I was interested in the brief discussion of interdisciplinary subjects in the conversation with Jill Tarter about the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and the role that artists, or non-scientists in general has had in impacting research. While I naturally understand the value of artistic projects, is there truly an interplay between empirical and non-empirical research that is constructive toward’s the former’s project? To me it seems like artistic output exemplifies the very thing that is disruptive towards the path towards accuracy, i.e. human’s erratic, random and chaotic tendencies. However, I am constantly quite depurate to be proven wrong and understand all of these fields of research as potentially integrated and somewhat cumulative.
To answer my own question to some extent, that Prof Tarter describes Sci-Fi as a ‘good vehicle for helping us imagine life’, I think immediately of H.G. Wells’ work in “The World Set Free”, which although written in 1913, remarkably predicted the interaction between humanity and the atomic bomb, exploring before anyone else did the moral questions that would come to dominate decades of nuclear fear over fifty years later. I can understand in this way the value of such work in providing creative foresight that is unrestrained by absolute truth, yet it is only a narrow realm of art that is so literal in its explication of possible futures or alternatives. Is there room in this interdisciplinary collaboration for the more abstract? Or does this gap between the sciences and arts in fact, speak to the arts themselves going astray from a productive project?