Los Angeles

Is Civilization on the Verge of Collapse?

Destruction, from the series Course of Empire (1833-1836), by Thomas Cole. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

A Zócalo/Getty Event
Moderated by Edan Lepucki, Novelist and Author of California
LOCATION:
The Getty Center
1200 Getty Center Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Parking is $10 per car or motorcycle after 6:00 PM. More information here.

Twenty-first century visions of the future now seem drawn from Hollywood horror films. Runaway climate change portends the wholesale destruction of economies and species. Scientists fear new mass epidemics. Old technologies are breaking down and new technologies are used for oppression and social control. The deluge of digital information makes it hard to separate truth from fiction. What are the risks of human society of entering a darker, less civilized age? Do the rise of authoritarians and political extremists portend greater barbarity in how our societies are governed? Even if we all agreed that we’re close to the apocalypse, do humans have the capacity to save themselves? University of New South Wales global biosecurity scholar Raina MacIntyre, SCI-Arc speculative architect and futurist Liam Young, and RAND Corporation defense policy researcher and former U.S. Marine Jonathan P. Wong visit Zócalo to examine whether the future will take us backwards.

More Upcoming Events

Los Angeles

What Will California’s Coastline Look Like in 2100?

If state projections prove right, the sea level along California’s coast will rise 55 inches by the end of this century. That increase, which will be even higher during tidal floods and Pacific storms, would threaten the economies of the coastal counties that 85 percent of Californians call home. And it could spell doom for water sources, major roadways, hazardous waste …

Los Angeles

Are Americans Turning Against Science?

Scientists have demonstrated that climate change is real, but polls show that 30 percent of Americans disagree. Scientists have shown that genetically modified foods pose no threat, but, according to one survey, half the country sees such foods as dangerous. And despite scientific assurances about vaccine safety, the number of very young children who don’t get vaccinated has quadrupled in the …

Did Americans Ever Get Along? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Salinas

Did Americans Ever Get Along?

“From the first we have treated our minorities abominably, the way the old boys do the new kids in school,” Steinbeck wrote in “E Pluribus Unum,” an essay in America and the Americans. American identity, the author argued, was forged through this cruel process of hazing the newest, and that once any ethnic group became established, it would pick on …

Is Journalism About Social Justice? | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian
Los Angeles

Is Journalism About Social Justice?

In a 19th-century story, a fictional press-hating Irish bartender mocks the pomposity of the press by remarking that a newspaper’s job is to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” That phrase, despite its satirical origins, has since become a sincere media mantra. American journalists routinely justify exploitation and error by portraying themselves as people who right wrongs, and journalism …