IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - December 2019 - 10

In some way, we attempt to re solve the conflicts presented to us by
analyzing what are the real threats
as opposed to perceived threats,
and we consider suitable strategies
to prevent or resolve the conflict.
Science fiction also has a way of
challenging government-industrial
complex "group think." In That
Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis masterfully presents a new governmentfunded research facility at the
fictional University of Edgestow,
aptly named the "National Institute
for Co -ordinated Experiments"
(N.I.C.E.) with questions surrounding the natural limits of innovation. It

Some topics will invariably
preoccupy humankind: inherent
in this book are issues of control
and risk.
takes the youthful new recruit, Mark
Studdock, an ambitious sociologist,
to save the world from the establishment, and François Alcasan whose
head was recovered by the N.I.C.E.
after the French scientist was murdered, and has been kept alive by
technology seemingly communicating with Macrobes [7].
Somehow at the heart of sci-fi is
returning power to the people who
almost always regain control before
things get completely out of hand.
But we learn that our freedom comes
at a cost. The reassuring aspect of
Maynard's work is that justice prevails, despite the ominous lurking
of some technological beast that is
waiting to be unleashed, beckoning for a movie sequel. Technology
and its application - at least in the

10

interim - are restored to useful
practice and people marshal toward
hopeful and sustainable futures.
The deeper one gets into Films
from the Future, the more one questions why these twelve movies. What
is so special about them? What
unfolds is a narrative that builds
one layer on top of the other, and a
chronological thematic inquiry that
reaches its climax in chapter 13 dedicated to Contact. Maynard takes us
on a fantastical ride through time -
from what looks to be about the
beginning and the presence of dinosaurs in Jurassic Park, to the potential for human cloning in Never Let
Me Go, to artificial intelligence, the advent of bioprinting, human augmentation
and genetic engineering,
to an age of singularity in
Transcendence, climate
change, and finally considering the vast expanse
that is space. It is as if
the Creation stor y plays
out, and then a doomsday
Apoca l y p s e t h r e a t e n s,
only for humans to search
beyond earth and into the stars for
their ultimate glory.
S o m e r e a d e r s wo u l d h a v e
watched perhaps a few of the scifi films selected by Maynard like Ex
Machina, but Films from the Future
is also set to encourage a whole
new following of lesser known
movies like The Man in the White
Suit that depict s the s t r u g g l e
b e t we e n a n innovator and the
unintended consequences his innovation causes.
About the only thing I can be
critical of Mango Press about is the
absence of a few images that might
well have been able to bring the
book to life in a different way; and
perhaps some select quotations
from the featured films that may
have been interweaved into May-

IEEE TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIETY MAGAZINE

nard's narrative or noted in the margins. I admit I love direct quotes!
One thing for certain, Maynard
presents an excellent summation of
the topics that will invariably always
preoccupy humankind. Inherent in
this book are issues of control and
risk. Students in particular will
be served well in interdisciplinary
courses that interrogate the subject
matter from a variety of lenses -
social, technical, ethical, and legal.
And the book provides a starting
point for the study of the future. It
is one of the best summaries I've
come across.

Reviewer Information
Katina Michael is a Professor in the
School of Computing, Informatics,
and Decision Systems Engineering
at Arizona State University, Tempe,
AZ. Email: katina.michael@asu.edu.

References
[1] Katina Michael interviews Brian Cantrell,
"Makoko 2036," May 22, 2016; https://www
.youtube.com/watch?v=-SntGFlz7Ro, accessed
Oct. 30, 2018.
[2] L. Cechanowicz, B. Cantrell, and A. McDowell,
"World building and the future of media:
Makoko 2036," IEEE Technology and Society Mag., Dec. 2016; https://ieeexplore.ieee
.org/stamp/stamp.jsp?arnumber=7790997,
accessed Oct. 30, 2018.
[3] J. Matroos, "Alex McDowell on telling stories that shape the future," Design Indaba, Sept. 1, 2016; http://www.designindaba
.com/videos/conference-talks/alex-mcdowell
-telling-stories-shape-future, accessed Oct.
30, 2018.
[4] M. Smith, "Can we predict when and where
a crime will take place?," BBC News, Oct. 30,
2018; https://www.bbc.com/news/business
-46017239#, accessed Oct, 30, 2018.
[5] P. Mozur, "Inside China's dystopian dreams:
A.I., shame and lots of cameras," NYTimes,
Jul. 8, 2018; https://www.nytimes.com/
2018/07/08/business/china-sur veillance
-technology.html, accessed Oct. 30, 2018.
[6] J. Hollenhorst, "Crime time machines adds
to security, privacy debate", KSL.com, Sept. 28,
2017; https://www.ksl.com/?sid=45975124
&nid=148. accessed Oct. 30, 2018.
[7] C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength. New York,
NY: Scribner, 1945 (repub. 2003), 384pp.
[8] K. Michael, "A conversation with Lazar Puhalo" [Interview], IEEE Technology and Society
Mag., vol. 34, no. 3, pp. 25-28, Sept. 2015; https://
ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7270450.

∕

DECEMBER 2019


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SntGFlz7Ro https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-SntGFlz7Ro https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7790997 https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7790997 http://www.designindaba.com/videos/conference-talks/alex-mcdowell-telling-stories-shape-future http://www.designindaba.com/videos/conference-talks/alex-mcdowell-telling-stories-shape-future http://www.designindaba.com/videos/conference-talks/alex-mcdowell-telling-stories-shape-future https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46017239# https://www.bbc.com/news/business-46017239# https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/08/business/china-surveillance-technology.html https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/08/business/china-surveillance-technology.html https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/08/business/china-surveillance-technology.html http://www.KSL.com https://www.ksl.com/article/45975124 https://www.ksl.com/article/45975124 http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7270450 http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/7270450

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine - December 2019

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