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
NEW WORLD #11 — Interstellar
SEASON TWO FINALE: and we enter the galaxy. From an atmosphere and an ocean to genetically-modified flora, new AR construction paradigms, and the directed evolution of our second branch of human civilization, we’ve created a new world on Mars. But what comes next for humanity? Let’s take a look at the mechanics of interstellar travel in antimatter propulsion, hibernation technology, and time dilation. Then, why are we doing this? In our concluding episode we talk about the shape of the universe, we push back against the heat death of reality, and let’s just go ahead and ask the question: what is the meaning of life?
Feb 22, 2019
Kai-Fu Lee // China
This season we've talked a lot about different ways of doing things. Now let's talk about a country that IS doing things differently — at least... differently than the United States. We sat down with Kai-Fu Lee, author of AI Superpowers, to talk about artificial intelligence, China, and what the Chinese technology strategy means for America and Europe.
Feb 18, 2019
NEW WORLD #10 — Sex in Space, Part Two
In our last episode, we looked at the technologies that are fundamentally changing biological reproduction. Now, we conclude that conversation with a look at the human relationship. What is a healthy relationship on Earth, and what might it look like in space? Or Mars? We explore the problems we're currently facing in love, and we imagine a healthy path forward: new paradigms for navigating conflict, an exploration of monogamy in the context of polyamory, and let's go ahead and talk about the heteroflexible astronaut. This is the future of sex.
Feb 12, 2019
NEW WORLD #10 — Sex in Space, Part One
Sex, reproduction, and marriage have been linked for most of human history, but today that paradigm is evolving. This season of Anatomy of Next we've looked at every aspect of turning Mars into a habitable world. Now what about the changes in biology that are going to alter the way we populate our world? From artificial gametes derived from skin cells and genetically-modified embryos to babies in bags, polyamory, and the heteroflexible astronaut – let's talk about sex.
Feb 12, 2019
NEW WORLD # 9 — Multiplanar Humanity
Augmented and virtual realities are introducing a digital layering to the human experience that will dramatically impact every city of the future. In “Multiplanar Humanity” we explore the complications and potential of a multi-layered world, starting with one of the more practical applications of augmented reality technology — construction, and a look at how the first city on Mars will be built. Then, we complicate the story, and take a peak inside that next, totally virtual layer of human civilization. From communication and leisure to education and love, this is the future of reality.
Feb 04, 2019
Christina Lomasney // Material Advance, Part Two
In our second episode on materials science, we take a look at metal. Christina Lomasney is the CEO of Modumetal, a company nanoscopically-engineering alloys. In a wide-ranging conversation, we talked about her work at Modumetal, the Martian applications of her work, the decentralized city, and the democratization of engineering.
Feb 02, 2019
Dan Widmaier // Material Advance, Part One
Dan Widmaier is the founder and CEO of Bolt Threads. They make materials from nature that are high performance, but hard to extract, and develop technology that makes the scaling of production on these materials possible. Today, they're making spider silk affordable to the average consumer. We're designing a new world, and to build our new world we'll necessarily be developing new materials. But before we start inventing, let’s take a close look at what already exists in nature, and develop technologies capable of making the most of these resources.
Jan 31, 2019
Paul Dabrowski // Biological Factory
What if you could plant a seed, and grow a building? A few episodes ago we talked to Paul Dabrowski, CEO of Synthego, a company building tools that help biologists. Paul's hope for the field of synthetic biology is a path to curing all disease. But in a world of further biological understanding, there are few limits to what we can grow. Let’s talk about the biological factory.
Jan 30, 2019
Adrian Aoun // Martian Sick Day
As we plan the shape of our future Martian capital, we continue our conversation with Adrian Aoun, founder of Forward, a company changing the way we think about the doctor. In our last episode we spoke broadly about the world — the way policy and design affect our lives today, and some of the ways they could or should change in the 21st Century. Today, we speak a little more specifically: how do we improve healthcare?
Jan 26, 2019
NEW WORLD #8 — City in the Stars
What will the first city on Mars look like? From a brief history of urban planning and utopianism on Earth, to selecting the site for our first colony on Mars, and laying down a new philosophy of city planning with an expert at the intersection of technology and civilization, we're laying our foundation. We've built a new world, now how will we be living on that world?
Jan 24, 2019
Palmer Luckey // A New Defense
Technology has changed the nature of the threats our society is facing, but the defense industry is still mostly approaching these questions with a twentieth century mindset. Before we can make meaningful progress, we have to change our approach to the question. We sat down with Palmer Luckey to talk about his new company, Anduril, and the application of innovative thinking native to the technology industry to the problem of securing human civilization.
Jan 21, 2019
Technology and Defense at Founders Fund HQ
Founders Fund recently hosted a panel on defense: a conversation at the intersection of the U.S. government and the technology industry, or D.C. vs. Silicon Valley. Moderated by Dan Primack, and featuring Chris Lynch, Heather Podesta, and Trae Stephens. Technology has changed the nature of the threats our society is facing, but the defense industry is still generally approaching these questions with a twentieth century mindset. Before we can make meaningful progress in the space, we need to reconceptualize our approach to the question. But before we dig any further into the specifics of the technology, and developments we’re starting to see on that front, it’s worth talking about the government — our current relationship, and how we might improve the way we work together.
Jan 16, 2019
Lewis Dartnell // The Knowledge
What if we had to rebuild human civilization from scratch — on Earth? Could you build a power plant with your own hands and some raw material? Let's start smaller: what about the printing press? We sat down with Lewis Dartnell, author of the Knowledge, to talk about our world of cascading, interrelated invention, how one might go about rebuilding it in a worst case scenario, and how to keep ours safe.
Jan 15, 2019
NEW WORLD # 7 — Make Man Martian
What if instead of changing the Martian environment to better suit human life... we changed the human being — genetically? In conversation with Josiah Zayner, George Church, and Paul Dabrowski, we take a look at redesigning the human being into a species capable of thriving on an alien world. Then, what are the ethical concerns of biological self-determination, and why are people so afraid of genetic engineering?
Jan 15, 2019
Gabriel Licina // Biohackers
In this supplemental episode we sit back down with biologist Gabriel Licina, founder of Sci-House, a small nonprofit running community education, outreach, and research in synthetic biology. Gabriel unpacks the term "biohacker," and expands on both his work and some of the applications in synthetic biology we'll be using on Mars.
Jan 09, 2019
NEW WORLD #6 — Alien Ecology
Anatomy of Next returns, and we design the Martian forests and fields. We've built an atmosphere on Mars, warmed the planet, and jumpstarted it's hydrologic cycle — from a frozen, irradiated desert to thunderstorms on a warm equator. Now, what about life? How do you grow crops on sterile, toxic soil with limited carbon and nitrogen? We talk to experts in microbiology and genetic engineering, and we start our work on ecohacking the once red — now blue — Planet Mars.
Jan 04, 2019
Jamie Hyneman // Eureka deconstructed
Invention proceeds from ideation, but where do ideas come from? Jamie Hyneman is best known for his work on the Discovery Channel TV show Mythbusters, which he hosted for 14 and a half years. Prior to that he ran a special effects shop in San Francisco for decades, inventing work on over 800 commercials and dozens of feature films. He’s made a career of building new things. We talked about how.
Oct 21, 2018
Maisie Williams // Art, identity, and this is your brain on Twitter
Separate from the question of how to build a world is the question of what makes a world worth living in. Let’s talk about art. Maisie Williams is an actor most commonly known for her performance in Game of Thrones, and cofounder of a new startup called Daisie. She wants to help artists find each other and build careers. We talked about the changing nature of artistic collaboration, social media, fame, and identity.
Oct 02, 2018
Dan Kaminsky // Security
In an age of digital identity, how do we protect ourselves in an increasingly insecure world? In 2008, Dan Kaminsky identified a critical flaw in the internet’s Domain Name System (DNS) and led the largest synchronized fix to the internet’s infrastructure of all time. Today, he’s Chief Scientist and cofounder of White Ops. Topics include: the great cities of the world that were proven vulnerable, and burned to the ground, computer worms, why it’s easier than ever to hit the WHOLE world with an attack, crypto’s role in proliferating these attacks, evil hacking as a kind of mind control!, how – in the context of Mars – to start over and get security right, and building an elite team of security hackers dedicated to fighting crime and fixing bugs around the world.
Aug 29, 2018
Barbara Moreau // Raising astronauts
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 13, 2018
Nick Bostrom // 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 29, 2018
George Church // 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 16, 2018
Stuart Armstrong // 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 02, 2018
Chris McKay // 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 17, 2018
bonus: what's coming up
The AON team tells you what's up next for the podcast.
Jun 17, 2018
NEW WORLD #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 10, 2018
NEW WORLD #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 03, 2018
NEW WORLD #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 28, 2018
NEW WORLD #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 19, 2018
NEW WORLD #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 11, 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: UTOPIA #5]
In Episode 1.5, we explore virtual, augmented, and simulated worlds. What is the nature of reality?
Jul 12, 2016
[Archive: UTOPIA #4]
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: UTOPIA #3]
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: UTOPIA #2]
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 06, 2016
[Archive: UTOPIA #1]
In Episode 1.1, we investigate and debunk popular fears surrounding nuclear technology, and highlight promising innovations in the field.
May 26, 2016