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Aug. 19, 2011

Intel Commissions Science Fiction

by Katherine

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Because Intel has to design its technology 5 or 10 years in advance of consumer use, part of its job is essentially to predict the future. It needs to know what kinds of technology will be useful and marketable many years from now. Like semiconductor designers, science fiction writers also like to predict the future. So it makes sense that they might work together.

Recently, Intel commissioned four sci-fi writers to take a look at their research and come up with a vision for what technology will look like in the future. Intel explains:

Douglas Rushkoff, Ray Hammond, Scarlett Thomas and Markus Heitz are science-fiction authors and futurists. Intel presented them with the results of contemporary research in the fields of photonics, robotics, telematics, dynamic physical rendering and intelligent sensors. The authors responded by creating four short stories that paint humorous, thought-provoking and hopeful pictures of our future, when these “futuristic technologies” have long since become familiar features of our daily lives.

In the video below, Intel futurist Brian David Johnson explains the genesis of “The Tomorrow Project.” He says science fiction “gives us a way of envisioning how people will use our technologies.”


Is your interest sufficiently piqued? Download the four stories as a PDF or podcast at Intel’s website here.

Intel, by the way, is no stranger to partnering with artists. Black Eyed Peas musician will.i.am, who was on our show last week, is employed as Intel’s Director of Creative Innovation. For a treat, watch Brian David Johnson and will.i.am having a conversation about geeks and technology here. Spoiler: the phrase “O.G. geeks” is uttered.

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About Katherine

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Science Friday.

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