X Media Lab – Imagination, Science Fiction and Planning for the Future

X Media Lab is an internationally acclaimed digital media think-tank and creative workshop which has a strong presence in emerging powerhouse creative and business markets like China and the Middle East. They organise conferences bringing people from creative industries together around the world including Sydney, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur and Sweden.

Future or Bust“Future or Bust” – photo credit: vermininc

Yesterday at the night before X Media Lab Sydney: Global Media Ideas drinks I was discussing a range of topics including 3D panorama photos, augmented reality, the financial crisis, anime films and how with the exception of the National Broadband Network (NBN) Australian leaders in business and politics lack imagination or any real vision for an economy post digging stuff out of the ground and sending it overseas.

Imagination - HNBD “Imagination” – photo credit: Imagination

One of the conclusions we reached was that these people have probably never read science fiction and therefore consider 2 years or 5 years in the future to be a long term plan when a sci-fi fan would be more likely to have a better imagination and be wondering about how what we do now will effect what our society will be like in 50-100 years or even later.

The Worlds of Science Fiction - Front
“The Worlds of Science Fiction” – photo credit: CalamityJon

“One of the roles of science fiction is to prepare people to accept the future without pain and to encourage a flexibility of mind. Politicians should read science fiction – Arthur C. Clarke”.

Reach For Tomorrow
“Reach For Tomorrow” – photo credit: Davie

There’s not much chance of forcing leaders in our society to read science fiction and embed thoughts and plans in their head which ensure real long term planning and thinking (maybe we will if technologies which we saw in the recent movie Inception come true).

In the meanwhile if you want to meet, chat with and learn from people who have creative ideas, who do and make rather than talk, you should buy a ticket to an X Media Lab event. As a journalist I get offered press passes to lots of conferences but X Media Lab is one of the few that I always really make an effort to attend.


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