Lift09 — Change — Patrick J. Gyger — Science Fiction and the Future [en]

Lift09 021 - Patrick Gyger Amazing stories (pulp magazines). Looking into the future. Thirties. This is when SF started becoming a genre.

SF starts creating a new 20th century. SF zeitgeist, science programme. SF moves over to other media: films, radio.

Commercials start using SF backdrops for all sorts of commercial goods. Up to the 60s, the future is used to promote goods.

What will the future be like? (based on SF, predictions)

Home of the future. Revolutionary transportation. We’ll all have flying cars! But actually, flying cars did exist, in the twenties (René Tampier). <–photo–>

Despite the real flying cars, they remain in the realm of imagination, they are still an object of the future.

SF plants the seeds of dreams and desire. It has to stay in the realm of imagination. There is no place for the flying car in the present, because it is an object of the future, by definition.

Some objects have made their way from SF into our world.

– wrist pager / wrist phone
– cybernetics, artificial limbs (cf. Kevin Warwick last year at Lift08)
– robotics
– communications, videophone (Skype)
– jetpacks (want to see your neighbour soaring above your head in the morning, off to work?)

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Failures — or not there yet:

– invisibility doesn’t really work
– cryogenics (not too good)
– teleportation for transportation — we’re not there yet
– time travel

The future did not take the shape of our SF dreams of the past. *steph-note: not altogether surprising imho, as SF is really talking about the present*

Right now, we live in Utopia in the Western world — we don’t feel the urgency to dream up our Utopia. Some technology utopias have been realised, but have not brought what we hoped from them.

We also live in Dystopia — aware of the dark sides of technology.

“We live in the dreams and nightmares of our grandparents, at the same time.”

Belief of the grandiose views of flying cars: machines, not politics, will produce beneficial social change. We don’t believe that anymore.

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