The world’s largest semiconductor chip maker Intel has commissioned top science fiction authors to pen short stories that will imagine future uses for the firm's technology.
The new initiative, “The Tomorrow Project, is similar to DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency)’s 100-year Starship Study as the Santa Clara-based company has commissioned top science-fiction-writers to write short stories using Intel’s technology and transforming it into something hugely imaginative.
The collection of these stories is available to download for free online. The four authors featured in the book are Scarlett Thomas, Markus Heitz, Douglas Rushkoff, and Ray Hammond.
The company believes that this can help in anticipating the consumer’s aspirations, and drive future adoption of its products. The Tomorrow Project” is led by Intel futurist Brian David Johnson, who has regarded the scheme as an important way to assess future technology trends.
“When we design chips to go into your television, your computers, your phones - we need to do it about five or ten years in advance. We need to have an understanding of what people will want to do with those devices,” Johnson said in an interview. “What science fiction does is give us a way to think about the implications of the technologies that we're building, for the people who will actually be using them.”
The concept Johnson talks about is something called “future casting,” which is a process of developing a vision for the future. The process involves social science research, technology research, global trends and science fiction.
“If we can give people a vision of the future - and do it through science fiction - we can capture people's imaginations,” Johnson added.
One of the authors, Ray Hammond, said he believes that narrative has an important role to play in future technology.
Intel have owned the desktop and server market for a long time. As the world moves to mobile devices where they are not number one, what are they going to do? Hammond told BBC News. “Story telling is often under-appreciated in marketing and development. It can engender reactions you just don't get if you show a bunch of slides. The best CEOs -- like Apple's Steve Jobs -- are the most brilliant story tellers.”
Hammond, however, confessed that it has been the most nervous approach for him compared to his previous full length stories, and that it was the first time he penned down a short story and the form was new to him, BBC News reported.
“The Tomorrow Project” has been split into four chapters – “Last Day of Work” by Douglas Rushkoff, “The Mercy Dash” by Ray Hammond, “The Drop” by Scarlett Thomas and “The Blink of an Eye” by Markus Heitz.
Listen to the Podcast here: