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10 Sci-Fi Predictions That Came True

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posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 10:54 AM

Imagination is more important than knowledge. For while knowledge defines all we currently know and understand, imagination points to all we might yet discover and create.
- Albert Einstein

Last night I was watching a Sci-Fi movie with a friend. He kept scoffing at how ridiculous some of the futuristic ideas were in the film. This reminded me of this article i saw a while back

A network of machines that allow people to talk to each other over continents, cameras that record your every movement and portable media players you carry around with you. Sound familiar? Of course they do because they are part of our everyday life, and yet all of these remarkable gadgets and technologies were mooted a long time before they ever existed by some of the world’s most famous science fiction writers. The likes of Isaac Asimov, HG Wells and George Orwell inspired generations of inventors, and some of their fictional devices are eerily similar to real life innovations.

CCTV – as imagined by George Orwell in ‘1984’ (1949) In one of the most famous dystopian imaginings, George Orwell plunged his character Winston into a world of paranoia and suspicion, watched over by the sinister Big Brother. First published back in 1949, Orwell pictured a life where the populace was watched over by telescreens, with nobody ever sure if they were being watched. CCTV arrived as a means of watching the public in the 1970s, and there are now an estimated four million cameras in the UK alone.

The Internet – as imagined by Mark Twain in ‘From the London Times of 1904’ (1898) "The improved 'limitless-distance' telephone was presently introduced, and the daily doings of the globe made visible to everybody, and audibly discussable too, by witnesses separated by any number of leagues." A little bit more a stretch for this one, but back in 1898, Twain wrote of a global communications network called the telelectroscope that you could see and hear through – pretty good going for the 19th Century! The Internet, or at least the American military precursor to it named ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency NETwork), was first brought about in 1969, as a way of keeping lines of communication open in the event of a major attack during the Cold War.

Geosynchronous Satellite – as imagined by Arthur C Clarke in ‘Extra-Terrestrial Relays’ Wireless World magazine (1945) Arthur C. Clarke came up with one of the most astoundingly accurate predictions of our time when he postulated that a network of geosynchronous satellites that revolved at the same speed as the earth and therefore remained in the same position over it, could make global communication possible. Hermann Oberth in his 1920 book ‘Die Rakete zu den Planetenraumen’ and John R. Pierce also have claims to have come up with the idea. Although this idea was not first published in a fictional context but in a scientific forum, Clarke also used the idea in his books.

The video iPod – as imagined by HG Wells in ‘When The Sleeper Wakes’ (1899) Wells, the writer of some of the most important books in science fiction, came up with a device that sounds almost exactly like a modern day media player such as a video iPod in his book ‘When The Sleeper Wakes. His version was a flat square with a little picture that was ‘very vividly coloured.’ Not only were the people on the screen moving, but they were conversing with clear small voices.

Test-tube babies – as imagined by Aldous Huxley in 'Brave New World' (1932) Brave New World is one of the most famous glimpses into an imagined future, and author Aldous Huxley’s imagination conjured up a world where the population is not born naturally but from a machine, where their genes can be perfected and the nutrition controlled. This pre-dates the arrival of so-called test tube babies, where the egg is fertilised outside of the body, by some 46 years – although in reality a human is still needed for the pregnancy, which means you'll have to hold off on suggesting a test-tube baby's star sign is Pyrex...

CD/DVD – as imagined by EE ‘Doc’ Smith in 'Triplanetary' . (1934) In Smith’s book Triplanetary, the author talks of records surviving a noxious gas attack because they were on playable discs of platinum alloy. Although CDs and DVDs are, of course, not platinum alloy, a metallic looking storage disc is fairly prescient.

Robot – as imagined by Karel Capek - 'Rossum’s Universal Robots' (1920) There are links to mechanical servants traceable back to Greek Mythology and the legend of Pygmalion, but the first use of the word robot in its modern usage comes from Capek’s play R.U.R – the root is from the Czech word ‘robota’ which means drudgery, although the author kindly gave credit to his brother Josef who had suggested the term.
Nanobots – as imagined by Raymond Z Gallun in 'A Menace in Minature' Astounding Stories magazine (1937) Gallun talks of ‘Scarabs’, a machine constructed by man which in turn constructs a replica of itself that is much smaller and so on, until you have an ‘ultra-microbot. This is an idea that caught on in a major way in fiction, and work is still ongoing on a real working nanobot to this day.

The Screensaver – as imagined by Robert Heinlein in 'Stranger in a Strange Land' (1961) Heinlein talks of a television screen ‘disguised as an aquarium’ in his book Stranger in a Strange land, with guppies and tetras swimming around, describing the now familiar site of a computer screen with fish floating serenely across it. Screen savers were brought in to stop an image being burnt on to a screen, and even the advent of monitors much more resistant to this problem has not really curbed their usage.

Scuba diving – as imagined by Jules Verne in '20,000 Leagues Under The Sea' (1875) Although diving gear was nothing new, even in 1875, it was then only possible through a pipe to the surface and a semi-rigid suit. Captain Nemo introduces Arronnax to a portable system of diving in which air is compressed into a tank that is then ‘fixed on the back by means of braces, like a soldier’s knapsack.’ The progression of the aqualung continued through the early part of the 20th century, but was not perfected until the 1940s.

One of the main reasons I love reading science fiction is because of the amazing predictions/ideas that they can throw up.

Its taking a possibility and bringing it alive, breathing life into a mere thought.

So next time your watching science 'fiction' and think, 'as if!'............think again!

You see things; and you say, "Why?" But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?"
- George Bernard Shaw


[edit on 05/08/2009 by LiveForever8]

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 11:14 AM
Look at a communicator in the original Star Trek series and compare it to a modern flip phone.

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 11:16 AM
Does anybody else remember those "You will" ads from AT&T back in 1993? They are kind of interesting to look back at now. Those predictions were pretty accurate too.

[edit on 10-11-2009 by underduck]

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 11:56 AM
Thanks for posting this.

George Orwell in ‘1984’
What exactly was the main characters job?
Sitting at his "Cubicle" inputting and transferring "DATA"

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 12:15 PM
reply to post by JIMC5499

That was actually deliberate. The person who designed the flip phone was a Start Trek fan. Remember cells didnt' start that way, it was the brick.

star trek inventions

[edit on 10-11-2009 by nixie_nox]

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 02:17 PM
Thanks for the reply people

Some really great examples there. I knew Star Trek would pop up at some point

SLAYER69, great example. Subtle. Meaningful.

Those AT&T ones were also very cool. Never seen them before, only sixteen years ago...but then again...SIXTEEN YEARS AGO! Long time in technological advancements.


posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 02:27 PM
reply to post by LiveForever8

And then the next question..........

Will technology be our downfall or our saving grace.

one more............

Is mankind to primitive socially/culturally to handle technology that could destroy us.

How close is Post apocalyptic sifi in predicting our future?

[edit on 10-11-2009 by whaaa]

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 02:50 PM
Star Trek's a good example of where we're heading.

The Replicator ... well that hasn't quite been invented yet. I suppose the nearest we've got to that is social security food vouchers and the microwave oven. Star Trek bods have few personal possessions ; well we're all heading in that direction the way the economy's going. We've got the perma-war with creatures to be scared of ... the Borg, Klingons are our Taliban, Al-Qaeda ... we've got creatures to loathe or make fun of ... the Ferrengi=the French. Everyone's got free healthcare in Star Trek, most of the world has that (except the USA, but they're getting there).

Huxley was right in a way too about the societal changes in Brave New World. We've got millions of people for whom leisure is everything, learning is irrelevant and who are at their happiest when using recreational drugs.

I'm still not vacationing on the Moon though ... Arthur C.C. predicted that by the year 2000 in the book I read as a kid

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 03:40 PM
Jules Verne predicted so much more than scuba-diving, take a look here for instance. In his book "From the Earth to the Moon", he described quite accurately the Apollo missions:

Verne's analysis resulted in the following correct predictions:
* The United States would launch the first manned vehicle to circumnavigate the moon.
* The cost of the program would be $5,446,675 US dollars in 1865 (equivalent to $ 12.112 billion US dollars in 1969; Apollo cost $ 14.405 billion dollars up to the Apollo 8 circumnavigation mission).
* The circumlunar spacecraft would have a crew of three. The names of the crew were Ardan, Barbicane, and Nicholl (Anders, Borman and Lovell on Apollo 8; Aldrin, Armstrong, Collins on Apollo 11).
* The circumlunar spacecraft would be built predominately of aluminum and have a mass of 19,250 pounds (empty mass of the predominately aluminum Apollo 8 circumlunar spacecraft was 26,275 pounds).
* The cannon used to launch the spacecraft was called a Columbiad. The Apollo 11 command module was named Columbia.
* After considering 12 sites in Texas and Florida, Stone Hill, south of Tampa, Florida is selected in Verne's novel. One hundred years later NASA considered 7 launch sites and selecting Merritt Island, Florida. In both cases Brownsville, Texas was rejected as a site; politics played a major role in the site selection; and site criteria included a latitude below 28 degrees north and good access to the sea.
* Verne's spacecraft was launched in December, from latitude 27 deg 7 min North, 82 deg 9 min West Longitude. After a journey of 242 hours 31 minutes, including 48 hours in lunar orbit, the spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 20 deg 7 min North, 118 deg 39 min West, and was recovered by the US Navy vessel Susquehanna.
The crew of Apollo 8 was launched in December 100 years later, from latitude 28 deg 27 min North, longitude 80 deg 36 min W (132 miles / 213 km from Verne's site). After a journey of 147 hours 1 minute, including 20 hours 10 minutes in lunar orbit. The spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean (8 deg 10 min North, 165 deg 00 min West) and was recovered by the US Navy vessel Hornet.

And in "Paris in the Twentieth Century" he talks about air conditioning, sky scrapers, the internet, television, high speed trains, electric chairs, elevators and gasoline powered cars (according to wikipedia )

But, on the other hand, there are a lot of science fiction predictions that didn't come true. Most big writers were agreeing on how in the year 2000 mankind would have colonised the solar system, or at least the moon. And how we'll have video phones (and use them), and flying cars.

[edit on 10-11-2009 by Wallachian]

posted on Nov, 10 2009 @ 03:47 PM
It's not quite the transporter from Star Trek, but scientists have also managed to teleport tiny particles and I think light, too.

I'm still waiting for the day I can get a holodeck or a lightsaber, though!

posted on Nov, 11 2009 @ 11:40 AM
I am always torn up about whether I want a holodeck or transporter.Maybe the transporter first because I hate driving. Though someone is working on a primitive holodeck. The person who brought you the ipod I believe.

[edit on 11-11-2009 by nixie_nox]

posted on Nov, 19 2009 @ 07:01 AM
Lab worms are stunned by 'Phazer'

Another example


posted on Nov, 19 2009 @ 11:56 AM
reply to post by nixie_nox

the person who bought me my ipod is working on a primitive holodeck?!
WOW - my mom is more technically minded than I thought she was

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