Human imagination is a powerful tool. On one extreme, this imagination creates stories to help us understand our world and our place in it. On another extreme, imagination explores the universe and applies those discoveries into technology. Science fiction stories synthesize these two extremes of human imagination to help people find their place in a world with rapidly changing technology.
This is the first video in a series of talks put together by the University of Calgary’s Professor Jason Donev for Tyche Books, the Canadian Nuclear Society, International Nuclear Science Week and Energy Education.
The world’s technology has changed in shocking ways over the past 150 years. Despite how unexpected these developments were, various writers predicted these shocking technologies like Skype, nuclear reactors and atmospheric breaking. Some technologies even get their names and designs from science fiction stories.
From Talus in Greek mythology to Rossum’s Universal Robots, from fake chess-playing machines to unbeatable computers, human imagination has always included artificial humans and artificial thinking. The world has shifted from a time when ‘calculator’ was a person who calculates, to devices that we have on our phones. This lecture explores some of the most surprising predictions to have come true in all of science fiction!
Science fiction grapples with questions of identity when our genetic information changes. Laboratories explore the connection between radiation and DNA, but popular views of this connection come from comic books!
Technology changes what we are capable of doing. Science fiction allows us to decide who we want to be with this new power. This video explores the power of nuclear science and technology, but also looks at how stories have shaped this conversation, and will continue to.