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We all know the old saying that truth is stranger than fiction, but science fiction can be a window into the strangest parts of truth.
This Tuesday, ASU’s Center for Science and Imagination is presenting its latest Science Fiction TV Dinner. The TV Dinner series brings together sci-fi fans and experts in areas like art, medicine or physics to talk about what sci-fi shows can teach us.
Moderator Joey Eschrich said a lot of people struggle to keep up with the overwhelming advances in science and technology.
“We see that these are areas that are getting increasingly complex and people increasingly feel like that don’t know enough to have an informed opinion about science and technology issues that are affecting their lives," Eschrich said. "And so using fiction and storytelling and television we give people a seat at the table and give them permission to have a conversation because everybody is an expert in science fiction in some dimension or another."
In the past, the TV Dinner Series has featured classic shows like "The Jetsons" or "Star Trek," but this time their pick is unexpected.
“I was talking to Cathy Seiler who is one of our speakers and a medical researcher at ASU’s Bio-design institute, and she said ‘You know, my favorite science fiction show is 'House.'’ And I was totally shocked and stopped her and said, ‘Well I love 'House' but I’ve never thought of it as science fiction.’ And what she told me is that a lot of the technologies and techniques and innovations that you see in House are things that would be possible in clinical practice in maybe 5 years or maybe 10 years," Eschrich said.
Eschrich said futuristic tech in sci-fi can almost act like a prototype.
“It’s like before you get into the lab and start spending millions of dollars doing R and D on these technologies, you want to kind of road test them with stories to see how human systems and human relationships and human psychology is gonna be affected by the technological choices we make," he said.
Tuesday’s TV Dinner is hosted by the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts. It’ll begin with a screening of the House episode “Cane and Able” and be followed by a conversation between experts in medicine.