Monday, January 7, 2008

And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared

Interesting excerpt from the end of the 1994 Genrich Altshuller book "And Suddenly the Inventor Appeared - TRIZ, The theory of Inventive Problem Solving":

"Does an Inventor need science fiction?

One day a letter came to the publisher of the magazine Pioneer Truth saying that there was a debate in the classroom as to whether or not students should read science fiction stories. Many students said it was a waste of time because such stories were not real. This opinion is very common – and is a mistake. Science fiction writers are trying to see the future, even when it is so remote it is not realistic. They have described airplanes, submarines, television, and more when nothing like them had as yet existed on earth. Writers have written stories about journeys into solar systems, about robots, about the reconstruction of the human body. Today, many of these ideas have become reality. Science fiction is a searchlight into the future. Those who go to school today will live in that future. There is unreal fantasy, too, of course. But even that is very useful because it helps to develop imagination and teaches us to think freely. It is impossible to go to the moon inside a gun shell. However, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky wrote that the first ideas about rockets came to him after reading a novel from Jules Verne called "From Cannon to the Moon". Fantasy is needed to make real inventions and discoveries.

The power of the mind

Fantasy is mobility of thought. The contemporary inventor has to read books about science fiction because they reduce the psychological inertia and increase the power of imagination. Fantasy can be developed using the methods described in this book: Operator STC (Size, Time, Cost) , MMD (Model with Miniature Dwarfs) and IFR (Ideal Final Result).

We live in an "Era of Technical Revolution." The main point is that this revolution lies not in the appearance of new machines – that has happened before. The method of developing new machines is changing. Organized ways of thinking replace the old chaotic ones. Every step in the thinking process should be as accurate as the movements of a pilot flying an airplane.

At the dawn of the human race, mankind conquered fire. Now we are learning to conquer something much greater. The power of mind capable of penetrating an unknown future."