What is the Tomorrow Project?
The Tomorrow Project is an international project that uses science fiction based on science fact to spark conversations about the future. The project believes that everyone should be an active participant in their future and that science fiction based on science fact can give us a language to talk about those futures. We ask people to imagine both the future they want and the futures they want to avoid.
What do you mean by “fiction based on science fact”?
Today’s emerging technologies, such as synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and 3D printing, are likely to have profound impacts on society. But understanding how some of these technologies that are still on the drawing board might be used in 5-10-20 years’ time is not straightforward. We hope that the open forum provided by The Tomorrow Project will encourage the very people who are likely to be using those technologies in the future to examine the real-life and future implications in ways that more traditional brainstorming or planning can’t. To enable this, we have targeted themes, based on technology and science, in whatever guise – from robotics to synthetic biology to geoengineering – that should feature prominently in the submissions.
Why use science fiction?
Science fiction is a way to think about how we want the future to be. A science fiction story based on science fact can allow us to explore both the human implications and the plausible futures that technologies, recent breakthroughs, design and research might lead us.
It is very hard to imagine what a technology can do if that technology has not been there. Science fiction gives us a language so we can have a conversation about the future. It provides a jumping off platform; a way to call certain topics to observation, a way to tease out and explore the wider implications of science, engineering, technology and technological changes. Most of all it’s fun! Exciting! A way to turn today’s reality into tomorrow’s adventure.
“Science fiction is the playground of your imagination. If you are interested in science or fascinated with the future then science fiction is where you can explore new ideas and let your dreams and nightmares duke it out on the safety of the page or screen. Science needs storytelling and storytelling needs science.”
Brian David Johnson
Author of Science Fiction Prototyping
Are there previous Tomorrow Projects – what has been the result?
We have now run The Tomorrow Project for the past 5 years. The stories and conversations have been moving all over the world. We started in Germany, and have been to the United States, England and Brazil. Along the way we‘ve talked with some truly amazing people, from working scientists and engineers to science fiction writers and regular folks who are passionate about the future. Our most recent 2014 Tomorrow Project resulted in stories and visions that came from 15 countries and 36 U.S. states. 40% of the entries were from young women. One of our goals was to get more women involved in STEM. The stories came from a wide range of ages as well: 26% from 13-15 year olds, 45% from 16-18 year olds, and 29% from 19-25 year olds.
Check our website periodically to see which competitions are open, as well as to browse relevant news and interesting articles, videos, podcasts and science fiction stories.