September 23, 2021
Haus der Architekten Stuttgart

Review: videos of the lectures and panels of the Applied Fiction Days 2020.

“I see science fiction as a lifelike assessment of the consequences of technology,” said Berlin-based SF author Karlheinz Steinmüller on the podium – describing, almost incidentally, the core of the Next Frontiers conference on October 21 in Stuttgart. After all, this was exactly what the scientists from the fields of computing, geobiology, social, media and cultural sciences and SF writers such as Tad Williams, Marcus Hammerschmid and Emma Braslavsky were all talking about. How do we evaluate the ubiquitous technology today – and into what future will it lead us? This was as much about the post-fossil city (“The automobile is a failed concept”) as it was about future food (“If we don’t like the taste of insects, at least the fish do”) or the future of money (“Our thinking is so much determined by categories of exchange that we don’t even dare to think about a future without money.”) A lot of space was devoted to the topic of robotics and artificial intelligence, where the spectrum of human resemblance as well as AI in computer games and anime was covered. The final word ultimately was given to the successful author Tad Williams (“Otherland”), who joined us through a video call from the US. Science fiction predicts the future? “No,” he said. “I look at how things are today. Then I try in the manner of satire to exaggerate and escalate what we have today. This not only produces good science fiction, but also an exciting assessment of the consequences of technology.