Future Tense newsletter: A bad tweet will end humanity before robots do.

Future Tense Newsletter: a Bad Tweet Will End Humanity Before Robots Do

Future Tense Newsletter: a Bad Tweet Will End Humanity Before Robots Do

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Aug. 2 2017 2:20 PM

Future Tense Newsletter: a Bad Tweet Will End Humanity Before Robots Do

Guests view an exhibit at The Daily Show’s Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library on June 16 in New York City.

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Greetings, Future Tensers!

Twitter, a site plagued with stalled user growth and terrible redesigns, has become the first stop for news from the White House. And that’s the exact reason why Jennifer Grygiel advocates that the platform start premoderating tweets from President Trump before he starts a nuclear war without so much as meeting with the Department of Defense. Nuclear war might be hyperbolic (for now), but keeping the administration offline seems increasingly vital for national security. It was revealed this week that several White House officials—including short-lived White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci—had been corresponding with a prankster posing as other people from the Trump orbit. April Glaser takes a deeper look at why the White House’s digital security is just so darn bad and why that should worry us.


The one thing Trump could brag about this week? Foxconn, known for manufacturing iPhones, announced plans to build a new plant in Wisconsin, creating as many as 13,000 jobs. What the president failed to mention, however, is that the company is also on a mission to replace as much of its workforce as possible with robots. But Trump isn’t the only big name lately to ignore the looming threat of A.I. replacing jobs on a massive scale. Nick Thieme argues that tech billionaires Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are so busy arguing over whether robots will serve us or kill us that they fail to see the more pressing concern.

Sadly, it seems that we are stuck in this bizarre timeline, but Rick and Morty, whose third season just debuted, can give a temporary escape into a science-fueled adventure. Writer Meeri Kim talked to real physicists about the show and why they love it despite its pretty inaccurate depiction of multiverse theory.

  • Log on, we’re going shopping: Google’s new advertising program works with credit card companies to collect data on the impact of online ads on offline shopping. April Glaser explains why privacy experts are worried.
  • Robots getting red cards: The international robotic soccer equivalent of the World Cup has been around for two decades, but so far the robots the have yet to mimic anything close to a human competition.
  • Requiem for a computer’s dream: Anyone who grew up with a desktop computer can remember the pixelated images that graced the monitor’s slumber. Jacob Brogan ponders the slow demise of the screen saver.
  • Designer baby news: The genetic engineering technology CRISPR made the news recently when a team of scientists in Portland, Oregon, became the first in the United States to successfully create a genetically modified human embryo. While the experiment was a huge step forward for science, Nick Thieme explains why we are still a long ways away from designer babies.

One multiverse away,
Tonya Riley

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.