September 10, 2004

Blade Runner Brilliance

My latest column for Betterhumans has been posted:

Blade Runner Brilliance
As 60 leading scientists attest, the movie is more relevant and important today than ever
I'm a bit of a science fiction movie junky, so it was with great interest that I recently came across the results of a poll conducted by the Guardian about the best science fiction movies of all time. Sixty leading scientists were asked to rank their favorite science fiction films, a group that included such thinkers as evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, quantum physicist David Deutsch, psychologist Steven Pinker and Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer with SETI.

As a futurist and transhumanist, I looked at their results with great anticipation and seriousness. The science fiction genre, sometimes referred to as speculative fiction, is a particularly valuable medium for engaging in prediction and foresight. It's an effective and entertaining way in which to portray plausible futures.

In fact, I often assess the successfulness of a science fiction film based on its ability to do exactly this. Movies such as Star Wars are fine from an entertainment perspective, but offer little in their exploration of the human condition. In my mind, the most important science fiction films are the ones that speak to humanity's relationship with its science and technology, and the risks and benefits they hold for the future. Really, it's future-realism that I'm after rather than fantasy.

Thus, given the prominence of the scientists asked, it was with great delight that I discovered my own personal favorite ranked at number one: Ridley Scott's 1982 classic, Blade Runner. Today, given the potential for radically redesigned humans, cloning and artificial intelligence, Blade Runner has never been more relevant nor more important.
Entire Article

No comments: