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      CommentAuthormuse hick
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2008
    i understand that most science fiction reflects the present day and that it is a useful metaphor for exploring the now, but by throwing ideas out there do we make them possible?
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2008
    In a small way, science fiction can inspire future technology. Look at those doors that open by themselves in Star Trek--we've had those for like over 30 years. Tricorder = PDA/cell phone.

    So if you take the popular science fiction idea of what the future will look like, then you add the inventor-nerd factor that they'll likely have grown up on this stuff, you end with a product of people inspired to invent the things that they saw when they were younger.
    • CommentAuthorzenbullet
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2008
    You end up with the nanoethics board, I read in a local article that reading sci fi was a big impetus among it's members.
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2008
    I took a scenario planning course at university, and the methodology we used on our projects was Peter Schwartz's. One of the steps involves sussing out factors which will greatly impact the future of whatever you're researching, then making a square grid and playing each factor off against each other factor. And THEN you pick one or a few likely scenarios.

    That last step didn't sit too well with me. A guest lecturer/futurist said something more interesting (Derek Woodgate, who also produced a song or two with DJ Spooky) - he'd do similar research with his clients, but then he'd ask them which future they would like to try to create. That last step is more holistic.

    So yeah, of course SF affects the future, in the same way that pictures of flag-drenched bodyboxes galvanized the US public against the Vietnam War. It depends on how you write and how popular you are, but sure.

    I mean - L. Ron Hubbard convinced a near president that it's okay to be crazy (Mitt Romney didn't want to say his favorite book was the Book o' Mormon, so instead he said his fave was Battlefield Earth. Tool.).
  1.  (1170.5)
    Yeah. In the professional futurist community its called visioning.

    SF fiction takes a much more indirect route, but it can influence the future when people take it as a possible future.
    • CommentAuthorNecros
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2008
    Looking at another side of this question: science fiction visionaries may have a great hand in what doesn't happen.

    Looking at all the dystopic future visions in fiction gives us a second glance at where we could end up, based on where we are currently. The negative vision of the dystopia highlights certain tendancies of the culture in which the writer is enmeshed, and would seem to often change the future for the better by negating certain possible or maybe likely futures.
      CommentAuthorAlan Tyson
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2008 edited
    God, I wish we (sf writers) had that direct of a power. I think Necros has it in that we can much more easily make things less likely by writing them in a negative light, rather than making things more possible by writing them in a positive light.

    That said, the whole reason I write science fiction is that it has the potential to create a better future by influencing and inspiring others, so I refuse to dismiss it as a possibility.
    • CommentTimeFeb 25th 2008
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    There were actual US Senators who complained to the Pentagon that the Russians were ahead of us in building those "whisper" submarine engines from <i>Hunt for Red October</i>, even though they only existed in a Tom Clancy novel. Other Senators pressed for an invisibility suit after seeing the <i>Predator</i> movie. Apparently the technology has come along quite well, because of the ideas expressed by science fiction.

    Kurt Vonnegut preferred science fiction as a medium because it was the only way to discuss what he thought were the really important issues, like the accumulated mass of human activity over time and what that would look like to outside observers. And "Ice 9" from <i>Cat's Cradle</i> was based on real work his brother was doing manipulating the weather with chemicals.

    I'm sure most people these days might even have a fear of the machines rising up some day, and you can't deny that this idea probably came from an overwhelming number of sci-fi sources.

    And isn't there a Jedi Church these days? Like, we could all go be Jedi apprentices in real life now?
  2.  (1170.9)
    Would the Net and its culture have evolved in the way it has without William Gibson's work? I don't know... I think some of the language from cyberpunk has seeped into common use, and language can influence how we perceive things.
    • CommentTimeFeb 26th 2008
    Would programs like Second Life exist if not for Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash?
  3.  (1170.11)
    science fiction from the past has in a way shaped what we have today has it not? theres no reason it woldn't continue to do so...

    hell, we might have time travel soon and we'll one day live on the moon. i think the centre of the earth is still off limits but who knows what those crazy japs will think of next ;)
    • CommentTimeFeb 28th 2008
    In the professional futurist community

    I am really glad that such a thing exists.

    man, Snow Crash was written in 1992?! I had no idea it was that old. I can't believe it took me so long to read it.
    • CommentTimeFeb 29th 2008
    Fahrenheit 451? 1984?

    it's sort of done, i know, but we read 1984 in 1984 at school and one of the assignments was to think about what was similar, what orwell predicted that came true. personally, i had a hard time with it (i was also 11 at the time) but with Bradbury, I was terrified, and every year, more and more I feel the presence of anti-critical thought and the big fuck-off room sized super-reality Televisions that jumped out at me from those pages.

    i have difficulty reading even shorts like the ones who walk away from omelas - the stories that are not based around a reality determined by technology, but an alternate view of a reality we do not need advanced technology to create, the one we are just having a hard time recognizing exists.

    bit of a downer, yeah, but i get nervous about gratuitous future-forecasting, particularly when it involves dehumanizing as a theme.

    i don't believe that the author is solely responsible for these self-fulfilling prophecies, seems trite and blameful, but i do feel that when the public decides that something will be, well, it will be.

    And isn't there a Jedi Church these days? Like, we could all go be Jedi apprentices in real life now?

    oh,please oh,please oh,please oh,please!!! i wanna be yoda! without the hair in my ears. natch.
    • CommentAuthorScottS
    • CommentTimeFeb 29th 2008
    I'm sure most people these days might even have a fear of the machines rising up some day, and you can't deny that this idea probably came from an overwhelming number of sci-fi sources.

    Some days I wish there WOULD be a machine uprising. I think it would make a nice change.
    • CommentTimeFeb 29th 2008
    I'm having a time out until I can learn some manners.
    <blockquote>oh,please oh,please oh,please oh,please!!! i wanna be yoda!</blockquote>
    <a target="_blank" href="">clickity click</a>


    I believe there are some concerns about this already...

    <img src="" width="400">