The driving motors behind many of these changes will be artificial life (A-Life) and unconventional computing. How exactly they will impact on our world is still an open question. But in the spirit of collective intelligence, this anthology brings together 38 scientists and authors, working in pairs, to imagine what life (and A-Life) will look like in the year 2070. Every kind of technology is imagined: from lie-detection glasses to military swarmbots, brain-interfacing implants to synthetically ‘grown’ skyscrapers, revolution-inciting computer games to synthetically engineered haute cuisine. All artificial life is here.
Featuring scientific contributions from: Martyn Amos, J. Mark Bishop, Seth Bullock, Stephen Dunne, James Dyke, Christian Jantzen, Francesco Mondada, James D. O'Shea, Andrew Philippides, Lenka Pitonakova, Steen Rasmussen, Thomas S. Ray, Micah Rosenkind, James Snowdon, Susan Stepney, Germán Terrazas, Andrew Vardy and Alan Winfield.
Supported by TRUCE (Training and Research in Unconventional Computation in Europe).
Science is always telling stories. Whether in the creation myths of evolution or the Big Bang, or in the eureka moments of science history, narrative – just as much as metaphor – is a key tool in the scientist’s surprisingly literary toolkit. Perhaps the most interesting use of story is the thought experiment, the intuition pump, that draws on the most instinctive parts of the imagination to crack otherwise perplexing problems.
From Newton's Bucket, to Maxwell’s Demon, from Einstein's Lift to Schrödinger’s Cat – all are examples of 'fiction' being used at the highest level, not just to explain, but to deduce, to prove. In this unique anthology, authors have collaborated with leading scientists, to bounce literary, human narratives against purely theoretical ones, alloying together real stories with abstract ones, to produce truly extraordinary results.
Full list of thought experiments: The Twin Paradox, The Grandfather Paradox, Maxwell's Demon, Laplace's Demon, Mary's Room, The Chinese Room, Schrödinger's Cat, Galileo's Boat, The Infinite Monkey Typing Pool, Einstein in a LIft, Einstein Chasing a Beam of Light, Newton's Bucket, Olber's Paradox.
Each story in Sara Maitland’s new collection enacts a daring kind of alchemy, fusing together raw elements of scientific theory with ancient myth, folkloric archetype and contemporary storytelling. As the laboratory smoke settles, we are treated to a new strain of narrative: a hybrid of fiction and non-fiction, the atavistic and the futuristic. We’re also introduced to a weird and wonderful cast of characters: identical twins who fight bitterly day and night for purely quantum mechanical reasons; an expert on bird migration awaiting the homecoming of her lover on the windswept shores of the Hebrides. All the more remarkable is that each of these stories sprang from a conversation with a scientist and grew directly out of cutting-edge research. As befits their hybrid nature, each is also accompanied by an afterword, specially written by the consulting scientist to introduce us to the wonder behind the weirdness.
SCIENTISTS: Prof. Jim Al-Khalili, Dr. Rob Appleby, Dr. Melissa Baxter, Dr. Jamie Davies, Prof. Robin Dunbar, Dr. Charles Fernyhough, Prof. Robert Furness, Dr. Linda Kirstein, Gemma Lewis, Prof. Tim O’Brien, Dr. Neil Roberts, Dr. Jennifer Rowntree, Dr. Tara Shears, Prof. Ian Stewart.
How will storytelling respond to this new and emerging science of sleep? Here, 14 authors have been invited to work with key scientists to explore various aspects of sleep research: from the possibilities of ‘sleep engineering’ and ‘overnight therapies’, to future-tech ways of harnessing sleep’s problem-solving powers, to the challenges posed by our increasingly 24-hour lifestyles. Just as new hypotheses are being put forward, old hunches are also being confirmed (there’s now a scientific basis for the time-worn advice ‘to sleep on a problem’). As these responses show, sleep and the spinning of stories are still very much entwined.
Featuring scientific contributions from: Prof Russell G. Foster, Isabel Hutchison, Dr. Simon Kyle, Dr. Penny Lewis, Dr. Paul Reading, Stephanie Romiszewski, Prof Robert Stickgold, Prof Manuel Schabus, Prof Ed Watkins, Prof Adam Zeman, Dr. Thomas Wehr.
This project was supported by the Wellcome Trust.