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Real-life scenarios: science fiction is more than just fiction

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Charles-Edouard Bouée, Senior Advisor at Roland Berger, recommends using science fiction as a source of inspiration to provide us with a realistic view of the future. He dreams of supplementing his brain power through the use of machines to augment its capabilities.

Charles-Edouard Bouée, Senior Advisor at Roland Berger.

Charles-Edouard Bouée, Senior Advisor at Roland Berger.

How can one develop realistic scenarios for the future? Charles-Edouard Bouée, Senior Advisor at Roland Berger has an answer to this question: “Science fiction provides the imaginative power.” Bouée is urging developers and futures researchers to pay close attention to novels in the genre.

And the answers they will find will not always be “42”, as in the Douglas Adams’ famous novel “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” In fact, the answers will turn out to be extremely many and varied. Many science fiction authors are themselves developers, programmers or scientists. And they take full advantage of their technical knowledge and breathe life into it: creating science fiction stories that imagine everyday working conditions, home environments and mobility, all the way up to future medical capacities. So their ideas should really not be treated as mere tall tales.

However, Bouée explicitly excludes Hollywood movies from his assessment: the movies create a negative and one-sided vision of the future. The mechanical beings imagined in them tend to be intent on wiping out humanity.

Against these dystopias, Bouée sees no conflict between human and machine. He dreams of networking his brain together with a machine, to produce what he calls “HAI.” The abbreviation stands for “human augmented intelligence,” a prospect brought within reach by “augmenting the capacities of the human brain by means of connecting it up with machines.”

This positive attitude to technology is also reflected in his vision of the future for Europe: Bouée is optimistic about the role that Europe can play in the field of artificial intelligence. “We need to think in the long-term, to analyze sci-fi and to invest in the right technologies. We just need to get started on the task,” he tells us in the video interview.

But what do you think? Are you beginning to mull over what sci-fi title you might feel like picking up to read?

Real-life scenarios: science fiction is more than just fiction.

More than just fiction

Charles-Edouard Bouée recommends Science Fiction novels as source for a realistic view into our future.