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Writer’s Block? 5 Ideas for Science Fiction Writers

Updated on September 13, 2017

The technologies and ideas I present in this article may be the springboard for your creative writing. You may adapt and twist them however you like.

1. Assembler-Based Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology is already changing the face of science. It has wide uses, from textile production to medicine to spacecraft. However, the current use isn’t anything as radical as Eric Drexler’s predictions from 1986.

Eric Drexler anticipated the possibility of assembler-based nanotechnology. According to this theory, miniature robots called molecular assemblers would be able to re-arrange molecules in existing matter. Coal could be converted into diamonds and sand into computer chips. All matter could be radically transformed – the human race would acquire unprecedented godly powers.

How can you use it in your writing?

Envision a society in which molecular nanotechnology is commonplace. Who has access to this technology? Does it create inequalities? To what nefarious uses can it be put?

Ideas to explore in your writing:

  • Making planets habitable
  • Unhampered technological progress
  • Elimination of diseases
  • Immortality
  • Weapon production
  • Enhancing the human body (supernatural vision/hearing/intellect, the ability to fly or breathe under water)
  • New social divisions and forms of domination

2. Mind Uploading

The transhumanist movement focuses much of its energy on envisioning immortality. One of their ideas is mind uploading – retrieving the information from a dead brain and uploading it on a supercomputer. In this way, any person could go on living in a machine or virtual reality.

Ideas to explore in your writing:

  • The concept of personhood. Are the dead human and the uploaded version the same person?
  • What could go wrong during uploading? Could it lead to the creation of a new being?
  • How would the problem of overpopulation be solved?
  • Would humans cease to procreate?
  • How could minds interact in virtual reality?
  • Is immortality the ultimate blessing or hell?

3. The singularity hypothesis

The singularity hypothesis claims that technological advancement grows exponentially. It has particularly monumental consequences in the field of AI.

The theory goes that when humankind creates the first superhuman intelligence, an explosion in AI will follow.

Let’s suppose that the first superhumanly intelligent machine will be able to create other, more intelligent machines. Then those other machines can create even more superior beings and so on. Shortly, human intelligence would be left far behind.

Ideas to explore in your writing:

  • Will the intelligence explosion ever stop?
  • How will the humans and machines communicate?
  • How will the machines view the humans? As insects? Pets?
  • How will the machines treat the humans? Enslave? Exterminate? Ignore?
  • What will the new social order look like? Consider all the machines with different levels of intelligence.

4. Brain-Computer Interfaces

Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) are technologies that can connect the human brain to a machine, the Internet, or other human brains. In other words, a world wide web straight in your brain, without any mediating devices.

BCIs are already used to help mute people communicate (think Stephen Hawking). They are also used to restore sight or hearing – BCIs can translate sound or light into signals understood by the brain.

BCIS could constantly monitor people’s level of health. The information would be sent to health institutions for analysis.

The face of social media would change. People could share all the sensory experiences and emotions, even live.

With BCIs, you could also create your autonomous digital double, which could be delegated to some basic internet tasks, such as making purchases. More complex versions could even earn money or write blog posts based on your previous output.

Ideas to explore in your writing:

  • Preventive medicine
  • Hacking health information
  • Constant access to information and entertainment
  • A new face of sharing
  • New levels of human interaction
  • Creating your digital self
  • Your digital self rebelling

5. Cloudminds

The cloudmind is a concept similar to traditional computing clouds but comprising human minds. The idea is to bring people together to solve problems or work towards a common goal. Cloudminds could also contain AI or a mixture of humans and AI.

Humans could be also connected to objects in their environment, for instance pilots to their airplanes or security guards to the buildings they’re guarding. The environment could be controlled on the spot or remotely.

Ideas to explore in your writing:

  • Would individual identity be lost?
  • What would group identity look like?
  • What if someone hacked another person’s mind?
  • Are cloudminds a higher form of human existence?
  • How would the value system evolve?
  • How would communication evolve?

Sources

Nick Bostron , ‘A History of Transhumanist Thought’, Journal of Evolution and Technology, Vol. 14, Issue 1, April 2005

Melanie Swan, ‘The Future of Brain-Computer Interfaces: Blockchaining’, Journal of Evolution and Technology, Vol. 26. Issue 2, October 2016

© 2017 Virginia Matteo

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    • RJ Schwartz profile image

      Ralph Schwartz 11 days ago from Idaho Falls, Idaho

      I'm not a Si-Fi writer, but if I were, I'd shout out a huge "thank you" in your direction. These are some really cutting edge ideas that would likely generate a myriad of story lines. Thanks for sharing!