Articles, Books, Blogs and other Information
About the Future
- Journal of Brief Ideas – As the name suggests, the Journal of Brief Ideas is a research journal, composed entirely of ‘brief ideas’. The goal is to provide a place for short ideas to be described in 200 words or less giving it an interesting view of of the futures people want and strong resonances with Science Fiction Prototyping.
- U.S. Views of Technology and the Future; Science in the Next 50 Years – The Pew Research Centre who surveyed a cross section of the population to discover what futuristic technology people would like to own. It turns out there were significant differences between the young and old. If you are interested, read this article in ‘The Atlantic’ “Why Don’t Older Americans Want Time Machines” or the original report from the Pew Research Centre, “U.S. Views of Technology and the Future; Science in the Next 50 Years” (General Report / Key Findings).
- Predicting the Future of Computing – In December 2011, The New York Times invited its readers to make and vote on predictions about the future of computer-based technology. It was organized as a timeline consisting of past advances and future predictions whereby readers were empowered to push forward or backward in time the timing of coming innovations thereby enabling a crowd-sourced collective opinion on what the future might hold for all of us. This New York Times Future of Computing site makes for very interesting reading.
- Top Trends; Now and Next – Richard Watson’s blog about current and future trends, which has a special emphasis on society and technology. Among other notable publications, Richard is the author of “The Future: 50 Ideas You Really Need to Know“.
- The Singularity Hypotheses Blog – A blog that explores questions such as the intelligence explosion, acceleration, transhumanism, and whole brain emulation.
- Futurismic – Futurismic is an online column and blog that discusses the effects of science and technology on the present and the future. Currently (2015) the site is effectively mothballed due to workload pressures on the organisers.
- Science Fiction Prototyping: Designing the Future with Science Fiction – This is the definitive book on science-fiction prototyping, written by Brian David Johnson and published in 2011. The first few chapters provide a practical guide to the methodology with remainder of the book being a mix of interesting insights to different genres and mediums of SciFi as potential vehicles for Science Fiction Prototyping. More information on the book is available from the the publishers, Morgan-Claypool’s website.
- Learning Computer English Using a Creative Science Approach – This book adopts a novel approach to teaching English as a foreign language by combining language learning with Science fiction prototyping, to make the process more fun and useful. In particular, the book is aimed at teaching English language to Chinese science and engineering students (learning English is a mandatory part of Chinese university degree programmes). More information on the book is available from the the publishers, Tsinghua University Press, and the CSf website.
- The Tomorrow Project – A series of books, funded by Intel, that explores the important effects that contemporary technology research will have on our future and the relevance that this research has for each of us. The results are short stories which paint amusing, thought-provoking and hopeful pictures of our future.
- When It Changed – Geoff Rymanand’s edited book attempts to put authors and scientists back in touch with each other, to re-introduce research ideas with literary concerns, a union that once made Science Fiction great. The stories represent a literary ‘experiment’ offering fictionalized glimpses into the far corners of current research fields.
- Tor/Forge & NASA Collaboration – This is a book series in which science fiction authors team up with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre (with access to NASA data, facilities and experts) to release a range of scientifically accurate and entertaining novels to inform current and future space agency missions and operations.
- Litmus – A book edited by Ra Page and published by Comma Press that looks at “eureka” moments and the history of modern science through fiction.
- Designs for Life – A book by Paul Harrison and published by the Dundee Press that explores the relationship between science and art.
- Screen Futures: The Future of Entertainment, Computing and the Devices We Love – A book written by Brian David Johnson about the people, technology, and economics that are shaping the evolution of entertainment. It blends social and computer sciences, media history, and engaging conversations with industry experts, to provide an informed vision for what happens when TV and entertainment are transformed by the power and intelligence of computers.
- Facing the Intelligence Explosion – Luke Muehlhauser’s ebook (available for no cost online) and published by the Machine Intelligence Research Institute discusses issues relating to a time when machines will surpass human levels of intelligence and ability, an event he refers to as ‘the intelligence explosion’.
- Singularity Rising – a book by James D. Miller, an economics professor, discusses how natural selection has been increasing human intelligence over the past few thousand years and speculates on how intelligence enhancements will shape civilization over the next forty years.
- Singularity Hypotheses: A Scientific and Philosophical Assessment – This 2012 edited book by Amnon Eden, Johnny SÃ¸Raker, Jim Moor, and Eric Steinhart offers authoritative, jargon-free essays and critical commentaries on the notion of technological singularity. It focuses on conjectures about the intelligence explosion, transhumanism, and whole brain emulation.
Papers. Online Articles & News Items
- Are we closer than ever to an artificial intelligence explosion? – In this blog written by Dr Ping Zheng, she discusses new machine technology developed by the Home Office and an artificial intelligence firm to fight propaganda online.
- From Imagination to Innovation: A Creative Development Process – In this academic paper, Hsuan-Yi Wu (Jen) explains how SMEs can use science fiction prototyping to innovate new products and services.
- Using Storytelling for fundraising pitches in Business – Oren Jacob explains how he used storytelling to raise over $16 million for his start-up company ToyTalk.
- Relationship between SciFi & Engineering – An IET Engineering & Technology feature (Volume 8, Issue 8, September 2013 p24-63).
- Can science fiction still predict the future? – Andy Sawyer of New Scientist’s CultureLab shares thoughts on the accuracy of earlier Science Fiction’s views of future tech (our present), as well examining current predictions.
- IEEE Spectrum’s First Science Fiction Anthology – As part of IEEE Spectrum’s 50th anniversary celebrations, they commissioned a few science fiction authors to write original stories about plausible futures. Stories cover the impact of cybernetic implants, autonomous drones, wearable computers and renewable energy, 3-D printing.
- Controlled and Totalitarian: Sci-Fi’s Pessimistic View of the Future – This article from Professor Masaaki Kurosu of the Open University of Japan, questions why SciFi describes future societies as mostly dystopian ones, rather than utopian and argues that they provide a way of raising the consciousness of people about their own futures, by illustrating a “possible” view of days to come thereby helping them avoid the circumstances that will lead into dystopia. Thus, he suggests we can learn much from sci-fi movies and as the audience we can and should utilize that information to stimulate our good-natured imagination to navigate better alternatives.
- Intel’s secret weapon – they can see the future! – Rob Enderle for TG Daily explains science fiction prototyping and discusses Intel’s edge.
- Intel recruits sci-fi writers to dream up future tech – BBC News coverage of the Tomorrow Project and Intel’s moves to recruit writers for conceptualization.
- Interview with Michael Moorlock – a BCS Interview conducted by Justin Richards, Multimedia Editor at the BCS, addressing a range of topics including science, technology and the future.
- How Chemistry Is Turning Science Fiction Into Fact – A great article by Andrew N. Liveris explaining how chemistry thrives at the intersections of all the sciences, enabling innovations like carbon fibre composites, ultra-efficient lighting and net-zero energy homes thereby enabling science fiction to become science fact.
- Science Fiction and its influence on Architecture – An informative article by Grant Spork that discusses how SciFi has influenced architectural design. It includes a more general discussion (with very useful links) describing how literature and film have influenced current and future technology innovations.
- The Quantum Pontiff – A blog by Dave Bacon of the University of Washington, a theoretical physicist that discusses a talk by Brian David Johnson on Science Fiction Prototyping and the use of quantum physics in building robots that exhibit free will.
- The Simulation Argument – An article in which Nick Bostrom explains why he believes the probability that we are living in a Matrix is quite high.
- Digital legacy: The fate of your online soul – New Scientist’s Sumit Paul-Choudhury explores the idea of a “digital soul“ in the form of social media content and personal websites, offering different schools of thought on “internet immortality”.
- Digital legacy: Amateur heroes of online heritage – New Scientist’s Sumit Paul-Choudhury discusses the preservation of online information (as providers come and go), arguing its a valuable part of our heritage but that its preservation is currently only being pursued by a few underfunded amateurs. preserving but is currently.
- Naughty Quantum Robot! – ObjectMonkey interviews Stuart Hameroff, M.D. about the probability of quantum computers ever attaining consciousness.
- Quantum Logic Could Make Better Robot Bartenders – Melissae Fellet’s article highlights Brian David Johnson’s story “Brain Machines” which explores how creating “multiple personalities” within a robot’s programming could lead to free will for AIs.
- Bring Art and Science Back Together – The BBC reported Google chairman Eric Schmidt as saying the UK needed to reignite children’s passion for science, engineering and math. He suggested the UK needed to bring art and science back together (as it had in the “glory days of the Victorian era” when Lewis Carroll wrote one of the classic fairy tales, Alice in Wonderland, and was also a mathematics tutor at Oxford).
- What is design fiction – This excellent blog posting from Joshua Glen Tanenbaum, (Assistant Professor in Informatics at UC Irvine) provides a useful insight into the nature of ‘Design Fiction’ by tracing its history and explaining the views of the main protagonists.
- Science Fiction is Changing the World – This article for the Australian and New Zealand magazine Hyper describes Intel’s ‘Jimmy the robot’ project.
- Intel Hopes Sci-Fi Will Help Future Products – In this article Ian King of Bloomberg Businessweek explains how insight from science-fiction writers and social scientists is helping Intel’s chip engineers envision how their processors will be used by consumers
- Imagination Workshops: An Empirical Exploration of SFP for Technology‐based Business Innovation – This paper by Hsuan-Yi WU describes a tool, “The Imagination Workshop”, which business people can use to drive near and far term product innovation, futuristic business and entrepreneurship.
- On Writing Science Fiction Prototypes – This short article, ‘On Writing SFP’, provides advise non-professional writers as to how they might set about writing (and improving) science fiction prototypes. It is written by Jennifer O’Connor, a creative writing student at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
- The Creative Science Cycle – a diagrammatic description of the Creative-Science Cycle by Erkan Bostanci. The cycle illustrates how dreams for a healthier, safer, more comfortable and fun world feed research resulting in concrete outputs that feeds more dreams. Thus the Creative Science Cycle continues.
- Science Fiction Prototyping and Security Education: Cultivating Contextual and Societal Thinking in Computer Security Education and Beyond – This paper by Brian David Johnson and Tadayoshi Kohno describes the use of science fiction prototyping to facilitate societal and contextual thinking in an undergraduate computer security course.
Some Science Fiction Prototypes
- Nebulous Mechanisms – The first ever Science Fiction Prototype which was written by Brian David Johnson (who devised the method). Nebulous Mechanisms explores the irrational nature of the fictitious Piazza Mine bots.
- Song of Iliad – This award winning Science Fiction Prototype (best SFP at CS’11) describes a future music therapy “performance space” in which children around the globe create music together, form a band and perform for others. The story encapsulates the human-driven design approach and presents an example of how future design processes might exploit emotion-driven design in creating highly personified products and services
- The Spiritual Machine – A Science Fiction Prototype written by Hsuan-Yi WU & Vic Callaghan that explores the evolving relationship between technology and people. It does this by considering what may seem two irreconcilable aspirations of the human condition; the desire for utilizing ever increasingly sophisticated science based technology in our life whilst at the same time preserving the spiritual values that make us human. Can the forces of technology and spirituality be balanced in modern life? Read the SF Prototype and come to your own conclusion.
- The Maker Fables – A Science Fiction Prototype by Vic CALLAGHAN that presents a series of vignettes which take a potpourri look at the idea that ‘Maker-Space‘ activities could precipitate disruptive changes to the manufacturing industry.
- Micro-Futures – A Science Fiction Prototype by Vic Callaghan that introduces micro-fiction as a methodology for capturing and communicating visions for scientific, business and societal innovations. To those end, the Technological Singularity is described and used as a means to illustrate the workings of micro-SFP.
- Tales From a Pod – A Science Fiction Prototype by Vic Callaghan that takes an imaginative forward look at how artificial intelligence and virtual environments might change the nature of future education. At its root, it imagines a future time when the technological singularity has been reached, and machine intelligence and interaction is equal or surpasses that of people, reflecting on how life might be in the future through a set of four small vignettes and a discussion of the factual research inspiring these views.
- The 2014 Visualization Challenge – The 2014 Visualization Challenge (sponsored by the US National Science Foundation and Popular Science) seeks to encourage submissions of artistic visual images inspired or based on science. Such illustrations provide an immediate connection between scientists and lay-members of society, nurturing popular interest in science. For more information click the competition link or to see examples of winning entries down the years click on this link.