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What is FutureProofing?

FutureProofing reporter Timandra Harkness introduces the series

If I offered you one (return) trip in my time machine*, where would you go?

I'm surprised how many people say "Ancient Athens" or "Shakespeare's Globe". I'd go to the future. First, because most of the past was much worse for most people than today, let alone tomorrow. Second, the future hasn't happened yet, so we know nothing about it.

But we can make some educated guesses, talk to some people with specialist knowledge, and let our imaginations play with what we discover. I think I'm generally open to change, including technological change, but I am hearing some things that raise my eyebrows. I'm startled by how fast humanity is acquiring new abilities to reshape the world. And I'm disquieted by some visions of our collective future.

More often, though, I'm excited by the new possibilities, and by how wide open the future is. We have choices, some of them profound choices that will need our moral instincts more than our scientific knowledge. We have the chance to reflect on many possible futures and, by so doing, turn fresh eyes on our lives right now. Sometimes it feels as if the possibilities are limitless. Or perhaps the only limits are the ones we set ourselves.

*It's a hypothetical time machine. For now, you'll have to make do with a radio series.

Listen to FutureProofing on Radio 4, Wednesdays at 20.00.

FutureProofing reporters Leo Johnson and Timandra Harkness