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France wants a team of science-fiction writers to help predict future threats

Contributed by
Jul 25, 2019

Finally, our love of science fiction is going to pay off, literally. The French army is looking to hire four-to-five sci-fi writers for a special team dedicated to imagining future threats. The elite team will be charged with thinking up creative scenarios the army may not consider. The team is part of the French government's desire to develop new technology and innovation to help defend itself against non-traditional attacks.

The group of sci-fi writers will make up the 'red-team.' The team is expected to be a part of the Defense Innovation Agency (DIA). The plan is detailed in the Defense Innovation Guidance Document. The report outlines the goals and expectations of the confidential red team. 

The first goal is to imagine scenarios of disruption. What's that mean? They are tasked with using their imaginations to come up with different ways technology could be used to disrupt. If that sounds overly broad, it's supposed to. The idea is to get this team thinking those big-brain ideas about where the future of technology is taking us.

The second goal of the red-team is to identify how technology may be used by groups who seek to do France harm. For instance, think of all the ways artificial intelligence could be used to disrupt a government or public service. There's a lot, right? Probably more than we could even possibly imagine! It'll be the job of the red-team to work through those scenarios and propose solutions. You know, easy stuff!

A third goal of the group is to challenge institutional thinking within the French military. Put more simply; they are there to challenge the kind of group-think which can happen in large systems filled with people and bureaucracy.

So how exactly does a group like this work? According to the BBC, the team will use role-play, feedback, and other techniques to think through the future most of us can't even dream of yet. The report says the team will have access to a social network where they can share differing points of view, feedback, and invite innovators to help collaborate. Wow, that social network sounds like the version of Facebook we all wish we had!

As this team is going to be involved in highly sensitive and confidential work, little of what they ever work on will be made public. To the extent it is, it'll likely be in the form of executive summaries.

Science fiction writers seem to be a highly sought-after commodity these days. A recent article published in Wired details how private-business has partnered with sci-fi writers to help it predict the future of business. By no means is this a new phenomenon. Writers of science fiction have been in demand for their creative thinking prowess since H.G. Wells. According to writer Brian Merchant, creative thinking like the kind seen in works of science fiction is said to have helped spawn the creation of NASA, e-readers and cell phones. As technology continues to flourish and occupy more and more space in our public and private lives, you can expect this to continue. If you can't imagine the future, pay someone who can!

See, we knew we were onto something with our love of sci-fi. You might even say we predicted it.

(via BBC)


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