Fundamentally, WIRED has always been about a question: What would it take to build a better future?* We exist to inspire people who want to build that future. We do it not by going into Pollyannaish raptures about how great the future is going to be, nor dire jeremiads about how bad things could get, but by taking an evenhanded, clear-eyed look at what it would take to tackle the severe challenges the world faces. Our subject matter isn’t technology, per se: It’s those challenges—like climate change, health care, global security, the future of democracy, the future of the economy, and the dizzying speed of cultural change as our offline and online worlds mingle and remix. Technology plays a starring role in all of these issues, but what’s clearer today than ever is that it’s people who create change, both good and bad. You cannot explain the impacts of technology on the world without deeply understanding the motives, incentives, and limitations of the people who build and use it. And you cannot hope to change the world for the better unless you can learn from the achievements and the mistakes other people have made.
So I think WIRED’s job is to tell stories about the world’s biggest problems, the role tech plays in them—whether for good or bad—and the people who are trying to solve them. These aren’t all feel-good stories by any means: there are villains as well as heroes, failures as well as successes. Our stance is neither optimism nor pessimism, but rather the belief that it's worth persisting even when things seem hopeless. (I call it “Greta Thunberg optimism.”) But whatever the story, you should find something to learn from it—and, ideally, the inspiration to make a positive difference yourself.