Do you feel that too? That malaise that stretches its soul-sucking tentacles toward us through our news feeds and our televisions (do we still watch those?) and even slipping into our Insta comments. (Duck! A trolling tweet almost hit you upside your head.) The climate, good lord. The heads of state with dictatorial inclinations and scary tech in their hands. Facialrecognitiondeepfakes. The shitposting. Does anyone who’s not a venture capitalist or a communications professional ever have something good to say about tech anymore?
At WIRED, this stuff makes us woozy, and not in a good way. Because our natural state, the stuff of WIRED-evolutionary-tendencies, is to find our way to a better place via the brilliance of science and technology, in the minds of people who know how to point it at the future and say we can do better. Humans can build things that are great. In fact, awesome stuff is being created right now, right over there.
Which is why from November 7 to 10, WIRED is bringing together a tenacious group of those folks—people who inspire us, who remind us that we’ve overcome the malaise before and that we are, in fact, overcoming it right now. At our second annual WIRED 25 festival, in San Francisco, we’ll have conversations with tech leaders and science luminaries, heads of organizations (from the NSA to Slack), and kids hellbent on fixing our climate. And science fiction writers, actors, and creators. The event also happens in harmony with WIRED’s November print issue and our 2019 list of 25 people who are using science and tech to make the future we all want to live in.
Take Dawn Song. Her startup, Oasis, is using blockchain to make our interactions online more safe and secure. Or Jack Conte, the CEO of Patreon, who’s making it possible for artists and musicians to make money on the internet, a place where information wants to be free but artists need it to be at least a little expensive. And the marvelous N. K. Jemisin, the only sci-fi writer to have won three consecutive Hugo awards and who, let’s face it, blows our minds with her worldbuilding.
In fact, on stage, dozens of icons and rabble-rousers will join WIRED reporters and editors, including
- Three of the young plaintiffs suing the United States government over climate change: Levi Draheim (age 12), Vic Barrett (20), and Kelsey Juliana (23)
- Anne Neuberger, the new head of the Cybersecurity Directorate at the NSA
- Astro Teller, the CEO of Google’s Moonshot Factory
- Patrick Collison, the CEO and cofounder of Stripe
- Stewart Butterfield, Slack’s CEO and cofounder
- Matthew Prince, the cofounder and CEO of Cloudflare, and many more.
It’ll be inspiring, illuminating. But the weekend will be fun too. Saturday and Sunday will be filled with music and film screenings and robots and paper airplanes. The actor Chris Evans is going to screen his new film Knives Out—with writer and director Rian Johnson—and talk about his new project to help upright our democracy.
Come join us (you can buy tickets here) and get revitalized by the damn-smart people who are focused on fixing the world’s problems. To hell with the haters. We can do this.