TED Conversations

Simone Lackerbauer

Product Manager, M.A., Creator, 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 17 2011: There is ONE lunatic out of a million... perhaps...but history has seen all this before. The positive message IS of course, if we constrict ourselves in thoughts, creativity and ideas we will never really be able to DREAM "the impossible"- which has been shown to be at times very probable. History has shown that as well.....

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