Sci-Fi Technologies That Are Current Realities
Technology rapidly expands and improves every single day, it seems like there is always a new version or exciting development happening to make our lives better. Looking back, science fiction books and films have revealed a surprisingly accurate depiction of today’s technology from basic electronic billboards to driver-less cars.
Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1953 and portable audio was a reality, however headphones were gigantic, weighted masses that weren’t practical at all. Bradbury’s description of “little seashells… thimble radios” is astounding. He goes on to write about how they bring music and talk straight into listeners ears, it sound just like the earbuds we have known since Apple began bundling them with iPods around the new millennium.
When we think of video chat FaceTime, Skype and Google’s Duo come to mind, but the firs time video chat was demonstrated was with the “picturephone” at the 1964 World’s Fair. The first known science fiction depiction of video chat was in Hugo Gernsback’s Ralph 124c 41+, a serial printed in Modern Electrics magazine in 1911. The tale included a gadget called the “telephot” that allowed people to have eye contact while speaking across long distances. Less than 100 years after publication we had video chat, incredible.
George Orwell is the most famous for depicting a surveillance state in his 1949 novel 1984. The majority of society doesn’t give a second thought to the security cameras installed almost everywhere they turn. Rewind six decades to when 1984 was written, the concept of a dystopian society monitored by a massive web of security cameras seemed ridiculous. Constant surveillance through GPS and the NSA as well are around to keep us safe with minimal interference, much better than the restrictive watchful eye of “Big Brother.”
These are only the most-used tools we have. It’s interesting that the majority of technology imagined that has been created or in development centers around absentee humans. Generally, science fiction casts a negative light over the future, dealing out severe consequences for using gadgets and making humans look lazy. In reality, these breakthroughs make our lives so much more fun, efficient and safe.