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Help Neal Stephenson Engineer Create a New World of Sci-Fi

Help Neal Stephenson Engineer Create a New World of Sci-Fi | foresighting | Scoop.it

 

Last week Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, where I serve as director, officially launched the Hieroglyph Project, an effort to get science fiction writers talking with scientists and engineers about the future.  (Disclosure: Future Tense is a partnership of ASU,Slate, and the New America Foundation). The goal is to break out of our dystopian rut and get some ambitious new ideas on the table, and we need your help to do it.

Sci-fi great Neal Stephenson founded Hieroglyph with the idea that we need more optimistic visions of the future—visions that are still grounded in real science and technology. As Stephenson haspointed out, a good science fiction story can save us from hundreds of hours of meetings and PowerPoint presentations by immediately getting everyone on the same page about a potential breakthrough.

 

This sounds great in theory, but the entertainment landscape is crowded with evidence of what can go wrong when you try to substitute idealism for good storytelling. On the one hand, it would be a terrible mistake to try and impose optimism on every idea. That way lies the Kitchen of the Future, Brook Farm, and some of the creepier episodes of the Twilight Zone. At best, true utopias make for boring and implausible stories.

 

On the other undulating, Cthulhu-esque appendage, your standard-issue dystopia isn’t going to help much either. Survival narratives in the post-apocalyptic ashes like The Road generally reinforce the notion that the details of scientific progress are unimportant since the endgame is inevitable and wretched. The more nuanced genre of Orwellian nightmare scenarios (Children of Men, for example) is a little better, since it reminds us of everything we have to lose, but the moral of these stories usually suggests that no uplifting technology can match the destructive power of human folly.

How can we use Hieroglyph to create convincing stories about a better future, tales with conflict and resolution, with believable characters, with a compelling mixture of hope and irony? Well, while we have set of guidelines for our collaborators, there’s no expectation that every story will have a happy ending. A story where people make mistakes and things don’t work out exactly as planned—that’s pretty much every human story worth hearing. Some of the optimism in Hieroglyph might rely on the simple claim that we can build a better world if we set our minds to it, even if our hero dies or the mistakes along the way are painful ones.

 

Second, we aim to draw a few lessons from the golden age of science fiction without succumbing entirely to that worldview, which at its worst imagines every future problem can be solved by chisel-jawed white guys with engineering degrees wielding the weapons of Science. At their best, stories like “Requiem” by Robert Heinlein, and Isaac Asimov’s “It’s Such a Beautiful Day” were technologically optimistic without sacrificing a credible sense of humanity. The spirit of adventure, of boundless promise, was tempered with human conflicts that illustrated the importance of understanding our tools both technically and culturally.

 

A big part of what gives these stories their frisson, the fresh chill of a new future, is the gap between our world and the fictional universe in question. There’s a kind of intellectual vertigo at play: The author has made some kind of grand imaginative leap and asks us to follow along. What distinguishes Hieroglyph is that we seek to radically extend our idea of what is possible in the present, not a distant future, by drawing on real, cutting-edge research.

And we’re doing it online. Of course we’d really like to invite every writer and researcher involved to spend a few weeks at some serene resort with a well-stocked bar, but then we wouldn’t be able to invite the whole world to participate in these conversations. So instead we built hieroglyph.asu.edu, a site for social collaboration based on WordPress and Commons in a Box, a suite of tools designed for just this kind of work.

 

Hieroglyph is an experiment in mapping out the current field of human potential—stuff we could do if we just set our minds to it, but that is so alien to conventional wisdom that it creates that familiar science fiction vertigo.

Through the interactions these incredible thinkers will have on the Hieroglyph site, I hope we will also put a much larger group of people in conversation with different ideas about the future. And that’s where you come in: this experiment is only going to work if we use these ideas to start a bigger conversation. Come on over and help us build this thing.


Via James Keith
Fab GOUX-BAUDIMENT's insight:

please,if your ideas are really innovative, contribute!!! We are suffering such a failure of imagination, here, in old EU....

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New Statesman | Can science fiction writers predict trends in technology’s future?

New Statesman | Can science fiction writers predict trends in technology’s future? | foresighting | Scoop.it
From Arthur C Clarke’s “Extra Terrestrial Relays” (now called satellites) to H G Wells’ “ironclads” (tanks), science fiction writers have form when it comes to pre-empting the future of technology.
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Why we should make time for remembering the future

Why we should make time for remembering the future | foresighting | Scoop.it
We are curious about time. It holds us in a state of wonder, of anticipation for the future. The ability to categorise the past - history - and think about the future - planning - is a basic element of…
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En 2045, l'être humain ne sera plus "l'espèce dominante"

En 2045, l'être humain ne sera plus "l'espèce dominante" | foresighting | Scoop.it
Des scientifiques se méfient des progrès de l'intelligence artificielle. Représentent-ils un danger pour l'homme ? Sommes-nous trop enclins à les intégrer à notre quotidien ?
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Life in Australia in 2044

Life in Australia in 2044 | foresighting | Scoop.it
Tim Elliott looks forward 30 years to Australia in 2044.

Via Société Française de Prospective
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The coming apocalypse: Last week, historian DOMINIC SANDBROOK wrote a damning critique of the West's failure to halt Islamic fanatics. Now, after a savage murder that confirmed his worst fears, he ...

The coming apocalypse: Last week, historian DOMINIC SANDBROOK wrote a damning critique of the West's failure to halt Islamic fanatics. Now, after a savage murder that confirmed his worst fears, he ... | foresighting | Scoop.it
This is Britain in 2030: frightened, fractious and weary, its economy sunk in the longest depression in history, its people haunted by terrorism and war.
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China 2030 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

China 2030 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High-Income Society is an extensive study of the Economy of China published in 2012 by the World Bank, Washington, D.C., and the Development Research Center of the State Council, People's Republic of China, Beijing.

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World’s First Foresight Encyclopedic Dictionary Available to the Public

World’s First Foresight Encyclopedic Dictionary Available to the Public | foresighting | Scoop.it
(PRWEB) July 23, 2014 -- The Millennium Project has produced the first encyclopedic dictionary, containing over 1,000 terms used by futurists in futures research and foresight.
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Science-fiction : la dernière des contre-cultures ?

Science-fiction : la dernière des contre-cultures ? | foresighting | Scoop.it
En produisant des mondes futurs, la science-fiction parle en fait du présent. Dans le nouveau numéro d'Usbek & Rica, en kiosques depuis le 15 juin, la journaliste Anne de Malleray se demande même si ce genre littéraire n'est pas l'un des derniers espaces permettant de mettre en scène et de critiquer les utopies technologiques et la culture de masse.
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Why Everyone Needs to be a Futurist

Why Everyone Needs to be a Futurist | foresighting | Scoop.it
As the economic climate changes and competition grows, today’s organizations are being consistently challenged to focus on meeting short-term objectives while fundamentally transforming the way they
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Using Foresight to Surface Social Problems : The Rockefeller Foundation

Using Foresight to Surface Social Problems : The Rockefeller Foundation | foresighting | Scoop.it
##snippet-99####snippet-179##The Rockefeller Foundation recently concluded a multi-year project supporting a network a
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Using Foresight to Surface Social Problems : The Rockefeller Foundation

Using Foresight to Surface Social Problems : The Rockefeller Foundation | foresighting | Scoop.it
##snippet-99####snippet-179##The Rockefeller Foundation recently concluded a multi-year project supporting a network a

Via Société Française de Prospective
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Bref récit du futur - Prospective 2050. Science et société. - La Revue Politique et Parlementaire

Bref récit du futur - Prospective 2050. Science et société. - La Revue Politique et Parlementaire | foresighting | Scoop.it
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Positive Economy Forum (1/5) : "Que sera le monde en 2030 ?"

Positive Economy Forum (1/5) : "Que sera le monde en 2030 ?" | foresighting | Scoop.it
Pour le président de PlaNet Finance, Jacques Attali, qui a initié le groupe de réflexion à l'origine du rapport "Pour une économie positive", nous devons prendre en compte dans toutes les décisions majeures, publiques et privées, l'intérêt des générations futures. Et cela, au moyen de l'économie positive.
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Restaurer la priorité du long terme pour changer de monde - UP Magazine

Restaurer la priorité du long terme pour changer de monde - UP Magazine | foresighting | Scoop.it
La troisième édition du LHFORUM – Positive Economy Forum au Havre a proposé du 24 au 26 septembre 2014 trois jours de conférences, de débats, d’ateliers professionnels et d’événements d’exception avec près de 450 dirigea

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La robotique médicale, le futur de la e-santé ? | esante.gouv.fr, le portail de l'ASIP Santé

La robotique médicale, le futur de la e-santé ? | esante.gouv.fr, le portail de l'ASIP Santé | foresighting | Scoop.it
Le marché de la robotique engrange des opportunités pour la e-santé et le Japon est à la pointe du secteur. On pourra le voir en octobre prochain, lors du « CEATEC JAPAN 2013 » le plus grand salon dans le secteur informatique et électronique.
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Fiction in 2043: Looking back from the future

Fiction in 2043: Looking back from the future | foresighting | Scoop.it
Time-travelling author Ewan Morrison reports back on what he's seen of the future of literature
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Kenya Vision 2030 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Kenya Vision 2030

This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page . Kenya Vision 2030 ( Swahili: Ruwaza ya Kenya 2030) is the country's development programme covering the period 2008 to 2030. It was launched on 10 June 2008 by President Mwai Kibaki.

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Why archaeologists make better futurists than science-fiction writers

Why archaeologists make better futurists than science-fiction writers | foresighting | Scoop.it
Human beings seem to have an innate need to predict the future. We’ve read the entrails of animals, thrown bones, tried to use the regularity or lack of it in the night sky as a projection of the future and omen of things to come, along with a thousand others kinds of divination few of us have ever heard of. This need to predict the future makes perfect sense for a creature whose knowledge bias is towards the present and the past. Survival means seeing enough ahead to avoid dangers, so that an animal that could successfully predict what was around the next corner could avoid being eaten or suffering famine.
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Timeline of the far future

Timeline of the far future | foresighting | Scoop.it
What do we expect will happen in one thousand years time? Or one million years? Or even one billion? As our amazing timeline shows, there may be trouble ahead.
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How Your Unique Worldview Affects the Content You Create

How Your Unique Worldview Affects the Content You Create | foresighting | Scoop.it
But success requires differentiation. If you don't stand out somehow, you may as well not try.
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The Faces of Foresight: Who are Foresight Professionals?

The Faces of Foresight: Who are Foresight Professionals? | foresighting | Scoop.it
My friend and colleague Sandjar Kozubaev recently took up a photography project called "The Faces of Foresight" where he took portraits of attendees of the World Future Society Conference. Being
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Découvrez We Demain n°7, commandez le et abonnez vous !

Découvrez We Demain n°7, commandez le et abonnez vous ! | foresighting | Scoop.it
We Demain n°7 est arrivé ! Découvrez son sommaire complet ainsi que le début d'une sélection d'articles, avant d'aller faire un tour en boutique.
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When Technologies Combine, Amazing Innovation Happens

When Technologies Combine, Amazing Innovation Happens | foresighting | Scoop.it
The Institute for the Future looks at what happens when technologies intersect.
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