I’m Excited about a New World’s Fair

Everyone who attended the recent Emergent Ventures Unconference is excited. Craig Palsson is excited about the primal branding of the unconference. My co-blogger Mike Makowsky is excited about Plascrete (I was too! We listened to that pitch simultaneously).

I was most excited about the New World’s Fair. This is Cameron Weise’s project, for which he won an EV grant (see all the winners). I have always been interested in the history of World’s Fairs (though probably not as much as my wife). And they still exist, in a sense. There are still World Expos every few years, but as Cameron will tell you, these have mostly turned into “nation branding” exercises, promoting the host nation itself and whatever other countries set up their own exhibits.

But today, World Expos are not about promoting science, technology, and the future, as many World’s Fairs of the past did. And aren’t there already technological conferences, such as the Consumer Electronics Show (now just CES)? Yes, there are. And these are great. But they aren’t serving the same role as World’s Fairs used too.

This is the gap that Cameron Wiese is stepping into. I don’t know exactly what it will look like (he has lots of ideas!), nor exactly when it will happen. But I will be following his project closely, and you should too.

In the conclusion to his e-book The Great Stagnation, Tyler Cowen presents a solution to the stagnation: “Raise the social status of scientists.” I think a New World’s Fair would go a long way towards do this.

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