The History of the Future


Visions of a technology-driven future fueled the imagination of 20th century America. While some predictions, such as driverless cars, have become a reality, innovations like cities on the moon remain out of reach.

Regardless of their accuracy, past visions of the future provide us invaluable insight about the hopes, values, and anxieties of their creators, and about the times and places from which they sprung. What can kitschy visions of robotic kitchens tell us about how we envisioned a post-World War II domestic life? How did film and television influence our understanding of emerging technologies? 

Join Future Tense to explore yesterday's visions of today, and their lessons for tomorrow. 

Lunch will be served. 

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University

This event will be livestreamed on this page. Follow the conversation online with #HistoryOfTheFuture and @FutureTenseNow.


12:00-12:15 pm: A Brief History of Thinking About The Future 

Neal Gabler 
Author, Walt Disney: The Triumph of the American Imagination 
Visiting Professor, MFA Creative Writing and Literature Program at SUNY Stony Brook 

12:15-12:45: Envisioning The Future 

How We’d Get Around 

Joey Eschrich@JoeyEsch 
Editor and Program Manager, Center for Science and the Imagination, Arizona State University 

How We’d Work 

Ytasha Womack@ytashawomack 
Author, Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture and Post Black: How A New Generation is Redefining African American Identity 
Director, A Love Letter to the Ancestors From Chicago 

How We’d Live 

Katherine Mangu-Ward@kmanguward 
Editor in Chief, Reason 
Future Tense Fellow, New America 

How We’d Entertain 

Patric M. Verrone@pverrone 
Writer and Producer, Futurama 
Future Tense Fellow, New America 

12:45-1:15pm: What Do Our Future Predictions Say About Us? 

Ytasha Womack 

Katherine Mangu-Ward 

Neal Gabler 

Patric M. Verrone 

Joey Eschrich 

1:15-1:25: Does the Future Have A Future In Washington? 

Andrés Martinez 
Editorial Director, Future Tense 
Professor of Practice, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU