Flash Forward

Flash Forward

United States

Flash Forward is a podcast hosted by Rose Eveleth, in which we really overthink what the future has in store for us. Every episode will tackle one potential future scenario — everything from a sudden ice age, to the end of antibiotic effectiveness, to a world in which contact sports are banned due to head injury — and try to work out how that future would really go down.


The Witch Who Came From Mars  

In this episode we feed all the past Flash Forward episodes to a neural network, and ask it to write a script for us. And that script is full of space travel, Mars conspiracy theories, future witches, and a whole lot of theories about cutting someone’s hands off.

Where's The Beef?  

Today we go to a future where animal products are banned. What are the arguments for and against? How does banning meat impact different cultures? Does it help or hurt the environment? Can you really grow meat in a lab? And is that meat vegan?

Revenge of the Retweet  

Today we try to figure out what happens when our future presidential candidates have thousands of Tweets and Tumblr posts and Instagrams in their online record. What happens, when today’s teens start running for office? When their entire internet history is there, searchable, for us to read? What if these teens Tweet something at 15 years old that they might regret at 45? Do we learn to accept that their opinions have changed? Or do we go through every candidate's entire social media history to find dirt on them? Does that tactic still work in the future? Do we all just throw up our hands and admit that teens have bad opinions and that hopefully those opinions have changed? Or do we only elect people with the money and foresight to curate their feeds from birth?

The Altered State  

Today we travel to a future where all drugs are legal. In this episode we discuss the history of drug laws, why some drugs are legal and others aren’t, and what would happen if we just let everybody lose to do whatever they want.

Bot For Teacher  

Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and guided by artificial intelligence. We talk to a computer scientist who developed an artificially intelligent TA, folks who build learning apps, and critics who wonder if all the promises being made are too good to be true. What do we gain when we let students choose their own paths? What do we lose when we get rid of schools?


Today week we take on a doomsday future: all the active volcanoes in the world erupt at the same time. This is not good for us. But how bad is it? What happens to humans and our planet? Who survives? How?


Today we go to a future where all pop stars use avatars, clones, robots or cartoons instead of their real bodies and faces. What does that do to music? Can everybody pull off an avatar? And why would any pop star even want that?

Expiration Date  

Today we travel to a future where everybody knows exactly when they’re going to die. If you could know your death date, would you chose to find out? Why? How would knowing your death date change your outlook on life, your behavior, your relationships. How many dictators will try to change the calendars to skip over their date?


Today we travel to a world with universal translation devices. In this episode we talk about how machine translation could be meddled with, who gets to be the baseline language, and what these devices might do for language loss and assimilation.

Swipe Right For Democracy  

Today we travel to a future where America has converted to a direct democracy. Everybody votes on everything! We explore the U.S. states that have direct democracy systems in place today, how to apply that model to the whole country, how to even gather all those votes, and what could go so, so very wrong with this idea. Full show notes at: http://www.flashforwardpod.com/2016/04/19/episode-11-swipe-right-for-democracy/

Rude Bot Rises  

Okay, you asked for it, and I finally did it. Today’s episode is about conscious artificial intelligence. In this episode we talk about everything from what artificial intelligence and consciousness even mean, whether you’ll ever have a moral obligation to pay Siri, and what happens when your intelligent secretary needs a therapist.

Tree Free  

Today we travel to a fully digital world, a world where paper is a thing of the past.

Minipod: Time Travel  

Today’s episode is a minipod, a smattering of time travel, future travel, and news about the show. Bonus: I reveal some of the hidden references in past episodes.


Today we travel to a future without pets. What would it take for us to give up our fuzzy, slithery, fishy friends? Should our pets get more rights? And if we didn’t have dogs or cats, would we domesticate something else to take their place?

My Everything Pal  

Today we travel to a future full of spreadsheet approved lives. A future where everything we do is tracked and quantified: calories, air quality, sleep, heart rate, microbes, brain waves, finances, happiness, sadness, menstrual cycles, poops, hopes and dreams. Everything.

Micro But Mighty  

Today we travel to a future where your microbiome becomes a key part of your identity. From health to your child’s kindergarten, here are all the ways knowing about your microbiome might impact your life.

The Ultimate Swatting  

Today we travel to a future where humans have decided to eradicate the most dangerous animal on the planet: mosquitos. How would we do it? Is it even possible? And what are the consequences?

Don't Lie To Me  

Today we travel to a future without lies. What would it be like if we all wore accurate lie detectors around all the time? And how would we devise those lie detectors?

Love At First Bot  

Today we travel to the year 2086, a world where sex robots are on the market. What happens when we can buy a humanoid robot as a partner? Who wins and who loses? And where do you store the darn thing?

Face Off  

Today, about two percent of the population has prosopagnosia — a condition that makes them unable to remember faces. But what if we all had it? On this week’s episode, we travel to a future where nobody can recognize one another by face.

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