The Future of Reading: Stanford
- Sep 15 2014Project Hieroglyph: Can Science Fiction Revolutionize Science? 7:30pm
The Refurbished MeJuly 15, 2014
“Who wants to live forever?” The late, great lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury, crooned. “Well, I wouldn’t mind the option.” I responded flatly, the guy…July 15, 2014 Kraig Farkash
“Who wants to live forever?” The late, great lead singer of Queen, Freddie Mercury, crooned.
“Well, I wouldn’t mind the option.” I responded flatly, the guy parking his car at ASU.
While on campus, I pondered that recent conversation with my stereo. I surmised that Dr. Doris Taylor, Director of Regenerative Medicine Research at Texas Heart Institute, heard the same tune. She is at the bleeding edge of a new frontier: whole organ decellularization (a.k.a. prepping organs for transplant). Her techniques are disquieting for some, almost Promethean, but intriguing nonetheless.
Dr. Taylor started with a rat-heart. She inserted a catheter into the recently harvested organ and slowly drained its original cells. Then, after cleansing the heart, only its connective tissue remained. She proceeded to fill its empty spaces with fresh cells acquired from the body of its new host.
The lifeless organ also needed an electrical signal, mechanical blood pressure, and oxygen. A bioreactor sufficed; an artificial body that resembled a pickle jar on life support. However, that’s no pickle inside. They could tell because after merely a week of lying dormant, the heart spontaneously began to beat…on its own.
It was 2005 when Dr. Taylor forged that organic, thumping “Ghost Heart.” It was a first for laboratory scientists, as well. What’s more, Dr. Taylor has shown her process works with other organs, like a set of lungs. Her efforts have reanimated the dead organs of rats and pigs. She sees this technology working in humans in years, not decades.
The arch-nemesis of a successful organ transplant is tissue rejection. Dr. Taylor’s phenomenal technique could allow for organ transplantation from cadaver to patient without such concerns. It could negate the need for a lifetime of anti-rejection medications that suppress the immune system, cause nausea, tremors, and more.
Humans are creatures of life, but all of history implies that we’re built for death. Yet, here we are, at the brink of reconfiguration with lifespans no longer truncated by decay. There is an entire torso crammed with life-sustaining goodies, which ripen and long for replacement. The potential of Dr. Taylor’s labors are a means to that end – and a pathway to immortality.Filed under: Ideas
CSI partners with World Bank on science fiction, gaming and social innovationJuly 9, 2014
The Center for Science and the Imagination is partnering with the World Bank to create a series of stories and artwork to integrate into an online game, EVOKE, designed to get young people in the developing world involved in social innovation and civic engagement.July 9, 2014 Joey Eschrich
This article originally appeared in ASU News.
ASU’s Center for Science and the Imagination is partnering with the World Bank to create a series of stories and artwork to integrate into an online game, EVOKE, designed to get young people in the developing world involved in social innovation and civic engagement.
The project is an extension of the EVOKE pilot, launched in 2010 and aimed specifically at engaging teens and young adults in Africa. The story of the original EVOKE graphic novel and alternate reality game follows a secretive group of African social innovators in the year 2020 who use their talents to address global grand challenges such as food insecurity, access to clean water, poverty and climate disruption. The original EVOKE game was developed by the World Bank in collaboration with Jane McGonigal, author of the book “Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World.” Since 2010, EVOKE has been played by hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, and has expanded to Colombia, Mexico and Brazil.
This new partnership between the World Bank and the Center for Science and the Imagination will expand EVOKE’s network of creators to include world-renowned science fiction authors from ASU’s Project Hieroglyph, futurists, visual artists and subject area experts on a range of pressing global issues. These contributors will collaborate to build narratives in EVOKE’s fictional universe that will power future deployments in Africa and other regions.
“Storytelling is an incredibly powerful tool for encouraging people to prototype possible futures that they actually want to inhabit,” says Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and Department of English. “When those stories are infused with real-world knowledge, they give people a sense of agency about the future. Stories can be a bridge from imaginative visions to real-world impact, and EVOKE is an exciting example of using stories to make innovation happen.”
During summer 2014, graphic novelist, filmmaker and author Kiyash Monsef and anthologist, author and Project Hieroglyph co-editor Kathryn Cramer are creating a “story bible” that maps out the history, background, setting, main characters and overall aesthetic of the EVOKE fictional universe, providing a common foundation for contributions from a diverse set of writers and artists for future EVOKE episodes. Throughout the summer, science fiction writers and futurists will collaborate virtually on ASU’s Project Hieroglyph digital platform, using the story bible as a launch pad to create characters, scenarios and stories that connect EVOKE’s fictional universe to real-world challenges and actual scientific and technological realities.
“The opportunity to merge the creative voice of Project Hieroglyph and the World Bank focus on empowering young people is incredibly exciting,” says Bob Hawkins, senior education specialist at the World Bank. “Tapping into the vision and voices of some of the greatest storytellers in science fiction is a powerful way to inspire young people around the world to take the first step to addressing global grand challenges and creating a more prosperous future.”
In fall 2014, the Center for Science and the Imagination will host a multi-day “Narrative Hackathon” event at ASU, uniting several interdisciplinary teams of writers, futurists, artists and subject area experts in-person to build stories, art and game mechanics for future EVOKE deployments. Each team will start with a specific grand challenge, creating materials that tell compelling stories while simultaneously inspiring readers and players to take concrete, tangible actions to improve their communities, and to plan social ventures tailored to the specific needs of those communities.
“EVOKE and ASU share the goal of developing solutions to a range of complex global challenges,” says Ed Finn. “We’re excited to bring two great experiments together in Project Hieroglyph and EVOKE. This collaboration fuses literary and artistic approaches with the amazing research that is going on at the university, and we look forward to igniting new conversations at ASU and expanding the Center for Science and the Imagination’s global impact.”
Media Contact: Joey Eschrich, email@example.com
ASU, NGA to address national security risks of climate changeJune 23, 2014
Arizona State University was selected for a competitive, five-year award of $20 million by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to launch a research partnership, effective June 1, to explore approaches for anticipating and mitigating national security risks associated with climate change.June 23, 2014 Joey Eschrich
This article originally appeared in ASU News, and was written by Amelia Huggins of ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. The Center for Science and the Imagination will be contributing to the Foresight Initiative by developing design principles, prototypes and tools for geo-narratives and other interventions at the nexus of storytelling and geospatial data.
Arizona State University was selected for a competitive, five-year award of $20 million by the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) to launch a research partnership, effective June 1, to explore approaches for anticipating and mitigating national security risks associated with climate change.
Known as the Foresight Initiative, the cooperative agreement venture will explore how the effects of climate change on resources, such as water, food and energy, could contribute to political unrest and instability, and gain insights to sustainability and resilience strategies for mitigating the effects.
This initiative will play a key role in collaborative research efforts to accelerate the evolution of Activity-Based Intelligence addressing system level activities, dynamics and interdependent network effects in the context of global climate risks to water security. This multi-year research partnership leverages ASU expertise and thought leadership in visual analytics, complex modeling and transdisciplinary decision-making evolving from years of internal and external investments at ASU.
“NGA’s investment and partnership with ASU is a game-changing relationship,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “This innovative research initiative will develop solutions and be a catalyst for the critical and creative thinking needed to address the complex challenges that come with climate change.”
Leveraging computing and system modeling initiatives at ASU and partner organizations, the Foresight Initiative will apply ubiquitous cloud computing and storage technologies, advances in natural user interfaces and machine learning to address unique geospatial data handling and visual analytic challenges driven by the volume and character of future persistent data flows. The resulting capabilities will allow analysts and decision-makers to dynamically interact with diverse data sets in a real-time modeling and simulation environment. This will help them assess the effectiveness of plans, policies and decisions; discover second- and third-order causal relationships; and understand spatial and temporal patterns that reveal non-obvious underlying interconnections and dependencies.
“I am very proud to announce our partnership with ASU, a world-class research university,” said Letitia Long, NGA director. “Our partnership is a prime example of the intelligence community working smartly with academia to address strategic global issues and to create capabilities that benefit everyone.”
Key areas at ASU that will be integral to this work include the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, College of Public Programs, Decision Theater Network and Decision Center for a Desert City.
For example, ASU’s Decision Theater provides advanced modeling and simulation that allows diverse groups of stakeholders to visualize large amounts of data, policy parameters and environmental uncertainties on panoramic HD displays. Scientists, analysts and decision-makers can easily interact in real-time to tweak the rules and data sets to account for new insights and deeper understanding of relationships, providing a range of outcomes based on the changes. This allows for more effective decision-making among people from different backgrounds.
“This is a tremendous partnership and opportunity for a real, tangible impact in addressing strategic security and humanitarian needs,” said Nadya Bliss, principal investigator of the Foresight Initiative and assistant vice president, research strategy with ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “It is also pioneering how the academic and government research communities can leverage each other’s strengths to seek solutions to these global-scale issues while advancing fundamental transdisciplinary research. ASU is the perfect place for this initiative because of the culture of use-inspired research and exceptional quality faculty working across traditional disciplinary boundaries.”Filed under: News
Hollywood star visits ASU to promote teen reading, science explorationJune 20, 2014
Nathan Fillion may very well be the friendliest, most unpretentious spaceship captain, mystery-solving author and science fiction heartthrob in the known universe. The “ruggedly handsome” star of TV’s “Castle” was the delight of fans as he headlined a fundraiser on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, June 7.June 20, 2014 Joey Eschrich
Nathan Fillion may very well be the friendliest, most unpretentious spaceship captain, mystery-solving author and science fiction heartthrob in the known universe. The “ruggedly handsome” star of TV’s “Castle” was the delight of fans as he headlined a fundraiser on the Arizona State University campus in Tempe, June 7.
The “Serenity, Softwire, and the Science of Science Fiction” event, benefiting the ASU Department of English and advertised as an “intimate evening for a small group of 50 people,” included considerable face-time with Fillion, who in-person proved surprisingly similar to the witty, charming and compassionate characters he plays on television and in film.
Starring with Fillion in the ASU evening’s festivities were science fiction author PJ Haarsma (a close friend of Fillion’s) along with ASU professors Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination; Peter Goggin, a literacy expert in the Department of English and senior scholar with the Global Institute of Sustainability; and School of Earth and Space Exploration faculty Jim Bell, an astronomer, and Sara Imari Walker, an astrobiologist. In addition to the Department of English, sponsors included ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Center for Science and the Imagination.
The event began with each panelist explaining how he or she arrived at his or her respective careers, and whether science or science fiction played a role in that journey. All panelists pointed to reading and imagining as formational to their senses of themselves and their places in life.
A number of big questions were posed to the panelists: “What is the likelihood of life on other planets?” and “What is the physical practicality of traveling to other planets?” ASU scientists Bell and Walker deftly fielded these complex planetary inquiries, while Goggin and Finn explained how the intersection of science and humanities – embodied in science fiction books and film – encouraged children and scholars alike to think creatively about the future. Attendees reported that they found the conversation “intellectually stimulating and thought-provoking as well as fun and entertaining.”
During the ensuing discussion, Haarsma and Fillion bantered back and forth comically, as we are told they often do in real life, at one point raising the group’s awareness of the mission they have shared for many years: promoting reading in the lives of young people. The two founded the Kids Need to Read Foundation, which provides books to underserved schools and libraries. Fillion, the son of retired English teachers, attended Concordia University of Alberta, where he was a member of the Kappa Alpha Society, an organization that emphasizes literature and debate. His brother, Jeff, is a highly respected school principal. Fillion’s story about the importance of books and reading in his childhood home was a rare moment of seriousness for the actor.
The most delightful aspect of the evening, according to guests, was the good nature of Fillion himself, who arrived with Haarsma earlier than expected and stayed later than scheduled. Fillion spent several minutes with each individual or group of friends, laughing with them, using their phone cameras to snap group “selfies” and showing a genuine interest in getting to know them.
Audience members each received copies of science fiction books: Haarsma’s teen novel, “Softwire: Virus on Orbis I,” and the Tomorrow Project science fiction anthology “Cautions, Dreams & Curiosities,” which was co-produced by the Center for Science and the Imagination with Intel and the Society for Science & the Public. Guests presented their new books and assorted other items to Fillion and Haarsma for autographing and a bit more conversation before the evening came to a close. It was then time for Fillion to head back downtown to his hotel, but not before one cadre of friends “asked him to take one last group shot of us at the end of the night, to which he replied with a smile, ‘I thought you’d never ask.’”
Ed Finn at the Congress on the Future of Engineering Software 2014June 6, 2014
On April 25, 2014, Ed Finn spoke at the 2014 Congress on the Future of Engineering Software, in Scottsdale, Arizona, about the Center about thinking big, science, technology and the power of narratives to shape the future.0June 6, 2014 Joey Eschrich
On April 25, 2014, Ed Finn spoke at the 2014 Congress on the Future of Engineering Software, in Scottsdale, Arizona, about the Center about thinking big, science, technology and the power of narratives to shape the future.
Watch the video to learn more about the cultural imaginary, “science fiction of the present,” 20km tall steel towers, flying drone routers, 3D printing with Moon dust, and how science fiction storytelling sets targets for our technological future.Filed under: Ideas
Shaping the future through sci-fi at ASUJune 5, 2014
From the geostationary satellite to the Taser, the submarine to virtual reality, many technologies we use today were originally conceived of by writers and artists. These visionaries imagined future inventions with remarkable accuracy, even if they didn’t know how to actually make them.2June 5, 2014 Joey Eschrich
This piece was originally published at ASU News, and written by Lorraine Longhi of ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development.
The next time you call your boss from a traffic jam to say you’ll be late for work, offer a silent “thank you” to Captain Kirk. The fictional hero of television’s “Star Trek,” Kirk often talked to his crew through a handheld communicator. Martin Cooper, the man who invented the cell phone, says the show was the inspiration for his idea.
From the geostationary satellite to the Taser, the submarine to virtual reality, many technologies we use today were originally conceived of by writers and artists. These visionaries imagined future inventions with remarkable accuracy, even if they didn’t know how to actually make them.
Science fiction books, movies, TV shows and art also allow us to explore the social implications of these advances. Do clones have rights? What about sentient robots? How might advances in genetics and behavioral prediction affect privacy?
The Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University brings together writers, artists, scientists and other creative thinkers to reignite humanity’s grand ambitions for innovation and discovery. They link human narratives to scientific questions and explore the full social implications of cutting-edge research. Ed Finn, director of the center, says that science fiction continues to influence science today, leading to fascinating discussions at the center.
“Science fiction is a kind of laboratory to experiment intellectually with all sorts of ideas, and whether they’re technical or social changes, it allows you to examine all sorts of cultural assumptions about everything from justice to gender to physics,” says Finn, who is also an assistant professor in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English.
The center experiments with these changes and ideas through several of its own projects. Project Hieroglyph, a collaboration with author Neal Stephenson, allows scientists and researchers to write their own works of science fiction that envision futures shaped by technological innovation. Additionally, the center co-hosts Emerge, an annual festival that brings scientists and writers together to create tangible, visceral depictions of the future.
“The most important thing science fiction gives us is a sense of possibility and a more active relationship with the future,” says Finn. “The big problem is that our time horizon is very small, and it’s very difficult to think beyond the next few years or beyond the next election cycle. Science fiction is an important tool to show us the full spectrum of possibilities for the future and to paint it as a series of choices that we’re all invested in.”
The center also explores data-mining works of science fiction to look for technical ideas that might not have made their way into scientific literature. What was once merely a work of fiction could now be a plausible research question.
In the realm of social impact, Finn and David Guston, co-director of ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, are leading a multi-institutional, bicentennial celebration of the novel “Frankenstein” that will take place from 2016-2018. This seminal work of science fiction demonstrates the unintended consequences that our creations can wreak upon society.
“‘Frankenstein’ beautifully captures issues such as creativity and responsibility, and the difficult balance between letting your imagination run wild and dealing with ownership and parental responsibility of that idea,” says Finn.
These ideas have permeated our culture in all sorts of ways and spawned countless derivatives and adaptations of the iconic monster. Indeed, Frankenstein’s own name has become shorthand for the delicate relationship between creativity and responsibility.
Joey Eschrich, editor and program manager for the center, is also working on the “Frankenstein” bicentennial and grappling with the important questions the novel raises.
“‘Frankenstein’ allows us to come together around a shared point of reference. One of our main goals is to create arenas for conversation where everyone feels like they have a voice in shaping the future and that their opinion is valuable,” says Eschrich. “‘Frankenstein’ and other science fiction stories are platforms where individuals can feel connected to other fields and feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and ideas.”
One of Eschrich’s personal influences is the neo-noir thriller “Minority Report.” The movie presents a world in which a hyper-effective law enforcement system can predict – and punish – crimes before they even happen.
“‘Minority Report’ captures the way that science fiction can be deliberative about ethics and how our technological systems affect the way we interact with one another,” said Eschrich. “We can see how the technological landscape and infrastructure of the film’s fictional world shapes people’s lives and relationships.”
Finn cites “The Diamond Age,” a cyberpunk novel by Neal Stephenson, as one of his own influences. The novel takes place in a future where nanotechnology pervades all aspects of life, and is a coming-of-age story that explores education, social class and ethnicity.
“The novel excels at asking profound questions about social structure and education,” says Finn. “In my field, it’s especially relevant for reflecting on, and putting into practice, different forms of education. Why have we not yet created some of the technologies he’s imagined?”
Researchers and faculty at the center believe there is great value in keeping scientists and engineers engaged with these imaginary worlds, as well as keeping writers and artists connected with science and technology. This interaction helps us to stay conscious of the broader implications and consequences of our scientific advances.
“What resonates most with us is that moment of estrangement when you realize there’s something in this world that you’ve never experienced in your own life, combined with real human stories,” says Finn. “The story itself is really a blueprint for the universe, and we’re creating it with our own imaginations and agency.”Filed under: News
An evening with Nathan Fillion and friendsJune 3, 2014
This item was originally published at ASU News, and written by Marshall Terrill of ASU’s Office of Public Affairs. ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’…0June 3, 2014 Joey Eschrich
ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences’ Department of English and the Center for Science and the Imagination will host an intimate conversation and fundraising event with actor Nathan Fillion on the importance of reading in the lives of young people.
“Serenity, Softwire, and the Science of Science Fiction” will feature Fillion as well as ASU professors Dr. Jim Bell, Dr. Ed Finn, Dr. Peter Goggin and Dr. Sara Imari Walker, and will be facilitated by science fiction author PJ Haarsma, who penned the popular “Softwire” series. The event takes place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, June 7, at ASU’s University Club, 425 E. University Drive, Tempe. Parking is available in the University Club lot at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional parking will also be available in the Fulton Center garage across University Drive; fees may apply.
The engagement is limited to a small group of 50 guests and the cost is $250 per person. Hors d’oeuvres and cash bar will be provided. To purchase tickets: http://asufoundation.org/serenity.
“The evening should prove to be a fascinating fusion of science, science fiction and literacy,” said James Blasingame, a professor of English who organized the event. “Nathan Fillion is not only a famous actor of several science fiction television and movie hits, but also an active supporter of school reading programs. Guests will also have the opportunity to pose questions to discussants and interact with them during a brief social in the University Club.”
Fillion is a Canadian-born actor best known for his role as Richard Castle on the ABC series “Castle,” as well the FOX television series “Firefly” and its feature film continuation “Serenity.”
He has also acted in Steven Spielberg’s World War II epic “Saving Private Ryan” and the comedy “Blast From The Past.” In addition to film and television, Fillion has acted in Internet-distributed films, soap operas, theater and video games.
Fillion grew up the son of English teachers in Alberta, Canada, and attended Concordia University College of Alberta and the University of Alberta, where he became active in local theater and improv comedy. He made his screen debut in the 1993 television movie “Ordeal in the Arctic.” He relocated to New York, where he landed a role in “One Life to Live” and garnered a Daytime Emmy nomination in 1996 as Outstanding Younger Leading Man.
In the spring of 2009, Fillion starred as a novelist who joins forces with a detective to solve mysteries in the ABC series “Castle.”
Net proceeds for “Serenity, Softwire and the Science of Science Fiction” will benefit the ASU Department of English Fund and will be deposited with the ASU Foundation for a New American University, a nonprofit organization that exists to support Arizona State University.
For more information call 480-965-7611 or visit: http://english.clas.asu.edu/nathan-fillion.
Winners announced in collaborative, global sci-fi competitionJune 2, 2014
Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, Intel and the Society for Science & the Public are proud to announce the winners of their competition, “The Future – Powered by Fiction.” The competition challenged young people ages 13-25 from all over the world to share their visions for possible futures inspired by real science and technology. To see a full list of winners, visit: http://isef.tomorrow-projects.com/results/0June 2, 2014 Joey Eschrich
This item was originally published at ASU News.
Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination, Intel and the Society for Science & the Public are proud to announce the winners of their competition, “The Future – Powered by Fiction.” The competition, which ran from May through December 2013, challenged young people ages 13-25 from all over the world to share their visions for possible futures inspired by real science and technology. “The Future – Powered by Fiction” was truly global in scope: the 274 total submissions include stories from 15 different countries and 36 U.S. states.
The competition is part of Tomorrow Project USA, an ongoing collaboration among the Center for Science and the Imagination, Intel and the Society for Science & the Public, that uses competitions and other tools to drive critical, creative, fact-based conversations about possible futures.
The winners were originally announced by Intel futurist Brian David Johnson on a live Google Hangout from the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles on May 14.
“In an increasingly complex world, we need to arm students with new tools for synthesizing enormous amounts of information,” says Ed Finn, director of the Center for Science and the Imagination and assistant professor in ASU’s School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English. “Storytelling is a powerful method for taking information from a variety of sources, imbuing it with human significance and making meaning from it. The Tomorrow Project [provides the] opportunity for students to use storytelling to explore the future as a spectrum of possibilities and consider the potential consequences of the rapid and accelerating changes we’re seeing in science and technology.”
Ten winners were selected to receive a $1,000 prize from the Intel Foundation and to have their work published in an anthology, “The Future – Powered by Fiction,” to be released in summer 2014. The winners represent three different countries and eight U.S. states:
• Michael Arteaga, Toronto, Canada, “The Last Allocation”
• Diya Basrai, California, U.S., “Descent”
• Carlos Duralde, Georgia, U.S., “Lost Dreams”
• Aliah Eberting, Utah, U.S., “A Flavorful Future”
• Christine Ann Hurd, Texas, U.S., “And the Tapestry of Starts Curled Up To Reveal the Face of God”
• Alycia McCreary, Kentucky, U.S., “Parenthood Planned”
• Natalie Petit, Ohio, U.S., “A Toothache for the Truth”
• Hannah Reese, North Carolina, U.S., “Family Feast”
• Claire Spackman, Hong Kong, “The Genes of Tomorrow”
• Jorge Tenorio, Arizona, U.S., “LifeTime”
Tenorio is an ASU graduate student and a research analyst at ASU’s Office of University Initiatives.
In addition to the ten $1,000 prizewinners, 33 additional stories will be published in a series of three anthologies to be released throughout 2014 and 2015. To see the full list of winners, visit: http://isef.tomorrow-projects.com/results/.
The winners were selected by an editorial board of scholars, journalists, artists and futurists, chaired by Ed Finn and G. Pascal Zachary, professor of practice at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes.
Bryan Walsh, senior writer for TIME magazine and a member of the editorial board, said of the winning entries: “The stories I was fortunate enough to judge showed a wonderful imaginative sense, an ability to use fiction to explore the shape of our future.”