Movies, television and books have painted a darkly dystopian vision of the future. Science fiction writers and innovators warn such entertainment can have deep long-term impacts, and tell the BBC that creating more optimistic views of tomorrow is crucial to influencing how we approach it.
At Arizona State University (ASU), science fiction writers and scientists have joined together to learn from, and influence, each other to envision better tomorrows.
Called Project Hieroglyph, the project pairs renowned science fiction writers with scientists to imagine optimistic, technically-grounded science fiction stories. The stories should depict futures achievable within the next roughly half century.
Those stories, collected in a book, also entitled Hieroglyph, will be released on 9 September.
The BBC spoke to Project Hieroglyph director Ed Finn and ASU professor Braden Allenby about how science fiction can help shape the future.
Original story produced by the BBC’s Deborah Siegelbaum, Ashley Semler and Bill McKenna; filmed by Travis Peterson
Neal Stephenson on the Hieroglyph Project
Neal Stephenson explains his “Hieroglyph Project,” and how it is intended to inspire us with optimistic visions of getting “big stuff done.” This past spring, Jason Pontin, Editor in Chief of MIT Technology Review, conducted a wide-ranging but informal conversation with science fiction writer Neal Stephenson about his craft, preoccupations, influences, and inspirations. Enjoy a six-part weekly series of video shorts based on their conversation.
- Can science fiction save the world? (bbc.co.uk)