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Downside Up

What if the parts of our lives we've accepted as normal were totally different? What if dogs had never been domesticated? Or humans had no sense of flavor...what would've happened to the spice trade? And how would that have shaped the future of the world? Join CNN's Chris Cillizza as he speaks with journalists, experts and forward-thinking futurists to help us envision what might have been — and how even a small shift in the status quo could change our world completely.

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What if dogs had never been domesticated?
Downside Up
Oct 10, 2022

We think of dogs as man’s best friend. They sleep in our beds, they dominate on Instagram feeds, they shape our public parks. But do dogs also hold the key to our survival? 20,000 years ago, the gray wolf started the long evolutionary process to become our beloved household pet and changed the course of humanity in the process. But what if dogs had never been domesticated? What would that world look like? On this episode of Downside Up, host Chris Cillizza speaks with journalist David Grimm, anthropologist Dr. Radhika Govindrajan, and anthrozoologist Dr. Margot DeMello, to better understand our relationship with dogs and what society would look like without them. 


Episode Transcript
David Grimm
"Without dogs," he said, "We don't have civilization." You don't have human civilization.
Dr. Margot DeMello
If we didn't domesticate them, we wouldn't have computers and horses and all of that.
Chris Cillizza
Dogs dominate our parks and our brewpubs. They sleep in our beds and in our purses. They start our favorite shows and our movies, like in Lassie, The Secret Life of Pets, Marley and Me. John Wick, 101 Dalmatians. The list goes on.
Clip from Lassie
My dog, Lassie.
Clip from 101 Dalmatians
Now I'll take them all the whole litter. Just name your price, dear.
Clip From Marley & Me
You're so sweet. You're like a little clearance puppy.
Clip from Secret Life of Pets
You thought this was all for tiny dog.
Clip From John Wick
Good dog.
Chris Cillizza
But what would our world look like if we had never domesticated dogs?
Dr. Margot DeMello
They play a part in every single aspect of our lives. And yes, other animals fit into those roles now. But without the dog, presumably none of that would have happened.
Chris Cillizza
I'm Chris Cillizza. And this is Downside Up, a new podcast from CNN where we try to find answers to the most out there "What if?" questions. This week, we'll imagine a world without our canine friends and hear about whether other animals like goats or cats or even pigs might have filled the void left by a world without dogs. So join us as we go down this rabbit hole and play some trivia along the way.
David Grimm
Dogs, even though they're ubiquitous in society, they are this sort of great mystery of domestication.
Chris Cillizza
David Grimm is the news editor of Science, the world's leading journal of science news and research and is the author of Citizen Canine. So he literally wrote the book on humanity's relationship with dogs.
David Grimm
The one thing we know for certain is that they came from the gray wolves. So the gray wolf, which has found different populations around the world, is 100% the direct ancestor of dogs. That's where dogs came from. But we don't know where this happened. We also don't know when it happened. The consensus is starting to build maybe around somewhere, maybe between about 16 and 20,000 years ago. And what's significant about that is it would make dogs the very first thing we ever domesticated before any other animal, before any other plant, before anything else. And what researchers sort of coalescing around is this idea that we're moving from place to place human beings. You know, we're not the most sanitary species now, but even less so then. And we probably lived in these temporary sort of campsites where there was a campfire and we're killing animals and we're creating these big trash piles full of refuse and animal parts. And if you're a wolf sort of following humans around and you are just sort of docile enough or a little braver, a little less timid, you might be more willing to approach that trash pile and if you do, then you're going to get more food than your compatriots who are not brave enough, who are more scared.
David Grimm
And the idea is over hundreds or thousands of years, these wolves, because they were able to access a trash pile, they were more likely to have offspring. These offspring were also more likely to be tamer let's say. And then over the course of hundreds or possibly even thousands of years, you basically have these animals reaching a point where they're getting so close to humans that they're basically eating out of our hands. And now you've got the very early stages of a dog. Maybe if it's sitting outside my sleeping quarters at night, it's going to bark when a bear comes or a wolf comes. Oh, if I go hunting, this animal realizes that maybe it can get a little piece of the rabbit I catch. And maybe it's going to help me catch that rabbit, or maybe it's going to bring that rabbit back. And so you slowly begin to develop what I call this sort of coworker relationship, where we're not really talking about pets or companions at this point. We're talking about this is an animal, I'm barely surviving, but this is an animal that can do stuff for me.
Chris Cillizza
When are there signs that dogs go from sort of to your point, this sort of utilitarian, they can do stuff for us to companions. Do we see evidence of that historically where people start to the dog for the dog's sake, you know, to keep me company, to be there as opposed to haul things to keep me safe. When does that transition happen?
David Grimm
Well, you know, one of the most interesting finds comes from this village in ancient Israel. This is about a 12,000 year old village. And this is a time where human beings have started to settle down. And so this was an early farming village. What's really interesting is the people of this village, like a lot of actually ancient human villages, when somebody would die in your family, you would bury them under your house, which sounds maybe a little morbid to us, but.
Chris Cillizza
It sounds macabre.
David Grimm
It sounds a bit macabre. But this is a sort of a way of honoring your family members and marking them as somebody in your family. You would bury them under the floorboards of your house or bury them under the dirt of your house. And what archeologists found when they were digging under one of these homes in this village called Hind Malaka in ancient Israel, they found a human being under the house, which is not surprising. But this was a human being that was actually buried with a puppy. The human and the puppy were arranged in such a way that the human's hand is actually laying on the puppy's chest. And so it's not hard to speculate that, you know, this was not only showing a close relationship between this person and this dog, but again, they're both buried under the house. And so you can start inferring, okay, maybe this dog is really seen as part of the family, especially the way the human and the dog are arranged. But this is I think this is one of the earliest examples we have of a human and a dog buried together, and especially in this very sentimental looking arrangement.
Chris Cillizza
There are all sorts of theories about what the world would look like without dogs. Maybe they're the key to our survival. One theory is that domesticated dogs are one of the reasons why Homo sapiens outlasted the Neanderthals. After all, we haven't come across any buried bones of Neanderthals cradling puppies. At least not yet.
David Grimm
I think one thing that you could very safely say is dogs made our lives a lot easier. You know, again, we are living hand-to-mouth. We are living in very cold conditions often. We are maybe not eating for days at a time. There are all sorts of creatures attacking us. Having a dog helps us survive. No question. It helps us get food. It helps us protect ourselves and protect our family. It helps us transport. And so when you're talking about a time where humans were often on the brink and the whole populations and societies were often on the brink of blinking out, could dogs have made that difference? I think it's very fair to say that they could have. And we talked about other domestication, you know, if we don't have the dog. Do we really have that window into whether other things could be domesticated? Greger Larson, who's sort of the one of the world's experts on Dr. Mastication, has said dogs are so important to us, sort of surviving and eventually settling down. And we wouldn't have had society as we know it if we we didn't settle down without dogs. You don't have civilization. You don't have human civilization.
Clip of Greger Larson
For 200,000 years of human history, we existed on this planet without domestic animals or domestic plants. It's only been in the last 15,000 years that we've started this relationship with a wide range of animals and a wide range of plants. And that has changed absolutely everything. It's changed the nature of civilization. It's allowed 7 billion people to exist on the planet when before there was just a couple of million. So it's had a big impact on both our biology and our culture. And without domestic plants and animals, we certainly wouldn't be here today.
David Grimm
And so these are not wackos proposing this. These are very well-respected scientists saying these sorts of things. So I think we can't say for sure, but I think it's at the very least, dogs really, really help us out. And at the very most, we might not be here today without them.
Chris Cillizza
I want to go modern day. We've been talking a lot about, you know, ten, 20,000 years ago. There's no debate about whether dogs are domesticated now. But the role that dogs play currently in our society and the role that they will play going forward, I'm intrigued by what you think about that, but where are we today, if you can, and then where do you think we're headed? Because, my gosh, the relationship seems pretty close now.
David Grimm
One of the most I think one of the most important things that ever happened for dogs, aside from domestication in the first place, was in the late 1800s in the US and other places where dogs for forever were really outside animals, even as we sort of started to come in our modern society, dogs are really primarily outdoor pets. You put the dog in the doghouse at night, you chain the dog up outside at night. And that was largely because people sort of even if you liked your dog, you sort of viewed it as a filthy animal. Right. And in a respect, I mean, it was dirty and it smelled bad and it had fleas. And so this is the sort of the last thing you want in your house. And then we have the advent of flea and tick shampoos, which doesn't sound like it would be a big deal, but I think it was really super transformative in our relationship with dogs because what that allows is now your dog is clean, your dog doesn't smell bad, he doesn't have fleas, you can bring him inside.
David Grimm
And once this animal sort of crosses the threshold from being outside the inside, in my mind, he's no longer an animal anymore. He starts to go down this road of a member of the family because now your dog is sleeping on your couch. He's sleeping with your kids, he's sleeping with you. You see him every morning when you get up. He is literally part of the household. And I think this is a really fundamental transformation where you go from dog as pet or even companion to becoming a member of the family.
Clip of dog food TV ad
Six, maybe $6. And six people through the dog understand to eat any dog who's tried it will tell you that the best news for dogs since cats.
David Grimm
And once dogs come inside, everything else blossoms from that. You start to see are really the invention of the pet industry where people like dogs inside. Now you got to have something for your dog to do. Let's get some chew toys. Let's get some treats. Oh, dog's a member the family. Like, if he gets sick, I'm not just going to shoot him any more, like I'm going to get veterinary care. You really have the rise of small animal veterinarians and this whole vet industry, which today in the US alone, the pet industry is worth more than $100 billion. And a lot of that starts from dogs crossing that threshold, from becoming from going from outdoor pets to indoor pets, and starting down this path where they really legitimately start to become members of the family.
Chris Cillizza
So I mean, I really do wonder where we go from there. I mean, people dogs sleep in the bed with people. People give their dogs bats. I mean, I barely do that with my own children sometimes. You know, I mean, there's no term super domesticated, right? There's there's no more we can do with dogs. I mean, is it just sort of we've reached the peak of like, you know, dogs are on planes. Dogs are dogs are everywhere we are.
David Grimm
I think where the really interesting evolution may go is the legal revolution, because a lot of people don't realize this, but dogs and cats are considered property under the eyes of the law, at least in the U.S. and in other countries like the UK and Canada. And some people sort of bristle at that. Oh yeah, you know how, you know, my dog's not the same as a toaster. You know, like if my toaster breaks, I get a new toaster. I don't, like, spend $5,000 trying to get chemotherapy for my toaster, but I'll do that for my dog. And at the same time, there really is no other category. You're either nothing or your property or you're a person. And we're seeing some fudging of that.
David Grimm
You know, we're seeing dogs and cats also sort of existing in this gray area where people are having custody battles over their pets. Right. You know, so you hear about these not just celebrities, but actually, you know, the average Joe and Jane are having custody battles over their dog where the judge in some cases is going. What's in the best interest of the dog, who whose home, where the dog be happiest? And but also you have emotional distress damages where maybe somebody's got a dog for 50 bucks in a shelter. And so according to law, that dog's only worth 50 bucks, if anything. And yet people maybe, you know, if somebody kills that dog by accident or on purpose, people have successfully gotten tens of thousands of dollars in emotional distress damages. There have been cases where dogs have been given lawyers in U.S. courts. And so none of this stuff happens with toasters and we can leave our pets money now. They can actually inherit money in some form.
Chris Cillizza
How would let me just stop you there just because I'm intrigued by that. As someone who doesn't have any pets but does have two kids, how would you do that? I mean, what is the mechanics of that? Because the dog has no bank account. I mean, that I know of.
David Grimm
So you can create a trust where you can say, you know, after I want $20,000 put in trust for my dog.
Chris Cillizza
For sort of the care, the care and maintaince.
David Grimm
Care maintenance. So it's not exactly the same as leaving money to children because your children would directly get that money. This is sort of more this would go to a caretaker or somebody else. So, you know, that's.
Chris Cillizza
That's totally fascinating.
David Grimm
But at the same time, that effectively the pet in many ways is inheriting money. And again, your couch can't inherit money, your toaster can't inherit money, and yet your pets in some form can do that. And so, again, that suggests that even legally, where by the letter of the law dogs are property, we are certainly treating them as something different than property.
Chris Cillizza
So in the course of about 20,000 years, the gray wolf evolved from a scavenging predator to our working partners, to our friends and companions, and apparently to our potential financial beneficiaries. Coming up after the break. I'm still looking for the answer to our big what if question. What would the world look like without domesticated dogs?
Dr. Radhika Govindarajan
In some ways, the dog, again, has lost a lot of its animal myths and gained some humanness. It's also again transferred to us. So our lives are richer and our lives are different because of this relationship and because of this intimacy that we have.
Chris Cillizza
And then we'll play a little canine trivia.
Chris Cillizza
Welcome back to Downside Up, a new podcast from CNN where we try to find answers to the great what ifs of the world. I'm Chris Cillizza. On today's episode, we're trying to understand what the world may look like if humans had never domesticated dogs.
Dr. Radhika Govindarajan
I think what I would say to that is that domestication is a kind of ongoing process. It's not something that's happened. We're not living in its aftermath. We're living in the presence of its ongoingness. And I think about this with this huge genre of animal videos and human encounters and friendships with animals.
Chris Cillizza
Dr. Radhika Govindarajan is an anthropologist who studies the relationships between human beings and animals and has done extensive work on the ways that animals can slip in and out of the worlds of the wild and the domestic. Given that, I asked her whether any other animals could have filled the void if we didn't have man's best friend.
Dr. Radhika Govindarajan
Raccoons are interesting in that sense because they there are so many videos of people trying to reach out to them and feed them and build relationships with them. I could totally imagine a world in which raccoons might become the new dog. And so there are these videos of raccoons blowing bubbles with household cats and people usually posting these warnings right under those videos, saying you're going to get your face bitten off. And I wonder if early domestication also had that, the person who came by and was like, don't throw the bone out to wolf because that wolf's going to bite your face off. So I'm curious about those kinds of ongoing-nesses. Pigs are also really fascinating creatures because they're so emotional as we're learning.
Chris Cillizza
Dr. Radhika Govindarajan
Very, very intelligent. Yeah, I was reading somewhere that pigs are very, very sensitive and they can often destroy houses, for example, if they're scolded. But they're also very, very intelligent.
Chris Cillizza
And this sounds like my son. Yeah.
Dr. Radhika Govindarajan
Yep. And, you know, people are keeping Vietnamese, pot-bellied pigs, but they're also sometimes landing up with very large adult hogs. There was a story in a newspaper that somebody brought one of these little Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs. Turns out it was a runt of a litter of farm hogs and grew up into a very large pig who insisted on sleeping with them. And so they wrote this long piece about learning to live with that, with this this hog who would express his love by trying to climb into bed with them and who was several hundred pounds
Chris Cillizza
So what if we had chosen a pig or one of these other animals as our companion animal?
Dr. Radhika Govindarajan
I love the kind of the water fitness of that question. And the way in which I've often thought about it is, would we be eating dog meat? And of course, I say we know full well that there are actually many groups of people across the world to consume dog meat. But if we are thinking expansively about the possibility of cohabiting and loving other kinds of domestic animals and having that same intimacy with them that we have for dogs, then I think that opens up the question of if things were our companion animals, would we be eating pork, or would there be the same kind of taboo around the consumption of pork that we see in the US, around the consumption of dog meat? And so I think that question of what our ethical relationships would look like would shift in really interesting ways that would throw the taboos we have around who we could eat and who we can live with into question in really interesting ways.
Chris Cillizza
I didn't even think of that. That's totally fascinating. You're totally right. It would be hard to eat a pork chop if if there was a pig laying at your feet. This ethical dilemma really kind of blows my mind. Like in the United States, the idea of eating dog meat is considered way beyond the pale. But we certainly eat pigs and cows. Those are animals that some people keep as pets. And then, of course, there are rabbits.
Dr. Margot DeMello
I tend to address some themes and today is Rabbit Day. So, yeah.
Chris Cillizza
So this is Dr. Margot DeMello. She's an anthropologist at Carroll College, and she's the past president of the House Rabbit Society. She's wearing rabbit earrings, a rabbit blouse. And she's the first guest who brought a special friend with her for the interview.
Dr. Margot DeMello
And I've got my little dog here. I'm just going to grab her just so she can be part of the discussion.
Chris Cillizza
Dr. DeMello is the perfect guest to help us tie all these different threads together and really start to get to the heart of our question What if dogs were never domesticated? And she's also got a deep knowledge of pop culture. So she's a perfect candidate for our trivia game. But first, let's see if we can find an answer to that main question. I want to imagine what a world would look like if we hadn't domesticated dogs. So can you walk me down that? What if? What would we be looking at? How would things be different than what we are today? Obviously you are close to your dog. How would things be different?
Dr. Margot DeMello
Well, without going into the really craziness, which is if we didn't domesticate them, would we have domesticated any of the other animals? And if we didn't, we would not be living in the lives that we wouldn't have computers and houses and all of that. None of that would happen.
Chris Cillizza
Go down that road for a minute. First, do you believe that had we not domesticated dogs, that domestication may not have happened and we would not have gotten to where we were? Walk me down that road first before we get to the other stuff.
Dr. Margot DeMello
Maybe not. You had the dog and then you got a bunch of years passed. So we're in the Mesolithic when the dog was domesticated. Now we're in the Neolithic in the whole definition of the Neolithic is the domestication on plants and animals. That's the whole definition. So that switch, it didn't just go from, let's say, dogs to cows. It went from dogs to nothing, nothing, nothing to grains and then eventually to cow. So we kind of had to get through all that plant domestication first. And so I think that we probably still would have domesticated other animals after plant domestication. I think in some ways the dog was a one off. The idea that one animal, out of all the vastness of the creatures on the planet, made the choice to join us. And we made the choice to join them means that not only do we live our lives in a kind of a multi-species way, now the fact that these animals live in our homes, they sleep in our beds, they play a part in every single aspect of our lives. Yes, other animals fit into those roles now, but without that dog, presumably none of that would have happened.
Chris Cillizza
All right. Let's talk the 50 foot view, the day in, day out, life in America in the year 2022. Without the dog, what does it look like? What do you think it looks like?
Dr. Margot DeMello
From a superficial perspective, our parks would look different. Our streets would look different. Part of it, though, I think, ignores also some of the ways in which dogs don't operate the same for everyone, even in the same country, the United States, we have different cultural practices here. We have different cultural and historical experiences with dogs. So dogs are often positioned as the friendly thing. They're the thing that welcomes neighbors that the thing that makes neighborhoods seem friendlier. And that is certainly the case. But that mostly applies to white communities, white neighborhoods, because when we're talking about dogs in neighborhoods of color or in particular in gentrifying neighborhoods, that's where dogs, in fact, are not signifying friendliness. They're signifying that new populations are coming into your community and you probably aren't going to be able to live here that much longer.
Dr. Margot DeMello
So I don't want to make it seem like all of the things that we wouldn't have or all the positive things that dogs bring, because dogs are also tools of the state. Right. They have been part of warfare since the first form of warfare and have been and still are an important part of military activities and police activities. So people who are more subject to police control or military control or whatever have a very different experience with dogs. But without dogs probably could use another animal, maybe bear. I mean, certainly horses also operate in some of the same ways for the police to the military use. So you could see maybe pigs going back to animal farm pigs now, maybe being the new animal of the state. I don't know.
Chris Cillizza
It's hard to imagine police cats or police pigs, but could that have been our reality in a world without dogs? Would we have patrol tigers to go along with our pet cats? It's clear that dogs have played such an important role in shaping the way humans have evolved and the ways in which we relate to each other for both good and bad.
Dr. Margot DeMello
Part of what humans have done, especially in Western civilization since the classical civilizations, is have created this separation, this wall between us and all the other species. There's nature and there's culture. There's humans and there's animals, and it's just this binary. So first off, that binary doesn't actually exist in reality. It's in complete social construction. But what's interesting about it is where the dog sits in that binary, because he doesn't sit in the world of animals anymore. He sits right on that border. One leg in the animal world, one leg in the human world, the world of culture. In some ways, the dog again has lost a lot of its animal-ness and gained some humanness. But that has also again transferred to us. So our lives are richer and our lives are different because of this relationship and because of this intimacy that we have.
Chris Cillizza
I want to pull on a thread about our sort of Western idea of dogs and how sort of our image of dogs is seeping out into the rest of the world. Can you talk about how those ideas, how are they spreading to the rest of the world and how are they impacting how dogs are perceived in other parts of the world?
Dr. Margot DeMello
Where we saw pets for most of human history was in elites. Elites would keep pets. So, you know, every every ancient civilization, the nobility would have, again, the smallest, fanciest of whatever the animals were in that particular culture. And so they would be ornaments for pets to slide out of that elite status into middle class homes. First off, needs a middle class. You've got to have that. You cannot have Western style pet keeping without capitalism. It is part and parcel of capitalism. You need to have leisure time. You need to have excess money. You need to have a culture that allows for material and non-material things that provide for status but don't actually do anything functional for you. Like there's a whole bunch of things that need to happen for it in order to take place. That's why all the Eastern Bloc countries, when the Iron Curtain fell in the late 1980s, those were essentially dog-less countries, and they became dog countries in a decade. In less than a decade, those countries were transformed by now having all of the trappings of Western culture. So along with the Levi's come the pet dogs, which both of them are equally troubling to those previous communist societies and are absolutely welcomed within this new capitalist world.
Chris Cillizza
At this point, it doesn't seem like anything will slow the spread of dogs in Western culture. If anything, our demand for pets is only getting larger. And so it becomes tougher and tougher to imagine our ultimate reality. A world without domesticated dogs. But before we wrap up, it's time to play a little game with Dr. Margo DeMello. Each week, I like to challenge one of our guests to a round of trivia. We put together a series of pop culture dog related questions. Are you ready?
Dr. Margot DeMello
I'm ready.
Chris Cillizza
Okay, here we go. The first animal to ever orbit the earth in a spacecraft was a Russian dog. What was that dog's name?
Dr. Margot DeMello
I want to say Laika, but I feel like Laika wasn't the first.
Chris Cillizza
You should say Laika, because it's correct. One for one. Well done. Okay. Question numero two. For 30 years, what breed of dog has remained the most popular breed of dog in the United States?
Dr. Margot DeMello
30 years?
Chris Cillizza
Yes, the most popular breed of dog for the last 30 years in the U.S..
Dr. Margot DeMello
I'm going to say the lab.
Chris Cillizza
2 for 2. Correct. Okay. Question number three. You're on a hot streak here. Let's keep it up. One of the most famous presidential pets was a dog that was given to Richard Nixon during his candidacy for vice president.
Dr. Margot DeMello
Chris Cillizza
Corret! Holy cow. You're making a mockery of this. All right. Let's see if we can make these harder questions. Before, Gidget was the spokes dog for Taco Bell from 1997 to 2000. What breed of dog was Gidget?
Dr. Margot DeMello
My God. Do we even need to ask?
Chris Cillizza
Yes. Gidget was in fact, a...
Dr. Margot DeMello
Chris Cillizza
Correct. You had a visual aid there for people who are for people who are listening to the podcast. Okay. Now, if you get this one right, I'm going to be really impressed because this is what I would deem an impossible question. But you are four for four so far. Very impressive. The Disney animated film 101 Dalmatians features 99 puppies and two adult dogs. The adult dogs are named Pongo and Perdita. How many of the 99 puppies were part of the litter Perdita has at the beginning of the film.
Dr. Margot DeMello
I'm just going to guess 12.
Chris Cillizza
It's 15, but that's pretty damn close. I think we should give it to her. That's pretty- I would say you got four and a half out of five right
Dr. Margot DeMello
Well, I hope there's a prize.
Chris Cillizza
We're going to have to come up with a prize, a nice prize. You know, something gold. Now that was a lot of fun. Thanks to Dr. Margot DeMello for playing along. I promise I'm still working on that prize. And thank you to Dr. Radhika Govindarajan and David Grimm for joining us today as well. We covered a lot of ground, 20,000 years of human and dog evolution. After hearing from today's guests. I'm not so sure that any one animal could have taken the dog's place, but we may have been able to work with the rest of the animal kingdom to create a world that looks at least a little bit like ours. Maybe you want to give your dog an extra scratch behind those ears or take a long walk or let him beat your table scraps. After all, they still have a little wolf left in their DNA. And that could be how this whole journey got started. Thanks for listening to Downside Up. Let me hear your thoughts on A World Without Dogs by tweeting me @ChrisCillizza. That's @ Chris C I L L I Z Z A. And if you've got ideas for future topics, you can send those to me there too. Also, if you liked our show, please share it with your friends and make sure you rate review and subscribe. Next time on Downside Up. What would the world look like if we designed our cities around people instead of around cars?
Destiny Thomas
The cities that we know today were not designed for the people who live in them.
Vishaan Chakrabarti
We talk about the bubbles created by social media, and I would put forth that cars are the same kind of bubble.
Chris Cillizza
Downside Up is hosted by me, Chris Cillizza. It's a production of CNN in collaboration with Pod People. At CNN our producer is Lori Galarreta, and our executive producer is Abbie Fentress Swanson. Alexander McCall leads audience strategy for our show Tamika Ballance-Kolasny, is our production manager, Jamus Andrest. And Nichole Pesaru designed our artwork. The team from Pod People includes Rachel King, Matt Sav, Aimee Machado, John Hammontree, Madison Lusby, Regina de Heer, and Carter Wogahn. Theme and original music composed by Casey Holford. Additional music came from epidemic sound. Special thanks to Lindsay Abrams, Fuzz Hogan, Emma Lacey-Bourdeaux, Drew Shankman, Lisa Namerow, Jon Dianora, and Courtney Coupe.