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HAPLAB: A Sci-Fi Workshop on Horror and Possibility

HAPLAB: A Sci-Fi Workshop on Horror and Possibility

Sophia Brueckner / USA
University of Michigan – Ann Arbor
http://www.sophiabrueckner.com

“A good science fiction story should be able to predict not the automobile but the traffic jam.” – Frederick Pohl

For decades, science fiction authors have explored both our wildest dreams and greatest fears for where technology might lead us. This workshop ties science fiction with speculative/critical design as a means to encourage the ethical and thoughtful design of new technologies.

Reading science fiction is like ethics class for inventors, designers, and engineers. Science fiction looks at current technological and social trends and extrapolates them into the future. It speculates on the consequences of these trends, both good and bad, if they continue unchecked. During this workshop, participants will use J. G. Ballard’s “Answers to a Questionnaire”, a story made up of only answers and with the questions omitted, as a jumping-off point to write one-sentence science fiction stories. Avoiding both blind optimism for technology as well as its polar opposite of overly Luddite thinking and cynicism, this constrained exercise will encourage the formulation of imaginative and whimsical ideas for new technologies with an attitude of critical optimism…hopeful yet careful.