Can We Imagine Our Way to a Better Future? - D.C.


This year, New America celebrates 20 years of creating and incubating the next big ideas that address some of the nation's and the world’s toughest problems. We are thinkers, researchers, problem-solvers, and storytellers, united by our goal to hold our nation to its highest ideals. We recognize the challenges presented by rapid technological and social change, and work to ensure that the solutions made possible by those changes lead to greater opportunity for all. As we reach forward toward the next 20 years of New America, we will strive to be an engine of American renewal, at home and abroad.

Read more about our 20th anniversary.

The future isn’t a fixed path along which we are helplessly propelled. We make the future together through choices small and large, minute and momentous, and stories are often the best way to explore how those choices affect people’s lives. Stories are certainly the best way for people to gain understanding of scientific and technological breakthroughs and trends, as well as to consider their impact on society.

That is why Future Tense covers how technology is portrayed in popular culture, and it’s also why we publish fiction alongside our ideas journalism. Indeed, we are proud to announce the publication this month of Future Tense Fiction: Stories of Tomorrow, our anthology featuring 14 speculative stories from such accomplished authors as Paolo Bacigalupi, Emily St. John Mandel, Annalee Newitz, Carmen Maria Machado, and others.

Please join us at the Smithsonian’s imposing Arts + Industries Building for a conversation on the power of imagination and fiction to inform our future. We will have two of our writers and two of Washington’s leading voices on science and tech policy consider the power of storytelling, followed by a reception to celebrate the publication of Future Tense Fiction.

Follow the conversation online using #FutureTenseFiction and following @FutureTenseNow.

Copies of Future Tense Fiction: Stories of Tomorrow will be available for purchase.


Torie Bosch
, @thekibosch
Editor, Future Tense


France Córdova

Director, National Science Foundation

Ellen Stofan, @EllenStofan
Director, National Air and Space Museum
Former Chief Scientist, NASA

Michael Crow, @michaelcrow
President, Arizona State University
Co-author of Designing the New American University

Ari Lubet
Literary Manager and Producer, 3 Arts Entertainment

Lee Konstantinou, @LKonstan
Author of “Burned-Over Territory
Associate professor of English Literature, University of Maryland, College Park

This is a partnered event with the Smithsonian Institution. The Arts + Industries Building, America's first National Museum, is being reenergized as the Smithsonian’s home for future thinking through experimental programs and exhibitions in advance of its eventual reopening.