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Graduate Student Seminar Series: Science Fiction and the Policy of the Futu...

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Kleinman Center for Energy Policy Classroom

Fisher Fine Arts Library, 3rd floor

220 S 34th St.

Philadelphia, PA 19104

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Graduate Student Seminar Series: Science Fiction and the Policy of the Future

Student presenter: Anastasia Klimchynskaya, Comparative Literature

Technology is advancing at an exponential rate – and often, advancing ahead of our ability to legislate it or safely integrate it into society. Science fiction can provide a solution: companies like Microsoft and Google often hire sci-fi authors to consult with their research and development departments; tech companies commission “design fiction” – imaginative works that model new ideas. On a larger scale, science fiction creates the communal cultural imaginary through which we understand and confront innovations. Thus, science fiction can be a meaningful solution to the dizzying pace of technological advance through its ability to imagine and think through scientific and technological innovations - but only if policy-makers gain a deeper understanding of how science fiction functions as a way of managing the unknown.

Science fiction can serve as a way of testing hypotheses through narrative techniques, immersing the reader in a virtual reality that extrapolates from the present and meticulously examines possibilities. In order to use this powerful tool responsibly, we need to look back to the historical roots of science fiction – as a genre made possible by the scientific paradigms of the nineteenth century – and to think through both the moral and political utility, and the potential limitations and dangers, of using the laboratory of the mind's eye to drive the policy of the future.

**Lunch will be provided

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Kleinman Center for Energy Policy Classroom

Fisher Fine Arts Library, 3rd floor

220 S 34th St.

Philadelphia, PA 19104

View Map

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