TED Conversations

Simone Ines Lackerbauer

Freelancer and Student, ProSiebenSat.1 Games


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Change Through Imagination and Fiction: we need to communicate our ideas & visions to make them real.

I have been fascinated by the way how ideas and visions, especially related to new technologies, are communicated in real life (TED Talks, scientific conferences, academe) and in fiction (science fiction, cyberculture). I want to explore certain aspects of creativity, fiction, and technological utopia -- visions of the future, fuelled by innovation, new technologies, gadgets, visions, dreams, rumors related to high-tech and small-scale technologies.

One of my hypotheses is that we need imagination and fiction to communicate our visions in order to foster change; for better or worse. Every innvoation starts as pure fiction, so the more we imagine and envision, the more we will be able to innovate and to channel our imagination for positive change.

A commercial example: Steve Jobs had a very particular idea about personal computers and gadgets; the systems he built (as opposed to the ones Steve Wozniak favored) were (and are) "closed" systems, communicating a vision of completedness and a certain digital lifestyle.

A cultural example: TED Speakers use the TED platform -- and bend to the TED rules -- to communicate their ideas. Many Speakers have had special presentation training, many of them have stunning visualizations of their ideas -- impressive slides, fascinating computer animations to communicate their ideas and partly their fiction of what might be possible -- to share their visions and to help them become reality one day.

A scientific example: scientists come up with theories based on observations, then they try to make them real by experimenting, by observing, by comparing, by publishing papers, by talking to peers and eventually by finding evidence (at least in most cases).

Do you think fiction has the power to provoke change? Do you think we need fiction to give our visions more substance and to push them towards reality? Is fiction in everyday life settings powerful? Is fiction dangerous? Can fiction foster innovation and change?


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  • Oct 1 2011: Hello Again Simone, This is great subject for exchanging ideas . Am glad that you appreciated the positive comment.The ways that real life is more unbelievable than fiction are vast. Including all of the common yet life altering events. Ranging from some of lifes' greatest and unexpected joys, surprises, scares and close calls, to its' most devastating tragedies. All for the one and only same reason, because they are real. They are the basis of all fiction.Just posted a TED Conversation of a real life experience that is more unbelievable than fiction. How is that for coincidence?As far as 25 being young or very young. Age, like most things in life, is relative. In your case, your accomplishments and point of view are most impressive. Looking forward to many more meaningful and interesting TED conversations from you, and maybe a book or film someday.Most Sincerely, Nat
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      Oct 11 2011: Thank you very much for your comment, I really appreciate your opinion. I also enjoy following the conversation, although I unfortunately haven't done the best job replying to all comments so far.

      What you say makes sense, as life definitely can be surprising every day, probably due to the fact that each of us has a history covering more time than any work of fiction ever could. At the same time, questions like "does everything happen for a reason?," arise -- but I believe that luck and coincidences exist... and that fiction or the things we imagine every day somehow fit in somewhere as well.

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