Are we really surprised that Nikola Tesla predicted cellphones back in 1909; or that in 1660 “The Father of Modern Chemistry” saw organ transplants in our future? Or that in 1917 Alexander Graham Bell foresaw global warming and suggested solar power as a solution? Probably not. These were men of science. They spent their lives theorizing and testing to advance human understanding and survival.
Science Fiction writers, on the other hand, have not enjoyed the same respect for their thoughts on the future. Not that it was a deterrent to the millions and millions of fans of science fiction. Best-selling author Yuval Harari thinks “science fiction is the most important artistic genre” because “it shapes the understanding of the public on things like artificial intelligence and biotechnology, which are likely to change our lives and society more than anything else in the coming decades.” Is he right?
|1. Computer tablet||A. Arthur Clarke (2001: A Space Odyssey) 1968|
|2. Credit cards||B. Mark Twain (From the London Times of 2004) 1898|
|3. Moon Landing||C. Edward Bellamy (Looking Backwards) 1888|
|4. The internet||D. Isaac Asimov (NY Times interview) 1964|
|5. The Atomic bomb||E. Jonathan Swift (Gulliver’s Travels) 1726|
|6. Earbuds||F. Robert Heinlein (Stranger in a Strange Land) 1961|
|7. Microwave ovens||G. Aldous Huxley (Brave New World) 1931|
|8. Screensavers & waterbeds||H. Jules Verne (From Earth to the Moon) 1865|
|9. Mars has 2 moons||I. Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451) 1953|
|10. Antidepressants||J. H.G. Wells (The World Set Free) 1914|
I want to thank the active imagination of these and other science fiction writers for giving us their keen insights into the future along with the thrill ride of their stories. Happy New Ideas!!
Answers: 1-A, 2-C, 3-H, 4-B, 5-J, 6-I, 7-D, 8-F, 9-E, 10-G