Flash Forward

Flash Forward Podcast

Flash Forward is a show about possible (and not so possible) future scenarios. What would the warranty on a sex robot look like? How would diplomacy work if we couldn’t lie? Could there ever be a fecal transplant black market? (Complicated, it wouldn’t, and yes, respectively, in case you’re curious.) Hosted and produced by award winning science journalist Rose Eveleth, each episode combines audio drama and journalism to go deep on potential tomorrows, and uncovers what those futures might really be like. The future is going to be weird, so let's get ready for it together.

Back To The Future: Robot Teachers, Drug Decriminalization, Anti-Trust Extravaganza
Today we travel to three past futures, and update you on recent developments! How has COVID brought us closer to robot teachers? Why did Oregon vote to decriminalize all drugs? And what the heck is going on with the antitrust suits against Google and Facebook?  Guests: Audrey Watters — ed-tech expert & author of The Monsters of Education Technology (2014), The Revenge of the Monsters of Education Technology (2015), The Curse of the Monsters of Education Technology (2016), and The Monsters of Education Tec...

Enter The Alternate Timeline (SEASON FINALE!)
Today’s episode is the LAST OF THE SEASON! And we're getting weird. What if there wasn't just this one timeline, this one universe, but tons and tons of and tons of universes all around us all the time? Constantly splitting and forming? Well it turns out that there is an interpretation of quantum mechanics that says just that. And today we talk about alternate universes, many worlds, memory, and stories. Plus: what Flash Forward might be like in other timelines. Guests: Dr. Sean Carroll — professor of phy...

Waste Not Want Not
Today’s episode is all about trash. What if every country had to deal with its own garbage instead of shipping it elsewhere? Did you know what trash is bought and sold on a global market? What would happen if that market was shut down? Guests: Dr. Ifesinachi Okafor-Yarwood — lecturer in sustainable development at the University of St. Andrews. Jim Puckett — founder and executive director of the Basel Action Network Dr. Jenna Jambeck — professor of environmental engineering at the University of Georg...


Is Anybody Out There?
Today’s episode is all about contact. Have we really discovered alien life on Venus? How do you even look for life when you don't know what it will look like? What would happen if we did find it? Should we be sending messages out into the universe? Are aliens going to kill us? What would happen if they showed up? Guests: Dr. Clara Sousa — quantum astrochemist at Harvard University Moiya McTier — astrophysicist at Columbia University and host of Exolore  Dr. Michael L. Wong — planetary scientist at the...

Home Sweet Home
Today we travel to a future where housing is guaranteed and provided to everybody.  Guests: Amanda Vail — Director of communications at Plymouth Housing Dr. Sam Tsemberis — Founder of Pathways Housing First and author of Housing First Manual: The Pathways Model to End Homelessness for People with Mental Illness and Addiction Dr. Ivis Garcia Zambrana — Assistant Professor of City & Metropolitan Planning at the University of Utah Tara Raghuveer — Director of KC Tenants, director of the Homes Guarante...

Give The Land Back?
Today we travel to a future where the US and Canada give stolen land back to tribes & bands.  Guests: Molly Swain — cohost of Métis in Space, studying in the Faculty of Native Studies at the University of Alberta. Chelsea Vowel — cohost of Metis in Space, author of Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Métis & Inuit Issues in Canada.  Matthew Fletcher — law professor at Michigan State University Graham Lee Brewer — associate editor at High Country News Mike Gouldehawke — writer & activist ...


Votes for All!
Today we travel to a future where voting rights are extended to lots more people in the United States including non-citizens, 16-year-olds, and convicted felons.  Guests: Dr. Ron Hayduk — professor of political science at San Francisco State University, and author of Democracy for All Ashawn Dabney-Small — candidate for Boston City Council District 3 and Vice President for the National Youth Rights Association Dr. Sylvia Kritzinger — a professor at the University of Vienna Jennifer Taylor — senior...

Double Trouble
Today we travel to a future where we all have digital replicas of ourselves to deploy at faculty meetings, doctors appointments, and even dates.  Guests: Lars Buttler — CEO of the AI Foundation Damien Patrick Williams — PhD candidate at Virginia Tech Dr. Koen Bruynseels — researcher at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands Christel De Maeyer — researcher based in Belgium Dr. Robin Zebrowski — professor of cognitive science at Beloit college Dr. Duncan Irschick — professor of biology ...

Boss Bot
🚨 Pre-order the Flash Forward book today! 🚨 Subscribe to Open World here Today we travel to a future where you’re guaranteed a job, but there’s a catch: your job is assigned to you by an algorithm.  Guests: Dr. Pavlina Tcherneva — professor of economics at Bard College, researcher at the Levy Economics Institute & author of The Case for a Job Guarantee. Dr. Kira Lussier — historian at the University of Toronto. Manish Raghavan — PhD candidate at Cornell University. Dr. Chris Gilliard — privacy sc...


Halfway To Heaven
Today we travel to a future where you can retire to a nursing home… in space.  Guests: Anicca Harriot — PhD candidate at the University of Maryland School of medicine Dustin Gibson — Access, Disability and Language Justice Coordinator at PeoplesHub Dr. Tracie Prater — Aerospace Engineer at NASA Voice Actors: Tour Guide: Emma Bracy Noah: Bretty Tubbs Marco: Tamara Krinsky → → → Further reading & resources here! ← ← ←  Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music is by Asura...

Shock And Awe
Today we travel to a future where super-bandages can heal wounds really fast. Sound like science fiction? Well it might be closer than you think!   Guests: Dr. Daniel Cohen — Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Princeton University Dr. Keisha Ray — Assistant Professor, McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston Sylvan* — street medic in Portland (*pseudonym) Voice Actors: Emma Bracy: Website Shara Kirby: Twitter Tamara Krinsky: Website → → → Further reading & ...

Game of Bones
Today we travel to a future where archaeology accidentally runs out of bones.  Guests: Dr. Keolu Fox — assistant professor at UC San Diego, Indigenous Futures Lab Dr. Benjamin Vernot — postdoctoral scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology  Dr. Naomi Martisius — postdoctoral scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology  → → → Further reading & resources here! ← ← ←  Voice Actors: Dr. Pastrana — Ashley Kellem: Instagram, Website Graudate Student — —...


It's The End Of The World As We Know It
Today we travel to a future where there is no future, because today we’re considering how the universe ends. Plus: how to cope with feeling freaked out by the end of the world, and what the last party ever should be like.  Guests: Dr. Katie Mack — astrophysicist and author of The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking) (also very good on Twitter!)  Dr. Jana Sadler — clinical psychologist based in Southern California Jessie Char — conference organizer & party planner  → → → Further reading & res...

Dollars For Data
Today we travel to a future where you can sell your personal data directly to a company, to get a better deal on a car or a house or a latte. What could go wrong? Guests: Richie Etwaru — CEO & Cofounder of Hu-manity.co Sarah Jeong — journalist & lawyer Abigail Echo-Hawk — Director of the Urban Indian Health Institute Voice Actors: Commercial voice: Brian Downs (Patron!)  Monica Pugh; Shara Kirby Cop: Keith Houston, check out “This Eternal Afternoon” every Sunday at 4:30 PST on twitch.tv/rogern...

Should We Put Polar Bears In Antarctica?
Today’s episode takes on a listener question: why not just move the polar bears to Antarctica? The idea might seem silly, but it’s actually got a name — assisted migrations — and the debates around what we should do to help conserve species as the climate warms is a really complicated and fascinating one.  Guests: Jason McLachlan — associate professor of ecology at the University of Notre Dame Cuauhtémoc Sáenz-Romero — forest geneticist at Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo Emma Marris —...


One Child to Rule Them All
If we really want to combat climate change, why not institute a serious cap on human population? It's a common question, and on today's episode we talk about a future in which there is a global one-child policy put in place, and why that might not actually be a very good, or just, idea. Guests: Dr. Jade Sasser — Associate professor of gender and sexuality studies at UC Riverside, author of On Infertile Ground, Population Control and Women’s Rights in the Era of Climate Change. Dr. Leslie Wang — Assistan...

Introducing: Advice For And From The Future ▹▹ Should I follow my partner to Mars?
INTRODUCING: the newest show in the Flash Forward family — Advice For And From The Future. What happens when your partner wants to flee this planet, and you want to stay? Is wanting to go to Mars basically saying you want to break up? Can you have a long, long, long distance relationship? Is a five-year date a terrible idea? To answer this interplanetary conundrum, Rose calls up Andrea Silenzi, host and creator of the dating podcast Why Oh Why. Plus, an original song by the Song Salad team! Advice For And ...

Heads Will Roll
Today we travel to a future where you can plop your head onto a brand new body.  Guests: Dr. Sergio Canavero — neurosurgeon & aspiring human head transplanter Dr. Zaev Suskin — doctor & bioethicist Dr. Paul Root Wolpe — director of the Center for Ethics at Emory University → → → Further reading & resources here! ← ← ←  How to get involved in the movement against police brutality. Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Hussalonia. The e...


Welcome to Celebrityville
Today we travel to a future where celebrities construct their own cities for you and I to live in.  Guests: Jon Karas — President and Co-Founder at Akoin Dr. Katherine P. Antonova — Associate Professor of Russian history at Queens College Brittany Spanos — senior writer at Rolling Stone Magazine → → → Further reading & resources here! ← ← ←  Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music is by Asura and the outtro music is by Hussalonia. The episode art is by Matt Lubchansky. The Lo...

FIVE YEARS OF FLASH FORWARD!
Today we celebrate the FIVE YEAR anniversary of the podcast. Whoa. To celebrate, I reached out to every single person who you’ve ever heard on the podcast — every expert, every voice actor, and even a few patrons — and asked them one question: what would you say to someone living 50 years from now? Here’s what they said. Guests: Alice Wong, Amy Slaton, Angeli Fitch, Arielle Duhaime-Ross, Ashley Shew, Avery Trufelman, Calvin Gimpelevich, Carl Evers, Chris Dancy, Damien Patrick Williams, David Agranoff. Ernes...

Goodnight Night
Today we travel to a future where darkness is a thing of the past. No more night, no more stars, no more deep inky black sky. What happens when we light everything up? Guests: Dr. John Barentine — director of public policy at the International Dark Sky Association Rebecca Boyle — science journalist Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz — astronomer at the Adler Planetarium Dr. Sarah Pritchard — historian at Cornell University → → → Further reading & resources here! ← ← ←  Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose ...


Doomsday 2000/2038/2100
Today we travel to a future where software engineers didn’t actually fix any of the Y2K bugs. What would have happened if we had ignored the problem? What lessons does Y2K have for us, and why are people worried about 2038 and 2100?   Guests: Peter de Jager — author of “Doomsday 2000” and Y2K town crier.  Dr. Andy Michael — geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Science Center John Feminella — software engineer at ThoughtWorks Dr. Sara K. McBride — emergency management specialist ...

Flash Back to the Future: Flight Shame, Genetic Genealogy, 2020 Census
Hi again! I’m back with one more of these update episodes. Today we cover the growing “flight shame” movement, some interesting developments in the genetic genealogy space, and what’s going on with the 2020 Census.  New official, legit, Flash Forward episodes begin again on April 14th!  Sources: Susanna Elfors: founder, Tagsemester Peter Aldhous: reporter, BuzzFeed News Hansi Lo Wang: reporter, NPR  Covid-19 Resources World Health Organization Paywall free articles from The Atlantic  Flattening...

Flash Back to the Future: Mosquitoes, UBI, Coronavirus
Today is a very special ~~surprise~~ episode! I’ve been thinking about how to revisit old episodes, and give you folks updates on things that have happened since we covered certain futures. Sometimes things warrant more than a social media post, but not quite a whole new episode. So here’s a little experiment! On this episode, we revisit three futures and you get some juicy, fresh updates. We talk about a mosquito experiment gone wrong, a UBI experiment gone right, and what the heck is going on with coronav...


POWER: Mothers Against Digital Danger
Today we travel to a future where a coalition of concerned mothers convinces the United States to shut off the Internet.  Guests: Philip Elmer‑DeWitt, journalist  Chipo Dendere, assistant orofessor of Africana Studies, Wellesley College Tim Maughan, author of Infinite Detail Actors: Billy’s mother -- Tamara Krinsky → → → Further reading on today’s episode can be found here ← ← ← Content Notes [2:20-6:00] [21:00-23:00] Suicide, onling bullying & mass shooting [11:20-17:00] Pornography [23:00-25:...

POWER: The Sleeping Lion
Today’s episode is about a future in which China supplants the US as the dominant world superpower. Is it imminent? What does a China-led world look like? And why are so many people worried about it? Guests: Meredith Oyen, professor of history and director of Asian studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Gina Tam, professor of history at Trinity University  Linda Yueh, economist and author of The Great Economists Lina Getachew Ayenew, author of The Complete Beginner’s Guide to China...

POWER: Weird Flux But OK
Today’s episode is about nuclear fusion, a technology that might save us all or might be a complete waste of time and money.  Guests: Charles Seife, professor at NYU and author of Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking Sabina Griffith, communications officer at ITER Nicholas Evans, professor of ethics at UMass Lowell Michael Wahid Hanna, senior fellow at The Century Foundation  Actors: Radio Host -- Brett Humphries (a Patron!)  Moses Blackman -- Eden...


POWER: 1919 (Episode 100!)
It’s the 100th episode!!!!!! To mix things up, today we’re traveling to the 1919 to see how three different events shaped the last 100 years, and will continue to shape the future.  🚨🚨🚨 New merch!!! 🚨🚨🚨 Guests: Cathleen D. Cahill, professor of history at Penn State University Adam Green, professor of history at the University of Chicago Virginia Scharff, professor of history at the University of New Mexico → → → Further reading on today’s episode can be found here ← ← ← Actors: Monica Byrn...

POWER: Time After Time
Today we travel to a future where we can travel through time. Is it possible? Would you kill Hitler? Would it matter?  Guests: Annalee Newitz, science journalist and author of The Future of Another Timeline Bryan Méndez, astronomer at UC Berkeley  Donna Rose Addis, psychologist at the University of Toronto Actors: Tamara Krinsky as Dr. Catherine Moore (watch her show Tomorrow's World Today!) Molly Woodstock as Dr. Brownlow (listen to Molly's podcast Gender Reveal!) Jim Westrich as Dr. West →...

CRIME: Moon Court
On today’s episode we take everything we’ve learned so far about the future of crime, and take it to space.  Guests:Loren Grush — senior space reporter at The VergeMichelle Hanlon — associate director of the National Center for Air and Space Law at the University of Mississippi and co-founder of For All Moonkind.Erika Nesvold — astrophysicist and developer for Universe SandboxLucianne Walkowicz — astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago and co-founder of The JustSpace Alliance. Bianca I Laureano — edu...


CRIME: CSI++
Today’s episode is about the future of forensics: what happens when just a few skin cells can make you suspect number one?  Guests:Raychelle Burks — professor of chemistry at St. Edward’s UniversityKelley Kulick — deputy public defender at the Santa Clara Public Defender’s OfficeMitra Sharafi — professor of law at University of Wisconsin-Madison Law SchoolMary Graw Leary — professor of law at The Catholic University of America Columbus School of Law Actors:Evan Johnson as Mr. MortonBrent Rose as Dr. KarpouH...

CRIME: Can You Sue An Algorithm?
Today we travel to a future where algorithms can be put on trial.  Guests:Rumman Chowdhury -- Global Lead for Responsible AI at Accenture Applied IntelligenceKevin De Liban -- attorney at Legal Aid or Arkansas Nicholson Price -- assistant professor of law at University of MichiganShobita Parthasarathy -- professor of public policy and women’s studies at University of Michigan Actors:Evan Johnson as Mr. MortonDavid Romero as DavidAsh Greenberg as AshSantos Flores as SantosCharlie Chalmers as CharlieGrace Nel...

CRIME: I Can See My House From Here!
Today we travel to a future where satellites can catch criminals. Guests:Sarah Parcak, professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and author of Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes our PastJamon Van Den Hoek, professor of geography at Oregon State UniversityWenyao Xu, professor of computer science at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo Actors:Evan Johnson as Mr. MortonCharlie Chalmers as CharlieGrace Nelligan as GraceDavid Romero as DavidAsh Greenberg as Ash...


CRIME: Jaw & Order
Today we travel to a future where your face can be held against you. Guests:Brandeis Marshall -- data scientist & professor at Spelman CollegeMatt Cagle -- attorney, ACLU Northern California Keith Kaplan -- councilman, Teaneck, NJAnkita Shukla -- PhD candidate, IIIT Delhi Actors:Evan Johnson as Mr. MortonDavid Romero as DavidAsh Greenberg as AshSantos Flores as SantosCharlie Chalmers as CharlieGrace Nelligan as GraceAva Ausman as AvaSidney Perry-Thistle as SidneyArthur Benjamin Allison as Arthur→ → → Furth...

BODIES: Ghostbot
Today we travel to a future where dying isn’t the end. What if you could live on as a simulation? A bot that knows everything you’ve ever said, and can pretend to be you? 🚨 BECOME A PATRON BEFORE JUNE 30TH AND GET A SPECIAL REWARD! 🚨 Guests: James Vlahos — journalist & author of Talk to Me: How Voice Computing Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Think Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad — research scientist at KenSci, Inc, professor of computer science at University of Washington Anita Hannig — professor of ...

BODIES: Switcheroo
Today we travel to a future where we can swap bodies with one another. Would you trade places with someone? Do you own your body?  Guests: Calvin Gimpelevich — writer, author of “Rent, Don’t Sell” Sav Schlauderaff — PhD student, University of Arizona, co-founder Queer Futures Collective Krizia Puig — PhD student, UC Santa Cruz, co-founder Queer Futures Collective Susan Gelman — professor of psychology, University of Michigan Actors:Maria -- Cara Rose de Fabio Gaby -- Eler de GreyNew Marquis -- Xandra Ibar...


BODIES: This Is Not A Test
Today we travel to a future where all animal testing is banned. What are the alternatives? What can we do without using animals, and what can’t we do?  → → → Further reading on today’s episode can be found here ← ← ← Guests: Janet D. Stemwedel -- professor of philosophy at San Jose State University Lawrence Carter Long -- communications director at the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund Kristie Sullivan -- vice president of research policy at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Deepa...

BODIES: InkRx
Today we travel to a future where we can tattoo sensors right onto our skin. What happens when you can get a live readout of everything from glucose to hormones to hydration levels built into a tattoo? What kind of privacy can you expect when your medical data is literally written on your skin? And what does any of this have to do with Inspector Gadget and René Descartes?   → → → Further reading on today’s episode can be found here ← ← ← 🚨🚨🚨 Become a patron before June 30th and get a special prize in th...

BODIES: Enter Night
Today we travel to a future where humans can see at night. What happens when we expand our vision out into the darkness? How does that impact everything from work, to architecture, to poaching to horror movies? And is it even possible? → → → Further reading on today’s episode can be found here ← ← ← 🚨 BECOME A PATRON BEFORE JUNE 30TH AND GET A SPECIAL REWARD! 🚨 Guests: Gang Han -- researcher at UMass Medical School Gabriel Licina -- researcher and “sometimes biohacker” Lynne MacTavish -- operations man...


EARTH: The Ocean Farm
Today we travel to a future where fisheries collapse world wide, and we turn the ocean into a giant farm.  Guests:Amanda Nickson: director of international fisheries at The Pew Charitable TrustsDaniel Pauly: professor University of British Columbia, principal investigator at Sea Around Us, author of Vanishing Fish: Shifting Baselines and the Future of Global FisheriesBernard Friedman: founder of Santa Barbara MaricultureTyler Sclodnick: senior scientist, InnovaSea Systems Inc.  Patricia Majluf: vice preside...

EARTH: The Cement Ban
Today we travel to a future where we try to break up with cement. Can it be done? How did cement because so ubiquitous? And what’s so bad about cement in the first place? Guests:Grady Hillhouse: civil engineer and host of Practical EngineeringRobbie Andrew: senior researcher at CICERO Center for International Climate ResearchAmy Slaton: historian at Drexel University and author of Reinforced Concrete and the Modernization of American BuildingDavid Stone: inventor of Ferrock→ → → Further reading & full trans...

EARTH: The Desert Creep
Today, we travel to the deserts. Or, actually, the deserts travel to us. What happens if dust swallows up over 30% of the planet? → → → Background reading, source material and other links here ← ← ← As air pollution gets worse, a dystopian accessory is born ← My piece on face masks mentioned in the episode!  Guests:Sumant Nigam: climate researcher at University of MarylandMorgan Gorris: PhD candidate at UC IrvineChristina Xu: freelance technology researcherLindsay C. Stringer: researcher on land use and su...


EARTH: The Polar Flip
Today we travel to a future where the Earth’s magnetic poles reverse. → → → Further reading available here ← ← ← Guests:Eftyhia Zesta -- Chief of the Geospace Physics Laboratory in the Heliophysics Division at NASAMichael Purucker -- Planetary Magnetosphere Lab chief at NASAAlanna Mitchell -- author of The Spinning Magnet Rory Cottrell -- archaeomagnetism researcher at The University of Rochester Thorsten Ritz -- biophysics researcher at UC Irvine Actors:The Snowglobe Narrator: Brent RoseLenny Haywood: E...

EARTH: The Sunshade
We're back! Did you miss me? Don't answer that please. Today's episode kicks off Season FIVE of Flash Forward. This year, I'm doing things a little bit differently. Instead of doing a new episode every other week, you're getting little mini-seasons. Each little block of five episodes will come out weekly, and center around a theme. This week we're starting our EARTH series. Five episodes, five different future Earths. Buckle up, I hope you're ready for some fun. And some terror. This is Flash Forward after ...

Season Five Coming Soon!
In case you think I've been sitting on my butt doing nothing, here's a trailer to let you know that I have been sitting on my butt doing lots of things! Flash Forward returns to your feeds NEXT WEEK, but to get you excited, I wanted to drop in and give you all a little taste of what’s to come. See you in the future!  Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...


Snip Snip Snip
At long last, we’re doing genetic editing. What’s the deal with the recent news about CRISPR babies? What does a future full of human genetic editing look like? And how might CRISPR change the food we eat?  Guests:Sarah Zhang, reporter at The AtlanticGreta Johnsen, weekend anchor at WBEZ, co-host of NerdetteAlice Wong, founder of the Disability Visibility ProjectAlison Van Eenennaam, researcher at UC Davis→→→ Further reading and sources HERE ←←← Paper mentioned in the Policygenius ad: “National culture and ...

Water Would Be Nice
What happens when the Rio Grande dries up? The river is often overshadowed, at least in the US, by the Colorado River. But the Rio Grande creates the border between US and Mexico, and the water that flows through it is at the center of a looming geopolitical crisis. So what happens when towns, farms and cities on both sides of the border start to run out of water? Guests: Naveena Sadasivam: staff writer at the Texas Observer covering the environment, energy and climate and co-author on the series Shallow Wa...

The Commute From Hell
Getting from one place to another is hard. What if we could just teleport? From the physics of how this would work (it wouldn’t) to the ripple effects it might have on politics, urban development, and tourism, this episode is all about what would happen if we could zip instantly from one place to another. Guests Matt Lubchansky, comic artist and associate editor at The Nib Zeeya Merali, physicist at the Foundational Questions Institute, author of A Big Bang in a Little Room, cohost of the FQXi Podcast Pete...


What To Expect When You're Expecting In Space
If humans want to really have a go at leaving Earth and living in space or on other planets, we’re going to have to figure out a lot of things: spaceships, food supplies, fuel, how to keep everybody from killing one another. But one thing seems to be frequently left out of the picture, when it comes to distant space travel research: reproduction. It turns out we know very, very little about what pregnancy in space might look like, or whether it’s even possible at all. Guests Maggie Koerth-Baker: senior scie...

Farm To Tablet
On today’s episode we tackle a future that was once a staple of science fiction: food pills. Instead of shopping and cooking and sitting down to eat meals together, we all simply pop our nutritional pills and move along with our lives. How feasible is this, really? Where did the idea come from? And what does the rise and fall in the popularity of the idea say about our changing relationships to food, culture and politics? Guests: Annalee Newitz, science journalist and science fiction author, co-host of Our ...

Eyes In The Skies
Computers are getting smaller and smaller. But what if we had sensors the size of dust, that could float through the air undetected, talk to one another, gather information, and transmit that information back down to a central place? This is the concept behind smart dust, and it's more plausible than you might think. Guests: Amy Webb, quantitative futurist and founder of the Future Today Institute Faine Greenwood, journalist and drone expert Stacey Higginbotham, journalist, co-host of the Internet of Thing...


Money For Nothing
What if we just gave everybody money? It sounds simple, but universal basic income is a trendy idea right now and a lot of you have asked for an episode about a future where everybody gets money from the government no matter what. And it turns out that while it sounds simple, just giving everybody money is way more complicated than you might thing. Guests:Atossa Araxia Abrahamian, Senior editor at The Nation, author of The CosmopolitesShaksam Khosla, graduate student at Johns Hopkins University, author of I...

Fungus Among Us
How much of what you do is actually your choice? What if you were secretly being controlled by a parasite that had infected your brain? What if that infection was spreading?  Guests: David Walton, author of The Genius Plague Tade Thompson, author or Rosewater Charissa de Bekker, researcher at the University of Central Florida Sandeep Ravindran, science journalist For additional reading and resources on this episode, visit flashforwardpod.com.  Flash Forward is produced by me, Rose Eveleth. The intro music i...

Spawn of Sponcon
On today’s episode we travel to the near-future of advertising. Welcome to a future in which you can sign up to be a brand ambassador, and get paid for every time you mention a product in conversation. Simply download the app, and your phone will listen to your every word waiting to hear brand names, and pay you some money every time you mention one.  Guests: Deborah Dahl, speech technology expert and principal of Conversational Technologies Lee Tien, senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Founda...


Dr. Doolittle
~~~~ TAKE THE SURVEY! (Please) ~~~~ Today we tackle the age-old question: what if animals could talk? Or, more precisely, what if we could actually understand what animals are saying? Guests: Con Slobodchikoff, professor at Northern Arizona University, CEO of Zoolingua, and author of Chasing Dr. Doolittle: Learning the Language of Animals. Irene Pepperberg, professor of psychology Harvard University, author of Alex and Me: How a Scientist and a Parrot Discovered a Hidden World of Animal Intelligence-and for...

Under The Sea
In the 1960's, the United States spent millions of dollars exploring two different realms: outer space, and the deep oceans. But today, only one of those programs is still around. Why do space colonies seem more likely than underwater cities? And what does it take to build a settlement on the sea floor? Guests: Ben Hellwarth, journalist and author of SEALAB: America's Forgotten Quest to Live and Work on the Ocean Floor Jim Fourqurean, professor of Marine Science at Florida International University and the d...

Portrait Of The Artist As An Algorithm
In today’s episode I welcome you to the Museum of Non-Human Art, a brand new gallery full of art made entirely by machines, computers, algorithms, robots and other non-human entities. I hope your enjoy your visit! To see pictures of any of the artworks we talked about on this show head to the website!  Guests: Elizabeth Stephens, Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland Michael Noll, computer artist, professor emerit...


The Very Big Sick
In 1918, the Spanish flu killed four to five percent of the entire global population. Infectious disease experts all agree that another pandemic is coming. It's when, not if. But are we ready for it? Today's episode explores what happens when a pandemic strikes, what the most likely candidates are, and whether or not the world is ready. Guests: Ed Yong, science writer at The Atlantic Nahid Bhadelia, assistant professor at Boston University School of Medicine and the Medical Director of Special Pathogens Uni...

The Space Roomba
This episode we take on a future where space junk has gotten so bad, that active spacecraft are constantly having to maneuver around it, which wastes fuel and cuts down on operation time. And humans decide to finally do something about it. But what? Guests: Loren Grush, science reporter at The Verge Lisa Ruth Rand, historian of science technology and the environment. Tiago Soares, systems engineer for ESA’s Clean Space program Andrew Wolahan, systems engineer for ESA’s e.deorbit program Alice Gorman, spac...

We Are Family
With the rise in consumer DNA tests and online genealogy, people might soon have a pretty good idea where their families came from for generations. But are we putting too much faith in DNA? Can our genetic ancestry really tell us anything about ourselves? And what happens when DNA databases become playgrounds for true crime sleuths? Guests: Carl Zimmer, science journalist and author of She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions and Potential of Heredity Kristen V. Brown, biotechnology reporter at B...


Federal Project Two
Guests: Susan Quinn, author of Furious Improvisation: How the WPA and a Cast of Thousands  Made High Art out of Desperate Times and other books. Monet Noelle Marshall, playwright, consultant, artist, director, founder of JOCOAA. Monica Byrne, novelist, playwright, futurist, activist. Further Reading: Furious Improvisation: How the WPA and a Cast of Thousands  Made High Art out of Desperate Times by Susan Quinn The New Deal Art Projects, An Anthology of Memoirs by Francis V. O’Connor Engendering Culture: M...

Enter the Exos
This episode we talk exoskeletons: what are they being used for now? What might they be used for in the future? And what happens when they’re everywhere? Guests: Tim Pote, PhD student at Virginia Tech Greg Pote, Tim’s brother Dr. Bill Marras, professor at The Ohio State University & Director of the Spine Research Institute Larry Jasinksi, CEO, Rewalk Ashley Shew, assistant professor at Virginia Tech in technology & disability, and author of Animal Constructions and Technological Knoweldge Kim Sauder, gr...

Fitness in a Bottle
Some people love going to the gym. Some people hate it. But what if there was a pill that could replace exercise? Today’s future might actually be closer than you think. Today’s guests: Nicola Twilley, co-host of Gastropod and New Yorker writer David Eveleth, my dad and biotech expert Natalia Mehlman Petrzela, historian and co-host of Past Present Sigmund Loland, philosopher of sports at Norwegian School of Sport Sciences Casey Johnston, editor at The Outline, author of Ask a Swole Woman Robert, my boyfri...


Fire From the Deep
In this episode, a huge submarine volcano erupts, breaks the surface of the ocean, and forms a new island. What happens next? Guests: Tracy Gregg, associate professor of geology at the University at Buffalo Rebecca Carey, senior lecturer at the University of Tasmania Paraskevi V. Nomiku, assistant professor of geological oceanography at the University of Athens Gianpierro Orbasano, Tongan photojournalist and explorer Michael Bates, Prince of Sealand James Grimmelmann, professor of law at Cornell Tech Furthe...

The Grey Dawn
We’re back! After a bit of a break, your regularly scheduled Flash Forward episodes will resume starting today. Every other Tuesday you’ll get a future delivered straight to your listening device. I hope you enjoy! On this episode, we’re talking about the future of senior care. Namely: what happens when we outsource care for our aging loved ones to robots, apps and devices? Let’s start by defining the challenge that the technology in today’s episode is trying to solve: in the United States, there are six m...

You’ve Got Brainmail
In our last episode of the season, we take one one of the most requested futures: telepathy! What would it be like to be able to link minds, and communicate brain to brain? And how likely is it that we’ll ever get this kind of technology?     We start the episode by talking to Roger Luckhurst, a Professor in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck, University of London, who explains where the word telepathy comes from, and how it totally obsessed men of science in the early 1800’s. Then, futurist and...


Countless
This episode we travel to a future where the 2020 census goes haywire. What happens if we don’t get an accurate count of Americans? Who cares? Apparently the constitution does!     The 2020 census is currently in the crosshairs — census watchers say that it’s not getting enough funding, and community organizations and local governments are already worrying about what an inaccurate census might mean for their people.     To walk us through the current perils facing the census I talked to Hansi Lo Wang, a nat...

There’s No Great Future in Plastics
This episode is all about a world without plastic. What would that look like? Is it even possible?     Today, plastic is seen as one of our great environmental enemies. But it actually wasn’t always that way. Bradford Harris, a historian of science and the host of a podcast called How It Began: A History of the Modern World, and Susan Freinkel, a journalist and the author of Plastic: A Toxic Love Story, walk us through how plastic started out as a solution to unsustainable practices. Then we talk to Sherry ...

Our Father, Who art in Algorithm
In this episode, we travel to a future where a tech mogul feeds a machine learning system all the religious texts he can find, and asks it to generate a “super religion.”    Buckle up because this is a long episode! But it’s fun, I promise.    For the intro of this episode I worked with Janelle Shane to actually train a machine learning algorithm on a big chunk of religious texts that I assembled, and spit something back out. The specifics of the texts and the machine learning algorithm come with a handfu...


Deceptible Me
This episode we travel to a future where you can choose to turn off your ability to deceive yourself. Are you now a perfectly clear eyed genius? Or a perpetually depressed misanthrope? Maybe both?     This episode was suggested by my mom. It begins with two tales of self deception, one from Jacquelyn Gill, an assistant professor of paleo-ecology at the University of Maine and the host of a podcast about climate change called Warm Regards, and the other from Beth Duckles, a writer, researcher, ethnographer a...

Easy Bake Organs
This episode we take on a future full of bioprinted replacement organs. You asked for more hopeful futures, this is about as hopeful as they get!     We start by hearing a bit about what the current organ donation market is like from Christine Gentry, who donated a kidney to a stranger. Then we talk to Dr. Anthony Atala,  the Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine and of the world’s leading regenerative medicine specialists. Dr. Atala has implanted organs grown from the cells of pat...

Buzz Off
In this episode we travel to a world without bees. And not just honey bees, all bees.     You’ve probably heard a lot of doom and gloom predictions about what might happen if honey bees went extinct. Mass famine! The end of coffee! World economic collapse! But is that all true? (Probably not.) And how likely is a honeybee extinction anyway? (Extremely unlikely.) Plus, what about all the other bees in the world? We ponder these questions and more in this episode.    To walk us through what might happen to ag...


Piraceuticals
This episode we go to a future with pirates! There always has to be at least one pirate episode per season. This time it’s pharmaceutical pirates.     This episode was inspired by a new book by Annalee Newitz called Autonomous. It’s very good and you should read it. I am not being paid to say that, I just really like the book.     Autonomous tells the story of two main characters: Jack the pharmaceutical pirate, and Palladin the bot that is trying to hunt her down. A few cool links related to Autonomous:   ...

After Life
This month’s episode is about what it would take to sterilize the Earth, and why you might want to figure that out in the first place.     First we talk to the authors of a paper that tries to figure out this exact question. David Sloan and Rafael Alves Batista are the authors of a paper called “The Resilience of Life to Astrophysical Events” (along with Avi Loeb). No, they’re not evil scientists, just interested in what it might take to find life on other planets.     They explain their calculations, and h...

Down For Everyone Not Just You
This episode is a little different than other episodes. As many of you know, Flash Forward is my second job. My first job is at ESPN, where I recently helped launch an audio documentary series called 30 for 30 Podcasts. Please go check that out, even if you don’t like sports I promise there’s something for you. My episodes are numbers three and four in the series, and they’re both out, and if you like the weird stuff I do on this show I think you’ll probably enjoy them.    Trying to make two highly produced...


Love On The Brain
This episode, we travel to a future where your romantic partners aren’t chosen by questions or swipes, but rather by your brainwaves.    This future is based on an idea from Shelly Ronan and Ernesto D. Morales and their project Object Solutions. If you liked what you heard about Object Solutions you should check out their other work, and their Patreon page.     I also talked to Suzanne Dikker, who has used EEG headsets to study everything from education, to Marina Abramovic’s art, to compatability.     And ...

Mons Voyage
This episode, we go on another vacation! Can you tell I need a vacation? Anyway, back to the episode. What would it be like if you could hop on a space cruise ship, and take a trip to Mars?    This is a special episode because our little future intro is actually two real people playing real parts. Olivia Koski and Jana Grcevich are the authors of a new book called Vacation Guide to the Solar System. The book is a spinoff of their long-running project the Intergalactic Travel Bureau, a project of Guerilla Sc...

Back to the Future: A Womb Away From Home
Long time listeners of Flash Forward might feel like this future is kind of… familiar. And it is. It’s actually the first future we ever traveled to on this show. A future where humans have invented artificial wombs. And this is a special bonus episode of Flash Forward where we’re going to go back and revisit that future, because a new piece of research recently came out about artificial wombs. I’m calling this, a BACK TO THE FUTURE episode.    Related reading:    Fluid-filled ‘biobag’ allows premature lamb...


Robocop
In this future there are no more human police officers. Is that even possible?    The future of policing is a really really complicated topic. And it’s also, and this might be the understatement of the year, a controversial one. On this episode we’re not going to try and give you a full picture of what the future of policing might be. That would take hours. Instead, we’re going to focus on two really specific pieces of this topic.    First we talk to Madeline Ashby, futurist and science fiction writer, abou...

Unreel
This month on Flash Forward, we go to a future where anybody can make a video of you doing anything they want. And that technology is cheap and easy to access. What happens?    This episode we start by talking about the technology as it exists now. Hamed Pirsiavash the show to explain his research into generating videos using algorithms.     So that’s where the technology stands now. But once it gets better, there are all kinds of applications. Hal Hodson, a tech reporter at The Economist, tells us about ho...

California Dreaming
California has one of the largest economies in the world. So what would happen if it broke away from the United States? Could California ever go independent? And if it did, what would that look like?    This is a future that’s been on my list for a while, but since the election here in the United States it’s taken a bit of a different tone. California voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election, 66 percent of the state cast their votes for her. And as most of you probably know, she...


Greetings From Paradice
Every year, over 20 million people get on a cruise ship and set sail for a seafaring vacation. Most of those cruises take their vacationers to warm, sunny climates. But thanks to climate change, a new hoard of ships might start sailing North rather than South. This episode of Flash Forward explores a future where the Arctic becomes a tourist destination just like the Bahamas or the Great Barrier Reef.    Researchers at UCLA have projected that the Northwest Passage might be totally ice-free by 2050. And tha...

Robocrop
Today’s episode is about a future where nobody works on farms anymore, all farming is done by robots. It might be closer than you think. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Extra! Extra!
This week we travel to a future where there is so much fake news that nobody can tell what is real anymore. Are we already there? What happens next? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...


How is Babby (Not) Made
What happens when everybody has 100% control over when they do or don’t have babies? We got to a world with perfect and accessible birth control. You asked for a utopia, and this is as close as we're going to get! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

The Witch Who Came From Mars
Today we do something weird, in honor of the end of the second season! Instead of coming up with a future and then finding experts to talk about it, I asked an AI to write a future for us. And the AI apparently wants us to talk about space travel, witches, and the occult.    So here’s what happened in this episode. I asked Mike Rugnetta, the creator and host of PBS Idea Channel and Reasonably Sound, to help me create a script for Flash Forward. Mike had done this for his own channel a few months ago.    Aro...

Where’s the Beef?
Today we go to a future where animal products are banned. It’s one that lots of listeners have asked for so here you go. We talk about what happens to the land, the animals and the humans in this equation.    In this episode we discuss the arguments in favor and against banning meat. How does that impact culture? Why should we do it? Does it help or hurt the environment? Can you really grow meat in a lab? And is that meat vegan?     First we talked to folks in the “ban the meat” camp. Marta Zaraska, the aut...


Revenge of the Retweet
Today we try to figure out what happens when our future presidential candidates have thousands of Tweets and Tumblr posts and Instagrams in their online record.     What happens, when today’s teens start running for office? When their entire internet history is there, searchable, for us to read? What if these teens Tweet something at 15 that they might regret at 45? Do we learn to accept that their opinions have changed? Or do we go through every candidate's entire social media history to find dirt on them?...

The Altered State
Today we travel to a future where all drugs are legal. Just roll up to the store, and get yourself some cocaine!    We start with some history: for centuries a world without drug laws existed. Mark Kleiman, a professor at NYU who studies drug policy, explains that fear of drugs, and the desire to regulate them, really started in the last 1800’s. The rise of industry, advances in chemistry, and the invention of the hypodermic needle all fueled a rise in drug use and in drug fears.     Today, of course, some ...

Bot for Teacher
Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence.    First, I talk to a Ashok Goel, a computer scientist who developed an artificially intelligent TA named Jill Watson and didn’t tell any of his students she wasn’t a human.     Then I talk to two people building future, app based educational systems. Jessie Woolley-Wilson from DreamBox explains what adaptive learning is, and how i...


Kaboom
Today week we take on a doomsday future! We haven’t done one of those this season. So, what would happen if all the active volcanoes in the world erupted at the same time? The short answer is: bad things. The long answer is, well, you’ll have to listen to the episode!    First we talk to Jessica Ball, a volcanologist, who walks us through the different types of eruptions, what make something an active volcano, and just how bad ash is. Spoiler: it’s really bad. It gums up engines, cuts up your lungs, and is ...

Popnonymous
Today we go to a future where all pop stars use avatars, clones, robots or cartoons instead of their real bodies and faces. What does that do to music? Can everybody pull off an avatar? And why would any pop star even want that?     We start with a conspiracy theory. Jaya Saxena tells us about the theory that Beyonce is a clone. And one of the reasons Jaya thinks that people might think Beyonce is using a clone is because she’s so private, and hates doing press stuff. Which of course is not the case, Beyonc...

Expiration Date
Today we travel to a future where it’s possible to know exactly when you will die. Do you chose to find out?    Now, this is, impossible. Totally impossible. And I’m not even going to try and come up with some strange pseudoscientific explanation for how this might happen. It’s not a thing. Just go with me here. Some people asked for more weird episodes this season, so, here you go!     We start the episode talking to Chanel Reynolds, the founder of a site called Get Your Shit Together which helps people ge...


Omnibot
Today we travel to a world with universal translation devices. Where the babelfish from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comes true (although probably not in the form of an evolved organism, but let's not fret about the details).     We start this episode with Barry Slaughter Olsen, who's the co-president of Interpret America. Barry tells us all about what interpreting and translation actually is, and why it will be really hard to replace human translation with machines.    Then we talked to Julie Sediv...

Swipe Right For Democracy
Today we travel to a future where America has converted to a direct democracy. Everybody votes on everything!     Hey, did you know it was an election year in the United States? I know, you've probably not really heard about this, it's not like it's on the news 24/7. But for all the coverage and the fights you might be getting into on Facebook, tons of people in the United States aren't going to vote in this election. The Pew Research Center has some pretty depressing statistics on just how many Americans g...

Rude Bot Rises
Okay, you asked for it, and I finally did it. Today’s episode is about conscious artificial intelligence. Which is a HUGE topic! So we only took a small bite out of all the things we could possibly talk about.    We started with some definitions. Because not everybody even defines artificial intelligence the same way, and there are a ton of different definitions of consciousness. In fact, one of the people we talked to for the episode, Damien Williams, doesn’t even like the term artificial intelligence. He ...


Tree Free
Today we travel to a fully digital world, a world where paper is a thing of the past.     On this show we’ve tackled a huge range of futures — we’ve talked about things that are extremely likely, like, antibiotic resistance, and we’ve also talked about things that are simply never going to happen. Like space pirates dragging a second moon to earth for some reason.    And when I started working on this episode, I assumed that this future was more on the likely end of the spectrum. Maybe not in a few years, b...

MiniPod Time Travel
Today’s episode is a minipod, a smattering of time travel, future travel, and news about the show.    In this episode we hear a bunch of messages from listeners: what folks think about past futures we’ve been to, and future futures we should travel to.     We also cover some show news! So, in bullet point form:    Some of you might be new to the show this season. Maybe you didn’t even know this was the second season! Well, it is! Season one is available on Soundcloud, where you can download all the episodes...

Unpawful
Today we travel to a future without pets. What would it take for us to give up our fuzzy, slithery, fishy friends? Should our pets get more rights? And if we didn’t have dogs or cats, would we domesticate something else to take their place?    This week's episode name is perhaps the worst pun I've ever committed. Sorry not sorry.    Anyway. In this episode pets are outlawed, gone, we don't have them anymore. No more dogs, cats, fish, birds, bunnies, none of them. This might seem like a really outlandish fut...


My Everything Pal
Today we travel to a future full of spreadsheet approved lives. A future where everything we do is tracked and quantified: calories, air quality, sleep, heart rate, microbes, brain waves, finances, happiness, sadness, menstrual cycles, poops, hopes and dreams. Everything.   This episode is longer than our usual 20 minute jaunts to the future, because the future of quantified self is so huge. We cover everything from biased algorithms, to microbiomes (again), to the future of the calorie, and more.    The fi...

Micro But Mighty
Today we travel to a future where your microbiome becomes a key part of your identity. From health to your child’s kindergarten, here are all the ways knowing about your microbiome might impact your life.     Let’s start with a definition: what is the microbiome? Simply put, the microbiome is the collection of microbes (mostly bacteria) that live in and on your body. It’s hard to say exactly how many microbes make up the human microbiome, but researchers estimate that somewhere between 500 and 1,000 differe...

The Ultimate Swatting
Today we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences?     Mosquitos have worked hard to earn the nickname “deadliest animal on earth.” According to the World Health Organization there are 20 million cases of dengue virus every year. And there are 214 million cases of malaria, 438,000 of which are deadly. In the United States, an outbreak of West Nile Virus that started in ...


Don’t Lie To Me
Today we travel to a future without lies. What would it be like if we all wore accurate lie detectors around all the time?    In this episode we talk about when children learn to lie, the different social functions of lying, and what might happen if we couldn’t ever fib. How would negotiations be different? How would we make small talk? Could we create art or music? All that and more in this week’s future.     This week’s show features four experts in the different facets of deception. Patti Wood is an expe...

Love At First Bot
Right now there’s a whole lot of buzz about sex robots. Some people are really excited about them, and think we’ll be marrying robots by 2050. Other people are really worried about them, and are organizing whole campaigns against sex robots. This week, we travel to a future where sex robots are realized, and talk about everything from warranties to ethics.     [A note: if you listen to our show with or near young kids be aware that today’s episodes discusses the future of sex, and goes into some detail abou...

Face Off
Welcome to season two of Flash Forward! We kicked off this season with a pretty unlikely future: the entire world goes face blind.     In the episode we discuss what causes face blindness — also known as prosopagnosia — and the tricks that people use to remember their friends. We also go through all the things that would be easier (spying, hiding) and harder (police lineups, cocktail parties) in a world where we were all faceblind.     Today, about two percent of the population has some form of face blindne...


Reputationville
What would it be like if we lived in a world where everything you do is subject to a rating dolled out by a combination of machines and other people? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Crossing
Every country has their own idiosyncratic rules and regulations for border crossings. But what if the whole process were standardized and run by a single organization? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Bye Bye Binary
What if we lived in a world where gender was more like hair color — something you could change at will, and that had little bearing on what other people thought of you? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...


The Carbon Gene
When it comes to climate change, there are a lot of researchers already thinking about how to equip crops and food animals with genes to help them withstand heat and parched conditions. But what about genetically engineering humans to try to slow our constant carbon contributions? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Unseen
In 2006, scientists described the world's first invisibility cloak. But there was a catch. It only worked in two dimensions, and on microwaves. But to what if scientists and engineers could created a true invisibility cloak? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Greetings
Humans spend a lot of time and energy wondering if there’s anybody else out there. But what if we got unequivocal evidence that there was? In this week’s future, a probe that is extremely similar to the Voyager probes that we sent out in the 1970’s shows up in our galaxy. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...


The Empathy Machine
When you were a kid and stole your friends’ toys, your parent probably asked you this angry hypothetical: “How do you think that made them feel?” But what if you actually could feel what another person is feeling? This week, we travel to a future where humans have invented an empathy machine. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Caged
What would happen if we rounded up all the critically endangered animals and plants and put them in armored zoos? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

A Drone of One’s Own
What does the world look like when everybody with a smart phone also has a drone? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...


Eternal Life in Prison
What if “life in prison” could mean 100 or 200 or 400 years? Does that change the way that sentences are dolled out? What happens when a person gets out of prison? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Sunward Bound
If the Earth, somehow, stopped rotating around the sun, it would have exactly 64 1/2 days before it crashed into the fireball at the center of our solar system. Here's what would happen during those last 64 1/2 days. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Facetime
Your face is one of your most valuable possessions. But what happens when facial recognition is so good that any company can grab an image of your face while you’re walking down the street, and link it to everything from your social media profiles, to your credit score, to your workplace? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...


Winded
What would happen if a company put up so many wind turbines that they actually changed the climate on Earth? I know this sounds totally crazy, but I swear to you this is something that scientists have actually looked into. So naturally, I talked to one of those scientists. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Grounded
Need to get from New York to Paris? Or San Diego? Chances are you’re not taking a car or a bus or a boat to go there. Instead, you’d hop on a plane. But aside from hurting your wallet, commercial flights also hurt the planet, contributing to the continuous input of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere that is in turn contributing to climate change. So what if we stopped flights? What would happen? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

The Bodybuilders
We all want to be our best selves. But what if you could add almost anything to your body and mind? A camera here, an exoskeleton there. This is the world that some biohackers imagine—one in which humans can extend their abilities beyond the limits biology has set for us. But what does that world look like? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...


The Supernova Next Door
We often think of stars as twinkling, harmless little points of light that fill our night sky with majesty. But stars can be dangerous too. When they come to the end of their lifespan, some stars explode fantastically as supernovae. So what would happen if one of those giant explosions happened nearby? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

The Day the Internet Broke
If you’re reading this, you have access to the Internet. But what would happen if the Internet suddenly went away? And what would it take to make that happen? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Never Lay Me Down to Sleep
If there was a drug that meant you never had to sleep again, would you take it? Would those who didn’t need to sleep have special advantages over those who did? All that and a side of zombies, in this week’s episode. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...


Revenge of the Germs
Over the past 85 years, antibiotics have been miracle drugs. They’ve kept infections at bay and opened up a world of medical possibilities: organ transplants, heart surgery, chemotherapy. But they’re not going to work forever. The age antibiotic resistance is coming. So what does a world without these drugs look like? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

The Most Dangerous Games
This week on Meanwhile in the Future we step onto the field and talk about contact sports. What would it take to create a future in which the most dangerous sports die out? What are those sports to begin with? What does a world without football look like? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

Forcing the Hand
This week’s future is a social experiment. What if Earth had a robotic overlord who decided to ban all weapons? All fights would have to be hand to hand. Would there be less death that way? Less casualties? What counts as a weapon anyway? Listen to the episode to find out! Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...


The Moon is a Harsh Second Mistress
What would happen if the Earth suddenly had a second moon? This week, we work through the impact an additional satellite would have on our planet, from tides, to the night sky, to the potential destruction of Earth. Oh also there are space pirates. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...

A Womb Away From Home
What happens when women no longer have to physically bear children? Who wins? Who loses? Who takes artificial wombs to a far away planet to create a colony of super-beings? Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices...