Whether it’s credit cards, television or the 1969 lunar landing, many modern technologies were originally predicted by science fiction writers. And it’s not just rockets and computers – things like bionic limbs, military tanks and antidepressants have all emerged from the pages of sci-fi novels.
There’s nothing easy about predicting technology. It’s not just the gadgetry itself that’s hard to get right – it’s also understanding how people will react to it. That’s where sci-fi excels, allowing authors to prognosticate freely the techno-social changes that will shock their readers’ sense of cultural propriety and expand their consciousness. It’s a tradition dating back to H. G. Wells and one that’s ingrained in the genre to this day. It’s reflected in the customary “theatrics” of science fiction: prophetic warnings, utopian aspirations, elaborate scenarios for entirely imaginary worlds, titanic disasters and strange voyages. It also reveals every conceivable attitude toward this process of techno-social change, from cynical despair to cosmic bliss.
Which technology was originally predicted by a science fiction writer apex
In his 1953 novel Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury posited the use of earbuds for listening to music and talking on the phone – this was long before phones even existed. Similarly, author Craig Browning referenced robotic chess players in his work – the idea has now become reality. But what about the internet? William Gibson, author of 'Neuromancer', foresaw the existence of the web in his book more than 30 years ago.