San Francisco Mayor London Breed on the City’s Troubles—and Hopes

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Archives: It spans the globe like a superhighway. It is called the internet.

Lauren: People were really excited about the transformative potential of the web. The editors at WIRED certainly were; I found this letter to the editor in an old issue criticizing WIRED for being a little too “orgasmic” about the internet.

Gideon: Orgasmic.

Lauren: Yeah. And I don’t even think they were talking about specific websites.

Gideon: Hmm.

Archives: For years they’ve been saying these things would change. The world would mature from adding machines and typewriters to tools of the human spirit, personal desktop computers, a network of people with unique experiences and expertise connected all over the globe.

Lauren: What could go wrong?

Gideon: So much went wrong in really unexpected ways. I mean, who would’ve predicted QAnon or ISIS recruiting videos, or the ice bucket challenge? Frankly, the future is unpredictable, and that’s what can be really dismissing

Lauren: And the pace of innovation has just accelerated so much. Cryptocurrencies, generative AI, the metaverse, so many exciting changes—

Gideon: But also freaky changes–

Lauren: Changes we can’t seem to pump the brakes on and will have to face one way or another.

Gideon: So we decided to make a show about it. Have a Nice Future.

Lauren: It’s a podcast about how fast things are changing, in good ways and in ways that make us deeply uncomfortable.

Gideon: Each week we’re going to talk to somebody with a big, audacious idea about the future and ask, is this really the future we want?

Lauren: We want to ask people what keeps them up at night, and also what keeps them feeling optimistic.

Gideon: And then after we share the interview with you, Lauren and I will discuss how we feel about the future. They’re describing what we think is good about their vision, what we think is troubling, and what we and you can do about it in our own lives.

Lauren: We’d also like to hear what you think. So send us any questions you have about the future or what’s concerning you.

Gideon: Or even what makes you optimistic.

Lauren: Yes, that too.

Gideon: So we decided to kick off this weekly conversation with someone who’s pretty directly shaping mine and Lauren’s future. And ultimately probably yours too.

Lauren: On today’s episode, we talk to London Breed, the mayor of San Francisco, whose job, as clichéd as it sounds, really is to build a better future for this city. And we have to determine, is this the future we want?

Gideon: We wanted to interview Mayor Breed because WIRED was founded in San Francisco, of course, and the digital revolution that WIRED was created to cover began in the Bay Area. But tech infiltrates and warps all aspects of life. It changes our social fabric and our urban fabric, and Have a Nice Future is about all of those changes too, not just the bits that are directly brought about by a new piece of code or hardware.

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