In Greek myth, the god Apollo tries to seduce the Trojan princess Cassandra by offering her the gift of prophecy. When she spurns him, Apollo places a curse on her: she will be able to foretell the future, but no one will believe her.
The myth is a #MeToo story from early in Western culture. Apollo’s harassment continues to resonate, with professional standing making little difference—even women in high profile positions regularly report unwanted sexual advances.
Apollo’s curse is also more relevant than ever. Thanks to advances in computing, this is the first time in history that humans can make the type of long-term predictions that the myth describes. This is especially true about climate change. In spite of scientific consensus, not enough people are heeding warnings about our warming planet—at the 2020 Davos Forum, one politician referred to climate scientists as “the heirs of yesterday’s foolish fortune tellers.”
In her opening monologue, Kassandra mentions the Antikythera—discovered in a shipwreck in the Greek isles, it likely dates from the 1st century B.C. and is widely regarded as the world’s first functional computer.