Cover art for podcast Future Perfect

Future Perfect

42 EpisodesProduced by VoxWebsite

Future Perfect explores provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. We tackle big questions about the most effective ways to save lives, fight global warming, and end world poverty to create a more perfect future.In season 3, we explore how the meat we eat affects us all. In… read more

42 Episodes | 2018 - 2021

Sucking the carbon out of the sky

April 28th, 2021


Most of our efforts to fight climate change, from electric cars to wind turbines, are about pumping fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. But …

Should I still have kids if I’m worried about climate change?

April 21st, 2021


Climate scientist Kimberly Nicholas co-led a study that showed the single most effective thing an individual can do to decrease their carbon …

Engineering our way out of the climate crisis

April 14th, 2021


In an ideal world, cutting carbon emissions would be enough to stop global warming. But after dithering for decades, the world needs a back-up plan. …


March 16th, 2021


Unexplainable is a new podcast from Vox about everything we don’t know. Each week, the team looks at the most fascinating unanswered questions in science and the mind-bending ways scientists are trying to answer them. …

Rethinking meat

November 4th, 2020


How can we convince people to change their relationship with meat?

Melanie Joy has been grappling with this question for a long time. To answer it, …

Can we raise better beef?

October 28th, 2020


Beef cattle take a huge toll on the environment. In Brazil, a huge chunk of greenhouse gas emissions comes from ranching alone. And a …

How to prevent a factory farmed pandemic

October 21st, 2020


What if the next pandemic comes, not from wet markets overseas, but from our own factory farms? Martha Nelson, who studies viruses at the NIH, says …

These bacteria wear chicken shoes

October 14th, 2020


Right now, we can fight off a wide range of bacterial infections using antibiotics. But those antibiotics are becoming increasingly ineffective, and antibiotic use on factory farms is partially to blame. 

In this …

Life on the fast line

October 7th, 2020


Workers in meatpacking plants already process our pigs and beef and chickens extremely fast, but recently, there’s been a push to make the meatpacking factory line move even faster. 

Isaac Arnsdorf, a ProPublica …

Chicken Big

September 30th, 2020


In 1992, Craig Watts got into growing chickens for Perdue Farms because he was told he could turn a good profit. Instead, he found himself hundreds …

The paradox on our plates

September 23rd, 2020


In the US, we spend billions of dollars a year pampering our pets. We have laws to protect them from harm and to punish those who inflict it on them. …

Pig poop lagoon

September 16th, 2020


North Carolina is home to around 9 million pigs. Many of those pigs live in big factory farms, and all of those pigs produce a lot of waste. On these …

Season 3: The beef with meat

September 9th, 2020


The meat we eat affects us all. It affects non-human animals, but also the farmers and factory workers who raise those animals and slaughter them. It affects the communities living around those farms and …

What the housing crisis means for the climate

September 7th, 2020


Dylan Matthews sits down with housing policy experts and advocates Leonora Camner and Annie Fryman to discuss California’s housing crisis, climate …

What MLK and Malcolm X would do today

August 19th, 2020


Co-host Sean Illing talks to Peniel Joseph, a University of Texas at Austin historian of Black Power movements

Relevant resources: 

The Sword and the …

The benefits of contemplating death

August 12th, 2020


Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Nikki Mirghafori, a Buddhist meditation teacher and AI researcher, about how to practice mindfulness of death 

Relevant …

A nun on the radical possibilities of Christianity

August 5th, 2020


Co-host Sean Illing talks to Sister Ilia Delio, a Franciscan nun and Catholic theologian, about the power of love and suffering in Christianity.

Why Cornel West is hopeful (but not optimistic)

July 29th, 2020


Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Cornel West, professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard, about Black liberation theology, …

What Camus’s "The Plague" can teach us about this pandemic

July 22nd, 2020


Co-host Sean Illing talks to Robert Zaretsky, professor of French history at the University of Houston, about Albert Camus’s novel The Plague.

Muslim mystics on the power of pain

July 15th, 2020


Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Omid Safi, professor of Islamic Studies at Duke University, about the benefits of solitude and suffering, according to …

A rabbi explains how to make sense of suffering

July 8th, 2020


Co-host Sean Illing talks to David Wolpe, senior rabbi at Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, about God and how to make sense of suffering in human life.

On Buddhism and Blackness

July 1st, 2020


Co-host Sigal Samuel talks to Valerie Brown, a mindfulness teacher with a racial justice lens, about how to use Buddhist spiritual teachings not just …

Introducing Future Perfect: The Way Through

June 30th, 2020


We’re living through challenging times: a pandemic, a historic economic collapse, racial injustice, and social unrest. But it would be a mistake to …

The money in the moon

July 17th, 2019


Fifty years ago this summer, Apollo 11 landed on the moon.

Now, NASA’s talking about going back.

But is it worth it?

We talk to lunar geologists about …

Your PTA vs. equality

July 10th, 2019


Big philanthropists can threaten democracy. But so can small ones, like you and me. One big example? Parent-teacher associations. We examine how rich PTAs can hoard opportunity and deny resources to poor kids.

Dana …

Move fast and break schools

July 3rd, 2019


When Mark Zuckerberg gave $100 million to Newark’s schools, he raised a big question: Who will decide where this money goes? The answer: Not the …

Who's afraid of killer robots?

June 26th, 2019


Most charity is focused on the near term. So what happens when you try to only give to charities that will help humans a long time from now — not just in 100 years, but in a million years? To find out, we talk to Jaan …

Donors from beyond the grave

June 19th, 2019


Billions of dollars are donated every year from the fortunes of people who’ve died but are using their wills to influence our world from beyond the …

Sim City, Wisconsin

June 12th, 2019


Diane Hendricks is the richest self-made woman in America, and she has used her fortune to remake the city of Beloit, Wisconsin. But she’s also used …

A foundation-funded atrocity

June 5th, 2019


In the 1950s and ’60s, Western foundations like Ford and Rockefeller pushed hard to control India's population by sterilizing its people. In 1975, …

He bought the law

May 29th, 2019


John M. Olin isn’t a household name, but his foundation helped create the Federalist Society, turned federal judges against environmental protection …

Gilded Rage

May 22nd, 2019


To put our new age of extreme inequality in perspective, we look back at Andrew Carnegie, who gave America a huge number of libraries so they’d forgive him for his brutal steel mills. We ask: Is the same thing happening …

Season 2: Philanthropy vs. Democracy

May 16th, 2019


On the second season of Future Perfect: how philanthropy clashes with democracy. First episode drops Wednesday, May 22nd.

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How to pick a career that counts

November 28th, 2018


What do you want to be when you grow up? Do you want to make a lot of money, or follow your bliss, even if it’s not lucrative? The group 80,000 Hours …

How to save a species (if you really want to)

November 21st, 2018


The black-footed ferret was thought extinct — until a Wyoming rancher rediscovered it, in 1981. Since then, conservation workers have been doggedly attempting to save the ferret, only to run into big problems like, oh, …

How to be a better carnivore

November 14th, 2018


Most fish die by slowly suffocating to death on the deck of a boat, struggling for air. That’s horrendously cruel, but it also makes for acidic, rubbery, smelly fish. There’s another way: ikejime, a Japanese method of …

How to rethink America's borders

November 7th, 2018


The most reliable, best-documented way to lift someone in a poor country out of poverty? Let them come to the US (or another rich country). That’s the argument of Fabio Rojas, a self-described advocate of open borders. …

How to cool the planet with a fake volcano

October 31st, 2018


When volcanoes erupt, they spray particles into the atmosphere that cool the planet for a bit. As we get closer and closer to truly catastrophic …

How our drinking water could help prevent suicide

October 24th, 2018


Lithium is a potent drug used to treat bipolar disorder, but it’s also the third element in the periodic table, and you can find tiny amounts in most …

How to make prisons more humane

October 17th, 2018


Karianne Jackson was working for the North Dakota prison system in 2015 when a trip to Norway changed her life. There, she saw a prison with no bars and no uniformed guards. Instead, prisoners lived in small cottages …

How to save a stranger's life

October 15th, 2018


In 2016, Dylan Matthews donated his kidney to a complete stranger. He didn’t think he was doing anything really extreme or remarkable. He was just …

Introducing Future Perfect

October 12th, 2018


Explore provocative ideas with the potential to radically improve the world. Vox’s Dylan Matthews tackles big questions about the most effective ways to save lives, fight global warming, and end world poverty. Dylan …

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