Future Tense is the citizen’s guide to the future. A partnership among Arizona State University, Slate and the New America Foundation, Future Tense explores emerging technologies and their transformative effects on society and public policy.
Several thousand people in the stands of a horse track in Pomona, California, groaned when the robots—finalists in the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency‘s Robotics Challenge—fell or otherwise suffered mishaps. The audience members were feeling empathy for the machines and their human handlers. It was an extraordinary event, showing not just how robotics has come in a short time (and how far it has to go) but also how general attitudes are evolving.