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Cover image of The World Ahead from The Economist

The World Ahead from The Economist

This future-gazing series examines an assortment of speculative scenarios, what-if conjectures and provocative prophecies. Not all of them will come to pass, but thinking about possible futures can help us understand the present, and catch glimpses of the world ahead. See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

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The World Ahead: Peak plane?

In this episode we consider the future of travel. What if aviation doesn’t recover from covid-19? We find out how one airline is turning crisis into opportunity, consider how to make flying greener—and examine how the combination of the pandemic, and growing concern about climate change, is affecting attitudes to travel. Tom Standage hosts Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0)Read more speculative scenarios at "The World If" and please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

22mins

31 Aug 2020

Rank #1

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The world ahead: Sunshady business

If efforts to cut emissions fall short, might some nations resort to solar geoengineering — building a sunshade in the stratosphere — to buy more time? Also, what if Facebook blocked Europeans from using its services? Tom Standage hostsMusic by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

18mins

29 Jul 2019

Rank #2

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The World Ahead: Viral acceleration

The covid-19 pandemic has triggered an economic crisis, but how will this change the way people use technology—and which of these changes will last? Host Tom Standage speaks to guests from Ark Invest, the Brookings Institution and Alphabet’s drone-delivery company, Wing, to explore which technologies stand to benefit from an acceleration in the pace of adoption.  Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer or here for The World in 2020 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

24mins

27 Apr 2020

Rank #3

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The world ahead: A different dystopia

With recent protests taking place against president Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, The Economist’s foreign editor, Robert Guest, considers what might happen if Mr Sisi's regime collapses. We discuss the global cannabis revolution, as medical use opens the way to wider liberalisation. And, instead of worrying about too many robots in the workforce in the future, should we be worrying that there will be too few? Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0)____Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer______ See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

24mins

30 Sep 2019

Rank #4

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The world ahead: Libra in the balance

As doubts surround the launch of Facebook’s Libra, will 2020 really be the year of digital currencies? We find out what shopping is like when payments are automatic and invisible. And, how China provides a glimpse of how people will handle their finances in the future. Tom Standage hosts Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0)Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

21mins

28 Oct 2019

Rank #5

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The World Ahead: A shot in the arm

What are the prospects for coronavirus vaccines and the challenges involved in rolling them out around the world in 2021? The Economist's health policy editor explains what regulatory and logistical obstacles must be overcome as vaccines move from the laboratory to the clinic. And the CEO of Gavi, the vaccine alliance, explores how political and economic factors will govern vaccine distribution. Tom Standage hosts. Subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

22mins

26 Oct 2020

Rank #6

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The world ahead: Clash of the titans

With tensions rising in the South China Sea, we consider how a potential clash between America and China might play out—and why the world should pay more attention to this region. And host Tom Standage takes a ride in a self-driving car in London, to see how Europe is faring in the race to build autonomous vehicles.Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0). See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

22mins

26 Aug 2019

Rank #7

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The World Ahead: Tax me if you can

2020 will be a key year for determining how big multinational and technology companies are taxed, but can a global deal be reached? Also, to what degree will the Olympics boost Japan’s international standing next year and will a new event called sport climbing catch on? Finally, the science fiction guide to the future. Anne McElvoy hosts  Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

24mins

30 Dec 2019

Rank #8

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The world ahead: Small COP, big COP

On the eve of the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid, we ask what delegates hope to achieve. Also, how can online games help in the fight against fake news? And host Tom Standage interviews an artificial intelligence called GPT-2 about its views on the big themes of 2020. Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) “The World in 2020”, our future-gazing annual, is now available at shop.economist.com See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

24mins

25 Nov 2019

Rank #9

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The World Ahead: Pandemic predictions

As the covid-19 situation worsens, host Tom Standage explores what the pandemic reveals about the perils of prediction and what other future threats we might be overlooking. Also, what a simulation of a future mission to Mars could teach us about self-isolation on Earth today. And, the hit video game “Plague, Inc” is teaching players about the dynamics of pandemics—and how to stop them. Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0)Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions:www.economist.com/radiooffer or here for The World in 2020 See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

25mins

30 Mar 2020

Rank #10

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The World ahead: In the Sharenthood

What if America decided to pull out of NATO? And a trip to 2029 to report on a landmark case in which parents are required to pay damages for sharing images of their children online, and refusing to take them down when the children grow up. Tom Standage hostsMusic by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

29mins

24 Jun 2019

Rank #11

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The world ahead: Food for thought

After the successful stockmarket flotation of Beyond Meat, maker of the Beyond Burger, we assess the potential impact of meat substitutes on global meat consumption. Also, is space tourism about to take off? And what can be done to preserve indigenous languages for future generations. Tom Standage hosts See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

22mins

27 May 2019

Rank #12

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The world ahead: When the drugs don't work

In this edition of The world ahead we examine a possible future where antibiotics no longer work. What causes such antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and what can be done to remedy it? And in another health-care scenario, we examine technology's potential to address the global shortage of medical staff. Anne McElvoy hostsMusic by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

21mins

29 Apr 2019

Rank #13

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The World Ahead: The future of work

With work habits around the work changing because of covid-19, host Tom Standage considers the future of the office. What lessons can be learned from companies like GitHub, where most employees are remote? What can providers of flexible workspaces, such as IWG, reveal about trends in office use? What does team-building look like in a world where remote working is more widespread? And what are the implications for pay, housing costs, equality and labour laws? Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0)Read more speculative scenarios at "The World If" and please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

21mins

28 Sep 2020

Rank #14

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The World Ahead: Red, white and green

In this climate-themed episode we imagine how the Republican party might pivot on environmental policy and go green for 2024. We consider how climate scientists map out different scenarios for the trajectory of global warming. Also, a journey to 2050 to see how oil companies have reinvented themselves to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere. Tom Standage hosts.Music by Chris Zabriskie "Candlepower" (CC by 4.0) Read more from at "The World If" and please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.economist.com/podcastoffer See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

24mins

27 Jul 2020

Rank #15