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Is science fiction predicting the future?

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GCG
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« on: August 18, 2010, 13:04:50 PM »

This is more of a debate.
Does science fiction predict how our technologies are to develop.  say like?  the ipad, i heard it was based on a comcept from Star Trek.  I allso heard that a lot of current and in development technologies, are bsed upon or inspired by scifi.

now too, on the flipside, can society be herded in a particular direction or train of thought, by scifi.
okay, this is a bit vague.
say there is in idea, for argument, the book im reading now, suggests scientists found an alien civilization that solved their overpopulation issue by eating their own.  as in people sell themselves for meat, and live a few years of opulence on their paycheque, then get killed.

if some influencial person were to get hold of this idea, could it take hold, if in the right hands?
how powerfull is scifi?
or is it merely a case of imaginitive storytelling?
i have, too, heard that governments are encouranging film companies to make movies to steer the consumers mind in a certain direction.  say, alien movies, to desensitize humans to imminent alien presence on earth.  and the like.

thoughts?
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Lilli
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« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2010, 14:07:30 PM »

I'm not much of a 'conspiracy theorist' if you will. SciFi is fiction I suppose that some clever fictional gadget or whatever in a SciFi movie could inspire some real scientist/computer geek clever person to design something just as cool as it is in the movie - but I really don't think SciFi is enough to, as you say, herd people in a particular direction or train of thought.
Fiction could plant a seed that may under the right circumstances influence a specific subculture in a specific way, which in turn will have repercussions as well, sure.
But saying that SciFi is predicting development is in my opinion a little far-fetched.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2010, 16:25:49 PM »

I think you basically have a case where sci-fi authors, usually being quite forward thinking and well informed about technological advances, are just very good about speculating what direction certain technologies might go. However, they do just "make things up" a lot of the time too. Yes our ipad's resemble the devices from Star Trek. But are we any closer to having faster-than-light travel? No. There's no feasible "warp drive" in our immediate (and not so immediate) future. It's a nice story device, and it's used in all sorts of sci-fi. However the jury is still out on whether we will EVER have FTL travel.

Yes we have wireless devices that we can talk to "almost like" a star trek communicator pin. But we also don't have their transporter technology...

Another example is Asimov, he speculated we'd have a great big huge computer that takes up a whole city, perhaps even consumes an entire planet, because he based it (fictionally) on relay technology. In reality-land, we've had profound changes that brought along much more severe miniturisation of computer circuits than he accounted for (I haven't read all his stuff, I'm sure to be corrected on this). Why? He was just extrapolating from where he was, to where he thought it'd go.

So, imho, some things they get lucky on, on others, they are dead wrong.
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Brian
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« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2010, 17:35:25 PM »

I love sci-fi but one thing they all missed was the internet. Some of Jules Verne's stuff became reality...trip to the moon, submarines etc. I read a brilliant book called "The Greening of Mars" I forget the author and now scientists are actually looking at this. So GCG has a case but as BM says very limited.
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Peter Grant
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« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2010, 18:00:52 PM »

I'm pretty sure sci-fi, like all ideas, does effect the future. It all gets added to the meme pool which technologists then later draw upon when looking for new ways to implement scientific discoveries.
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GCG
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« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2010, 08:50:26 AM »

i think the basic question im going for, is:
does scifi writers, being visionaries, predict the future, to a degree, based upon their knowledge, and general 'thinking out of the box'

or do scientists draw inspiration for their ideas and creations from the imaginations of scifi writers.

true, we are no closer to proper space travel, and we might never be.  maybe its just a case of being an impossibility.  but, maybe, because scifi writers thought it up, the idea of terraforming alien planets,  maybe that vision, will inspire scientists to keep pushing for it.
im wondering, if these silly scifi books and movies, are quietly being the driving force behind science?
modern sciene in any case.

or am i being ignorant?
if i were a scientist, i would find inspiration from scifi ideas and visions.  but then again, im not, so a true brilliant mind might think scifi is complete  bollocks.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #6 on: August 19, 2010, 10:16:19 AM »

I think it's a 50/50 thing. Sci-fi writers also find a lot of inspiration in prevailing science, and often take a concept known to science and run with it.

It's a question of what came first, the scientific idea of terraforming, or the sci-fi book about it before it was a widely known idea.
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« Reply #7 on: August 19, 2010, 10:28:39 AM »

exactly!!!
the chicken or the egg theory.

i wish i knew how to find this out.  obviously a lot of these things will be lost in time and red tape, but i would love to know who had the idea for, say, cellphones first.  was it a case of natural evolution of technology, or had some company had a brainfart based on an idea gained from a scifi story, and decided to develop the equipment to achieve wireless phones with.  stupid example, but the first one that came to mind.

if scifi writers hadnt envisioned travelling between the stars, would the human mind have endeavoured to push for moonlandings?

or was it maybe, a case of human imaginations being repressed for hundreds of years through, yes, religion, and people being to scared to voice their ideas.  and now, with society becoming more adventurous, there is an explosion of ideas falling from everywhere, and science has the freedom to push each to its limit.
im quite glad to be living in such awesome times.

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Mandarb
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« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2010, 10:50:33 AM »

I think mostly the case is that the concept is first in SciFi, before technology catches up. Space travel, that I know first proposed by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Satelites, Arthur C Clarke in the '30s. Cell phones, the communicators in Star Trek TOS. But you can argue that cell phones is just the logical progression of the radio.

One of the biggest constants in the march of progress is that tech gets smaller and more efficient, embodied by Moore's Law.

A lot of the time SciFi writers extrapolate from ideas of the day. Now and again you get visionaries like Verne and Wells that are way before their time. Arguably Asimov and Clarke as well.
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BoogieMonster
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2010, 13:59:05 PM »

Cell phones were predicted by a scientist:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/blackberry/7674280/Blackberry-predicted-a-century-ago-by-pioneering-physicist-Nikola-Tesla.html

EDIT: It's actually uncanny to read his words: http://gizmodo.com/5530841/nikola-teslas-uncanny-cellphone-prediction

I mean, the guy foresaw transmitting pictures and video and audio to such a device before instruments that could capture such data in a transmittable form even existed.
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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2010, 15:14:31 PM »

Cell phones were predicted by a scientist:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/blackberry/7674280/Blackberry-predicted-a-century-ago-by-pioneering-physicist-Nikola-Tesla.html

EDIT: It's actually uncanny to read his words: http://gizmodo.com/5530841/nikola-teslas-uncanny-cellphone-prediction

I mean, the guy foresaw transmitting pictures and video and audio to such a device before instruments that could capture such data in a transmittable form even existed.


that's quite awesome
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« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2010, 15:06:07 PM »

Any ideas about what future technology may hold in store?   Even if you think it may be far-fetched, let's hear it.
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« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2010, 15:32:42 PM »

Any ideas about what future technology may hold in store?   Even if you think it may be far-fetched, let's hear it.

Zuma starting a population control program?
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GCG
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« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2010, 15:35:26 PM »

i recon, automtically driving cars.  i dont think flying cars will take off, if you'll excuse the pun. i think that its too risky to leave it to human minds to maintain that, and there are just too much room for fuckups.
i would imagine that cars will drive on gps and infrared and that nonsense.  and people will sit back and have snooze or read the newspaper.

nanotechnology i think, is a must.  regeneration of tissues.  prolonged life.  disease control.  allso, i think having an interface in your brain to connect with the world.  not a jack behind your ear, but rather a wireless connection.  so you can transmit info by thought, as it were.  that would be awesome. a hardrive in your head.  backup your memories every hundred years. lol.

im not all that optimistic about space travel, unless we make a huge breakthough on technology, which i cant really see happening.
i think that eventually, terraforming of mars, as a last ditch effort to escape of a ruined earth.  i do believe that humans will use op the planet, to such an extent that any organic life will be difficult.

i do think, though, that the human race is a doomed race.  simply because we are inherrently violent en greedy.  another huge war is inevitable.  it only takes one trigger happy idiot to start it off,  then kaplooey!  most likely a war of religions, hidden behind the guise of resources.

i think carl sagan or someone equally clever said, after a huge explanation about intelligent life in the universe, that if an intelligent race can survive themselves, then they can move forward to colonise the stars.  or something to that effect.

there is too much energy being invested in hating someone else first, to want to reach for the stars.

i think too, that polulation control will come into effect, and DNA manipulation.  that only super babies will be born.  a race of intensely healthy and clever peoples.  maybe if that happens before our world runs out of nuclear warheads and resources, then there might be hope for us yet.

i really hope they get nanotechnology right before i croak, i'd really love to see the future.
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« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2010, 15:40:13 PM »

I have a idea that practical holograms aren't too far off. Self driving cars as well. Unfortunately, I don't think flying cars will be viable any time soon, not without us discovering a way more efficient and compact power source.

In a few decades we might be running on fusion generated electricity. I have been reading some encouraging stuff about the research behind that. Or we might just skip that and run on ultra efficient solar power and batteries.

That's all I can think off now at the top of my head.

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