Dictionary of Work Terms in Science Fiction
(Technovelgy items at top: skip down to News)


Author (Publication Date)

AI-Based Hiring and Firing
Letting a computer system handle the hiring and firing of employees.

Marshall Brain (2002)
Automatic-Electric Packing Machine
A device able to pack randomly shaped objects combined into a single package automatically.

Hugo Gernsback (1911)
Bank Chip - a smart credit card
A "smart" credit card.

William Gibson (1988)
Desk Secretary
A desk with a computerized secretary built into it.

John Brunner (1963)
Flashlight Laser
Small cylindrical device that generates a green beam of variable intensity and focal length; can illuminate or cut.

Larry Niven (1970)
Flexitime - you've had enough, pal
A work system that actually tells you when you've put in your time.

Rudy Rucker (1984)
Forward Warehousing
Using the trunks of cars as little warehouses.

Karl Schroeder (2019)
Hotdesk - the cubicle is the computer
A desk space that was itself ready for input.

William Gibson (1996)
Hypercard - it sure carries a lot of weight
A virtual business card; what one avatar might hand another to introduce themselves.

Neal Stephenson (1992)
Interplanetary Union Of Spacemen
An organized union of people who work in space.

Nat Schachner (1941)
Lucky Dragon ATM - an ATM with an attitude
An automatic teller machine with attitude.

William Gibson (1999)
Paper memos that read themselves out loud.

Philip K. Dick (1959)
Metal Desk Car
A combination work desk and vehicle for librarians and researchers; part desk part carnival ride.

Don Wilcox (1939)
Night vision mask (similar to a diving mask) with an infrared light source.

Frank Herbert (1972)
Workplace Distancing
A computer application that arranges that workers never encounter each other, to reduce gossiping and wasted time.

Marshall Brain (2002)

Related Science Fiction in the News

Swedes Get 'Chipped' With Vaccine Passports
'Employees above a certain level were implanted with advanced microprocessors...' - William Gibson, 1984.
(re: William Gibson, 11/23/2021 )
Meetings To Be Recorded And Scored For Body Language
'Jedrik was reworking the simulation model of Broey which she carried in her head.'
(re: Frank Herbert, 11/27/2020 )
Would You Get 'Chipped'? Michigan May Ban Employers
'Employees above a certain level were implanted with advanced microprocessors...' - William Gibson, 1984.
(re: William Gibson, 6/27/2020 )
Workplace Monitoring Hell, I Mean, Tool For Safe Distancing
'And here is the weirdest part -- I never see another employee the entire day.' - Marshall Brain, 2002.
(re: Marshall Brain, 4/13/2020 )
Moving Desks Not SciFi After All
'Charged with hope, he zipped from stack to stack...' - Don Wilcox, 1939.
(re: Don Wilcox, 1/22/2020 )
Does Your Company Need A 'Chief Dreamer'?
As far as the future is concerned 'they're the only experts we have'.
(re: Niven and Pournelle, 9/13/2019 )
Tesla Augmented Reality Hypercard
'The hypercard is an avatar of sorts.' - Neal Stephenson, 1992.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 6/29/2018 )
Rigid Clothing, Or Wearable Furniture?
'Earth's scientists solved the problem ... by devising rigid metallic clothing.'
(re: Edmond Hamilton, 1/25/2016 )
Apple Idea Accelerator (tm) Coming!
Designed to accelerate idea creation, the Apple Campus 2 is a cyclotron of innovation!
(re: Various, 12/7/2011 )
Business Leaders Brain-Scanned
The world of work will never be the same; business leaders distinguished by brain scan.
(re: Philip K. Dick, 11/21/2010 )
EmoBracelet Warns Traders Of Bad Decisions
Should you be making decisions right now, given your emotional state? Philips, the electronics corporation, now has some real-life tech for you.
(re: Various, 10/15/2009 )
ATMs Fight Back With Pepper Spray
Autonomous cash machine can decide whether you get money - or the hot stuff.
(re: William Gibson, 7/19/2009 )
DubMeNow Business Cards Update Magically
Interesting concept for exchanging virtual business cards that opens a link between you, allowing auto-updated information. With video.
(re: Neal Stephenson, 2/21/2009 )
Computer Built Into Desk Concept
This is a great design concept, especially since it seems to involve almost no actual Photoshopping; John Brunner did a better job with the concept forty years ago.
(re: John Brunner, 5/25/2008 )
Gattaca Put Off A Few Years
The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 is a good thing to have around.
(re: Andrew Niccol, 4/27/2008 )
World of Warcraft School of Business
Nothing like a teamwork simulation to help you succeed in business.
(re: Frank Herbert, 12/14/2007 )
Retrotastic Mobile Office Of The Future
Nifty office concept; still looks a bit retro.
(re: Various, 4/22/2006 )
Diebold ATM Crashes, Dispenses Tunes - Not Money
A Diebold ATM crashed on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University, and then rebooted without bringing up the ATM software, alarming financial institutions and Americans concerned about e-voting alike.
(re: William Gibson, 3/19/2004 )






Artificial Intelligence
Data Storage
Input Devices
Living Space
Output Devices
Space Tech
Virtual Person


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