“Are killer death robots from the future already among us?”
That’s the sort of question you can expect from the Atlas’s very own in-house ‘Futurenauts’. Sounds dark, but optimism outweighs the cynicism in this quick-witted new podcast series about the things that keep us all awake at night.
Top selling author and futurist Mark Stevenson and leading sustainability expert Ed Gillespie have teamed up with Britain’s ‘third most popular comedian’, Jon Richardson, for ‘How to survive the future’. After a popular first series (reaching number one in the Apple Podcasts Science chart in the UK), they’re back every Wednesday to talk about everything from the future of protesting to alcohol to sex.
And it’s provocative. Legendary cynic Jon, whose hit comedy TV show ‘Ultimate Worrier’ featured Mark and Ed as hopefully optimistic and reassuring voices on the future, wrestles with his fears about tomorrow, asking questions like:
“Are we going to run out of food? Is it already too late to stop climate change? Should I start learning Mandarin? Will my kids grow up to see a real tiger or giraffe? Why hasn’t anyone yet made an intelligent hairbrush?”
Oh, they have? As you were.
In the first series, episode one starts with the pandemic, before moving onto Italian swearing, the real meaning of ‘apocalypse’, lockdown slug farming, daal recipes and the best definition of happiness. Episode two revolves around food, exploring the most sensuous thing you can do with your clothes on (eating, allegedly), how, when and why we stopped loving the land, whether we should keep meat on our plates, and if so how much? And of course insects. Ed always wants to get people to eat insects. Episode eight is the biggie: climate change, in which Ed explains ‘Death Star Economics’ and Mark explains how prog-rock can save the world.
Series two gets straight into ‘The Future of Sex’, in which Jon bravely invites his wife, the brilliant Lucy Beaumont onto the show. We discover the global ratio between the amount of sex we have, and how happy we are with it, interview the porn-destroying powerhouse Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn, and discover ‘quornography’ and the pointless future of ‘teledildonics’.
On another note, have you met Mark’s alter ego in Quantum Pig? Bet you can’t name any other prog rock duos with lyrics about ice caps…