For decades science fiction has kept our imaginations alive with both books and movies. It was never a question of what science could or could not achieve. The truth is, they were exciting ideas that filled humans with a yearning, no matter how strange they seemed. In fact, without writers and artists to imagine these intriguing things, they may have never been possible. We already know of some things that have come true.
For example, we now have almost round-the-clock access to high-speed broadband connections like CenturyLink internet. Technologies like these have only made our life easier. And that is what leads us to believe that future may be being written down as we speak.
This article talks about 5 of the things that were initially mentioned in sci-fi novels or movies that later made their way into reality. It definitely makes one wonder how the world is evolving and what more the future may have in store for us.
- Credit Cards This is perhaps one of the earliest mentions of technology mentioned in a sci-fi setting. It was over 130 years ago when Edward Bellamy first talked about a credit card-like service in his novel Looking Backward in 1888. He spoke of a utopian societal setting that used a card to replace paper money and coins and linked to a central banking system. People in his novel were able to buy consumable items and services using this simple card, and it did seem quite a leap at the time.
Fast forward to 1950, a little over 60 years after Bellamy’s novel, the first credit card was launched. John C. Biggins made this brilliant invention that allowed people in a small radius to charge their purchases to the bank, which later became the basis for the modern-day credit card. So, next time you use your Visa card to buy flowers for your betrothed, remember to thank this innovative young man!
- Driverless Cars Automated cars have long held the attention of the common person. The idea of sitting in a car and having it drive itself is an intriguing one indeed. A short story written in 1956 by Phillip K. called the Minority Report, adapted as a movie in 2002, was the first to talk about this rather creative breakthrough in science. The talk of the town when it first came out, it wasn’t years until it was actually thought as conceivable.
The first-ever autonomous car was created in the late 1980s by a small group of scientists at Carnegie Mellon University. It may have been the first attempt at automating cars to make them driverless, but certainly not the last. Ever since, multiple car producers have come out intending to commercially produce these driverless and automated cars. Tesla, Ford, and Audi are just some of the corporations working on this idea. John Anderton and James Bond would definitely have had different lives without automated cars!
- SmartwatchesA comic strip by Chester Gould called Dick Tracy in 1946 gave a short glimpse into the future to its readers with what appeared to be the present-day smartwatch. A strapping police detective, his character had a two-way watch on his wrist that seemed to double as a radio. Although we don’t know what his inspiration at the time was, we cannot deny that it did come into being not so long after. As of today, smartwatches continue as a trend that is doing rather well.
The funny part is that Gould added another feature to his supposed ‘smartwatch’ in 1964. This was a video call feature for the detective to connect through. In a time when the internet was barely available, and Skype wasn’t even born, the idea seemed far-fetched. The video call features still aren’t available on smartwatches, but maybe they will make the future.
- Video Calls It is honestly impossible to imagine a time without video calls. Skype, FaceTime, and WhatsApp have taken our communications to another level, and the platforms just keep increasing. Even so, there was an era without video calls, and as you can imagine, it wasn’t very pleasant.
A famous cartoon show, The Jetsons, aired in the early 1960s, long before video calls were a thing. Video phoning did occur at the time, but it was only supported on large television screens in an experimental capacity. Most uses were by military groups and phone companies looking to make the future. Science made a breakthrough at last, with the advent of cellular phones and internet-supported video-calling, which continues to evolve even today.
- Mobile PhonesStar Trek creators came up with the bright idea for a flip phone that supposedly was used as a phone communicator in the show back in 1966. Thirty years down the lane, Motorola was the first to launch a mobile phone in a flip model – a clear association with the Star Trek idea. It was even named after the famed show, as the
Today, mobile phones have become much more advanced, offering multiple things at once. The initial Motorola design has nothing on them-they have evolved far beyond those limits. However, the idea did originate with the series, and we cannot deny that. So, thank the Star Trek heavens for this, and may the force be with you!
Artificial intelligence and technology are a vast ocean, one we have just had glimpses of so far. The realities are complex and engaging but sometimes not so easy to understand. STEM education and scientific breakthroughs continue to baffle the world today. From Tesla to SpaceX, whether we understand it or not, we live through remarkable history.
But whatever may happen, one thing is for certain. No matter what timeline we are living in, we are bound to be producing some ideas that rewrite the future of the world. So, next time you have a peculiar idea that seems impossible to achieve – write it down anyways. Who knows what the times to come might hold for you, me, and the rest of humanity?
Are you then ready to go back to the future?
I know I am!
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