Science Fiction is often viewed as nothing more than fanciful ideas from the minds of those of us who spend too much time in our own heads, yet when October 21, 2015 rolled around on the calendar what happened? Social media explodes with, where are the hoverboards? Where are the flying cars? Why don’t we have these things? This is just one example of how we, as science fiction writers, can shape the world around us. In an article from September of 2013 we find things like this:
“This fall, MIT Media Lab researchers Dan Novy and Sophia Brueckner are teaching "Science Fiction to Science Fabrication," aka "Pulp to Prototype," a course that mines these "fantastic imaginings of the future" for analysis of our very real present.”
This is our legacy, as science fiction writers. We may not have the technical capacity to develop the things we imagine, but others do. We help shape what the future might become.
Reading science fiction is like an ethics class for inventors, and engineers and designers should be trying to think like science fiction authors when they approach their own work. The projects we build here at the Media Lab often become widely adopted or serve as examples that influence countless other projects, and I feel with great urgency that we need to very thoughtfully consider what we build as well as encourage that same thoughtfulness out in the world.
Let’s see what else we can make into reality! Keep writing!