24th Apr2017

Sci-Fi world set to ‘live long and prosper’ thanks to the Tech industry

by James Smith


Half a century ago we were all going to be living in mile-high skyscrapers with floating cars for transport. As the new millennium came closer, you had more chance of meeting an alien who declared, “Nanu, nanu, shazbot” as a greeting.The major inventions of science fiction have yet to happen. Warp drive, teleporting, hover cars; they all remain the prerogative of fertile minds. Or do they?

Despite what we may think, much more of science fiction’s wizardry has come true than we credit. In-ear headphones were predicted by Ray Bradbury in his seminal novel, Fahrenheit 451. Apple, for one, are finding this to be a tidy revenue stream.

It’s not the only thing Bradbury looked into the future and saw. Mankind has long held a fascination with Mars and while HG Wells War of the Worlds seems an unlikely outcome, colonisation as foreseen in the Martian Chronicles is around six or seven years away if Dutch company, Mars One, finds its vision of space cruises coming true. Given it will be a one-way trip, there are a welter of mother-in-law jokes being upgraded from Tehran to Mars.

While the inventiveness of books is undeniable, it’s the small and big screens which make the impossible believable; the eyes have it. Bionics and robotics seem so much more plausible as the special effects have become more sophisticated.

Three decades ago, Arnold Schwarzenegger hopped into a ‘Johnny Cab’ in Total Recall. We’ll all be hopping into the driverless car from the likes of Google, pretty soon, which seemed utterly implausible at the time. Things we’ve come to take for granted such as tablet computers were first seen in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Who would have thought you’d be reading this piece on a sci-fi prop or that Tom Cruise high speed hand movements, shuffling data around on a screen in Minority Report, would be coming true with air technology.


The biggest developments are yet to come. The commercial success of Star Wars, following in the footsteps of Star Trek, will give us the genuine ‘wow’ moments in theory. Phasers can already be set to stun but the developments which push the boundaries of space travel are going to be giant step for mankind. Teleporters, so integral to the Enterprise’s adventures, stalled somewhat with The Fly, has been with us since 1993.

The only problem is that you end up dead as it only creates a copy, destroying the original in the process. No solution has yet been found for what may be considered a tiny glitch in scientific terms. Until then, we’ll just take the small things from the two to keep us happy. Flip-lid phones became hip thanks to The Matrix but Gene Roddenberry had been there decades before.

Virtual reality was a central theme in the Star Trek movies. R&R on the Enterprise came on the ‘Holodeck’. The technology exists – we’ve got Oculus Rift for the sole users commercially available – with only sound issues to be resolved. The interaction remains with games across all of the major platforms.


With the advancement of mobile technology, apps make games across all platforms easily accessible, maintaining the player’s excitement levels. Star Trek’s medical scanners were just a short hop, skip and jump away from this technology. Star Wars speeder bikes are set to arrive this year with Aerofex Hoverbike with the robotics used R2-D2 in transmitting Princess Leia’s message to Obi-Wan has been around for decades. Each development of Skype or other video messaging is an offshoot of the same technology.

Cryogenics is a growth industry with many advances. Death is big business with human fantasy believing that returning to life when cures for the currently incurable, will have been found. The profound psychological effects of awakening in an unfamiliar world are skirted over.

Some revenue streams may never come online. Back to the Future has already given us the hoverboard and self-tying laces, but anyone who manages to get a DeLorean travelling more than 30mph without falling apart is a genius on par with Doc Brown. Until then, it’s too fantastical to believe!


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