Over at the Atlantic (and later in Mashable), Robinson Meyer made the interesting – indeed challenging statement – that the idea of making things in Science Fiction a reality was limiting. He was specifically discussing the Google X lab, which was profiled by John Gertner of Fast Company – and there they want every project to have a a component that resembled Science Fiction.
Which frankly, sounds pretty cool, but Robinson had issues with this idea:
- SF means we tend think in whole, complete systems as opposed to the assembled work of many actors and influences.
- We miss that some change – such as social – is incremental, and SF’s inheritance includes some limited and reactionary elements.
- There is virtue in incrementalization.
So this got me thinking about the role of SF in envisioning and building the future. I think he has a point in that thinking about things “Science Fictionally” can be limiting. But I don’t think the problem is Science Fictional thinking per se – it’s the state of SF today and in our culture.