Future Facts 2020
In this fascinating glimpse of the future, Alexis looks at not only where we will be and what we will be doing, but also what that means. This talk covers topics as diverse as the Occupy Wall Street movement to the future of work and microinvesting. Alexis will tailor the talk to any audience or industry.
Watch the video here.
Alexis Madrigal is deputy editor for TheAtlantic.com where he launched their new
He is the lead writer as well as host. Alexis is co-creator of Longshot magazine, a publication created in 48 hours with the help of new internet tools and hundreds of people submitting content thru the internet. The magazine was awarded the 2010 Knight-Batten Award for innovation.
Alexis is author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. His research has recovered amazing stories of green technological experimentation from the past. As Alexis explains, many of these moments were forks in the road on the way to our present society and they demonstrate what is possible. Chosen as
by Outside magazine.
Formerly, Alexis followed science and technology for Wired.com and was a major contributor to its blog Wired Science. During his tenure there, he helped build Wired Science into the largest science blog in the world, with millions of visitors per month.
Wired Science was nominated for best magazine blog by the Magazine Publishers of America and Best Science Website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He was a major part of Wired.com’s 2008 Webby award for "Best Writing" and he hosted the popular Wired Science video podcast. His article,
"Telegraphs Ran on Electric Air in Crazy 1859 Magnetic Storm",
is included in The Best Technology Writing 2010 issue (Yale University Press). Alexis is also co-creator of
a collaborative community focused on technology and infrastructure solutions for the future of Haiti.
His work appears in Dwell, Earth2Tech, Sustainable Industries Journal and regularly on NPR. He has spoken at SXSW, E3 and Webvisions, among other events.
With Sarah Rich, Alexis cofounded The San Francisco Post-Chronicle, a wiki dedicated to building a new model for the daily news organization of the future, as a response to the problems facing his own home newspaper, The San Francisco Chronicle. He can speak on the future of journalism.
He is a leading writer with a unique and hopeful perspective on green technology and its business potential. Trained as an analyst, he is defining how technology is changing human beings' brains, consumption patterns, and environments.
From a completely different point of departure than other thought leaders in the field, Alexis looks at the history of past alternative energy breakthroughs. He is the leading authority on this lost history in America—why these innovations have been forgotten, what we can learn from them, and how that history can help us build a greener future.
Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology
The past is full of creative green technologies and ideas that never made it. Alexis Madrigal's new book is about these breakthroughs—what happened to them, what they teach us, and what they might contribute to a greener, more sustainable future.
On his Green Tech Timeline, the history starts with the first windmill built in the American colonies in 1621 by George Yeardley. He highlights people like John Adolphus Etzler, who, in 1833, advocated capturing solar, tidal and wind power to create an American utopia. He chronicles how coal and oil won the battle for energy production in America, and the energy crises that have followed. He analyzes the forces that have shaped the energy and utility industries. And he recovers the innovations in solar, steam, and wind that point, not just to an alternative course of energy development that never happened, but also toward a more sustainable future that still could.
Outside magazine put Powering the Dream in its REQUIRED READING heading.
"But better batteries won't be enough to charge the future argues Alexis Madrigal in the beautifully wrought Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology (Da Capo). With an eye to misfires in America's past, including the electric carriages and solar water heaters of the early 20th century—failures that were more sociological than technological—he astutely points to what it might take: technocrats wise enough to see that we need to reinvent not just our technology but our relationship with it."
— McKenzie Funk, Outside
"It’s refreshing to read a history book whose intent is to improve decisions in the present and near future."
— Stewart Brand, President of The Long Now Foundation
"The entrepreneurs and advocates pushing green technology today are inheritors of a rich history of innovation, experiment, accident ... and occasionally farce. That history, too rarely told, is at the heart of Alexis Madrigal’s absorbing, often astonishing new book."
— David Roberts, Grist
"Madrigal manages—without any gonzo shenanigans—to engage and sometimes even electrify the reader with lean and jaunty prose, skillful storytelling, analytic theorizing, and a proficiency in factual gee-whizzery...He makes the dream of a perfect power source seem all the more urgent, now that we know for how long, and in how many past episodes, it’s been deferred."
Alexis is co-creator of Longshot magazine, a publication created in 48 hours with the help new internet tools and hundreds of people submitting content. Longshot was awarded the 2010 Knight-Batten Award for innovation. Alexis and his partners use the latest internet tools and social media to gather the countries top writers, photographers, illustrators and designers to create the magazine. From theme to printing, this bold new project will use new tools to publish a magazine in two days. Stay tuned for announcement of the next issue.
Articles about Longshot:
- Deputy Editor, The Atlantic.com
- Host, TheAtlantic.com’s Technology Channel
- Co-creator, Longshot Magazine
- Former staff writer, Science and Energy, Wired
- Co-creator, Haiti Rewired
- Visiting scholar, Office for the History of Science and Technology, UC-Berkeley
- Magazine Publishers of America, Website of the Year
- Magazine Publishers of America, Best Magazine Blog Finalist
- Cofounder, The San Francisco Post-Chronicle
- BA, magna cum laude, Harvard University
A non-profit organization and leader in the renewable energy community:
I am writing to tell you that Alexis Madrigal was a hit at our 2012 Clean Energy [...] Conference held in Albany last month. Evaluations ranked his presentation very high. He brought important information and insight to the attendees and held their attention for a full hour. Alexis was great with the content, his demeanor, and his interaction with the audience. I am a very happy customer. Please extend my deepest thanks to Alexis for starting our conference off on such a high and positive note.
Here's an overview of the conference's demographics: We had strong representation from all parts of the country with attendees representing 33 states. Thirty-five percent came from community and four-year colleges, 25% from nonprofits and workforce boards, 15% from industry, 8% from government, and the remaining from a variety of public and private organizations.
A major midwest university:
We felt it went really well. The audience really liked the presentation, and quite a few copies of his book sold as well (we had the University Bookstore on hand selling them). He was a great fit for the conference and I felt that the process overall went very smoothly – from the arrangements through you, as well as him being a very easy to please speaker.