Microsoft wants to pique the curiosity of future-gazing sci-fi fans with a new book of short stories inspired by the company’s early-stage research work.
The initiative was first announced back in October, but the e-book has now been published. Available for Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, among other popular e-reading platforms, “Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories Inspired by Microsoft” is a compendium of stories covering machine learning, quantum computing, real-time translation, the quantified self, and more.
Microsoft gave nine science fiction authors access to its labs, and these visits served as the writers’ muse for their stories. The writers include award-winning Elizabeth Bear, Greg Bear, David Brin, Nancy Kress, · Ann Leckie, Jack McDevitt, Seanan McGuire, and Robert J. Sawyer.
Microsoft may be better known for its PC and mobile software, but the Seattle-based tech titan has publicized a number of research projects over the past year, including predicting the spread of diseases and traffic jam forecasting.
It has often been said that science fiction influences science, and there are a number of real-world examples of products and tools that first came to fruition in books or TV. But it is equally true that science can impact science fiction, and this is what Microsoft was trying to achieve — engaging stories based on actual work that’s happening.
“My hope for you as a reader is that you will be inspired by these stories, as I was by the popular science fiction of my time,” said Harry Shum, Microsoft’s executive vice president, technology and research, in the book’s foreword. “May they incite you to pursue a new field of study, to chase possibility you think impossible, to let your imagination take you to places you never thought you could go — for we are only limited by our imaginations.”