Evolution of the science fiction writer's capacity to imagine the future

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

Abstract

Drawing upon a body of research on the evolution of creativity, this paper proposes a theory of how, when, and why the forward-thinking story-telling abilities of humans evolved, culminating in the visionary abilities of science fiction writers. The ability to recursively chain thoughts together evolved approximately two million years ago. Language abilities, and the ability to shift between different modes of thought, evolved approximately 100,000 years ago. Science fiction dates to at least the second Century AD. It is suggested that well before this time, but after 100,000 years ago, and concurrent with the evolution of a division of labour between creators and imitators, there arose a division of labour between past, present, and future thinkers. Agent-based model research suggests there are social benefits to the evolution of individual differences in creativity such that there is a balance between novelty-generating creators and continuity-perpetuating imitators. A balance between individuals focused on the past, present, and future would be expected to yield similar adaptive benefits.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2nd Annual Science Fiction Prototyping Conference 2018
Subtitle of host publicationDesigning your Future with Science Fiction, SciFi-It 2018
EditorsPhilippe Geril
PublisherEUROSIS-ETI
Pages25-31
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9789492859020
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event2nd Annual Science Fiction Prototyping Conference: Designing your Future with Science Fiction, SciFi-It 2018 - Bruges, Belgium
Duration: 18 Apr 201819 Apr 2018

Publication series

Name2nd Annual Science Fiction Prototyping Conference 2018: Designing your Future with Science Fiction, SciFi-It 2018

Conference

Conference2nd Annual Science Fiction Prototyping Conference: Designing your Future with Science Fiction, SciFi-It 2018
Country/TerritoryBelgium
CityBruges
Period18/04/1819/04/18

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author acknowledges funding from grant (62R06523) from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 EUROSIS-ETI.

Copyright:
Copyright 2018 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Keywords

  • Cognition
  • Future
  • Imagination
  • Innovation
  • Science fiction

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