An illustration of a person kneeling, looking up at a set of four towering computational servers in glass-fronted cabinets. The scene is in shades of blue, pink, and purple.

Sad Robot

A short story by E.R. Ramzipoor about what happens when an AI goes to therapy.

Future Tense is a partnership of New America and Arizona State University that examines emerging technologies, public policy and society.

Future Tense is the citizen’s guide to the future.

The partnership provides insightful, timely, and unexpected analysis at the intersection of technology and society through written commentary, original fiction, and live events in Washington, D.C. and beyond.

Recent Events

A white robotic hand grasping an image of a computer chip with the letters

Has A.I. Changed Everything?

Disruptive technologies never reveal their impact in a straight line. Tech revolutions occur in fits and starts, and hype-filled boom-bust cycles. A.I. is different, we’re told, from other new technologies—but how different is it really? What opportunities and challenges will A.I. present us with over the next ten years? Join Convergence Lab CDMX, Future Tense, and Letras Libres to consider these questions with Andrew Maynard, a professor of advanced technology transitions at Arizona State University.

February 27, 2024
6:00 pm  – 7:30 pm
Colony Spaces Cibeles, Puebla 237, Roma Norte, CDMX Mexico City
Screenshot from the film Arrival, showing a person in silhouette standing against a foggy background, with strange alien appendages on either side of them.

My Favorite Movie: Arrival, with Shane Harris and Katherine Mangu-Ward

When 12 mysterious spacecraft arrive to Earth in the 2016 film Arrival, they bring with them an eerie question: why are they here? To answer that question, the U.S. military enlists the help of a top linguist, who is tasked with deciphering the extraterrestrial’s language. Her mission is backdropped by escalating threats of war and a particularly fraught distinction: the difference between the translations of “weapon” and “tool.” Join Future Tense and ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination for a screening of Arrival and a conversation about language, reality, (mis)communication, and how we understand worlds far beyond our own

May 13, 2024
6:15 pm  – 9:15 pm
Landmark’s E Street Cinema, 555 11th St NW, Washington, DC 20004

Future Tense Fiction

A series of original science fiction stories crafted by leading authors, exploring how science and technology will change our lives in the future. Each story is paired with a response essay by an expert in a related field.

An illustration of a person kneeling, looking up at a set of four towering computational servers in glass-fronted cabinets. The scene is in shades of blue, pink, and purple.

By E.R. Ramzipoor

A story about what happens when an AI goes to therapy.

An illustration of an oil rig in the ocean, with a helicopter flying above it, rendered in shades of blue, white, and grey.

By Suyi Davies Okungbowa

A story about oil rigs, community, and redemption.

A human figure running in the distance, away from the viewer, on the surface of a giant bright pink brain.

By Julián Herbert

A story about artificial intelligence and addiction.

Illustration of a person in a long-sleeved shirt with neck-length hair standing in front of a small desk and looking out of a floor-to-ceiling window over the ocean.

By Carter Scholz

A story about geoengineering, billionaire hubris, and “altruistic” narcissism.

A courtroom drawing–style illustration showing a person in a blue suit interrogating a mounted glowing screen on the witness stand, with the judge looking on.

By Jeff Hewitt

A story about a copyright lawsuit against a prolific A.I. author.

Illustration of several people seated around a round table, looking up startled at a spotlight shining down on the center of the tabletop.

By Tara Isabella Burton

A story about a dinner party, an accident, AI, and the slipperiness of ethics.

Best of Future Tense

Future Tense publishes commentary by researchers and scholars at Arizona State University, alongside many other writers and thinkers from the fields of journalism, public policy, science and technology, and more.