The Global Technological Imaginary: Sci-Fi, Tech, and the Ethics of Representation

Welcome back to a brand new season of “Technically Human!” Today’s episode features another conversation in the “22 Lessons on Ethics and Technology” series.

I teach science fiction as a way of thinking about ethics and technology, because I fundamentally believe that before we can build anything, we first have to imagine it. Science fiction is at the core of so many of our technological innovations, offering us utopian visions of how the world could be, or how our values might be captured and catapulted by new technologies—or dystopias about how technology’s promise can go terribly, horribly wrong. So I was thrilled to talk with Professor Lisa Yaszek, one of the world’s leading experts on science fictions, for this episode, about the role of science fiction in creating a global imaginary about technology that crosses centuries, continents, and cultures.

Dr. Lisa Yaszek is Regents Professor of Science Fiction Studies in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech. She is particularly interested in issues of gender, race, and science and technology in science fiction across media as well as the recovery of lost voices in science fiction history and the discovery of new voices from around the globe.  

Dr. Yaszek’s books include The Self-Wired: Technology and Subjectivity in Contemporary American Narrative (Routledge 2002/2014); Galactic Suburbia: Recovering Women’s Science Fiction (Ohio State, 2008); Sisters of Tomorrow: The First Women of Science Fiction (Wesleyan 2016); and Literary Afrofuturism in the Twenty-First Century (OSUP Fall 2020). Her ideas about science fiction as the premiere story form of modernity have been featured in The Washington PostFood and Wine Magazine, and USA Today and on the AMC miniseries, James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction. A past president of the Science Fiction Research Association, Yaszek currently serves as an editor for the Library of America and as a juror for the John W. Campbell and Eugie Foster Science Fiction Awards.

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