Scifi writers and foresight

A good read in Information Week about how science fiction and technology. It's essentially about John de Lancie ('Q' in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Star Trek: Voyager) who gave the keynote address at the InfoSec World Conference in Orlando, talking about how "today's technology, whether it's cell phones or Second Life, is feeding off the fictional technology dreamed up by science fiction writers years ago".

"Science fiction is a place where people can talk about things," said de Lancie (...) "I began reading more books and they all seemed to be the same sort of guys," he said. "They knew things and they knew how to use things and they made things better for themselves." That, he added, sounds an awful lot like high-tech professionals. (...) What's amazing is they are the ones who can put this all together. That's science fiction becoming science fact. It invites people to think outside the box and be bold and fearless and be explorers and get to the other side. What's exciting is the desire to explore."

Besides, the conclusion intriguing too:

he was quick to add that not everything about Star Trek's fictional advances were a real plus. "I have to say, though, that I never saw them have a really good meal," he said laughing. "And I hated the colors. It all looked like a Holiday Inn. It looked like everyone was living in a hotel somewhere eating bad hotel food. There are a lot of things that are really wonderful the way we have them and that don't need to be changed."

Playground (Picture taken by myself, in Geneva)

Why do I blog this? the relationship between sci-fi writings and innovation, NPD, tech development, diffusion of innovation has always been of interest to me. As a matter of fact, I do really prefer reading sci-fi, instead of so-called "futurists".

Why? for several reasons: (a) narratives are good way to give a flavor of the future, of things to come, (b) Scifi folks write about problems, why things work, do not work, lead to crisis, create social issues (or social issues that create innovation), (c) they put things in context, and when talking about design and NPD CONTEXT is one the crux issue that is often not taken into account, (d) they have their own rules. To some extent, reading scifi is somehow like opposing "critical foresight" to "futurism".

The picture above is a playground in Geneva, it's only meant to show how scifi can be a creative playground in foresight, bringing together a particular kind of "data".