Isaac Asimov’s robots. Robert Heinlein’s rocket ships. William Gibson’s cyberspace. Before they vacuumed our houses, put a man on the moon, and changed the way we access information, these inventions were the stuff of science fiction. But today, in an era where it seems we have all the technology we could possibly need, science fiction has taken a dystopian turn. Artificial intelligence turns on its human creators. Genetic engineering causes civilizations to collapse. But what if we created and used science fiction to solve our most intractable problems? How can this genre of literature stoke the ambitions of scientists, engineers, and inventors? Science fiction writer Neal Stephenson and Arizona State University physicist Lawrence M. Krauss, both of whom contributed to the new anthology Hieroglyph: Stories and Visions for a Better Future, visit Zócalo to discuss whether science fiction can truly change contemporary science, and what the alternative futures we imagine mean for present-day innovation.
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