If you have been following the Science Fiction Genre recently you will have noticed that most of the popular SciFi stories nowadays are about post-apoplectic future where civilization got wiped out by a virus or zombies or some other disaster etc etc. Not many stories are being written that talk about a golden future with new advances etc that would serve to inspire folks to create new stuff like Author C Clarke’s writings on communication satellites that inspired folks to actually create them, or Star Trek Communicators that partially inspired the creation of cell phones. Those items along with numerous other things both small and large were initially created by writers as Science Fiction but then slowly became reality.
Recently Neal Stephenson wrote an article entitled “Innovation Starvation“, where he called for a return to inspiration in contemporary science fiction, this call inspired people and Project Hieroglyph was born shortly thereafter.
The name of Project Hieroglyph comes from the notion that certain iconic inventions in science fiction stories serve as modern “hieroglyphs” – Arthur Clarke’s communications satellite, Robert Heinlein’s rocket ship that lands on its fins, Issac Asimov’s robot, and so on. Jim Karkanias of Microsoft Research described hieroglyphs as simple, recognizable symbols on whose significance everyone agrees.
What science fiction stories—and the symbols that they engender—can do better than almost anything else is to provide not just an idea for some specific technical innovation, but also to supply a coherent picture of that innovation being integrated into a society, into an economy, and into people’s lives. Often, this is the missing element that scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and entrepreneurs need in order to actually take the first real steps towards realizing some novel idea.
While the mission of Project Hieroglyph begins with creative inspiration, our hope is that many of us will be genuinely inspired towards realization.
Here writers post questions or just talk about idea’s that are meant to make people think and speculate on the important question in life “What if?”. The site is a great read not just for authors but for readers as well. It pushes you to think about new idea’s or a different aspect for an existing idea. Check it out and you won’t be disappointed.