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The Future and You

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The Future and You is a podcast [1] [2] hosted by Stephen Euin Cobb [3] [4] and teamed [5] with Jim Baen's Universe Magazine [6] (the online magazine of SF&F from Baen Books). The show's host interviews a variety of authors, futurists, scientists, celebrities and "pioneers of the future" as to what they believe both the near future and distant future will be like for individuals as well as for humanity in general. In 2006 the show won a Parsec Award. [7]

TopicsEdit

Topics discussed have included: nanotechnology and molecular manufacturing, artificial intelligence, human enhancement and augmentation, genetic engineering of humans and other biotechnology, computers wired directly into the human brain, exoplanets, cryonics, global warming, the current interglacial period, bootlegging of movies, faster-than-light travel, wormholes and black holes, cloning and stem cell research, futurism and futurology, social marketing (the engineering of specific attitude changes within a population), transhumanism, extropianism, and the technology of living more-or-less forever.

Or as the host describes it: "Topics are strictly limited to those things that, in the future, will exist, or cease to exist, or change in some way."

Author GuestsEdit

Celebrity GuestsEdit

Pioneer Guests Edit

  • Chris Phoenix (author, scientist, co-founder and Director of Research for Center for Responsible Nanotechnology)
  • Nick Bostrom (author, professor, philosopher and co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association)
  • David Pearce (author, professor, activist, philosopher and co-founder of the World Transhumanist Association)
  • Philippe Van Nedervelde (spokesperson for the Lifeboat Foundation and Executive Director for the Foresight Nanotech Institute in Europe)
  • Michael Anissimov (futurist, transhumanism activist, and boardmember of the World Transhumanist Association)
  • George Dvorsky [8] (outspoken activist for futurism and transhumanism, and executive editor of Betterhumans)
  • John R. Douglas (editor at scifipedia (a division of the Sci Fi Channel) and World Fantasy Convention boardmember since the 1980s)
  • Rudi Hoffman (cryonics insurance provider and cryonics financial planner)
  • John Buckman (CEO of the recording label Magnatune)
  • Mike Treder (executive director of CRN: The Center for Responsible Nanotechnology)
  • Thomas Gideon (AKA: cmdln) (digital media rights activist and host of The Command Line podcast)
  • David Pascal (marketing consultant specializing in social marketing)
  • Lionel Vogt (transhumanist and futurist, best known for his TV appearances with his battling robots)

Scientist Guests Edit

Artist GuestsEdit

  • Cheralyn Lambeth (Muppet creater and costumer from Jim Henson Productions)
  • Richard H. Green (animation artist from Walt Disney Studios projects: Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Beauty and the Beast, and Rescuers Down Under)
  • Steve Bennett (artist of manga, anime and webcomics)
  • S.L. Gallant (commercial and comic book artist)
  • Scott Stewart (artist of children’s books, comics and coloring books)
  • David Mattingly (award-winning painter, illustrator and cover artist)

Other GuestsEdit

  • Senator John McCain (2008 presidential candidate)
  • Lucienne Diver (New York literary agent)
  • Scott Dean (mayor of Harlem, Georgia USA)
  • Peter Stampfel (submissions editor at DAW Books and musician)
  • Hildy Silverman (owner/publisher of Space and Time Magazine, and contributing editor of Achieving Families Magazine)
  • Tony V. Baughman (newspaper reporter for The Aiken Standard)
  • Uncle Timmy (founder and chairman of LibertyCon - an annual SF&F convention)
  • Paula Goodlett (managing editor of Jim Baen's Universe Magazine)
  • Walt Boyes (nicknamed: Bananaslug) (marketing director of Jim Baen's Universe Magazine)
  • Ricki Dean (School Nutrition Manager of Columbia County Georgia USA)
  • The Wombat (RavenCon's 2007 Fan Guest of Honor)
  • Paul Fischer (IT professional and podcaster (with Martha Holloway) of the Balticon Podcast and the A.D.D. Podcast)
  • Bruce Gehweiler (publisher at Marietta Publishing)
  • Shannon Presley (on-air radio personality at WBVR "The Beaver" in Kentucky)
  • Kelly Lockhart (former radio DJ in Key Largo, Atlanta and Chattanooga; and award-winning writer)
  • Julie Grimaldi (president of Police Futurists International)

HistoryEdit

The show's history can be divided into several time periods based on changes to its format and/or release schedule.

First Time Period: Bi-Weekly Episodes

During its first five months (from December 2005 until April 2006) episodes were released every two weeks.

Beginning with the first episode the goal seemed to be to provide variety within each episode: a variety of guests, subjects and ideas. Most of the show was composed of interviews: anywhere from four to nine in a single episode. (Which explained why the show was so long compared to most podcasts.) Each episode opened with the host reading a Table of Contents, sometimes followed by a few brief News items, then the interviews began. Near the middle of the show, after two or three interviews, about fifteen minutes worth of the science fiction novel "Bones Burnt Black" was read by the author. (The serialization of this novel was begun in the first episode, and completed in the November 1 2007 episode.)

Many episodes ended with a "Celebrity Interview" which usually had little to do with the show's theme (the future). These may have been included to increase the show's status or to pull in more listeners by appearing in Google searches of those celebrity names.

There has always been a noticeable abundance of SF writers on the show, perhaps because the host feels that since many SF writers write about the future they have spent a great deal of time pondering what is to come (a logical, if unproven, theory) or maybe its just because the host is an SF writer himself and finds it easiest to find guests within his own field.

Also notable is the show's length. Striving for so much variety forces the program to a far greater length than most podcasts. Episodes have fluctuated from 68 minutes to 150 minutes. For many months the target length seemed to be 79 minutes. (Perhaps because 80 minutes is the most that can be burned to a 700 megabyte audio CD.) But many episodes of the first and second time period seem to gravitate to around two hours.

All the old episodes have remained available for listening (which is typical of most podcasts). And like most podcasts, there is no charge for listening to one episode or for subscribing.

Second Time Period: Monthly Episodes

Beginning May 1 2006 episodes were released once per month on the first of each month, but no change was made to the format or the content.

Third Time Period: Weekly Episodes

On January 1 2008 episodes started being released weekly, becoming available one minute after midnight every Wednesday morning. The format also changed to feature an interview with only one guest per episode. Other changes seem to include: less news, a more streamlined opening, and promos for other podcasts were moved to after the closing credits.

Other Historical Changes and Events:

The December 1 2006 episode had two major events. It was declared the show's One Year Anniversary Episode (the first episode was actually uploaded on December 15 2005) and it was the beginning of the show's alliance with Jim Baen's Universe the online magazine of SF&F. This alliance brought ten minutes of new content to each episode. These ten minute segments were provided by the staff of Jim Baen's Universe and were produced by Walt Boyes (AKA: Bananaslug) and Stoney Compton.

The June 1 2006 episode was the first to use VoIP for recording all the phone interviews, and so was the first to provide professional quality sound. (The May 1 2006 episode contained one VoIP interview, but all the rest were recorded over conventional analog phone lines.)

October 1 2006 saw another improvement in the show's audio quality. This was done by changing the mp3 file compression from 32 kbit/s (which had been used for all previous episodes) to 64 kbit/s. This better sound was good, but it was also bad in that it made the files twice as large, and take twice as long to download.

AwardsEdit

The 2006 Parsec Award for "Best Speculative Fiction News Podcast" was given to the show's host, Stephen Euin Cobb, on the evening of September 2 2006. This was at the first annual Parsec Award ceremony which was held in Atlanta GA, as part of "the world’s largest popular media convention: Dragon*Con."

In his acceptance speech, Stephen thanked the three podcasters who had encouraged him to create a podcast when he knew little about how podcasting was done: Mur Lafferty, Tee Morris, and Rich Sigfrit. Stephen also thanked his photographer and assistant, Peggy Gregory (who is also his sister) for helping him throughout his many promotional travels to science fiction conventions, book signings and TV appearances.

References Edit

External links Edit

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