An Interview With Margaret Atwood

Future Tense

Future Tense is a partnership between ASU, the New America Foundation and Slate magazine to explore emerging technologies and their transformative effects on society and public policy. Future Tense hosts events and public conversations, and publishes original content from policymakers, scientists, humanists and journalists, including many ASU scholars, on Slate

An Interview With Margaret Atwood

Climate fiction, or “cli fi,” can be a dreary genre. Storytellers like to make a grim business of climate change, populating their narratives with a humorless onslaught of death, destruction, drowned monuments, and starving children. Margaret Atwood is the conspicuous exception, somehow managing to tackle the subject, including these familiar elements, with deadpan wit and an irreverent playfulness, making it both more interesting and believable. The flood is coming, her MaddAddam trilogy promises, but there is hope.

Cover of Science and science fiction. An interview with Paul Davies. Statement reads Ed Finn sat down to discuss project Hieroglyph with physicist and cosmologist Paul Davies, director of the Beyond Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University.

An Illuminated Manuscript About Space Exploration, Science Fiction, and Physics

You just don’t see many illuminated manuscripts these days. There’s a good reason why: They take a long time to make. I learned this recently when I set out to commission a thoroughly modern illuminated manuscript: not a religious text, but an interview with theoretical physicist and cosmologist Paul Davies, a professor at Arizona State University and the author of books like How to Build a Time Machine.

Future Tense: Can We Imagine Our Way to a Better Future?

On October 2, 2014, Future Tense and Issues in Science and Technology hosted an event in Washington, DC inspired by Project Hieroglyph.

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Innovation Starvation, the Next Generation

Humankind has lots of great ideas for the future. We need people to carry them out.
Neal Stephenson
Slate – Future Tense

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Don’t Diss Dystopias

Sci-fi’s warning tales are as important as its optimistic stories.
Ramez Naam
Slate – Future Tense

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The Dystopian City and Urban Policy

Science fiction has inspired scientists and political activists, but it should be an inspiration for municipal governments too.
Annalee Newitz
Slate – Future Tense

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Meeting My Protagonist

When I wrote a novel about a Nigerian space program, I didn’t expect it to be so close to the truth.
Deji Bryce Olukotun
Slate – Future Tense

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Project Hieroglyph Story: “The Day It All Ended”

A short story from Hieroglyph, a new science fiction anthology.
Charlie Jane Anders
Slate-Future Tense

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Only Science Fiction Can Save Us!

What sci-fi gets wrong about income inequality.
Lee Konstantinou
Slate – Future Tense

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The Inspiration Drought

By Ed Finn, Slate/Future Tense

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Forget the Tricorder

Why gadgets aren’t the coolest part of science fiction.
Joey Eschrich
Slate – Future Tense

An Aerialist, Two Clowns, and a Robot Walk Into a Carnival …

In his 1984 film The Terminator and its sequels, James Cameron imagines a dystopic future in which armies of intelligent robots move with startling suddenness from positions of servility to utter and violent dominance, destroying civilization and driving humankind to the brink of extinction.

This, of course, is pure science fiction. There’s little reason to believe things will unfold that way. First, they would take all our jobs and wreck our economy.

This is the nightmare narrative of our future with robots and artificial intelligence. The utopian version of this tale—one accepted by many powerful people in industry and government—involves a …read more

Confess Your Digital Sins

A voice cries out in the desert:

“Know thyself, not thy selfies!”

“Digital media will not save you!”

“The zero is not whole and the one is not The One!”

Technically, we’re not in the desert—we’re in a dusty parking lot in downtown Phoenix. And the voice is not coming from the Prophet Isaiah, but from professor Ron Broglio, whom I’ve ordained as a Minister of the Digital Tabernacle. As people wander into the massive circus tent at Arizona State University’s Emerge: Carnival of the Future, they are greeted by a pair of shifty evangelists preaching the analog Word. (Disclosure: …read more

How to Make Music With Drones

The good thing about performing music with drones is that they always show up for rehearsal on time. The bad thing is that they might suddenly drop out of the air and onto your head.

I learned all this while putting together a piece called “Drone Confidential” for Arizona State University’s Emerge, a “Carnival of the Future” that was held in Phoenix recently. Emerge is an annual circus of cool new technologies in performance, dedicated to showing how artists and machines can work together to create something awesome. …read more

A close up photo of a computer screen with unreadable numbers and words stack on each other and all different colors.

What if Computers Know You Better Than You Know Yourself?

I recently read about the launches of both an “ultrasecure” mobile phone for protecting privacy and a clip-on camera that takes a picture of everything you do at 30-second intervals. Our cultural relationship with data is more complicated and contradictory than it has ever been, and our debates on the subject almost always center on privacy. But privacy, the notion that only you should be able to control information about yourself, cloaks a deeper tension between information and meaning, between databases and insights.

Event Recap: Former Intel CEO Craig R. Barrett on the Future of Moore’s Law

By Sarah Rothbard This post originally appeared on Zócalo Public Square. Zócalo Public Square is a partnership of the New America Foundation and Arizona State University; Future Tense is a

Neil deGrasse Tyson on Van Gogh’s Role in Space Exploration and Other Great Tales of Science

By Torie Bosch Science panels don’t normally involve a striptease, even a G-rated one. But on Saturday, March 30, Neil deGrasse Tyson took off his shirt to prove a point

Are Cyborg Humans (and Animals) Still True Life Forms? A Future Tense Panel Recap.

By Adam Sneed Cyborgs have arrived on Earth, but there’s no reason to worry. They’re nothing like the cold machine-men from The Terminator. Cybernetic technologies that integrate with the human

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Is It Time To Take Cyborg Rights Seriously? A Q&A With Neil Harbisson.

Torie Bosch Slate – Future Tense

Celebrate National Science Fiction Day by Learning to Live in the Future