Future Tense - Full program podcast

Future Tense - Full program podcast


A critical look at new technologies, new approaches and new ways of thinking, from politics to media to environmental sustainability.


From before the cradle to after the grave – the power of the image  

From ultrasound screen shots to online memorial sites, the image reflects our future potential, our current existence and our memory.

Time, play and a word from Lord Russell  

Find out why play is not just unstructured activity and why we are so obsessed with time. And get some old advice for living in the modern world.

Is happiness vastly overrated?  

The ‘cult’ of happiness could be damaging to business performance and the sanity of employees. And research suggests that maintaining a level of pessimism in the workplace is actually beneficial to maintaining a corporate edge.

Poetry in motion  

In which ways is poetry being used in the modern world? And can the very human quality of poetry survive the development of non-human poets?

Agnotology: understanding our ignorance  

We're all complicit in spreading ignorance. And unless we understand the forces that actively generate ignorance we have little hope of overcoming it.

Re-imagining algae  

Algae could be the food and fuel source of the future. And you can even make surfboards out of the stuff!

Plants and preservation  

Seed banks around the world aim to preserve the genetic basis of plant life in order to help humans adapt to future global climate change. We talk with several people involved in such endeavours, and we also meet American David Milarch who gives us a lesson in how to clone a giant Californian Redwood.

Underestimated plants  

A new field of research called Plant Neurobiology states that plants are intelligent - in their own way.

Art and the Connected Future  

What role do traditional galleries and new online social platforms play in progressing digital art and serving the interests and needs of artists in the connected age?

Attention / distraction  

How do we embrace the benefits of a world run on the power of attention/distraction without sending ourselves crazy or constantly diminishing our ability to get jobs done?

Automating the everyday  

Automation isn’t just related to the factory floor or the supermarket checkout, it’s an essential part of all aspects of our digital lives.

Mini-brains revisited; the power of infographics; and future-focussed decision making  

Is there a possible link between the schizophrenic brain and diet? What's the future of data visualisation? And how can you optimise your decision-making?

How to make spaghetti bolognaise  

Social researcher and author Rebecca Huntley uses the recipe for this very popular and accessible dish to highlight the varied threats to our future food supply from global climate change.

Narcissists, archaeologists and shouting into the void  

Why we need to rethink our attitudes toward narcissists. Why anyone would want to confess to software. Why can't unroll ancient scrolls in order to read them.

Pop-up culture  

Temporary outlets suit our social media times – the perfect mid-point between the online experience and traditional bricks and mortar.

Wooden skyscrapers and bacterial concrete  

Transparent wood and cement generated by bacteria - New materials promise to change the way we build houses in the future.

Issues of digital security  

For all the sophistication we humans have shown in developing new technological systems, we’ve got a surprisingly poor record when it comes to making them secure.

Drug resistance and a coming pandemic  

It’s estimated around 700,000 people die each year because of drug-resistant infections & the death-toll is expected to rise to around 10 million per year by 2050 unless more is done. So how prepared are we for future pandemics?

Your personal brand  

Could you be sued for your tattoo? Is a career in sport now about branding over athleticism? The art of personal branding is becoming increasingly complicated.

A Universal Basic Income  

Funded from the public purse, the universal basic income is a no-strings attached minimum payment. So, would it actually work as a way of reforming social welfare?

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