The age-old dreams of immortality, teleportation, omniscience, telepathy and other impossible phenomena have long served as the reference points for the most talented, ambitious and extraordinary among us. The personification of the mad scientist archetype — be it in Faust, Victor Frankenstein, Henry Jekyll, Engineer Garin, or Emmett Brown — reflects our relationship with innovation. The argument over the consequences of progress has waged for centuries between a belief in the possibility of incredible scientific discoveries and the fear of irreversible changes. Progress has accordingly slowed down or accelerated, been made here an accomplice in crimes or there an agent of sustainable development.
And only one ingredient in this process remains unchanged – the themes that have fascinated those engaged in penetrating the unknown. These dreams of superhuman abilities, the creation of artificial life and the access to unlimited knowledge continue to inspire scientists and inventors, but the creation and application of new knowledge and technologies are no longer something marginal to wider society. The volume of research conducted and patents applied for are growing exponentially, bringing us ever closer to the world of scientists, as Stanislav Lem predicted in his «Summa Technologiae».
The exhibition «The Impossible is Inevitable» is an exploration into an optimistic outlook that opens up a new space for the development and dissemination of inventions. The diversity of Israeli technological startups presents an opportunity to discuss the exceptional importance of a special ecosystem built on a continuum of scientific advances, informal interaction, a constructive attitude towards failure, and unlimited respect for talent.
A culture of cooperation and the unprecedented progress made in digital technologies are making the impossible inevitable. Life extended to a hundred years, 20 hours of free time per day, artificial companions who couple the intellect of Marilyn vos Savant with exceptional intuition and empathy, an abundance of food and water, the ability to read thoughts and talk with animals, our long-awaited independence from fossil fuels, and the availability of energy at the price of air: before our very eyes, all these dreams are leaving the category of the unrealisable. The incredible has become the new norm, and startups play the role of catalyst in this process, helping overcome the conservatism of academic science, stimulating the commercialisation of the «impossible», and using the latest discoveries to improve people's quality of life.
We can already extend the life of every person on Earth by twenty years through the introduction of personal systems for regular health monitoring and remote diagnostics – as exemplified by TytoCare and GlucoMe; devices that synchronised with our telephone and our doctor’s surgery. Technologies like Zebra Medical Vision enable physicians to diagnose any illness in a timely manner thanks to the use of visual information flows. Today, the working day can be cut down to four hours through mobile apps: Any.do monitors our efficiency and helps curb procrastination, WhiteSmoke corrects spelling errors and improves the style of texts written on any device with an Internet connection, and Fiverr allows us to instantly find artists, even for complex creative tasks.
Driverless vehicles will very soon bring radically changes to road accident statistics, largely thanks to the Mobileye system, which recognises vehicles, bicycles, pedestrians, signs and road markings. Electric motors will finally replace petrol – StoreDot technology will cut down battery charging time to just 5 minutes. Thanks to innovative developments in hydroponics and nutrient management, we will turn deserts into fertile fields and balconies and window sills into efficient farms growing our favourite vegetables and herbs: the GreenIQ device and app are able to control watering and plant nutrition in several autonomous territories, the smart Seedo container grows seedlings of the most difficult species at home, and the SCiO pocket spectrometer allows you to instantly check the chemical composition of any of the foodstuffs obtained.
Along with the inventors, the contemporary artists ::vtol::, Where Dogs Run, Playtronica, Anna Mokhova, Ivan Karpov, Denis Patrakeyev and Roman Sakin are also contemplating the inevitability of the impossible. In their works, they have given form to the horizons of the inevitable, inspired by the fantasies, forebodings, discoveries and achievements ofgenerations of inventors, futurists and science fiction authors.
«The Impossible is Inevitable» is an exhibition about freedom and diversity, and about the prospect of endless discoveries at the intersection of different fields of knowledge. What the result of the implementation of scientific achievements will be is something that depends on each one of us, but for the first time in history, as nanotechnology theoretician Eric Drexler once mused, «we have a chance at a future with room enough for many worlds and many elections, and with time enough to explore them.»
Katya Krylova and Nina Zavrieva