Science Fiction Impact On Innovation

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On Saturday, I gave a speech at Maker Fair 2010 on “Hacking The Future” where I talked on predicting the future through a variety of influences.  One that I shared was the role of science fiction.

science fiction

It’s staggering how much of what we do today is last generations science fiction!  Did you know:

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What used to be a facination with dreaming of the future is now critical for our future success.  To put this in context, the 10 most in-demand jobs for 2010 did NOT exist in 2004.  What does this mean for society?

We are preparing students for jobs that don't yet exist … for technologies that have not yet been invented … for problems we don't know are problems.

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So how do you prepare?  As part of my day job, I spend a fair amount of time thinking about “what's next”.  One inspriation I use is science fiction.  In my case, I've been a long time fan of Philip Dick (the inspiration for Blade RunnerMinority ReportTotal Recall and Paycheck)

What science fiction writers are stretching your thinking?   What are they predicting?

* Speech was insipred by a great speech by Karl Fisch titled “Shift Happens”
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0 thoughts on “Science Fiction Impact On Innovation

  1. Innovation happens when we refuse to accept today’s “good enough” and instead imagine an alterntive reality. The beauty of fiction, and especially science fiction, is that it’s not about specific (to us) advanced technologies, but rather provides a (imagined) social context for those technologies. We then are able to reflect on them.

    Great science fiction can serve as a kind forward-looking history; it introduces us to imagined technologies that may one day become our innovations, but it also plays out its implications and forces us to question whether this is a path we want to follow.

  2. And of course, Dick’s “Man in the High Castle”, which if his premise had come to pass, would make Silicon Valley a part of Akihabara in Tokyo.

    Adelaide, AUSTRALIA

  3. Two points:
    1. We also need to remember all the things that science fiction has gotten wrong, in technology, chronology, sociology, and so on. (For example, in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” Arthur Clarke’s technology is pretty good, but he had Pan Am operating an orbital shuttle to a space station that was jointly operated by the US and the USSR, plus a manned moon base. Robert Heinlein had people getting around on giant conveyor belts in “The Roads Must Roll.” And I don’t know of any Golden Age writers who got the ubiquity of computing devices right.)

    2. In addition to reading science fiction, I think it would be a good idea ask the writers how they generate their ideas.