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avalmez's avatar

What are some ideas/innovations you first encountered in a sci-fi movie or book that, lo and behold, actually came to be afterward? what are some innovations they missed that seem more probable than those they hit?

Asked by avalmez (1614points) June 28th, 2009

Many years after watching it for the first time, I viewed 2001 a space odyssey and I noticed a couple of interesting things.

First, the movie predicts velcro. It also predicts visual teleconferencing. However, in the scene just before lift off to the moon, the main character jumps into a telephone booth to make a call – the idea of a cell phone was too far fetched at the time, but when you think about it…

Of course, the movie had more misses than hits as human interplanetary travel seems more unlikely today than when the classic was produced.

What are some examples of sci-fi ideas/innovations, hits and misses, that you can come up with? What are some as yet unrealized ideas/innovations that you expect will be realized in your lifetime?

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20 Answers

aprilsimnel's avatar

Oh, the first thing that comes to mind for me is the communicator on Star Trek. So small! And now? Mobile phones are that small.

I understand that scientists are trying to come up with an actual doohickey for medicine that does what the tricorder did on Star Trek.

avalmez's avatar

of course, the communicator! we have to all be happy that star trek’s fashion predictions were a good miss though :)

avalmez's avatar

well, at least predictions about male fashions were a good miss

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

The entire Star Trek series (60’s version, 80’s to a lesser extent) is a great example.
Automatic doors.
Cell phones.
Is an iPhone really that much different than a tri-corder?

avalmez's avatar

thinking more about the communicator, now we know where nextel got the idea from, no?

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Too bad food replicators aren’t a reality.
Once that technology exists, starvation on earth is a thing of the past.

avalmez's avatar

also, r2d2 and c3po…haven’t the japanese developed very close approximations? companions as i recall

avalmez's avatar

what about stealth technology? similar to cloaking device technology?

YARNLADY's avatar

To be a little picky Velcro was invented before I was born, and 2001 was written after I graduated college

The story I like best was when Federal Agents paid a visit to Robert Heinlein to find out where he heard about the government secrets that he wrote about in one of his books. It was pure fiction, but so close to the truth, they were suspicious.

avalmez's avatar

i believe Tom Clancy had such a visit from the FBI as well regarding military technology he wrote about in Red Storm Rising…and ok, i thought velcro was an apollo program invention but wiki doesn’t lie!

avalmez's avatar

@Mtl_zack eerie…thanks for the link

YARNLADY's avatar

@avalmez That sort of sounds like a dig at wikipedia, so you can look at Velcro USA celebrates it’s 50th anniversary for an original source. I wrote a report on Velcro for my senior essay in Home Econimocs, in 1961 after reading a Reader’s Digest article on it.

avalmez's avatar

@YARNLADY please, not a dig at all. i read the article your link pointed to and I accept its and your veracity hands down no questions asked! sorry for any unintended misunderstanding.

YARNLADY's avatar

@avalmez thank you, I just saw a good excuse to mention my term paper, which I still have.

avalmez's avatar

i’m guessing you aced the velcro topic. it might be interesting to read the essay. care to scan it in and share it? i kept some of my college papers as well for a good while but eventually lost them. wish i still had them as you have your papers

YARNLADY's avatar

@avalmez Thanks for asking, but I have all my old papers in storage, and I wouldn’t even know where to begin to look

Jack79's avatar

I saw a movie with a fax yesterday (someone’s picture coming through) and that was spot on. The most characteristic I remember were the opening doors at Star Trek, as well as wristwatch communication devices (they were meant to be walkie-talkies but we have mobile phones like that today). Some of those were cruder and larger than what we actually got.

Films never foresaw the advent of computers and how much better they’d become. In all the old films computer monitors are always monochrome green. Very few have gone to the other extreme with 3D hologrammes, which are only now starting to appear in the real world. Intercoms are more or less what the films predicted.

The only huge difference has to do with transportation. We still have no warp drives and you can’t ask Scotty to beam you up yet. In fact our technology is still based on the combustion engine, we put a little rocket on top of an explosion and blast it into space using huge amounts of energy. And there doesn’t seem to be a more effective way of travelling than that. We don’t even have flying cars here on Earth yet (ok we do, but they’re so expensive and dangerous that they’re not worth the trouble).

And we still haven’t been through a black hole.

Fyrius's avatar

I’ve been told that the invention of medical body scans like MRI was inspired by Star Trek technology.

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