Flash Forward

A show about possible and not so possible futures. From space pirates to conscious robots to the end of antibiotics. Hosted by Rose Eveleth.




      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! 


      Elizabeth Stephens, Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Q...



      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.

      Ed Yong, science writer at The Atlantic
      Nahid Bhadelia, assistant professor at Boston University School of Medicine and the Medical...



      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?

      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.d...


       2018-06-19  53m

      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?


      Carl Zimmer, science journalist and author of She Has Her Mother's Laugh: The Powers, Perversions and Potential of Heredity
      Kristen V....


       2018-06-05  57m

      Federal Project Two

      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...


       2018-05-22  55m

      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?

      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 Con...


       2018-05-08  52m

      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, aut...


       2018-04-24  54m

      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?


      Tracy Gregg, associate professor of geology at the University of 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


       2018-04-10  45m

      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 U...


       2018-03-27  51m

      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 t...


       2018-01-09  49m