Anatomy of Next

By Founders Fund

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In the second season of Anatomy of Next, explore every aspect of going to Mars, transforming it into a habitable world, and building a new branch of human civilization. How do we bring a cold, dead planet back to life? Can we build an atmosphere on Mars, thaw the frozen plains, and build an ocean? How do we seed a barren land with life, and make a red Mars green? Then, it’s everything from politics and education to money, music, and architecture. What does it mean to be human on an alien world?

Episode Date
In Conversation #5 - Mrs. Moreau
Nothing can be achieved without some convincing that it’s possible – we need to be inspired. Barbara Moreau was my third grade teacher, and one of the most decorated leaders of the Young Astronaut Council, a United States education initiative focused on fostering interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Mrs. Moreau contextualized my early space traveling dreams in reality, and taught all of her students that the exploration and colonization of new worlds was not only possible but necessary. More than twenty years later, we talked about the program that changed my life, how teachers might inspire children toward great pursuits today, and what it was like watching the first moon landing.
Aug 14, 2018
In Conversation #4 - Superbrains and simulated worlds
What happens when the most intelligent being on earth is smarter than the average human by an order of magnitude? Dr. Nick Bostrom is Director of the University of Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute and author of Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies. We talked about the dramatic amplification of human, or machine intelligence – what that hypothetical superintelligence would look like, how we might build it, and what it could mean for the human race.
Jul 30, 2018
In Conversation #3 - Genetically modified everything
Dr. George Church leads Synthetic Biology at Harvard’s Wyss Institute. Author of Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves, he is one of the foremost thinkers in biological self-determination. Could we take control of our genome, and direct its evolution? Should we? In our conversation we explored genetic engineering broadly, as “the nanotechnology that works,” the morality of this technology, and the future of the field.
Jul 17, 2018
In Conversation #2 - Dyson swarms and death rays
Dr. Stuart Armstrong researches the potential for intelligent life across the universe. In this work, he’s speculated on the kinds of engineering we should expect from an advanced civilization, most commonly the Dyson structure. In our conversation we explored how a civilization might theoretically capture the entire energy output of a star, how we might build something like this ourselves, and how that energy might be used to warm – or vaporize – planetary objects in our solar system.
Jul 03, 2018
In Conversation #1 – What if there’s life on Mars?
Let’s talk about the ethics of terraforming. Dr. Chris McKay is a Senior Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center’s Planetary Systems Branch and is actively involved in the planning of future Mars missions. If we encounter alien life on another world, what is our moral responsibility to that life, and how do we balance this responsibility with exploration and colonization?
Jun 19, 2018
BONUS: What's coming up
The AON team tells you what's up next for the podcast.
Jun 19, 2018
2.5 Let's Build an Ocean
Mars is a frozen, irradiated desert world with almost no hope for life…but it doesn’t have to be. In this episode, we explore the mechanics of building a Martian atmosphere, warming the planet, thawing the ice caps, jump-starting a new hydrologic cycle, and bringing back the Martian oceans.
Jun 11, 2018
2.4 How to Die in Outer Space
Martian colonization is one of the most dangerous goals humanity has ever undertaken, and there are no shortage of ways to die in space. From radiation exposure to literally going crazy, let’s troubleshoot a couple of our greatest risks, and work out a heuristic for tackling the rest.
Jun 04, 2018
2.3 Strange Rockets
In Episode 2.3, we look at “strange” rockets: nuclear, antimatter, and ion thrust. The tremendous amount of time it takes to move through space has isolated humanity from the cosmos. But burning rocket fuel is not the only way to travel the stars.
May 29, 2018
2.2 Malthus Was Wrong
Why is Mars important? In Episode 2.2, we explore the philosophies that dominate our thinking on the subject of Mars — humanism and anti-humanism. Then, how do you build something with a time horizon of 100 years? Optimism is useful, but determinate thinking is essential.
May 20, 2018
2.1 New World
Before we can approach the task of building humanity’s second home on Mars, we need to get there. In Episode 2.1, we explore the most likely shape of our first mission to the Red Planet.
May 12, 2018
TEASER: Fermi's Paradox
If it’s probable intelligent alien life exists, where’s the evidence? In our season two teaser – Episode 2.0 – we discuss Fermi’s paradox. This episode also introduces the topic of our second season: humanity building its first new world on Mars.
Aug 21, 2017
[ARCHIVE: Reality]
In Episode 1.5, we explore virtual, augmented, and simulated worlds. What is the nature of reality?
Jul 12, 2016
[ARCHIVE: Superintelligence]
In Episode 1.4, we conclude our look at robotics, and we challenge commonly held fears regarding machine intelligence. The “angry god” AI of The Terminator is an over-hyped myth. Here’s why.
Jul 05, 2016
[ARCHIVE: Robotics]
In Episode 1.3, our first week on robotics, we look at the automation of labor. We explore how humans are currently living and working with machines, and how this might change in the near future.
Jun 28, 2016
[ARCHIVE: Biology]
In Episode 1.2, we explore the fear and potential of biotechnology. We speak with experts from the FBI as well as scientists and engineers working in the industry, and we challenge our culture’s Jurassic Park hysteria.
Jun 10, 2016
[ARCHIVE: Nuclear]
In Episode 1.1, we investigate and debunk popular fears surrounding nuclear technology, and highlight promising innovations in the field.
May 31, 2016