I’ve been obsessed with the future since I was a little kid.
Imprinted with images of an advanced world from the sci-fi movies, books, and comics I devoured from an early age, I wasn’t content to get to the future the old fashioned way — by waiting.
To speed up the process, I built myself a time machine out of cardboard boxes and spare wires. It didn’t work (my calculations for the flux capacitor must have been off), but I have, in a sense, been working on that same project ever since.
Fast forward to 2015, and I’ve joined with some phenomenally smart, forward-looking people to launch Inverse, a publication obsessed with the future and hell-bent on accelerating, critiquing, and celebrating its arrival.
This project has its technical and entrepreneurial elements but is fundamentally based on a realization: I’m not alone. Our generation shares my fascination with progress in all its forms. We are unceasingly, some would say naively, optimistic. We expect tomorrow to be better than today, and we’re also not shy about shouting our expectations from the mountaintop.
Of course, we could also still screw it up royally. All claims to the future are by their very nature contested, and there are plenty of mind-bogglingly giant hazards looming: economic uncertainty, social upheaval, manmade cataclysm, earthly or cosmic disaster, and — of course — apathy.
The future, truly, is what we make of it.
You’ll meet more of the team behind Inverse below and learn what possibilities dot their horizons. Thanks for stopping in, and glad to have you along for the ride. Whatever the future holds for us, it’s gonna be heavy.
Dave Nemetz, Founder & CEO
Corban Goble, Senior Editor
Current Project: Writing as many of the “It’s the Summer of” articles as possible
“What excites me about the future is cities getting more user-friendly and better to live in. In KC, my hometown, for instance, urban revitalization has restored civic pride through art and culture education programs. It’s cool to see this town that, when I was young, people saw as a place to escape, become a place to escape to. I’m not saying that I’m ready to move back home, but it’s dope that people want to live where I’m from. I think other people from other places will, increasingly, have similar experiences with the places they grew up. It’s dope.”
Yasmin Tayag, Writer
Current Project: Covering the science of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll
“I’m intensely interested in the new ways science will worm its way into everyday life. With innovations like 3D-printed food and insect flour, we’re already seeing some major changes to the way we eat. Hoverboards, hyperloops, and self-driving cars are just around the corner and will change travel. With teledildonics, science is even finding its way into our sex lives. None of this is to say that science hasn’t alway been present, but we’re suddenly culturally savvy enough to pay attention to it and leverage it creatively.”
Michael Schaefermeyer, Senior Engineer
Current Project: Speeding up our writer’s tools
“I work from my home in Germany, 3,758 miles from my nearest coworker, but I rarely feel lonely. The Internet, social media, and my phone connect me to the people I need to be connected with, making those relationships immediate and dynamic. As more and more technologies collapse space and ease communication, I look forward to being increasingly independent without having to pay the price in solitude. I see a future where I’m working from the road or Germany or America or wherever I am without feeling any disconnect. The flip side of this will be that those same technologies that make communication easier and easier will also make it easier to turn off communication altogether. That’s not so bad. Sometimes it’s nice to just be where you are.”
David Turner, Writer
Current Project: Writing about all of the culture
“I’m excited about the ways that social media is now being so connected to social concerns. The traditionally marginalized voices of people of color are being, to some degree at least, heard and seen. More so than a symbolic gesture like the election of Barack Obama, the last year of social media activism has rallied people of color around the idea that the future doesn’t have to look like the past. Issues of racism aren’t going to be solved in my lifetime, but seeing conversations more out in the public that can make a change is thrilling.”
John Degner, Senior Engineer
Current Project: Performance Dashboards, Benchmarks
“I’m really excited about how our advancements in technology are allowing engineers to act more as strategists and less as foot soldiers. Because we have more tools to quantify and analyze the results of experimentation, we have more incentive to experiment and more reason to think of ourselves as creative people. We write software and music and talk about both. The culture around what I do seems to be changing for the better.”
Matthew Strauss, Writer
Current Project: Following Drake’s every move
“The lines between the underground and the mainstream are getting blurrier everyday. Experimental artists can emerge without having to adjust their sound. Pop stars are listening, too, taking more risks with music that millions will hear. I’m excited for a time when the most popular musicians in the world are also truly the best ones.”
Kameron Niksefat, Senior Engineer
Current Project: Developing our CMS and Consumer websites
“Over the course of the last century, the world opened up for travelers. There is a sense now that anyone can go anywhere, but that is only kind of true. It remains incredibly time consuming and difficult to get to a lot of places, but new technologies and new demand is opening the world up even more. Wherever I am today, I can be somewhere else tomorrow. For people like me, people who love to travel, that is both comforting and exciting. And it won’t be too long before we’re shuttling in and out of space. See you in orbit.”
Hannah Margaret Allen, Editorial Operations
Current Project: Building this post that you’re reading right now
“I’m really loving that podcasts are blowing up right now. It’s such a great medium for telling intimate stories and being honest, and the options are only going to get better and more diverse. I’m anticipating an era when podcasts have gotten so hyperspecific that I’ll be able to listen to people talk about the plays at the small Polish theater in my neighborhood. Whether I agree with those future podcasters or not, I’ll want to hear what they have to say because those other perspectives add depth to an experience. There’s this profound sense of community that actually encourages independent thinking and I’m into that. I’m from the South. We’re talkers.”
Andrew Burmon, Managing Editor
Current Project: Working on our first batch of longform features
“I have weird horrible feet, but I always went barefoot as a kid because I liked the feel of grass and the dirt. I can’t do that anymore because I live in NYC and I hear tetanus sucks. I’m not pleased with the deal I’ve struck — the tickle of fine fescue for a subterranean commute to a career — and I’m hoping that new transportation technologies will help me unwind it. I want to work in this city, but I want to spend my nights someplace quiet and soft with a leashless dog and, ideally, a slightly sunburnt woman. Better infrastructure, maybe a hyperloop or an aerial highway, could give me the opportunity to untie my ambition from my physical circumstance. You don’t need shoes to be serious.”
Lauren Sarner, Writer
Current Project: Being a professional Jon Snow Lives Truther
“I’m excited about bold ideas and voices in storytelling across the board. In books, this ranges from literary fiction like Margaret Atwood to genre-benders like Jennifer Egan, Chris Adrian, Neil Gaimain, and Emily St. John Mandel, to smart YA like Maggie Stiefvater. With regard to film and TV writers, I’ll always be excited about whatever Joss Whedon and Martin McDonagh do next, and I’m always on the lookout for the next good story and interesting writer. I’m a sucker for fresh takes on familiar stories, so I’m excited about the upcoming Michael Fassbender Macbeth movie and Guy Ritchie’s crazy King Arthur franchise. I will also be following anything and everything J.K. Rowling ever does, and I could be excited about you, if you’ve got an interesting story.”
Winton Welsh, CTO
Current Project: Fixing our functional tests
“We are already eliminating the timesuck of formulaic information exchange. There is no reason, for instance, for me to ever spend time manually filling out my taxes ever again. And machine learning is going to automate an increasing amount of mindless, patience-straining tasks. That means less mental static for me. Instead of thinking about what I already know, I hope that future me will consider — almost exclusively — new, enlightening information and my own creations. I’m hoping that automation provides me with the opportunity to spend less time acting like a robot and more time being weird and human.”
Sam Eifling, Deputy Editor
Current Project: Talking to writers while canvassing every happy hour special between Greenpoint and Sunset Park
“I’m excited to not work. Computers have upped efficiency to utopian levels during the past 40 years, but Americans have yet to outgrow the grind-till-you-die Protestant inertia that keeps us from cooking dinner with our families, taking trips, reading thick books, and playing outside. I’m looking for four-day weeks to become the norm and would be down for three 10-hour days, if that works better. The future won’t belong to my commute, and I won’t have to make believe that end-of-day Netflix constitutes an actual hobby. I’ll hang out with my neighbors at 4 p.m. on a Wednesday and, by the way, accomplish double what I could have if I were born 50 years earlier and worked 168-hour weeks.”
Neel Patel, Writer
Current Project: Writing about space, cities, A.I., and future tech
“I’ve always loved cities. Urban areas are these bombastic spots of humanity at it’s most chaotic, most lively, and most transformative. I catch an infectious energy in every city I visit or reside in, whether it’s been when walking down Manhattan’s canyons of skyscrapers, wading knee-high through Venice’s high tide, enjoying a show of Oakland’s ridiculously absurd amateur wrestling scene, or running from a pissed-off monkey in bustling Kathmandu. By the end of the century, four out every five people living on the planet will be living in cities, and these areas will need to undergo an intense technological metamorphosis to survive and thrive. The next several decades are going to be a great time of upheaval, but I feel pretty lucky to witness and take part in it.”
Steve Marshall, Product/Design Lead
Current Project: Building Inverse
“I’m excited about the advancement of solar and wind technology because, paired with improvements in energy storage, it is starting to make energy independence look feasible. This is obviously significant in developing countries, where local networks can be built for local needs based on local resources, but it is meaningful for the wifi-enabled world as well. As customers start to have more options, we’ll be able to make energy choices that reflect our personal priorities. I, for one, won’t mind unplugging from utilities. I want to be in absolute control of what I’m consuming and being able to make independent decisions about energy will be a huge step in that direction.”