Wednesday, October 09, 2002

What do you want the future to look like?

Not too long ago, I heard a radio interviewer ask a medical guest if science was developing a lot of devices that look like the ones we have seen in the movies and on television. The guest replied that many scientists follow science fiction, so even if the new devices don't do what the fictional ones do, they like to make them look like them.

I think it goes farther than that.

Einstein said, "Imagination is more important than knowlege." Certainly there are accidental discoveries. But most often, first a researcher or inventor imagines something they would like to do, and then works to find a way to do it. So, if there are already images of future devices in the scientist's head, he or she is that much more likely to try to make devices that look and act like them. So we find current developments reflecting the art design and imagination of the past. Thus, artists have a strong effect on the future.

Gene Roddenberry made a conscious effort to imagine and show the kind of future he would like to have. It is a future I would be glad to live in. I want to see humanity grow up, and I want life to be exciting without us fighting one another.

So if you haven't thought about what you want the future to be, you might consider Star Trek. And if you don't want that future, you'd better develop your own vision of the future!

Because our best chance for a good future, is to have images of good futures before us.

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