What Can Magic Leap Expect From New 'Chief Futurist' Neal Stephenson?

Science fiction author Neal Stephenson has been hired by Magic Leap as their "Chief Futurist.


(Magic Leap's Chief Futurist Neal Stephenson)

Stephenson said he'd been won over by the project after seeing Magic Leap's eye-fooling prototype technology, as well as its plans. "I saw something on that optical table I had never seen before — something that only Magic Leap, as far as I know, is capable of doing," he said. "And it was pretty cool. But what fascinated me wasn't what Magic Leap had done but rather what it was about to start doing. Magic Leap is mustering an arsenal of techniques — some tried and true, others unbelievably advanced — to produce a synthesized light field that falls upon the retina in the same way as light reflected from real objects in your environment."

As "futurist" rather than technologist, Stephenson is working with them on a more theoretical level, and he's devoting his time to "thinking about what to do with this tech once it is available to the general public."

So what kind of visionary work has Stephenson already done, that he might bring to Magic Leap?

Here's Stephenson's description of data goggles from his 1992 novel Snow Crash:

He is wearing shiny goggles that wrap halfway round his head; the bows of the goggles have little earphones that are plugged into his outer ears.

The earphones have some built-in noise cancellation features. This sort of thing works best on steady noise...

The goggles throw a light, smoky haze across his eyes, and reflect a distorted wide-angle view of a brilliantly lit boulevard that stretches off into an infinite blackness. This boulevard does not actually exist; it is a computer-generated view of an imaginary place.

Let's hope he's NOT working on any of these:

  • Cookie-Cutters
    Very small (corpuscle-sized) devices that can enter the blood stream and destroy an enemy from within. (From The Diamond Age.)
  • Rat Thing
    A guard cyborg created from a living animal. (From Snow Crash.)
  • Skullgun
    A pistol that is concealed in your cranium. (From The Diamond Age.)
  • Spine-Clamp
    A device that constrains the movements of convicted criminals. (From Anathem.)
I know we're all looking forward to what Magic Leap can bring us, and adding Neal Stephenson to the mix just makes it better.

Via TheVerge, and don't miss the almost 60 Neal Stephenson technologies and inventions I've gathered here on Technovelgy.com for you.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/17/2014)

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