Futurist Friday: Breakthrough

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog

If you’re a fan of National Geographic specials in general (as I am), you will be psyched to learn they are launching a short futurist series this coming Sunday (November 1, 9/8 Central). 

Each of the six installments of Breakthrough is directed by a great storyteller (Ron Howard, Paul Giamatti, Brett Ratner, Angela Bassett, Peter Berg, Akiva Goldsman), and each focuses on a significant future challenge, exploring a current “breakthrough” that may help humanity weather that disruptive force. The lineup is (descriptions adapted from show notes):

  • November 1: Fighting Pandemics with new treatments and tools, including needle-free vaccines, and using data analytics to forecast how outbreaks may spread
  • November 8: More than Human. Developing technologies are challenging our basic understanding of “normal” through enhancing our senses and physical abilities. You too, can become a cyborg.
  • November 15: Decoding the Brain looks at recent advances in understanding how the brain works, the nature of consciousness and free will (and how this new knowledge might help us treat dementia and other cognitive disorders)
  • November 29: The Age of Aging/ What is growing old going to be like, and how can we extend the healthy years of our lifespan?
  • December 6: Energy on the Edge. Developments in energy production that might wean us from reliance on fossil fuels. 
  • December 13: Water Apocalypse. Global innovations that may help us avert a planet wide water crisis. 
Here’s a preview. Take a look, see if you want to join me on Sunday nights. 


Whether or not you watch the series, check out the Breakthrough web site. It is chock-full of video clips and interactive graphics exploring each of these topics. (Even if much of it is overdesigned and a bit fidgity. Works better in Chrome than Firefox, for me.)

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