Quantum computing. Artificial Intelligence. Real-time language translations. The stuff of science fiction is becoming reality thanks to Microsoft developers, many who cite sci-fi stories as inspiration. As a nod to those stories, Microsoft worked with eight science fiction authors, as well as illustrators, to create Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Inspired by Microsoft.
The eBook compilation consists of nine stories: eight short stories and a graphic novel by Blue Delliquanti and Michele Rosenthal with illustrations by Vancouver-based designer Joey Camacho. Each story includes a sci-fi spin on existing technology.
For example, in the graphic novel-style short A Cop’s Eye, artificial intelligence becomes the sidekick to a policewoman working on a case involving a missing girl. In Skin in the Game, by Elizabeth Bear, a world where technology can be used to share emotion is created.
In his introduction, Rick Rashid, vice president for research at Microsoft, writes about how science fiction influenced him as a young reader, a curiosity he took with him into the technology field.
“Science fiction inspired me as a scientist,” he writes. “It jumpstarted my imagination and gave me energy and a sense of optimism that I could do anything with my mind.”
The book’s author roster includes several award-winning authors such as Nancy Kress, Ann Leckie, Elizabeth Bear, Greg Bear, David Brin, Jack McDevitt, Seanan McGuire, and Robert J. Sawyer. Greg Bear will be a familiar name to science fiction junkies, he’s one of the five cofounders of San Diego Comic-Con.
The authors visited Microsoft’s Redmond-based campus to talk to researchers about their latest work.