Flash Forward

89 EpisodesProduced by Rose Eveleth

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.… read more

episodes iconAll Episodes

EARTH: The Ocean Farm

April 2nd, 2019

57:48
Today we travel to a future where fisheries collapse world wide, and we turn the ocean into a giant farm. 

Guests:

EARTH: The Cement Ban

March 26th, 2019

52:40
Today we travel to a future where we try to break up with cement. Can it be done? How did cement because so ubiquitous? And what’s so bad about …

EARTH: The Desert Creep

March 19th, 2019

53:00
Today, we travel to the deserts. Or, actually, the deserts travel to us. What happens if dust swallows up over 30% of the planet?

→ → → Background …

EARTH: The Polar Flip

March 12th, 2019

57:47
Today we travel to a future where the Earth’s magnetic poles reverse.

→ → → Further reading available here ← ← ←

Guests:

EARTH: The Sunshade

March 5th, 2019

52:12
We're back! Did you miss me? Don't answer that please. Today's episode kicks off Season FIVE of Flash Forward. This year, I'm doing things a little bit differently. Instead of doing a new episode every other week, …

Season Five Coming Soon!

February 26th, 2019

2:36
In case you think I've been sitting on my butt doing nothing, here's a trailer to let you know that I have been sitting on my butt doing lots of things! Flash Forward returns to your feeds NEXT WEEK, but to get you …

Snip Snip Snip

December 18th, 2018

1:04:09
At long last, we’re doing genetic editing. What’s the deal with the recent news about CRISPR babies? What does a future full of human genetic editing …

Water Would Be Nice

December 4th, 2018

44:09
What happens when the Rio Grande dries up? The river is often overshadowed, at least in the US, by the Colorado River. But the Rio Grande creates the …

The Commute From Hell

November 20th, 2018

49:36
Getting from one place to another is hard. What if we could just teleport? From the physics of how this would work (it wouldn’t) to the ripple …

What To Expect When You're Expecting In Space

November 6th, 2018

49:47
If humans want to really have a go at leaving Earth and living in space or on other planets, we’re going to have to figure out a lot of things: spaceships, food supplies, fuel, how to keep everybody from killing one …

Farm To Tablet

October 23rd, 2018

50:40
On today’s episode we tackle a future that was once a staple of science fiction: food pills. Instead of shopping and cooking and sitting down to eat meals together, we all simply pop our nutritional pills and move along …

Eyes In The Skies

October 9th, 2018

46:52
Computers are getting smaller and smaller. But what if we had sensors the size of dust, that could float through the air undetected, talk to one …

Money For Nothing

September 25th, 2018

53:56
What if we just gave everybody money? It sounds simple, but universal basic income is a trendy idea right now and a lot of you have asked for an episode about a future where everybody gets money from the government no …

Fungus Among Us

September 11th, 2018

44:42
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 …

Spawn of Sponcon

August 28th, 2018

51:31
On today’s episode we travel to the near-future of advertising. 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. Simply download …

Dr. Doolittle

August 14th, 2018

59:41
~~~~ TAKE THE SURVEY! (Please) ~~~~

Today we tackle the age-old question: what if animals could talk? Or, more precisely, what if we could actually …

Under The Sea

July 31st, 2018

59:22
In the 1960's, the United States spent millions of dollars exploring two different realms: outer space, and the deep oceans. But today, only one of …

Portrait Of The Artist As An Algorithm

July 17th, 2018

52:37
In today’s episode I welcome you to the Museum of Non-Human Art, a brand new gallery full of art made entirely by machines, computers, algorithms, …

The Very Big Sick

July 3rd, 2018

56:12
In 1918, the Spanish flu killed four to five percent of the entire global population. Infectious disease experts all agree that another pandemic is …

The Space Roomba

June 19th, 2018

53:10
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 …

We Are Family

June 5th, 2018

57:34
With the rise in consumer DNA tests and online genealogy, people might soon have a pretty good idea where their families came from for generations. But are we putting too much faith in DNA? Can our genetic ancestry …

Federal Project Two

May 22nd, 2018

55:15
Guests:
Susan Quinn, author of Furious Improvisation: How the WPA and a Cast of Thousands  Made High Art out of Desperate Times and other books.
Monet …

Enter the Exos

May 8th, 2018

52:46
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?

Guests:
Tim Pote, PhD student at Virginia Tech
Greg Pote, Tim’s …

Fitness in a Bottle

April 24th, 2018

54:04
Some people love going to the gym. Some people hate it. But what if there was a pill that could replace exercise? Today’s future might actually be …

Fire From the Deep

April 10th, 2018

45:58
In this episode, a huge submarine volcano erupts, breaks the surface of the ocean, and forms a new island. What happens next?

Guests:

Tracy Gregg, …

The Grey Dawn

March 27th, 2018

51:00
We’re back! After a bit of a break, your regularly scheduled Flash Forward episodes will resume starting today. Every other Tuesday you’ll get a …

You’ve Got Brainmail

January 9th, 2018

50:31
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 …

Countless

December 26th, 2017

46:33
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 …

There’s No Great Future in Plastics

December 12th, 2017

35:51
This episode is all about a world without plastic. What would that look like? Is it even possible? 
 
 Today, plastic is seen as one of our great …

Our Father, Who art in Algorithm

November 28th, 2017

51:36
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 …

Deceptible Me

November 14th, 2017

39:21
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? 
 
 This episode was …

Easy Bake Organs

October 31st, 2017

33:06
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! 
 

Buzz Off

October 17th, 2017

26:46
In this episode we travel to a world without bees. And not just honey bees, all bees. 
 
 You’ve probably heard a lot of doom and gloom predictions about what might happen if honey bees went extinct. Mass famine! The end …

Piraceuticals

October 3rd, 2017

28:32
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. 
 
 This episode was inspired by a new book by Annalee Newitz called …

After Life

September 7th, 2017

25:36
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 …

Down For Everyone Not Just You

August 8th, 2017

38:13
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. …

Love On The Brain

July 5th, 2017

32:07
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 …

Mons Voyage

June 6th, 2017

31:10
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 …

Back to the Future: A Womb Away From Home

May 18th, 2017

21:50
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. …

Robocop

May 2nd, 2017

33:36
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 …

Unreel

April 4th, 2017

42:28
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 …

California Dreaming

March 7th, 2017

41:20
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 …

Greetings From Paradice

February 7th, 2017

35:46
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 …

Robocrop

January 3rd, 2017

35:25
Today’s episode is about a future where nobody works on farms anymore, all farming is done by robots. It might be closer than you think.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Extra! Extra!

December 6th, 2016

31:33
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?

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

How is Babby (Not) Made

November 3rd, 2016

38:20
What happens when everybody has 100% control over when they do or don’t have babies? We got to a world with perfect and accessible birth control. You …

The Witch Who Came From Mars

September 5th, 2016

44:38
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 …

Where’s the Beef?

August 10th, 2016

38:04
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.
 
 In this …

Revenge of the Retweet

July 26th, 2016

34:47
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 …

The Altered State

July 12th, 2016

37:08
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 …

Bot for Teacher

June 28th, 2016

38:45
Today a future without schools. Instead of gathering students into a room and teaching them, everybody learns on their own time, on tablets and …

Kaboom

June 14th, 2016

30:14
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 …

Popnonymous

May 31st, 2016

46:05
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 …

Expiration Date

May 17th, 2016

48:24
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 …

Omnibot

May 3rd, 2016

34:48
Today we travel to a world with universal translation devices. Where the babelfish from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy comes true (although …

Swipe Right For Democracy

April 19th, 2016

28:47
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 …

Rude Bot Rises

April 5th, 2016

30:38
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 …

Tree Free

March 29th, 2016

26:45
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 …

MiniPod Time Travel

March 22nd, 2016

18:56
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 …

Unpawful

March 15th, 2016

25:02
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? …

My Everything Pal

March 8th, 2016

35:56
Today we travel to a future full of spreadsheet approved lives. A future where everything we do is tracked and quantified: calories, air quality, …

Micro But Mighty

March 1st, 2016

26:06
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. 
 
 Let’s start …

The Ultimate Swatting

February 23rd, 2016

23:32
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 …

Don’t Lie To Me

February 16th, 2016

20:28
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 …

Love At First Bot

February 9th, 2016

22:13
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 …

Face Off

February 2nd, 2016

18:38
Welcome to season two of Flash Forward! We kicked off this season with a pretty unlikely future: the entire world goes face blind. 
 
 In the episode we discuss what causes face blindness — also known as prosopagnosia — …

Reputationville

October 20th, 2015

17:09
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?

Crossing

October 13th, 2015

14:43
Every country has their own idiosyncratic rules and regulations for border crossings. But what if the whole process were standardized and run by a …

Bye Bye Binary

October 6th, 2015

15:11
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 …

The Carbon Gene

September 29th, 2015

17:47
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 …

Unseen

September 22nd, 2015

16:22
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 …

Greetings

September 15th, 2015

17:45
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 …

The Empathy Machine

September 8th, 2015

16:51
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 …

Caged

September 1st, 2015

17:38
What would happen if we rounded up all the critically endangered animals and plants and put them in armored zoos?

Learn more about your ad choices. …

A Drone of One’s Own

August 25th, 2015

17:58
What does the world look like when everybody with a smart phone also has a drone?

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

Eternal Life in Prison

August 11th, 2015

14:41
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 …

Sunward Bound

August 4th, 2015

16:39
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 …

Facetime

July 28th, 2015

16:56
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 …

Winded

July 21st, 2015

12:10
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 …

Grounded

July 14th, 2015

12:13
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 …

The Bodybuilders

July 7th, 2015

13:21
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 …

The Supernova Next Door

June 30th, 2015

16:05
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 …

The Day the Internet Broke

June 23rd, 2015

17:33
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 …

Never Lay Me Down to Sleep

June 16th, 2015

12:25
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 …

Revenge of the Germs

June 9th, 2015

15:16
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 …

The Most Dangerous Games

June 2nd, 2015

12:23
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 …

Forcing the Hand

May 26th, 2015

10:47
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 …

The Moon is a Harsh Second Mistress

May 19th, 2015

15:59
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, …

A Womb Away From Home

May 12th, 2015

13:11
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 …
Loading ...

Download the RadioPublic app for
 FREE and never miss an episode.

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store