Stories by Steve LeVine

The future began four decades ago

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

If you're an optimist about the robotic future, you likely hear talk that we're all going to lose our jobs or suffer a big pay cut, and tell friends to relax — the new technology revolution is going to turn out like all the others since the dawn of the Industrial Age.

But if history is your best hope, you should probably think again: The pessimists have a strong case.

Growing coffee for peanuts

Photo: Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis/Getty

By one measure, coffee has rarely had a better day — it is the beverage fashion of choice, conferring class, cachet and cool on its drinkers almost regardless of their age or station, leading to chronic lines out the door of cafes in country after country.

But that's only if you are a retailer or restaurateur: If you are growing the beans, it is a time of want, with prices at 14-year lows and farmers leaving the business in droves. Now, with what experts fear could be the collapse of a crop that has lifted numerous regions out of poverty, growers are making a new attempt to save themselves.

How the Supreme Court has stirred the populist pot

Protest in front of the Supreme Court, 2016
Anti-abortion protest, 2016. Drew Angerer/Getty

In an age of profound mistrust, few matters stir greater hope, satisfaction and fury among Americans than the Supreme Court and its often-decisive role as the last word across a vast number of divisive issues.

What's happening: Scholars, analysts and observers are struggling to understand the sudden populist challenge to the status quo. So it is odd that little attention has been paid to the court as a primary force in the country's often-apoplectic anger.