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Introduction to Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

October 20, 2013 Leave a comment

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (ISBN 978-0345391803)

Introduction

This lighthearted science fiction novel began as a weekly radio comedy in 1978 and quickly grew into a best selling staple of tech pop culture. The book begins with the impending destruction of Earth and vaults the reader on an adventure that spans the universe.

Themes

  • Life in other parts of the universe
  • Future technology
  • Fate
  • Humor

Why Science Fiction Matters to Engineers

It is is common for engineers and other technical people to overlook things that do not directly related to their profession. The liberal arts are seen as unimportant and secondary. This thinking is limiting to an engineers potential.  While there is a near infinite number of technical things for an engineer to learn and master, ignoring the liberal arts greatly limits the potential good that an engineer can bring to the world. It is through the understanding of history and humanity that the greatest inventions can be realized.

Science fiction is a specific genre of literature that engineers should pay attention to. The engineer or technologist will be the one to bridge the gap between the world as we know it today and the dreams of tomorrow. First, science fiction can be seen as a rich source of ideas. Things that could only be imagined 20, 50, 100 years ago are now a part of our everyday lives. What technology is waiting for you to bring it to life? The second, perhaps more important aspect of science fiction, is its ability to discuss the moral and societal impacts of technology. What you create will have positive and negative consequences to humanity. What will your legacy be?

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