Category Archives: Research Project

Last Day of Class Tomorrow!

Wow, it’s almost our last class! Tomorrow we have our second round of presentations, and have three presenters (Justin, Phoenixx, and Mohammad). We will have a good chunk of time as well to discuss Westworld (finally!), so please do bring in your notes and ideas on the show.

We’ll also have a little end-of-the-semester celebration, and I’ll bring in some treats. Feel free to also bring in something to share with your classmates. Again, if anyone has any food allergies and/or dietary restrictions, please let me know (either comment on this post, or email me if you want to do it privately).

A friendly reminder that your Final Course Reflections are due tomorrow. Read more about them here.

If you haven’t done so already, check out my Wrapping up The Semester post 🙂


Terraforming and why it is important


Science fiction has introduced so many fascinating ideas and topics. One of the most interesting is terraforming. Terraforming is when an hostile environment like mars altered to be suitable for human life. NASA has been trying to find a way to terraform Mars. Terraforming is necessary in the later future. In the future humans will eventually be overpopulated and that will cause a lot problems for humans and the earth itself. So terraforming is very important for human kind and the earth’s survival.

In the later future humans will eventually be overpopulated. This is a big issue for them and the earth. According to Science Alert, the human population is rapidly increasing and by 2050 the population is estimated to be around 9.9 billion. Overpopulation will cause a lot of problems for the future generation. They won’t be able to function as we do today. Overpopulation will also cause environmental issues. There will no clean water, life expectancy will be lower, food shortages, and plants and animals will be extinct. So it is crucial for humans to terraform another planet for their own survival. Even CEO of Tesla, Elong Musk, agrees that terraforming is possible and that it will help humans in the future.

Download (PPTX, 5.92MB)

Mohammad Faisal-Terraforming final cover letter


How Science Fiction Writers Use Architecture To Visualize Their World


Phoenixx Neil

How Science Fiction Writers Use architecture To Visualize Their World


In the world of science fiction novels, authors sometimes need other means to paint the picture for their readers. One of the subtler tools that an author can use is architecture. Architecture’s role in science fiction is that it can depict multiple things: technological advancement, the author’s setting/world, or even challenge the idea of what “home” is. In a multitude of films, illustrations and other media, the architecture may often be overlooked by viewers/readers and it is one important component to a story. Urban landscapes, cityscapes, colonies, and resettlements are just a few of the major categories where architecture peeks into some significance in science fiction works. So, the question that this research project poses to answer is: how do science fiction authors use architecture to help visualize their world? Not only do the authors use similes and metaphors to help paint a picture, key descriptors and other key words help a reader figure out what the author is talking about. The readers need to be able to make comparisons to make the story more believable. The articles and reports related to this topic have been very helpful to support this research project. A report on Architecture in science fiction film, has an agenda of over 150 science fiction films that tackle different tropes on science fiction. This report really served as a good place to find connections between architecture as well as what type of architecture was used in the making of films. This give another perspective on this project because now there is the perspective of “what architects can learn from science fiction films”. Reports such as those have helped to explore the representation of architecture in film as well as in illustrations or renderings of a world/setting. Although there is a vast majority of science fiction related texts, games, films, pictures and things of the like, the main focus of this project is to further extrapolate on specifically text and the film industry. The keywords for this research project are: Architecture, Visualization, Metaphors, Similes, Descriptors, Progression, Speculation, Realism

Download (DOCX, 13KB)

Download (PPTX, 3.16MB)

The Cruel Truth of Uplifting

The Science Fiction genre is all about possibilities. It explains the outcomes of what could go wrong in the world. Most science fiction literature is about two questions, “what if or what could?”. In this research paper, the topic that will be discussed is the process of uplifting. According to the Journal of Evolution and Technology, “Animal uplifting, also referred to as biological uplift, or simply uplift, is the theoretical prospect of endowing nonhumans with greater capacities, including and especially increased intelligence”(Dvorsky). Uplifting is a controversial topic to discuss. There have been serious debates arguing if the uplift of animals is beneficial or controversial. This paper will focus on both sides explaining them fully.

One of the most common ethical questions that is asked, “Is it morally right?”. Most people would choose to disagree with the followings of uplifting. People hate to see animals being experimented on. Some people may believe that uplifting is a way of progress. The question at hand, Is the uplift of animals beneficial or controversial for mankind? One of major consequences with uplifting is the possible deformities. Uplifting is not an easy task. It could take a thousand trials just to find the correct DNA. Uplifting is serious procedure, and animals will have to go through different and painful surgeries to change their biological state, Although one of benefits of being an enhanced animal, is that the animal can avoid dangerous predators. With an enhanced mind, the animal specie of choice, can protect itself from other animals. In the paper, you will find examples of science fiction in literature and in entertainment. For example, the 2011 film, “Rise of the Planet Apes”. This film proves that animal enhancement can go terribly wrong. This research paper will explore the different recent experiments done in the real world. It may seem like a fantastical idea, but we are getting closer to achieving the impossible.

  • Dvorsky, George (2008). All Together Now: Developmental and ethical considerations for biologically uplifting nonhuman animals. Journal of Evolution and Technology 18 (1):129-142.
Research Project Cover Letter

Download (PPTX, 1.15MB)


The Influence of Science Fiction on the Perception of Real World Technology


Science fiction has a great impact on real world technology. Especially when it comes to robots and androids. “The idea of humanoid automatons goes back centuries–historian Noel Sharkey has found evidence of robot-like designs in ancient Greece–but the word robot is less than 100 years old” (Suderman, 2015). The Idea of a robot has been in fruition for centuries. And became a reality throughout works of science fiction. And is conceptualized through authors and their unique perspectives and creativity.
The word robot was drawn from robota, a Czech word meaning drudge work. Capek’s story set the tone for decades of robot fiction, mostly by stoking fears that the servants could eventually turn on their masters” (Suderman, 2015). As read in the breakdown of the word robot. In the breakdown the sole function of what a robot is made to do is serve and practically help the user. A basic function that science fiction pushed the limit on. By creating works of literature and film that depicted those functions in unique ways. Mostly giving the robot special functions like superhuman strength and advanced processing. This started the re-imagining of the idea of what a robot could be.
Science Fiction has re-imagined countless of real world technologies. The most re-imagined piece of technology within the Science Fiction spectrum are robots. This re-imaging of robots through science fiction influences the developments of robots and other real world technologies in the real world. And influences the perspectives of society on these real world technologies and robots.
“They found that researchers use science fiction in a variety of different ways. One is for theoretical design research. Another is to refer to and explore new forms of human-computer interaction, which researchers increasingly think is shaped by science fiction books and films. Then there is the study of human body modification, which is perhaps best explored via the medium of fiction” (arXiv, 2018).
Scientist are also influenced or inspired by science fiction. Leading them to create and imagine past the boundaries of normal technology. This presentation will discuss the influence Science Fiction has on the perception of robots and other real world technologies. By demonstrating the portrayal of said technologies in the real world and the science fiction realm. And how those portrayals mold the perception of society.

Suderman, Peter. “Hi, robot: how science fiction androids became real-life machines.” Reason,  Apr. 2015, p. 56+.  Academic OneFile Accessed 28 Nov. 2018.

arXiv, Emerging Technology from the. “When Science Fiction Inspires Real Technology.” MIT Technology Review, MIT Technology Review, 5 Apr. 2018,

Download (DOCX, 8KB)

Download (PPTX, 949KB)

Life Extension

Science fiction is known for exploring ideas that would normally be considered impossible in real life, such as the ability to extend the human lifespan beyond its general limit. As humans continue to rapidly develop their technology, the dream of achieving life extension becomes increasingly near. However, are humans becoming too ambitious in their desire to improve technology? The idea of having longevity as an option offers a lot of opportunities as it creates time which is invaluable. From spending time with loved ones to delaying untimely deaths caused by diseases, a longer lifespan has no visible shortage in personal benefits. With all these opportunities in mind, researchers hope to successfully develop methods such as digital uploading or gene editing processes which are similarly seen in works of science fiction like “Altered Carbon” or In Time. But the opportunities life extension offers is not without flaws and when the consequences of this concept is considered in relation to humanity as a whole, the idea of making this a reality is more detrimental than helpful.

If humans continue progressing towards their goal of life extension, it will create a lot of problems in the long run. In terms of effects on an individual, longevity dehumanizes people and could distance them from others rather than bringing them together. When considering the effects on a community, a longer lifespan can create overpopulation and a division between social classes. One of the reasons life extension sounds ideal is because it means not dying and although life is precious and desirable, that doesn’t mean death should be viewed as the opposite. Death actually maintains balance and solves many of the problems that come from longer life. As the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” It can be interpreted in many different ways but in this case, if one wants to live life to the fullest, then an extended lifespan is not ideal for reaching that goal. Taking all of this into consideration, how can life extension prove humanity is being blinded by their optimism?

Tyler Yuen - Final Project Cover Letter

Download (PPTX, 3.44MB)

The Connection Between Star Wars and China

Since its inception, the science fiction genre has taken many ideas from real-life and made it its own. The most obvious example to this is technology and language. The genre has, however, also taken from religion and philosophy. This research paper argues about how the classic Science Fiction series Star Wars took inspiration from the ancient Chinese religion and philosophy Taoism. Star Wars uses this religion’s ideas in the Force, an energy that connects everything with one another. Similarly, Taoism is defined as “doing what is natural and ‘going with the flow’ in accordance with the Tao (or Dao), a cosmic force which flows through all things and binds and releases them” (Mark)

This research paper explores three very strong connections to support its argument that Star wars took ideas from Taoism: the Force is Qi, the Code of the Jedi Order and the Tao Te Ching have similar messages and the Jedi and Sith are essentially yin and yang. These points all refer to reputable historical and fan website sources to present its case and define technical terms such as Qi, yin and yang, Tao, Sith, Jedi Code, and the Force. In the first argument, Qi and the Force are considered to be life energy that every person has and can hone. Having a large amount of both improves ones health and abilities. In the second argument, the Jedi Code and Tao Te Ching phrase their philosophies in a similar manner and promote goodwill and integrity. Finally, in the last argument, the Star Wars series main plot point and attraction is the battle against light and dark or good and evil. The yin and yang symbol references precisely this. This connection between Star Wars and Taoism is important because it allows one to view the Star Wars series in a more religious and philosophical point of view, increases interest in Taoism and enables a more accessible method of learning Taoism for a potentially younger audience.

Mark, Emily. “Taoism.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 15 Dec. 2018,


Download (PPTX, 2.46MB)

Genetic Memories

The question that comes into place is: How can advance technology help us solve psychological problems we face today and learn from our past ancestors? In this quest, we would look into the concepts of genetic memories. According to Wikipedia, in a psychology term, genetic memory is a memory present at birth that exists in the absence of sensory experience. For example, before a mother has her child and she experiences a traumatic experience in her life, its stored in her child memories. Then, she has a child and maybe sometime in her child’s life, he/she experiences the same traumatic experience but was more resilient and less affected by that experience. Science fiction references like, the Ubisoft video game Assassin’s Creed shows where one can easily tap into their genetic memories and relive the lives of their ancestors through a machine named the Animus. In SYFY show Stargate SG-1, the main antagonist named Goa’uld, is an alien race whereas they possess and transfer their knowledge to their new born Goa’uld so that they would have all the memories and knowledge of their past ancestors.

 In an article, written by Katherine Gillespie and published by VICE, she interviews Dr. Berit Brogaard, a University of Miami philosopher specializing in the areas of cognitive neuroscience and philosophy of mind. She asks if there were more research in this field of study and how could it benefit humans. Brogaard say’s we as scientist need to see if events in our life can impacts our DNA, and if true, we could tap into it and create a more resilient offspring. However, some scientist would think if it is possible to tap into our genetic memories, it could possible lead way for scientist to genetically edit someone’s DNA and changing their personality and characteristics, which is unethical. Just recently, news outlets reported a Chinese scientist gene-editing twin embryos, making them immune to contract HIV. The scientific community was in uproar when they heard this. My point is if we had technology like the Animus or could biologically transfers all our memories to new offspring, we can possess the skills of our ancestors, learn the secrets of our history, and become more resilient toward psychological problems we face today like depression, and anxiety.

Download (DOCX, 143KB)

Download (PPTX, 1.19MB)



In science fiction there are many fascinating topics or themes. One of the most interesting topics in my opinion is terraforming. Terraforming means transforming a planet or other bodies to maintain life. Although, this is a hypothetical process, we might be getting closer to terraforming. In the recent years, NASA, has been trying to find a way to terraform Mars. They have been sending Rovers to find more information about the planet. This shows that we might be getting closer to achieving terraforming.

I want to argue why terraforming is important for us, human beings. Terraforming may not be ethical, but we might have to depend on this process in the future as our population is increasing and when we face the issue of overpopulation.

This topic is indeed controversial and debatable among. Elong Musk himself said this is possible and others say it is not possible with the technology we have today and that it is not ethical for us to use planets that is not even ours. However, at the rate technology is increasing, maybe someday in the near future it will be possible, and it will not be just a topic of science fiction. For it not being ethical, I think people will not think of it after it has been done and when they will be able to move in and not worry about overpopulating the place.


This post talks about what Terraforming is. So, I used it to gain a better understanding.

This post talks about how it is not currently possible to terraform Mars with our current technology.

This is post is basically the point of views or argument between Elong Musk and NASA

This post talks about how terraforming works.