Which Technology Was Originally Predicted by a Science Fiction Writer?
From the ray gun to smartwatches, many of the technologies that we use on a daily basis were originally predicted by a science fiction author. In fact, sci-fi authors are often ahead of their time when it comes to technological speculation.
Jules Verne wrote about gasoline-powered vehicles and weapons of mass destruction more than a century ago, while Arthur C. Clarke predicted tablet computers in his 1968 novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Unlike the old clunky mice and Commodore 64 computers of the day, astronauts in his story used a tablet computer to perform diagnostic tests on their spaceships and communicate with Earth. These tablets were similar in appearance to today’s iPhones and iPads.
Ray Bradbury was also one of the first science fiction authors to anticipate a number of modern inventions. He portrayed earbuds in his 1953 book, Fahrenheit 451, although they looked more like a radio than the wireless earbuds that we now use to stream music and podcasts. He also imagined a futuristic utopia where money was no longer necessary, similar to the cashless society we now live in.
Science fiction can help readers understand the impact of new technologies on their lives and societies in a way that real-life news articles and documentaries can’t. It can also challenge our beliefs and assumptions about the future. Kurt Vonnegut’s novel Slaughterhouse-Five, for example, was a dystopian vision of American life that still feels all too relevant today. Its nonlinear structure and surreal elements helped break down traditional storytelling techniques and influenced a generation of writers.