A collaborative conversation about the future between some of America's greatest thinkers and you. Read more
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on May 27, 2012.
About this project
What do Pythagoras, Thomas Jefferson, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton have in common? The Conversation.
At countless historical moments, powerful minds have come together to fundamentally rethink their worlds. Confronting the problems of their eras, they have torn apart inherited ideas of morality, science, government, and nature. They have dethroned truths, combined old thoughts, and created new ideas that become the truths of subsequent generations. People having conversations ask: “how do we get there?” People having The Conversation ask: “where are we going and why?”
There is no historical precedent for many of the issues we face today. Scientific advancement has opened up a multitude of new ethical questions, from the genetic modification of food to the use of robots in war. Details of our lives are being aggregated and sorted, forcing new questions about privacy and civil liberties. The world’s population is supported by a frail infrastructure that could buckle under the strain of an economic crisis, widespread social unrest, or environmental changes.
The scale and pace of change can feel overwhelming and uncontrolled. In America, a sense of disquiet may be the only common denominator in a sharply divided populace. This alarm is well founded—we can sense that our greatest threats come from within, yet we fight bitterly over details of the status quo rather than asking hard questions about the logic that brought us here. We need to look beyond the present and ask what kind of future we want. We need The Conversation.
The Conversation will be a new type of media project. It's not journalism, documentary, or oral history. Instead, it is an asynchronous conversation about the future between a cross-section of American thinkers and you, our participants on the web. Aengus is going to be traveling America from May to October, posting two audio interviews a week and carrying ideas from one interviewee to the next. As Aengus travels, you will be able to join the conversation online, commenting on specific interviews and suggesting themes and questions for Aengus to pursue in upcoming interviews. Want to hear more about community? Media? The ethical assumptions of different interviewees? Micah will be helming the website and you can let him know. You can also suggest potential interviewees and, if they are available and Aengus has time, we will try to bring their voices into the project. We want The Conversation be an inclusive, living project--nobody has a monopoly on dreaming about the future.
Who we are:
Aengus Anderson is a radio producer with seven years of experience in both public and commercial radio. His independent work has appeared on NPR, numerous public radio stations, High Country News, and has been featured by the Third Coast International Audio Festival and written about in The New York Times. He has motorcycled around North America twice, interviewing over four hundred Americans, Canadians, and Mexicans for long-format radio series that loosely explore ideas of how people think about the present and the past. He is a sub-par motorcycle mechanic.
Micah Saul is an Ontologist at Google, which means he spends a lot of time thinking about how to define categories and structure massive quantities of data. He has worked in the tech industry for over ten years for companies like Metaweb and Electronic Arts. When Micah isn't squandering his free time on The Conversation, you can find him playing music with The Sad Bastard Book Club. As far as Aengus can tell, Micah has read most books.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
- (30 days)