Audience Overview: Sci-Fi in the IT Industry

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Podcast Project - Science Fiction Interest among the workers and decision makers in the IT industry.

Three of the most prominent decision-makers in IT are Jeff Bezos, Avi Bar-Zeev, and Elon Musk. After an extensive research, there are no recent (within the past 24 months) accredited resources or statistical records that confirm whether IT professionals constitute the bigger part of the science fiction fandom or not, or if there is a crossover between being an IT professional who is a science fiction fan and being a fan of science fiction in general. This lack of evidence may be due to researchers taking the association of IT professionals and the stereotypical "sci-fi" geek as standard, without actually confirming whether that stereotype is true. While this research was not able to unearth any resources or papers that studied this population in earnest, there are plenty of materials that provide valuable insights. Those are resources are discussed in-depth below.

Statistics or empirical evidence that shows there are a lot of science fiction fans who are also in the IT industry

According to some accredited writers in the IT field, much of the IT professionals are interested in science fiction. But there are no official or precise statistics to back up this claim. There are no online sources that reflect the real percentage or number of IT professionals who are also part of the science fiction fandom.

The impact of Science Fiction on the IT Industry

SCIENCE FICTION AND THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL REALITY
As some of the biggest technology companies are nearing a new push of a new generation of Virtual Reality (VR) products, these companies are turning to science fiction for a crucial factor, Inspiration. This is because people working in science fiction have a lot of incredible ideas, thus they figure out what the ultimate use of any technology might be.

RALLYING IT EMPLOYEES AROUND A SHARED VISION
Science fiction books and movies are often useful in tech companies for rallying employees around a shared vision. Science fiction is shaping the language companies are using to market the technology, influencing the types of experiences made for the Virtual Reality products and even defining long-term goals for developers. The genre has influenced many corners of technology, from smartphones to robotics to space exploration.

SCIENCE FICTION, LONG A PILLAR OFGEEL CULTURE
Tech people don't need any encouragement from their employers to read or watch science fiction, long a pillar of geek culture. Throw a rock in Silicon Valley and you are likely to hit a software engineer who can cite how long it took the Millenium Falcon to make the Kessel Run in "Star Wars".

Examples of how Science fiction can influence IT industry

The following are some examples of tech companies who have either adapted a science fiction book or movie to boost its upcoming products or who have hired science fiction and fantasy writers on staff. Magic Leap company, based in Dania Beach, Florida, which counts Google as one of its big investors, hired three science fiction and fantasy writers on staff. Its most famous science fiction recruit is Neal Stephenson, whose title is "Chief Futurist". He depicted the virtual world of the Metaverse in his seminal 1992 novel "Snow Crash". It is notable to mention that this book is a cyberpunk exploration of then-futuristic technologies (e.g., mobile computing, virtual reality, wireless Internet, digital currency, smartphones, and augmented-reality headsets). Among the more prophetic inventions in the book is something Stephenson called “the Metaverse,” the same sort of wireless, online Virtual Reality experience that Facebook, Google, Samsung, and practically every other major tech company are now competing to commercialize.

— The name of Microsoft's HoloLens headset is a salute to the holodeck , a simulation room from " Star Trek".

— At Oculus, a leading Virtual Reality company, a copy of the popular science fiction novel "Ready Player One" is handed out to new hires.

Are there science fiction fans who are also decision-makers in the IT Industry

Yes, there are some prominent decision-makers in the IT industry who are also science fiction fans:

— Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO. He reveres Neal Stephenson's novel "Snow Crash" as a remarkably prescient vision of today’s tech landscape. He loves books which are all science fiction and fantasy. His favorite authors include Heinlein and Asimov and favorite books include "A Wrinkle in Time."

Avi Bar-Zeev, Google Earth designer. He said he was inspired by Stephenson’s ideas, and even tried to get the author to visit his office when he was working on Keyhole, an app suite that later served as a basis for Google’s mapping technology.

Elon Musk, founder of PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors. He plans to name the first of SpaceX's many Mars-colonizing ships after "Heart of Gold," a spaceship in Douglas Adams' "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Musk is a science fiction fan, and he has named SpaceX vessels after ships in his favorite books. For example, the two robotic "drone ships" that serve as oceanic landing platforms for SpaceX's reusable Falcon 9 rockets are called "Of Course I Still Love You" and "Just Read the Instructions," two sentient starships that appear in the "Culture" series by Iain M. Banks.

Do science fiction fans over-index for being in the IT industry:

Based on accredited resources, a multitude of IT professionals are fans of science fiction. However, after an extensive research, there are no recent (within the past 24 months), accredited resources or statistical records that confirm whether IT professionals constitute the bigger part of the science fiction fandom or not, or if there is a crossover between being an IT professional who is a science fiction fan and being a fan of science fiction in general (from another professional background).

However, a blind and unofficial survey was conducted in 2013 to gather information about who reads sci-fi books in the United States. The results were that 21% of the population answered yes. And by using Google to provide further demographics on the responses, it was clear that readers of all ages have a common interest in science fiction books except from ages forty-five to sixty-five.

Conclusion

There are no explicit statistics that show the actual percentage of IT professionals who are also science fiction fans. However, there are a lot of science fiction fans in the IT industry. The future of the IT companies reviewed strongly relies on the incredible ideas of professionals working in the science fiction (science fiction) industry. Three of the most prominent decision-makers who are science fiction fans are Jeff Bezos, Avi Bar-Zeev and Elon Musk. There are no recent (within the past 24 months), accredited resources or statistical records that confirm whether IT professionals constitute the bigger part of the science fiction fandom or not, or if there is a crossover between being an IT professional who is a science fiction fan and being a fan of science fiction in general.
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