technologies by hosting competitions
like Qualcomm’s Tricorder XPRIZE,
which aims to create a technology
similar to the Star Trek tricorder device.
It’s certainly tempting to imagine
science fiction as a handy tool for
invention. The implicit conceit is that
this genre has a remarkable ability to
give us visions of and foreshadow the
science and technology of the future [ 3].
We all know about Star Trek holodecks
or Minority Report–style hand-waving
user interfaces: Are these serious
science fiction envisionments of future
UIs? Or do they subconsciously
constrain our thinking by providing
strong designs that are ever present?
We all want to invent the future. One
approach to future invention is the
notion that real design and science can
be inspired by science fiction narratives,
which define and illuminate user
interaction issues [ 1]. Science fiction
takes its future-facing ideas fairly
seriously, and considerable ink has been
spilled to argue for the ways in which
science fiction gets the future right [ 2].
We commonly talk about a Blade
Runner social dystopia and link current
events and news about upcoming
technologies as coming from, being
derived from, or having been presciently
predicted by science fiction. We may
even aspire to emulate science fiction
CAN WE LOOK TO
SCIENCE FICTION FOR
INNOVATION IN HCI?
Daniel M. Russell, Google
Svetlana Yarosh, University of Minnesota
→ Science fiction is
wonderful for inspiration
but should not be read
uncritically as a source
of design innovations.
→ There is a tension
between design fiction
for speculative ideation
and design innovation
for pragmatic ideation—
we suggest a few heuristics
to help guide the pragmatic
use of design fiction.