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.

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An illustration made up of partial, colorful images of five types of landscapes. From left to right: a monumental building and waterfall on the bank of a river; a small outpost or hut suspended above a swamp; a suburban scene where roads have been flooded or replaced with canals; a grassy village with a thatched-roof dwelling; and a tower in a desert with plants snaking up its side.

Tracing Pathways to Positive Climate Futures (Online)

How can we tell stories about the climate crisis that motivate change in the present, while bridging global coordination with local complexities and values? Join us for the launch of The Climate Action Almanac, a book of short fiction, essays, and art that chart possible pathways toward a vibrant, decarbonized future, grounded both in science and in geographic and cultural particularities. Presented by Future Tense, the ClimateWorks Foundation, and Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination and Convergence Lab.

January 16, 2024
3:00 pm  – 4:15 pm
An illustration of zombies lurching across a dimly lit environment with blurry streetlights in the background.

What Zombies Can Teach Us About Surviving the Apocalypse (Online)

How prepared are you to survive the zombie apocalypse? Would your community struggle not to fall apart, or would your neighbors come together? Imagining the zombie apocalypse is more than just another fun seasonal activity. The collective imagination that surrounds many of our morbid fascinations is actually incredibly useful as a purposeful stress test for harder-to-conceptualize future disasters. Join Future Tense and ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination for a lighthearted conversation on how to prepare for dire eventualities.

October 23, 2023
4:00 pm  – 5:00 pm

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.