Secret History of the Future

A Little Less Conversation

Some people thought the trans-Atlantic cable would bring world peace. It didn’t.

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Some people thought the laying of the trans-Atlantic cable might bring world peace, because connecting humans could only lead to better understanding and empathy. That wasn’t the outcome—and recent utopian ideas about communication (Facebook might bring us together and make us all friends!) have also met with a darker reality (Facebook might polarize us and spread false information!). Should we be scared of technology that promises to connect the world? Guests include: Robin Dunbar, inventor of Dunbar’s Number; Nancy Baym, Microsoft researcher.

Email: secrethistory@slate.com

Podcast production by Bart Warshaw and Kate Holland.