Which comes first, the fiction or the fact?
My research this week has mostly made me ask: Which comes first, the fiction or the fact?
Maarten Lens Fitzgerald,inspired by Vernor Vinge’s Rainbows End, developed Layar, the mobile AR platform.
Ortis Deeley proposed a panel that explored the relationship between science fiction and fact.
Dr Adrian Bowyer : developer of RepRap : has developed a 3D printer that can print its own parts.
Chris Claremont : creator of Sentinels wrote about robots with self replicating parts.
So I started looking around and pondering …. is narrative driven by science and technology or is science driven by the imagination of storytellers? You remember Johnny Mnemonic, the film? That frankly average representation of William Gibson’s classic? The gestural interface scenes seemed the stuff of fantasy not so many years ago.
And who could forget that fantastic scene in Minority Report:
Dale works on some pretty out there gestural interface technologies and was one of the visionaries hired by by Minority Report director Steven Spielberg to help imagine the user interaction possibilities around gestural interface.
Still on Minority Report, the pre crime prediction thing seemed far fetched a few years ago. Predictive Analytics Software is already being used by crime prevention services across the world. The story’s futuristic “Big Brother” approach to security and advertising is decidedly disturbing. In Philip K. Dick’s dystopian future, people are tracked everywhere they go, in public and at home. Smart screens use facial recognition technologies to track passers by and deliver personalised ads to them. There is no escape.
Keys are redundant and replaced by super secure iris scanning.
Right now, Leon, one of Mexico’s biggest cities, in its quest to become the most secure city in the world is in the process of creating an iris database and are embedding thousands of eye scanners across the city. Jeff Carter, CEO of iris scanning company, Rainmakers, predicts: “Every person, place, and thing on this planet will be connected to iris recognition systems within the next 10 years.” In Carter’s world, the iris will replace driving licenses, credit cards, passports. Will people buy into it? Will the positives outweigh the negatives? Or are these dreams better off left on the page and screen?
I started writing a Sci-Fi feature length film script a few years ago (these things take time ;) ). Before starting to develop the story world, I spent a lot of time surfing, finding out the current state of scientific research, seeking recent technological on-the-edge breakthroughs and imagining where those breakthroughs might lead. In my film world, a drop-in-shop’s popular service allows people to scan their faces, edit their features in the digital space (through a gestural interface) then print out custom made personalised rubber masks with “gecko” like stick-on-like-skin properties. This leads to all sorts of social confusion and repercussions. It seemed the stuff of fantasy then. I am not so sure now. 3D scanning technologies are evolving fast and getting cheaper, digital avatars and 3D modeling technologies are getting clever, and 3D printing is… Well, we don’t need to go there – just remember the #itsafuckingkidney talk at TED ;) You see where i’m going with this?