The State of the World

For nearly two decades, long-time WELL members Jon Lebkowsky and Bruce Sterling have gotten together on The WELL to discuss the State of the World, and this year is no different.

Join Jon and Bruce as they look back at 2017 and forward to 2018 and beyond. This wide-ranging discussion is always filled with fascinating information and opinions about where we are and where we are going.

This conversation is open to all – you don’t need a WELL account to participate!

Real conversations with real people about real stuff.



The WELL is in its fourth decade as a cherished watering hole for articulate and playful thinkers from all walks of life. We have no advertising, do no data mining, and do not allow anonymous posting.

Why is conversation so treasured on The WELL? Why did members of this community band together to buy the site in 2012? Check out the story of The WELL.

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No advertising? Really?

Yes, really. The WELL is entirely user-supported, which means we don’t have to serve you ads to make money. It also means that what you talk about on The WELL will stay there–if you post about your new pair of running shows in the fitness conference, you won’t suddenly see ads for other fitness equipment the next time you visit a different social media site. Plus, our posts aren’t spider-able so they won’t show up in web searches.

But you’re selling my data, right?

Nope. We collect almost no personal data from our users, and what we do collect, we don’t sell. A wise man once said “if you’re not paying for the product, you’re the product.” On The WELL, the product is the great content that our members create, not the members themselves. We won’t sell you out to some massive aggregator of online data. Here, you don’t just Own Your Own Words, you own your identity, too.

I’ve been a member of The WELL since 1991, and have found friends, inspiration, companionship, and more practical assistance than I can ever fully acknowledge. The WELL’s culture of intelligence, compassion, neighborliness, and occasional cascades of puns is a world unlike any other place online. One of the first, it’s still one of the best.

Jane Hirshfield