Steven Johnson And A Better Future

This show is a rebroadcast from Sept. 18, 2012

From Wikipedia to Kickstarter, we’ll look at the growing power of collaboration as a source of hope and progress with Steven Johnson, author of “Future Perfect.”

The internet in 1972 (photo illustration Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

The internet in 1972 (photo illustration Alex Kingsbury/WBUR)

American politics can look hopeless.  Steven Johnson says hang on.  There’s a new way coming.  And it’s loaded with optimism and hope.  With progress.  Johnson writes about technology and society.  He’s looking at the networked life of the Internet and saying that as a model, it’s just getting started in changing our shared lives.

What markets won’t do and governments won’t do, he says, networked citizens are taking on.  Peers, empowered by connectivity, moving beyond  Left and Right, looking for solutions.

This hour, On Point:  future perfect, with Steven Johnson.

-Tom Ashbrook


Steven Johnson, author of the new book Future Perfect: The Case For Progress In A Networked Age.

From Tom’s Reading List

Wall Street Journal “I teach at an engineering school, and in one of my courses—a kind of overview of Western civilization for freshmen—I make my students read John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address. At one point, the young president exhorts Americans to seek the end of “tyranny, poverty, disease and war itself.” When I asked my students recently if they thought these goals were realistic or just pipe dreams, all 24 went with pipe dreams.”

New York Times “Embracing semiotics came with certain costs. In my own case, I spent most of my mid-20s detangling my prose style. (It got younger as I got older.) I now spend more time learning from the insights of science than deconstructing its truth claims. I slowly killed off the desire to impress with willful obscurity.”

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