“Resistance is Futile”: Reading Science Fiction Alongside Ubiquitous Computing

An interesting read on the relationship between science fiction and technological research and development by Paul Dourish

Read the whole paper here.

Reading research literature as in some ways “fictive” is not intended to denigrate or dismiss it; rather, we want to draw attention to the ways in which both science fiction and the research literature are founded upon acts of collective imagination, and that any imagination of a possible future is grounded in expectations, frustrations, and understandings of the present. One might go so far as to suggest that this is not simply a reading of scientific practice alongside popular culture, but rather a recognition that scientific practice cannot be entirely separated from the popular culture upon which it draws and to which it contributes.

So the distinction we might draw is not between research that involves social and cultural factors and research that does not, but rather between research that acknowledges these factors and research that suppresses, ignores, or denies them. Ironically, what we achieve through an engagement with science fiction is a series of reminders about scientific fact.

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