Hello, fellow Futurographers,
Welcome to the latest installment of the Futurography newsletter. This month, we have something unusual for you: a cybersecurity self-defense course. For the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring articles that offer practical guidance into the things you can do to make yourself more secure—even in these insecure times. As always, we’ve kicked things off with a conversational introduction to the topic, along with a cheat sheet that will introduce you to the lingo, debates, key players, and other components of the issues we’ll be exploring. But we’re also already getting into the particulars, starting with a step-by-step guide to setting up a virtual private network (it’s easier than you might think!) and a explanation of how to figure out what cybersecurity threats should actually worry you, both from Jennifer Golbeck.
We have lots more like that on the way, including a happy hour event on Feb. 16 in Washington, where we’ll teach you how to secure your devices. In the meantime, you might want to take this opportunity to revisit last month’s Futurography course, which looked at the legacy of Frankenstein. Here’s what we published:
- Introduction: In which we explore why this novel is still relevant to contemporary science and technology, almost 200 years after it was first published.
- Cheat sheet: Learn the names you need to know, the debates that are still raging, the titles of some great Frankenstein adaptations, and more.
- How Franken- Lurched Its Way Into Our Lexicon: Katy Waldman investigates the history of a patchwork prefix.
- The Problem With “Playing God”: When we dismiss scientific innovations as hubristic, we miss the true legacy of Frankenstein, a book that calls on us to be better stewards of our creations.
- The Weird Science That Inspired Mary Shelley: This video examines some of the real innovations and events that underlie even the most fantastical elements of Frankenstein.
- What Frankenstein Has to Do With Anti-Vaxxers: As Charles Kenny shows, the history of vaccines overlaps strikingly with that of Shelley’s masterpiece.
- The Vivisectionist and Frankenstein: Shelley’s protagonist may be fictional, but he had real-world analogues, including the brtual French physiologist Claude Bernard.
- Dr. Frankenstein’s Three Big Mistakes: Today’s A.I. researchers have a lot to learn from Shelley’s novel, most of all that they should beware of isolation, neglect, and inadequate funding in their work.
- How Frankenstein’s Monster Became Sexy: Creatures that were once horrifying have grown increasingly desirable, a shift that speaks to the consumerist imperatives of modern technology.
- What Victor Frankenstein Got Wrong: Kevin M. Esvelt, who helped develop CRISPR gene-editing technology, stresses the importance of openness when we’re pursuing scientific innovation.
- The Modern-Day Victor Frankensteins?: Though contemporary biohackers sometimes seem Frankensteinian, they bring an ethical attitude to their work that Shelley’s protagonist lacked.
Once you’ve read all of those articles, test what you’ve learned with our quiz on the legacy of Frankenstein. Then tell us what you think about these topics (and come back next week for a write-up of your responses).
for Future Tense