As it turned out, things were about to get a lot more complex. In early March, the world shut down. The World Health Organization declared the spreading coronavirus a global pandemic, and suddenly we were navigating one of the greatest challenges of our lifetimes. There is now the time Before coronavirus, and—well, we’re still in the thick of it, so it’s too soon to say “After.” We’ve landed in a place of even more uncertainty, and it feels like we’re trying to find our way with metaphorical blinders and literal masks on. For years, technologists and scholars have proclaimed that rapid digitization would lead to automation—humans replaced by machines. Yet in many ways, we are leaning on other human beings more than ever.
Being tall, white, enthusiastic, and good at computers, I’ve ended up the CEO of a software services company, working for various large enterprises to build their digital dreams—which you’d figure would be like being a kid in a candy store for me, sculpting software experiences all day until they ship to the web or into app stores.
These are exactly the kinds of topics that WIRED has explored since the magazine’s inception. But now, change and innovation are happening faster than we ever could have imagined. Scientists are trying to speed up vaccine development, while many tech companies that make our gadgets have pivoted (to use the Silicon Valley parlance) to supply protective gear. Meanwhile, an app's slick UI can disguise the network of vulnerable people who work behind the scenes, and social media likes have the ability to sway important elections. Entire populations have quickly adjusted to socializing behind screens to stop the spread of the virus—while millions of people have been inspired to take to the streets and protest decades of abuses against Black communities.
Sign Up TodaySign up for our Podcasts newsletter and never miss an episode of Get WIRED, Gadget Lab, and Geek's Guide to the Galaxy.That’s where Get WIRED comes in. Each week, we'll take our listeners behind the scenes of our most compelling, dystopian, and encouraging stories. We’ll explore the bizarre world of neighborhood watch apps and the people who rush to the scenes to live-stream crimes from their phones. We’ll dive into the history of surveillance technology and expose the deep-rooted racism at its core. We’ll cover stories about climate change, entertainment in a post-pandemic world, and the geopolitical issues at the heart of spats over TikTok. We’ll talk to the world’s leading experts in epidemiology, airborne particles, artificial intelligence, space exploration, and more.