TED Blog

“I write sci-fi novels, because if I wrote a white paper nobody would read it,” Daniel Suarez told a panel of translators at TEDGlobal 2013. The science fiction author and drone activist was taking questions during his Skype Open Translation session, in which he described a dystopic–and all too believable–future dominated by autonomous lethal drones. His audience sat on the edge of their seats (or beanbags), bursting with questions. For instance, German translator Philipp Boing asked why he used science fiction as a medium to warn about such a dire vision of the future. Avoiding obscurity was a pretty solid answer.

During breaks between talk sessions throughout the week, a curated panel of TEDGlobal speakers and TED Talk translators–appearing in person and via videoconference–discussed topics like drone warfare, cultural identity, humor and guerrilla urban development. While the translators and speakers did not always directly address the topic of translation itself, the theme…

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