on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or e mail us: FOEPodcast@ws...
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Fake images are already turning heads online, and Hany Farid, a professor of computer science at the University of California, Berkeley, says we’re only going to see more of it. Farid specializes in image analysis and digital forensics. He tells WSJ’s Alex Ossola why it’s so easy to use generative AI to create convincing fake images, and why it could cause problems in the future. Plus, he discusses the potential tech solutions that...
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AI voice assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa have become part of our everyday lives. But for people with atypical voices, including those with conditions like Parkinson’s disease and muscular dystrophy, these tools can be frustrating to use. Now a number of big tech companies including Amazon and Google, as well as research organizations are coming up with ways to make them more useful. What will it take to create voice...
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One of AI’s biggest, unsolved problems is what the advanced algorithms should do when they confront a situation they don’t have an answer for. For programs like Chat GPT, that could mean providing a confidently wrong answer, what’s often called a “hallucination”; for others, as with self-driving cars, there could be much more serious consequences. But what if AIs could be taught to recognize what they don’t understand and adjust ac...
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