Teachers' blog


【What if…?】


(Contributed by George)
What if robots were created that were as intelligent as humans?
What if we had the technology to travel to the stars?
What if the government watched our every move?
These are the sort of questions that ‘spur’ science fiction. They are the questions which have helped to defined and design the future we might create. Without science fiction some of these ideas might never have become part of our dreams for the future.
For example, the word ‘robot’ was first used in a 1921 play ‘R.U.R’ by the Czech writer, Karel Čapek. These creatures were something that replaced humanity in the workplace. The idea of robots of was further defined by the legendary author Isaac Asimov who wrote the ‘Robot series’ a series of 38 short stories and 5 novels about robots and the ethical ideas around creating them, the most famous of which is ‘I, Robot’ a book so famous that it has created many movies and TV shows. ‘The Laws of robotics’ that Asimov created have infested our modern world, and now 1000s of books, TV shows and films have featured robots in hundreds of different forms.
Now we build robots, like ASIMO, in the image of the ideas laid down by science fiction. Robots now run our factories and vacuum houses.
How long before the robot is clever enough to consider humans as ‘merely’ ants.
Would we even be building Robots now if Karel Čapek had not written that play? We certainly wouldn’t have called them robots.
And that quite simply is why I love science fiction, it pushes our dreams of tomorrow into reality – by making us think about the consequences of what we are doing now. All science fiction is a reflection on the fears and hopes of the present, which helps us consider the future, the past, and what technology might bring.
Happy reading,

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