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.
When I finally finished my Ph.D. program after 11 years of training for a research career in the biomedical sciences, I couldn’t help feeling that something was missing. I grew up convinced that science was the best tool we had to improve the world. But my research, though immensely intellectually gratifying, wasn’t making much of a positive contribution to society. Spending all of my time inside a dark microscopy facility firing multicolor lasers at petri dishes didn’t seem to bring about much change (except to the tiny cells in the dish). What was the point of all this, I wondered, if no one outside of the building understood or appreciated the value of what I was doing?