How changing one thing can change the world
Change one thing in the technology or science of the present day. It could be the way we communicate, the way we travel, the way we eat, drink or think. It might be something as small as a development in processor technology or as fundamental as a law of physics. If you can’t think of anything, look up some science news websites or read New Scientist. Take a very small idea, perhaps battery miniaturisation. How far could that go? Could we reach a point where a human could carry a reactor’s worth of power inside a wrist watch, or something smaller? What might they do with that power? What technology might replace the battery? What if it were impossible to store power?
Remember, science fiction does not have to be possible, simply plausible. It can follow its central question: ‘what if?’ with almost anything as long as it stays consistent as it develops its answers.
Consider how will this change in technology affect us today? In five years’ time? In 20 years, 100 years, 1000?
Questions you might want to consider include: who has access to the technology, what sustains the technology, what benefits will the technology bring, what drawbacks? How much does it cost? What modern social structures will the technology support? Which ones might it erode? What supporting technologies might the central technology require? If you are going to have spaceships that let you travel to meet aliens, will your society develop universal translators, thought transfer, or just really big guns? Things can surprise you, so think openly. When I was a child, we were told we would live in a leisure society because robots would remove the need for work. That overlooked the fact that the owners of the robots would not be remunerating the people they made redundant. Rather than a leisure society it looks like we might be heading to a world sharply divided between haves and have nots. Always have in your mind the question: ‘How could this go wrong?’Find out more
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