We assume that the next world war will be a technological one, but the United States and its potential adversaries are increasingly developing tech designed to blast enemies into the past. In Ghost Fleet, real cybersecurity and war experts Peter W. Singer and August Cole explore what would actually happen in a war between the United States and China. There's drones and hacking, sure, but what happens when our space capabilities are taken offline? What happens if China hacks all the microchips we bought from them?
In this version of the future, war is as gritty and as human as it's ever been. Singer footnotes the entire book with references to actual technology, speeches, military plots and documents to add a layer of realism not seen in most sci fi. Radio Motherboard talks to Singer about writing the book, and the staff discusses how climate-induced strife and constant cyberattacks and hacking incidents has already plunged much of the world into conflict.
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We're all living two lives. We've got whatever's going on in the physical world, and then we've got our online personas—our Facebook and Twitter profiles, our Gchat lives, our Reddit accounts, our OKCupid and Tinder profiles. How do you make sense of it all? And how are we supposed to find love when everyone lives in two separate worlds?
Comedian Aziz Ansari calls our smartphones the "world's largest singles bar," and he's not wrong. At any moment, we can text whoever we want, check out of reality, or swipe through Tinder. The internet is connecting us to new people, but it's getting harder to make a lasting connection with someone when another option is simply a swipe away.
This week, we talk about how technology has affected our dating lives, talk to Aziz about his new book, Modern Romance, and talk to his coauthor, sociologist Eric Klinenberg, about how to make sense of this new world we've found ourselves in.
What happens to our brains and our psyche when a huge portion of humanity spends their lives persistently jacked in to their computers, their tablets, their smartphones, their screens? We don't really know—in a sense, we're performing one massive uncontrolled experiment on most of the developed world.
This week, we've been exploring everything mankind knows about the brain and technology's effect on it. Nathalie Nahai, the "web psychologist," has been doing this for her career. She's researchers how the web changes our expectations, our behavior, our attention spans, and our mood. Later this month, she'll be hosting the "Humanise the Web" conference in London, where she and other experts will be exploring our connection with the internet and how, maybe, we can make it a little more like the real world.
It's only June, and it's already been a very good summer for sci-fi. From the soaring optimism of Tomorrowland to the postapocalyptic dreariness of Mad Max to the outright unsettling nature of Ex Machina, there's already been plenty of speculative fiction to chew through. But we at Motherboard had been too busy making the site to enjoy any of the summer's biggest films. So we decided to change that with one back-to-back-to-back nine hour movie marathon. Before, during, and after the marathon, we discussed how these three looks at the future fit into the sci-fi canon, what they have to say about our future (and our present), whether they succeeded at creating a believable world, and whether they were actually any good.
Radio Motherboard is sponsored by Casper Mattresses. You can enter code VICE for $50 off any mattress: casper.com/?utm_source=vice&ut…podcast.motherboard