The result of these ruminations is Technophobia! Science Fiction Visions of Posthuman Technology (University of Texas Press, $24.95), in which Dinello explores the chasm between the rosy daydreams of scientists and the more jaundiced nightmares of sci-fi writers and filmmakers. From “Frankenstein” to “The Matrix,” robots, androids, cyborgs, artificial intelligence, cloning, the wilds of cyberspace, even cell phones and iPods — which, come to think of it, do sound pretty sinister — are all occasions for hair-raising speculation about how technological advances can go terribly wrong.
“But I’m also interested in scientists who promote technology as a panacea, and whose utopian visions are sometimes used, I think, to score grant money, or to develop more weapons, which soak up so much of the national budget. I like the idea of looking at present-day technology and extrapolating it out into the future, imagining its possible consequences.”
Just don’t expect the view to be pretty.
And we wonder why there is a decline in American Math, Science and Technology students.