I study the intellectual and cultural history of the United States. In my dissertation I examine the development of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), focusing especially on the historical sensibility A.I. researchers brought to their work. I do so in order to illuminate an important feature of 20th century American life: Americans did not simply adapt to new technologies as they arrived, but actively anticipated new technology and understood America's historical predicament in light of that expectation. Put bluntly, the technologies that mattered most were the ones that weren't invented yet (and probably never would be). By investigating technologies such as A.I., historians can better understand how the expectation of technological progress has shaped the United States, its culture, and the concept of historical change itself.