Thursday, May 10, 2012

Imagining the Future

I wasn't going to post anything today, but then as I was getting into the shower (my thinking room) a whisper of a thought flitted through my consciousness. I almost lost it down the drain. Almost.

A while back (three or four months), I saw this show about Star Trek and how the fictional tech on the show has sort of come into being. Not spaceships or warp drive, but mp3 players and portable communication devices. It got me thinking. (I can hear that "uh oh". Don't try to deny it.)

What if we need people to imagine amazing things before they can be invented?

I know that the inventors imagine what they want to create before they are able to create it. What I'm asking is what if we need people to imagine the outlandish or out-of-left-field ideas? Can the act of imagining something that doesn't seem possible make it so that it can be invented?

3 comments:

  1. The simple answer is yes. Imagining new things lies at the very crux of invention. It takes place because people feel that there's something missing. Like...wouldn't it be cool if humans could just fly to work. And then someone else gets on board and things, "That's a good idea. I could invent a jetpack or a flying car and make that possible." I don't think that there would be any progress in science if people weren't "imagining" things.

    Look at all the theories proposed by astrophysicists. They are theories because people are imagining them trying to unify all the things that they observe into something that explains it all. Out of this kind of thinking comes the Higgs Boson, etc.

    And quantum mechanics has its own mystery. You and I know that light changes from a particle to a wave when it is observed. This fact has been proven over and over in the dual slit experiment. Einstein once asked his partner, "Can you prove to me that the moon exists when no one is looking for it?" His partner answered "no".

    So maybe the act of imagining not only makes things possible to be invented, but in fact makes them exist in the first place. Maybe we all exist because somewhere, someplace, someone is imagining us. That's kind of a real mind bender.

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  2. That makes total sense. Creating is only one part of the equation. First you have to imagine it. Or perhaps people can look at current technology and imagine what it will evolve to in the future. Either way, if it's something outlandish, it will be "impossible" for the time. But if we can think it up, maybe we can think up how to make it, too, so nothing is truly impossible

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  3. Interesting questions. Sometimes older science fiction looks dated because the author had no clue what the future would bring. But sometimes it's eerie what they predict.

    I've noticed a lot of dystopian has gone from buttons to touch screens recently.

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