I think that’s an apt way to describe the genre of thinking we need for our time.
Many of the technologies we use today were once nothing but figments of a science fiction writer’s imagination. Now they are fact.
But here’s the thing: what was powerful about Science Fiction was its ability to simultaneously imagine technology and fathom the moral, cultural and personal implications of the technology.
With science fiction losing its popularity, our we also losing our powers of imagination and fictive exploration?
If we want the best out of healthcare technologies, we need to hone a kind of world-view similar to science fiction. One where we can simultaneously power up the engines of imagination and exploration.
For example, when we build robots that care for people in nursing homes, are we doing the best for them? (You gotta watch the video in that link. Trust me.)
Or are we creating the conditions which writers like Philip K. Dick warned us about? Do we think deeply enough about whether or not it’s dignifying for nursing homes to leave personal attention to a robot? (Bear in mind: once you roll out a technology with one aim, it always goes in other directions.)
The point is, it’s not enough these days to just say “Mobile Health is the next big thing!!!!!” What does that mean? Nothing. Nothing at all. We get it: we can now browse the Web and use applications on small devices and do…health…stuff. So what now?
Rather, we need to work on keeping our imaginative powers from atrophying.
The two best ways to do that, in my opinion, are:
- Meet with others face-to-face and thrash about ideas
- Make room for alone-time and use it wisely
These days, where people are spending more time online while sitting and walking and @^#&ing, it’s getting harder to do either.
Anything we can do to make those two things happen will make for good Science Faction.
Otherwise, we’ll have failed to heed the messages from Science Fiction.