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Gryphon Founder James Cortese Speaks At Unit Festival Berlin

Founder of Gryphon Agency, and former head of communications at frog design, James Cortese, spoke at the 2015 Unit Festival in Berlin. The event marked the world’s first ever international LGBT tech festival as part of Berlin Web Week. With over 400 attendees the festival featured top speakers from a range of backgrounds, workshops, interactive installations, and music performances.

As a technologist and marketer working in the product design field, Cortese appreciates science fiction because it uses narrative to explore how humanity could shape its future. With origins in mysticism, philosophy, and legend, the modern sci-fi genre helps us wrestle with our nature as creative beings in an unknowable and at times inhospitable universe. From Frankenstein’s monster to Mr. Spock, the heroes of modern sci-fi stand in for contemporary humans who use ingenuity and intuition to navigate the unknown.

In his speech, Cortese showed how certain sci-fi books, movies, and TV shows convey our hopes and fears as we confront three firsts for our species: the adaptation to global climate change, the colonization of space, and the creation of artificial intelligence that fundamentally challenges what it means to be human. Cortese explored how sci-fi can inspire tech work—exposing our intentions, surfacing hidden patterns and connections, and ultimately preparing us for the future.


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