Joanne McNeil – Stories that shape the future

Joanne McNeil


From The Conference August 29, 2022

Do you want a robot president? Let’s talk about the potential power of science-fiction stories. Have you read Dune? Watched Bladerunner? How about the Parable of the Sower? The Earthsea series?

Cultural references as found in science-fiction novels have a huge impact on what the tech in the coming years might look and feel like. But most of all, on our collective expectations and imagination of a possible future. To exemplify this, Joanna McNeil (author of Lurking: How a Person Became a User and upcoming novel, Too Early For The Future) shares several examples from recent pop culture. The film Minority Report had a workshop in early production days that brought together a group of futurists to imagine the future that is both possible but also looks good in a Hollywood movie. Also Elon Musk has in a way inspired many to think about what mainstream space travel could be like. Jose Fernandez, a Hollywood costumer who created many iconic costumes and dresses in major blockbuster movies such as Batman and Marvel movies, contributed to shaping the general understanding of what the future might look like since movies are often connected to what people actually think and remember.

This talk stresses that science-fiction stories might not necessarily teach us about our future, but rather shape our present. Why are we attracted to some visualisations of human culture right now? How does the storytelling methods of science fiction allow us to feel where we do NOT want to go culturally? To conclude her talk, Joanna highlights the potential of science-fiction to inspire and to constructively criticize technology of the future.

Length 21:30
Total views 338
Theme 2022