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Learning From Science Fiction

April 27, 2014

Learning From Science Fiction

For more than a century, science fiction has been both the conscience and the subconscious of the technology industry. Its authors have invented new ideas that became world-changing technologies and they’ve shaped the moral, philosophical and aesthetic lenses that we use to understand our changing world. We use an interface from Minority Report to operate our Star Trek communicators, in order to communicate over geostationary satellites invented by Arthur C. Clarke, to visit William Gibson’s cyberspace and experience the drifting identities and psychological dislocation described by Philip K. Dick.

As a designer, technologist and artist, Greg Borenstein has mined science fiction for storytelling tools that help communicate how new technologies feel and what they might mean to our world. In this talk, Greg presents projects that show some of what he has learned and outline ideas that may come in handy in your own practice.

Presented at FITC Toronto 2014


April 27, 2014

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Other Decks in Technology


  1. Learning from Science Fiction
    Greg Borenstein
    MIT Media Lab, Playful Systems

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  3. OpenCV for Processing

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  6. A good science fiction story should
    be able to predict not the automobile
    but the traffic jam.
    — Fredrik Pohl

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  9. “The abrupt jolt into other flesh. Matrix gone, a wave of sound
    and color . . . She was moving through a crowded street, past
    stalls vending discount software, prices felt penned on sheets
    of plastic, fragments of music from countless speakers. Smells
    of urine, free monomers, perfume, patties of frying krill. For a
    few frightened seconds he fought helplessly to control her
    body. Then he willed himself into passivity, became the
    passenger behind her eyes.”

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  18. thingiverse.com/thing:277787

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  19. Design Fiction
    Science Fiction

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  20. “the deliberate use of diegetic
    prototypes to suspend
    disbelief about change.”
    — Bruce Sterling

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  21. Keiichi Matsuda
    Domestic Robocop, 2010

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  22. Veronica Ranner
    Biophilia, 2011

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  23. Kevin Grennan
    Prototype Robot Armpit, 2011

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  26. Imagination -> Prediction
    Technology -> Storytelling

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  27. Technology -> Prediction
    Storytelling -> Imagination

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  28. Collaboration with John Powers

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  29. 2H2K
    Artificial Labor

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  33. Supervised Learning

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  35. Martin Cuilla
    1028 emails

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  53. All science fiction is
    really about the present.
    — Cory Doctorow

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  54. Sophia Brueckner Dan Novy

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  55. thanks.

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