Out on Every Day Fiction today. Suddenly, I want to know where my council tax goes!
There is actually some science behind this piece of fiction. The Google research car has travelled thousands of miles without incident (see TED talk by Sebastian Thrun), and other vehicles have been driven remotely, including one by Gadget Show presenter Jason Bradbury in a race against an F1 driver. Both cars were live on the track. This set the scene, in my fevered mind at any rate, for a virtual cab company whose ‘drivers’ operate passenger pods from call centres. Then came the idea about what to do with drunken, offensive punters: round ‘em up, wash ‘em down, and – er …
Image by Josh Bancroft via Flickr
I used to think creativity and imagination had nothing to do with science until I heard that a significant number of NASA scientists had developed their interests through reading and watching science fiction. While Gene Roddenberry was boldly going, courtesy of fantastic warp drive technology, these chaps were figuring out how to build it. So now we have scanners Dr McCoy would find handy, information tablets that outclass the gizmos a red shirt would offer to the Captain for signature, and communication devices that can access the world, not just one contact point. There’s probably an app in development for the beaming up capability.
For me, the cross over comes in imagining something that doesn’t exist yet and, in both my worlds, this needs to be fairly soundly based in current evidence or to be at least conceptually feasible. The project using virtual world technology, reported in the Essl Foundation Social Index, is a gratifying example of how that can work. The paper was invited on the basis of our earlier reports. You can find it on page 134 if you wish to delve.