Does science fiction belong in political science classrooms?
Carleton University professor Stephen Saideman is fond of using science fiction scenes as allegories for real life events. He argues using science fiction to talk about war and ethnic conflict frees students' imaginations and makes it easier for them to discuss complex ideas.
A lot of the analogies I use are about a very visceral present, and trying to get people out of that present, because it's hard to talk about genocide in a way that doesn't trigger emotions. If we move it from the earth to some other planet, some of those things become a little easier to talk about.- Stephen Saideman
But his colleague at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs Stephanie Carvin says it's time to put away the space ships and phasers. She believes relying too heavily on science fiction metaphors distorts important debates.
[For] lethal autonomous weapons, chances are they're not going to look anything like The Terminator. So the overuse of some of these sci fi shortcuts like Terminator or The Matrix... have hindered the debate surrounding lethal autonomous weapons and what the actual serious issues are.- Stephanie Carvin
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