Flash Forward

Flash Forward

Flash Forward is a show about possible (and not so possible) future scenarios. What would the warranty on a sex robot look like? How would diplomacy work if we couldn’t lie? Could there ever be a fecal transplant black market? (Complicated, it wouldn’t, and yes, respectively, in case you’re curious.) Hosted and produced by award winning science journalist Rose Eveleth, each episode combines audio drama and journalism to go deep on potential tomorrows, and uncovers what those futures might really be like. The future is going to be weird, so let's get ready for it together.

Categories & Tags
Science & Medicine
Episode
Podcast
Time
Released
41 min
Sep 11, 2018
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How much of what you do is actually your choice? What if you were secretly being controlled by a parasite that had infected your brain? What if that infection was spreading?

48 min
Aug 28, 2018
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Welcome to a future in which you can sign up to be a brand ambassador, and get paid for every time you mention a product in conversation.

56 min
Aug 14, 2018
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Today we tackle the age-old question: what if animals could talk? Or, more precisely, what if we could actually understand what animals are saying?

56 min
Jul 31, 2018
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Why do space colonies seem more likely than underwater cities? And what does it take to build a settlement on the sea floor?

50 min
Jun 19, 2018
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This episode we take on a future where space junk has gotten so bad, that active spacecraft are constantly having to maneuver around it, which wastes fuel and cuts down on operation time. And humans decide to finally do something about it. But what?

54 min
Jun 5, 2018
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What happens when everybody has their DNA sequenced and uploaded to genetic genealogy sites?

52 min
May 22, 2018
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In 1935, the United States Government spent millions of dollars on projects meant to employ artists. What if they did it again?

50 min
May 8, 2018
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This episode we talk exoskeletons: what are they being used for now? What might they be used for in the future? And what happens when they’re everywhere?

51 min
Apr 24, 2018
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What if you could take a drug, and never have to go to the gym again?

43 min
Apr 10, 2018
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In this episode, a huge submarine volcano erupts, breaks the surface of the ocean, and forms a new island. What happens next?

48 min
Mar 27, 2018
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49 min
Jan 9, 2018
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In our last episode of the season, we take one one of the most requested futures: telepathy! What would it be like to be able to link minds, and communicate brain to brain? And how likely is it that we’ll ever get this kind of technology? -

45 min
Dec 26, 2017
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This episode we travel to a future where the 2020 census goes haywire. What happens if we don’t get an accurate count of Americans? Who cares? Apparently the constitution does!  - The 2020 census is currently in the crosshairs — census watchers sa...

34 min
Dec 12, 2017
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This episode is all about a world without plastic. What would that look like? Is it even possible? 

50 min
Nov 28, 2017
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In this episode, we travel to a future where a tech mogul feeds a machine learning system all the religious texts he can find, and asks it to generate a “super religion.” - Buckle up because this is a long episode! But it’s fun, I promise. -

38 min
Nov 14, 2017
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This episode we travel to a future where you can choose to turn off your ability to deceive yourself. Are you now a perfectly clear eyed genius? Or a perpetually depressed misanthrope? Maybe both?

32 min
Oct 31, 2017
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This episode we take on a future full of bioprinted replacement organs. You asked for more hopeful futures, this is about as hopeful as they get!

25 min
Oct 17, 2017
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In this episode we travel to a world without bees. And not just honey bees, all bees.

27 min
Oct 3, 2017
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This episode we go to a future with pirates! There always has to be at least one pirate episode per season. This time it’s pharmaceutical pirates.

24 min
Sep 7, 2017
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This month’s episode is about what it would take to sterilize the Earth, and why you might want to figure that out in the first place.  - First we talk to the authors of a paper that tries to figure out this exact question.

37 min
Aug 8, 2017
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This episode is a little different than other episodes. As many of you know, Flash Forward is my second job. My first job is at ESPN, where I recently helped launch an audio documentary series called 30 for 30 Podcasts. Please go check that out,

31 min
Jul 5, 2017
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This episode, we travel to a future where your romantic partners aren’t chosen by questions or swipes, but rather by your brainwaves. - This future is based on an idea from Shelly Ronan and Ernesto D. Morales and their project Object Solutions.

30 min
Jun 6, 2017
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This episode, we go on another vacation! Can you tell I need a vacation? Anyway, back to the episode. What would it be like if you could hop on a space cruise ship, and take a trip to Mars? - This is a special episode because our little future int...

21 min
May 18, 2017
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Long time listeners of Flash Forward might feel like this future is kind of… familiar. And it is. It’s actually the first future we ever traveled to on this show. A future where humans have invented artificial wombs.

32 min
May 2, 2017
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In this future there are no more human police officers. Is that even possible? - The future of policing is a really really complicated topic. And it’s also, and this might be the understatement of the year, a controversial one.

41 min
Apr 4, 2017
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This month on Flash Forward, we go to a future where anybody can make a video of you doing anything they want. And that technology is cheap and easy to access. What happens?

40 min
Mar 7, 2017
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California has one of the largest economies in the world. So what would happen if it broke away from the United States? Could California ever go independent? And if it did, what would that look like?

34 min
Feb 7, 2017
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Every year, over 20 million people get on a cruise ship and set sail for a seafaring vacation. Most of those cruises take their vacationers to warm, sunny climates. But thanks to climate change, a new hoard of ships might start sailing North rather tha...

34 min
Jan 3, 2017
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Today’s episode is about a future where nobody works on farms anymore, all farming is done by robots. Is it possible? Probably not. But it might be closer than you think. - Today’s episode features: Curtiz Marez,

30 min
Dec 6, 2016
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This week we travel to a future where there is so much fake news that nobody can tell what is real anymore. Are we already there? What happens next? - This week's guests include: - Amy Webb — Founder of the Future Today Institute,

37 min
Nov 3, 2016
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Hello! And welcome to SEASON THREE of Flash Forward! I know I’ve been away for a bit, but I’m really excited for this season, I have some really fun futures planned for you. And some scary ones. But also fun ones! I promise, it’s a good mix. -

43 min
Sep 5, 2016
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Today we do something weird, in honor of the end of the second season! Instead of coming up with a future and then finding experts to talk about it, I asked an AI to write a future for us. And the AI apparently wants us to talk about space travel,

37 min
Aug 10, 2016
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Today we go to a future where animal products are banned. It’s one that lots of listeners have asked for so here you go. We talk about what happens to the land, the animals and the humans in this equation. -

33 min
Jul 26, 2016
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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?

36 min
Jul 12, 2016
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Today we travel to a future where all drugs are legal. Just roll up to the store, and get yourself some cocaine! - We start with some history: for centuries a world without drug laws existed. Mark Kleiman,

37 min
Jun 28, 2016
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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. - First, I talk to a Ashok Goel,

29 min
Jun 14, 2016
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Today week we take on a doomsday future! We haven’t done one of those this season. So, what would happen if all the active volcanoes in the world erupted at the same time? The short answer is: bad things. The long answer is, well,

45 min
May 31, 2016
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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? -

47 min
May 17, 2016
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Today we travel to a future where it’s possible to know exactly when you will die. Do you chose to find out? - Now, this is, impossible. Totally impossible. And I’m not even going to try and come up with some strange pseudoscientific explanation f...

33 min
May 3, 2016
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Today we travel to a world with universal translation devices. Where the babelfish from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comes true (although probably not in the form of an evolved organism, but let's not fret about the details). 

27 min
Apr 19, 2016
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Today we travel to a future where America has converted to a direct democracy. Everybody votes on everything! - Hey, did you know it was an election year in the United States? I know, you've probably not really heard about this,

29 min
Apr 5, 2016
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Okay, you asked for it, and I finally did it. Today’s episode is about conscious artificial intelligence. Which is a HUGE topic! So we only took a small bite out of all the things we could possibly talk about. - We started with some definitions.

25 min
Mar 29, 2016
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Today we travel to a fully digital world, a world where paper is a thing of the past. - On this show we’ve tackled a huge range of futures — we’ve talked about things that are extremely likely, like, antibiotic resistance,

18 min
Mar 22, 2016
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Today’s episode is a minipod, a smattering of time travel, future travel, and news about the show. - In this episode we hear a bunch of messages from listeners: what folks think about past futures we’ve been to,

24 min
Mar 15, 2016
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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? -

34 min
Mar 8, 2016
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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,

26 min
Mar 1, 2016
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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. -

23 min
Feb 23, 2016
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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? - Mosquitos have worked hard to earn the nickname “dead...

20 min
Feb 16, 2016
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Today we travel to a future without lies. What would it be like if we all wore accurate lie detectors around all the time? - In this episode we talk about when children learn to lie, the different social functions of lying,

22 min
Feb 9, 2016
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Right now there’s a whole lot of buzz about sex robots. Some people are really excited about them, and think we’ll be marrying robots by 2050. Other people are really worried about them, and are organizing whole campaigns against sex robots.

18 min
Feb 2, 2016
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Welcome to season two of Flash Forward! We kicked off this season with a pretty unlikely future: the entire world goes face blind. Listen here: - In the episode we discuss what causes face blindness — also known as prosopagnosia — and the tricks t...

17 min
Oct 20, 2015
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What would it be like if we lived in a world where everything you do is subject to a rating dolled out by a combination of machines and other people?

14 min
Oct 13, 2015
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Every country has their own idiosyncratic rules and regulations for border crossings. But what if the whole process were standardized and run by a single organization?

15 min
Oct 6, 2015
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What if we lived in a world where gender was more like hair color — something you could change at will, and that had little bearing on what other people thought of you?

17 min
Sep 29, 2015
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When it comes to climate change, there are a lot of researchers already thinking about how to equip crops and food animals with genes to help them withstand heat and parched conditions. But what about genetically engineering humans to try to slow our c...

16 min
Sep 22, 2015
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In 2006, scientists described the world's first invisibility cloak. But there was a catch. It only worked in two dimensions, and on microwaves. But to what if scientists and engineers could created a true invisibility cloak?

17 min
Sep 15, 2015
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Humans spend a lot of time and energy wondering if there’s anybody else out there. But what if we got unequivocal evidence that there was? In this week’s future, a probe that is extremely similar to the Voyager probes that we sent out in the 1970’s sho...

16 min
Sep 8, 2015
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When you were a kid and stole your friends’ toys, your parent probably asked you this angry hypothetical: “How do you think that made them feel?” But what if you actually could feel what another person is feeling? This week,

17 min
Sep 1, 2015
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What would happen if we rounded up all the critically endangered animals and plants and put them in armored zoos?

17 min
Aug 25, 2015
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What does the world look like when everybody with a smart phone also has a drone?

14 min
Aug 11, 2015
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What if “life in prison” could mean 100 or 200 or 400 years? Does that change the way that sentences are dolled out? What happens when a person gets out of prison?

16 min
Aug 4, 2015
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If the Earth, somehow, stopped rotating around the sun, it would have exactly 64 1/2 days before it crashed into the fireball at the center of our solar system. Here's what would happen during those last 64 1/2 days.

16 min
Jul 28, 2015
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Your face is one of your most valuable possessions. But what happens when facial recognition is so good that any company can grab an image of your face while you’re walking down the street, and link it to everything from your social media profiles,

12 min
Jul 21, 2015
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What would happen if a company put up so many wind turbines that they actually changed the climate on Earth? I know this sounds totally crazy, but I swear to you this is something that scientists have actually looked into. So naturally,

12 min
Jul 14, 2015
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Need to get from New York to Paris? Or San Diego? Chances are you’re not taking a car or a bus or a boat to go there. Instead, you’d hop on a plane. But aside from hurting your wallet, commercial flights also hurt the planet,

13 min
Jul 7, 2015
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We all want to be our best selves. But what if you could add almost anything to your body and mind? A camera here, an exoskeleton there. This is the world that some biohackers imagine—one in which humans can extend their abilities beyond the limits bio...

16 min
Jun 30, 2015
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We often think of stars as twinkling, harmless little points of light that fill our night sky with majesty. But stars can be dangerous too. When they come to the end of their lifespan, some stars explode fantastically as supernovae.

17 min
Jun 23, 2015
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If you’re reading this, you have access to the Internet. But what would happen if the Internet suddenly went away? And what would it take to make that happen?

12 min
Jun 16, 2015
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If there was a drug that meant you never had to sleep again, would you take it? Would those who didn’t need to sleep have special advantages over those who did? All that and a side of zombies, in this week’s episode.

15 min
Jun 9, 2015
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Over the past 85 years, antibiotics have been miracle drugs. They’ve kept infections at bay and opened up a world of medical possibilities: organ transplants, heart surgery, chemotherapy. But they’re not going to work forever.

12 min
Jun 2, 2015
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This week on Meanwhile in the Future we step onto the field and talk about contact sports. What would it take to create a future in which the most dangerous sports die out? What are those sports to begin with? What does a world without football look like?

10 min
May 26, 2015
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This week’s future is a social experiment. What if Earth had a robotic overlord who decided to ban all weapons? All fights would have to be hand to hand. Would there be less death that way? Less casualties? What counts as a weapon anyway?

15 min
May 19, 2015
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What would happen if the Earth suddenly had a second moon? This week, we work through the impact an additional satellite would have on our planet, from tides, to the night sky, to the potential destruction of Earth. Oh also there are space pirates.

13 min
May 12, 2015
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What happens when women no longer have to physically bear children? Who wins? Who loses? Who takes artificial wombs to a far away planet to create a colony of super-beings?

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