Published on March 15, 2009
Design Fiction Julian Bleecker O’Reilly ETech 2009 San Jose, California A short slideshow on design, March 12, 2009 science, fact and ﬁction
4 Quotes About The Future
“You never change things by ghting the existing model. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete” ~ R. Buckminster Fuller
“As I’ve said many times, the future is here. It’s just not evenly distributed” ~ William Gibson
“Fiction is evolutionarily valuable because it allows low- cost experimentation compared to trying things for real” ~ Dennis Dutton OH on @kevinmarks’ Twitter
“The Future Is Always Over Sold And Under Imagined” ~ Chris Luebkeman
Hi. My Name Is Julian Bleecker
This Is My Context..
I Play Here
And I Also Play Here
These Ideas Do Not Represent..
But In Some Near Future, They May..
Here are some thoughts about a productive convergence of design, science, fact and ction to help think about ways to meaningfully shape the future, bring about change, make new sorts of habitable
A Convergence? Some Examples And Stories About What I Mean (The Details And Nuances Are In A Larger Project Available Here - http://cli.gs/DesignFictionEssay)
One. Science, Fact and Fiction Are All Knotted Up, Anyway.
http://cli.gs/p4X92W 2002. Minority Report Interface: http://cli.gs/p4X92W This is a purposely long clip, because I want to emphasize not the technology and gee-whiz aspects of the “Minority Report Interface”, but that there is a drama that helps move the story forward, setting up an unusual framework that is crucial to understand the rest of the drama. Itʼs not the technology; itʼs the people story that matters and makes things legible to an audience. This is what circulates the concept; not the tech itself.
Blurry lines between the sci-ﬁ props and research prototypes
Right alongside of “Science” Jeﬀ Hahn at TED 2008 Whole bunch of links to people who claim “minority report interface” research
Blurry boundaries between reality and?? Science ﬁction. Entanglements and knots help move and circulate the concept of new interaction rituals indexed by Minority Report (the movie). Doesnʼt matter where things start — the legible concept swirls about helping reality become real.
http://cli.gs/bEpXGe Jeff Hahn at TED 2006: http://cli.gs/bEpXGe
http://cli.gs/s9NNgp CNN Reports Transcript: http://cli.gs/s9NNgp Video: http://cli.gs/TZ4tzG
Even more. CeBIT 2008, more ideas anchored by the Google search of “Minority Report interface”
Two. Stories Matter More Than Features, Specs And Engineering
Realistic dinosaurs as a special-effect, produced to be visually compelling as a “prop” to help tell a story more compelling than a dowdy documentary.
More entangled science-ﬁction and science-fact SGI plays on the production / construction of dinosaurs in this advertisement during Jurassic Park ﬁlming
More entangled science-ﬁction and science-fact Muddled associations amongst science, ﬁlm and previous “truths” about dinosaurs.
More entangled science-ﬁction and science-fact Wow..
Diegetic Prototype quot;..cinematic depictions of future technologies are actually “diegetic prototypes” that demonstrate to large public audiences a technology’s need, benevolence, and viability. I show how diegetic prototypes have a major rhetorical advantage over true prototypes: in the diegesis these technologies exist as “real” objects that function properly and which people actually use.quot; David A. Kirby, “The Future Is Now: Diegetic Prototypes, and the Cinematic Creation of the Future” (pre-pub) What does this all suggest in terms of how knowledge is created and circulated about speculative activities?
Diegetic Prototype quot;..cinematic depictions of future technologies are actually “diegetic prototypes” that demonstrate to large public audiences a technology’s need, benevolence, and viability. I show how diegetic prototypes have a major rhetorical advantage over true prototypes: in the diegesis these technologies exist as “real” objects that function properly and which people actually use.quot; David A. Kirby, “The Future Is Now: Diegetic Prototypes, and the Cinematic Creation of the Future” (pre-pub) Wow. Stories matter when designing the future. Maybe even more than the “real thing” in terms of their ability to ﬂash-bang the imagination of real people. Ideas are more powerful than a crappy product that aspires to the idea.
Three. Science Fiction Can Do Things Science Fact Cannot.
A hybrid science-ﬁction / science-fact can do more things. 1. better knowledge circulation and idea sharing 2. expanding the realm of possible futures 3. exploring aspects of technology-as-culture that science-fact by itself is very poorly equipped to do.
How William Shatner Changed The World http://cli.gs/tUJs1d How William Shatner Changed The World — http://cli.gs/tUJs1d Looks at the “science behind the science-ﬁction of Star Trek”
Star Fleet Technical Manual, by Franz Joseph http://cli.gs/rduvjm Star Fleet Technical Manual, by Franz Joseph http://cli.gs/rduvjm
Published: January 11, 1976 Copyright © The New York Times Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual becomes a best seller, early-days user-generated content. Elements and illustrations from the Manual make it into the science ﬁction of Star Trek (ﬁlms, etc.) Designs and concepts in the Manual are entirely speculative, not actual props found in the show, etc. Best Sellers — Mass Market Paperbacks. 1976. The New York Times, January 11, 1976, BR7. http://cli.gs/ E52ZQq.
Franz Josephʼs Star Trek Star Fleet Technical Manual http://cli.gs/rduvjm
COMMUNICATOR STANDARD FIELD EQUIPMENT ITEM Communicator concept drawn by Franz Joseph, speculating about science ﬁction ideas in material form. http:// cli.gs/rduvjm
Star Trek communicator speculative electronics schematic and parts list!
“Death Star Over San Francisco” by Michael Horn (2008) http://cli.gs/mmBtgN Michael Horn. 2008. Death Star Over San Francisco. http://cli.gs/mmBtgN. Speculative imagining of a world in which the Star Wars Empire exists in the San Francisco Bay.
“Metalosis Maligna” by Floris Kaayk (2005) http://cli.gs/R3TSSD Floris Kaayk. 2006. Metalosis Maligna. http://cli.gs/R3TSSD. Speculating on unintended consequences of advanced medical science
Dark Knight http://cli.gs/GzHJhW Christopher Nolan. 2008. The Dark Knight. [http://cli.gs/GzHJhW] Ubiquitous Sensor Prototype, and immediately about the ethical dimensions. The collaboration between a sci-fact proposition and science-ﬁction allows one to place attention on things that science-fact just has no means to do; just doesnʼt know how to do engineering and ethics at the same time. Not just technically, and with special effects, but with, for example, ethics questions. There is no API for ethics in engineering, nor is it understood particularly well, and rarely taught. Itʼs ﬂuff that lies on the outside, someone elses problem. Sascha Pohﬂeppʼs considerations of 23 and Me and their rush to market. No time to ask those kinds of questions. Itʼs not a legal thing, itʼs just not part of the epistemology. But, in ﬁlm production its comes up because it adds drama to the production, which is at the root of the ontology of sci-ﬁ ﬁlm, which makes it more compelling to think of remarkable ways that sci-ﬁction and science-fact can collaborate explicitly.
Listening Post (Hansen & Rubin) Does the same thing Cross-talk and entanglements between the surveillance mode of visualization in Dark Knight and this design/art/science project “Listening Post” by Ben Rubin and Mark Hansen.
http://cli.gs/ZX9R5t Kubrick engaged many scientists and engineers, including two fellows called Harry Lange and Frederick Ordway. Lange and Ordway happened to arrive in New York City while Clarke and Kubrick were there scriptwriting. They were in town to attend a conference of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics and to promote a book their space consultancy company had written on extra-terrestrial intelligence. Piers Bizony. 2000. 2001: Filming the Future. http:// cli.gs/ZX9R5t
Clarke and Kubrick collaborate along with Douglas Trumbull, NASA, proper engineering consultancies who could speculate with engineering principles on what’s what in the ﬁlm. I’ll just show UI examples that were marveled by NASA and other aerospace engineers for their precision. This is all happening during the space race. Clarke had concerns about what would happen if man got to the moon before the ﬁlm was completed.
Graphical User Interfaces..before there were Graphical User Interfaces.
Why Muddle Design, Science, Fact and Fiction
It Is Valuable To Explain. To Imagine. To Materialize Ideas. To Speculate About A Different Kind Of World.
It Is Useful To Think Of P.K. Dick As A System Administrator
There Are Insights To Be Had When You Read Bruce Sterling As Software Documentation
It Helps To Think Of Science Fiction Props As Conclusions To Today’s Engineering Prototypes So, what? Why does all of this matter? It all matters because we care about imagining and materializing future habitable worlds. We care so much that eective mechanisms for creating these more habitable worlds is “our” concern. Smart, creative, imaginative ways of linking ideas to their materialization really do matter, because the future matters, and will use whatever means possible to do this, including the simultaneous deployment of science, fact, ﬁction and design.
Thank You. http://cli.gs/DesignFictionEssay Julian Bleecker http://www.nearfuturelaboratory.com julian at nearfuturelaboratory dot com julian.bleecker at nokia dot com
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