The effect of daydreaming and fiction to the evolution of science

A call to dream

4 min read | November 22, 2022

Orville and Wilbur Wright are known for their invention of, amongst things, the first airplane. Less known, however, are their lives before this pinnacle of achievement - the people they were and the circumstances that led them to be who they were.

An observation I have made from the most industrious and creative individuals the world has ever seen is that they are highly imaginative and stay persistent - knowing how to handle hard well. These are individuals that stay true to their inner selves and keep their minds in a constant state of wanderlust.

In 2021, we witnessed the launch of the first human-carrying reusable rocket - an undeniable feat in human achievement. To quote a news reporter at the time:

The next people we're going to fly to Space are the artists and poets. People who can tell the story.

Or in lay terms: ‘we shall take the people that shall inspire the next generation of convention breakers’.

In the 1960s, television premiered the birth of Star Trek - a fictional film that depicted man at war with other worlds. Along with it, came an induction of the creator’s thoughts and visions to the minds of young scientists - a preview of the possibilities that lay ahead. From communicators, voice interactive computers, telepresence to bionic eyes, the generation of outliers that watched the show and others like it would later breath these items to life. Motorolla’s flip phone and Google’s echo bot are all examples of what started as a pipe dream. As if to crown it, we now have voice-driven development(VDD) as part and parcel of the modern software engineer’s build process.

“Before the cylinder fell there was a general persuasion that through all the deep of space no life existed beyond the petty surface of our minute sphere. Now we see further. If the Martians can reach Venus, there is no reason to suppose that the thing is impossible for men.” ~ Herbert George Wells, War of Worlds, 1898

Ask any child in the 1980s what their favourite toys were and 7 out of 10 would have spurted a lightsaber - an adaptation from the 1977 film, Star Wars - filled with descriptions of sliding doors and holographic projections. Less than a century later, whole industries; be it the military - R&D missile deflector in 2017, museums and works of art and entertainment would all thrive from a ‘once far-fetched’. All of this; realization of what humanity could achieve when it is truly inspired; using technology to chase our imagination, knowing we shall never catch it.

“And in her ears the little seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind.” Fahrenheit, Ray Bradbury, 1950

(The earbuds were invented 30 years later)

Often, history will remember the leaps of scientific advancements but fail to acknowledge the influence of fiction and the creators of such fiction on the achievement of superior craftsmanship.

Like it or not, the future is here and it is up to you to make the choice on whether or not you will answer the call - a choice at how you look at art and fiction. It is time to create more artists and teach our young about poetry and the art of storytelling. If history has taught us anything, it is that they are the ones that drive the next era of human innovation.

Indulge:

We had the world tour of Roy Orbinson streamed across multiple countries back in 2018. The company, Base Hologram, intends to bring popular and re-known artists to the public scene. A re-lived live performance.