Episode #1529

Will Sci-Fi Save Us?

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Friday, July 18, 2014

A still from SimCity: Cities of Tomorrow. A still from SimCity: Cities of Tomorrow. (Courtesy of EA Games)

What does today’s sci-fi mean for our real-life future?  Cyberpunk author Neal Stephenson argues that it’s time to get over our love of dystopia. A class at MIT searches sci-fi classics for technologies they can invent right now, although maybe they shouldn’t. Geoengineers take a tip from Carl Sagan – who saw a green future for Mars – to see if we can save Earth.  And we meet some scientists who think that if we ever want to see the stars, we’d better start building the starship.  

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A class led by two researchers at MIT’s Media Lab asks students to take imaginary technologies from sci-fi classics and turn them into real inventions. Will they miss the point of cau...


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The Real Scientists of Hollywood

Every sci-fi film and TV show, no matter how cockamamie, needs a science advisor. Surprisingly, these scientists take the far-fetched scenarios cooked up by screenwriters seriously. T...

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For a Black Writer, Sci-Fi Offers a Reboot of Society

African-American writers have been contributing to the development of science fiction from the beginning. Artist and writer Carl Hancock Rux says they’ve used the genre to think their...


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Neko Case, Kelly Hogan, and Ellie Kemper lament a future designed by and for teenage guys.


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