Award-winning filmmaker and screenwriter J.J. Abrams is known for drawing inspiration from cutting-edge tech, showcased in his imaginative takes on science fiction, drama and fantasy in “Star Trek,” “Lost,” “Alias” and more. Ask him what truly intrigues him — and drives his storytelling — and it will sound familiar to any budding tech entrepreneur: the “ooh” factor.
“I rarely think of things in terms of what genre it is, as opposed to what is the kind of ‘ooh’ factor. The, Oh my god, I want to see that! Or, Wow, what if I were there?” Abrams says. “There’s a kind of vicarious wish fulfillment or cautionary tale aspect to science fiction… It’s a wonderful way to talk about who we are and where we are without being literal about it.”
Of course, it’s about humanity, too. Abrams discusses how “Westworld” explored “this question about what it is to be human… Yes, there are real things about creating robots and AI, but what you’re really telling is this entire story that plays out all of these very canonical human tendencies.”
These are all similar concepts faced by tech startups today, where innovation means, as Greylock partner Reid Hoffman says, “creating products that have or might fundamentally transform everyday life.”
In the latest episode of Greymatter’s Iconversations series, Hoffman talks with Abrams about how science fiction and real-world technology take inspiration from one another, how to recognize a good idea when you see (Read more...)