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Anatomy of Next
33 minutes | Dec 29, 2020
Patri Friedman // Starting Over
What if we just... left? The challenges facing our cities are enormous. Our problems could take years to correct, or decades. The purpose of this season is to explore new ways to reinvigorate our cities, but it's worth entertaining the alternative. What if we built something new, from the foundation up? I sat down with Patri Friedman, founder of both the Seasteading Institute and Pronomos Capital, to entertain a wild idea: Charter Cities. What are they, how do they work, and how do we start over?
33 minutes | Dec 18, 2020
Robert Poole // Gridlock
Why is the traffic so bad? And why is so hard to build new transportation infrastructure? Robert Poole is the co-founder and director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation, and the author of Rethinking America’s Highways. We talked about congestion, variable pricing, light rail, tunnel boring machines, and why they don’t seem to work in our cities — or rather, why we won’t let them work — and the infrastructure policy our politicians craft and pass that seems to be crippling us.
37 minutes | Oct 22, 2020
Garrett Langley // Standing Guard
Flock Safety is building a national network of security cameras monitoring neighborhood traffic. In some cities, their work has been instrumental in reducing property crime by as much as 70 percent. In this episode of Anatomy of Next, Mike Solana sits down with Garrett Langley, the CEO and founder of Flock. They talk about the network — where it came from, and how it works — its impact, how Flock is approaching privacy, the tradeoffs between privacy and security, and the end of non-violent crime.
41 minutes | Oct 13, 2020
ASYLUM #3 — Trivial Pursuit
In San Francisco, how does government work? Who is in charge, what can they do — structurally, what are they actually capable of? — and most importantly: what are they focused on? A look at our Board of Supervisors, its apparent war on growth (and possibly tech), and an argument for moving forward (spoiler alert: you just have to vote (sorry)) Featuring: Trisha Thadani (San Francisco Chronicle), Teddy Schleifer (Recode)
31 minutes | Sep 9, 2020
Daniela Perdomo // A New Signal
There's almost nothing more terrifying than losing communication in the heat of a blazing wildfire. In recent months, California has been brought to its knees by natural disaster. Now more than ever we need the help of our firefighters, and to keep them safe. An entirely centralized communication infrastructure is a single point of failure we just can't risk. Daniela Perdomo is the founder and CEO of goTenna, the future of decentralized communication. Today, her work, inspired by the communication blackouts of Hurricane Sandy and a passion for fixing this critical problem, keeps everyone from soldiers and FEMA operators to wildland firefighters in communication while they work to save lives. And beyond disaster? There are no shortage of applications for this technology. Daniela and I talked about decentralized communication, the origins of her work, communication infrastructure and public infrastructure more broadly, and what exactly does a city fully reconceived for the 21st Century look like?
43 minutes | Aug 26, 2020
Fnnch // Brand New Paint Job
Who owns our streets? Our bus and train stops? Our public walls and public parks? If public property truly belongs to the public, can members of the public (which is to say: us) do with our property whatever we want? And on the absolute ground floor, can we not just... make it all look a little bit nicer? Fnnch is an artist based in San Francisco, and the man behind the famous honey bear, which locals have seen... pretty much everywhere. Here, the bear is more than a cute apparition, it's a symbol of a 21st century philosophy of art, and a controversial way of thinking about public space. Among many things, Fnnch talked with host Mike Solana about art, the nature of art, celebrity, modernity, the tragedy of the commons, Burning Man (an actual city of art), and the nature of public property.
37 minutes | Aug 3, 2020
Matthew Putman // Nano City
Consider the computer mouse. It takes a massive, sprawling, global system, and thousands of parts and people from all over the world, many months, or even years after conceptualization, and design, to get that product to your desk. But what if you could do it all in a "factory" the size of your one-bedroom apartment… in a building down the street? I sat down with Matthew Putman and talked about the future of manufacturing. In the first place, everything is getting smaller. We talked about his company’s journey from the microscope, his grand ambition with the work, the future of nanotechnology, the factory that lives inside your bedroom, and what this all means for the future of our city. It’s distributed, decentralized manufacturing. Welcome to the nano-factory.
21 minutes | Jul 27, 2020
Alexis Rivas // House Factory
Separate from our government's anti-housing policies, a big piece of our crisis in affordability comes down to the way we think about new homes. In Japan, for example, where housing is significantly more affordable, newer homes are far more popular than older homes, and this has galvanized both construction and prefabrication. At scale, this reduces cost. I interviewed Alexis Rivas about his company, Cover, and the prefabrication market in our own country. We talked about what exactly prefab homes are, the history of prefabs in America, how technology is improving the prefab process, and how this kind of thing could dramatically reduce housing costs in the United States.
53 minutes | Jun 28, 2020
ASYLUM #2 — Legalize Housing
The housing crisis is the root of almost every serious challenge San Francisco faces. From property to construction to regulation, when it’s possible to build at all it’s too expensive to meaningfully increase supply. Because it’s too expensive to build here, most people can’t afford to live here. So let’s get into it: why does the housing crisis exist, in what ways is it unique to the Bay Area, and how do we fix this? How do we finally start building again? Featuring: Keith Rabois (Founders Fund), Trisha Thadani (San Francisco Chronicle), River Davis (Wall Street Journal), and Kim-Mai Cutler (Initialized Capital)
25 minutes | Jun 16, 2020
Andrew Farah // Density
Almost every infrastructural challenge our cities face begins with the question of density. How many people are actually in the city? Where are they spending their time? Which trains are overcrowded? What about parks? Sidewalk traffic? San Francisco has one of the worst housing crises in history. Which of our buildings are being used at capacity? Without an answer to these questions it's impossible to effectively build. So how do we measure these things? I talked with Andrew Farah, CEO of Density, about the work his company has done in the space, and the now essential work they're doing to help our businesses and cities fight back against the pandemic.
32 minutes | May 27, 2020
Ryan Delk // School is Not a Place
Ryan Delk is the founder and CEO of Primer, a company rethinking the way we educate our children, beginning with tools to help out homeschoolers. If we started over today, with today's technology, with today's educational research, and with everything we’ve learned about learning this past century — if you could start our approach to education over, from scratch — what would you build?
20 minutes | May 11, 2020
Joshua Browder // An Army of Robotic Lawyers
Overcomplicated bureaucracy has been a plague on human productivity, with a disproportionately adverse affect on the poor and poorly connected, for hundreds of years, and with each year that passes it gets worse. Enter: your personal army of robotic lawyers. I sat down with Joshua Browder to talk about his company DoNotPay, and his mission to empower everyday citizens caught in some manner of bureaucratic nightmare with no friends in local politics to help them out of it. How do we fight back against a thoughtless system? Why is our legal framework so confusing that we need a lawyer in the first place? And how do we build something that makes sense?
36 minutes | Apr 30, 2020
Delian Asparouhov // Machines That Drive
As we continue our conversation on the city, we turn to traffic and begin with the big related tech story — what happened to self-driving cars? In this episode, my colleague Delian provides a lay of the land for the space, and we talk about a world of perfect self-driving cars. What does that look like? Would it have any impact on traffic? If not, what? Why is this important? We also talk about tech risk broadly, shortening the feedback loops of human decision making, collecting data for self-driving cars, different approaches to this, and artificial intelligence, why it seems like all of this has gone a little slower, frankly, than folks were hoping a few years ago, and how it’s shaping up today.
38 minutes | Apr 20, 2020
Ryan Petersen // Global Trade and Civilization
How do we get our stuff? Ryan Petersen is the founder and CEO of Flexport, a freight forwarding and customs brokerage company. We sat down to talk about the nature of trade, a literally ancient system that has been the lifeblood of global commerce, and by extension human civilization, since the dawn of time. How is technology changing that system? How *should* that system change? And how do we apply some of the logistical lessons we've learned from our success in modernizing ancient trade to the improvement of our cities?
48 minutes | Apr 12, 2020
ASYLUM #1 — Boomtown, USA
This season on Anatomy of Next we return to Earth, and we take a look around the neighborhood. How do our cities work, where do they need work, and what do we build next? We open in our hometown. San Francisco should be the greatest city in the world. What went wrong, and how do we fix it?
59 minutes | Feb 22, 2019
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?
37 minutes | Feb 17, 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.
24 minutes | Feb 11, 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.
37 minutes | Feb 11, 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.
53 minutes | Feb 3, 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.
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