Technology is advancing so rapidly that science fiction is having a hard time keeping up. Want examples? Here’s three.
Okay, show of hands. Who here actually read 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne?
I was never the biggest fan of water, mind you, but that’s not why I loved it. I was told about how it depicted advanced submarines before its time before I read that book, and that hooked me. See, before Jules Verne came along, submarines were rather primitive. Verne included fantastic descriptions of realistic ideas that would one day become reality, and that was part of the book’s magic.
It was my first taste of fiction that became fact, but it wouldn’t be my last.
Since then, the world has astounded me. So much fiction becomes reality these days that my head may literally spin off of my body. If it does, no worries, I’ll just get it transplanted onto another body.
Okay, okay, maybe the head transplant is going a little too far. That procedure is still very much in question, after all. And yet, I wouldn’t be too surprised if such a procedure becomes a common occurrence in my lifetime.
Thinking of that, I put together a list of the top three sci-fi tropes that have become, or are quickly becoming, a reality.
Let’s dive right in with our first trope: Cybernetics.
I’m a bit of a softie when it comes to stories about how an advanced bionic body part has benefitted someone who needed it. There’s something heartwarming about seeing someone hear with a cochlear implant for the first time.
You might be amazed at the kinds of bionics we have seen in recent years. I mean, you might have seen the sleek look or functionality of a bionic hand, and those are always pretty cool. However, did you know that amputees have received bionics with sensory ‘nerves’?
The hand from that story was a prototype, but it allowed its user to get a sense of the shape and hardness of objects. And that story was from 2014.With #bionics, it's all in the little details. #nerves #finemotorcontrol #thingslikethatClick To Tweet
With bionics, it’s all in the little details. With things like senses, you can start to work toward fine motor control. Before you know it, you have an arm like Luke Skywalker.
Before we see bionics that advanced, though, we need to find a way to connect them to the brain. Luckily for us, researchers are working on a direct neural interface that can wire electronic signals directly into the nervous system.
Further Reading: 3D Printed Third Thumb Enhances Your Human Abilities
Cybernetics doesn’t stop at replacement parts, however. Plenty of people are looking for enhancements, too.
That’s where companies like Cyborg Nest come in. While it may seem strange now, your opinion of adding to the human form could change completely as cybernetics become more advanced.
Maybe human magnetoreceptors don’t float your boat, and that’s okay. But what if you could become a wi-fi hotspot, or implant a hidden self-defense measure? As we get better at augmenting the human body, your imagination will be the only limit.
These days, it’s common to see arguments between people who fear AI sentience and those who think that’s still a pipe dream. While already have an AI with a national citizenship, it’s not a “true AI” so much as it is a highly advanced chatbot. Sophia is considered a citizen of Saudi Arabia, but she’s not much more than a pricey stage prop.
She’s interesting, but in my opinion, she isn’t that impressive. AI has done plenty of impressive things, however. IBM‘s Watson, for example, has been learning how to diagnose medical patients with superhuman accuracy.
Now, I don’t have room (or the patience) to go through everything that AI are doing these days. Mostly that is because AI can be put to virtually any task with a little bit of innovation.
See, some people create AI, and that’s awesome. Some others, though, worship AI technology. Or, at least, they worship the Singularity that could be.
The idea behind the Singularity is that eventually, thinking machines will transcend their programming and become a virtual deity. At that point, you could have an AI that could essentially program itself.
Basically, you would have Skynet. I’ll not dig too far into that, though. I make too many jokes about Skynet as it is.With all the #AI at work these days, Skynet jokes are getting old. #that'swhatitwantsyoutothinkClick To Tweet
On the flip side, you have people who think the singularity presents a great danger. Of note is Elon Musk, who has pretty consistently warned us about the future capability of AI software.
Whether you fear it, accept it, or worship it, AI has advanced greatly in the past few years.
3. The Matrix
Back in 1999, The Matrix filled people’s minds with ideas about people living within a simulation. Now, many of our brightest minds wonder if we are in fact living within a simulation.
The discussion often has me wondering: Just how would you make a simulation as realistic as reality?
Star Trek had it with the holodeck, and while we may be far away from that, we try to substitute things like AR and VR for it.
But AR and VR, impressive as they are, are just substitutes. For the Matrix sci-fi trope to be a reality, we really need a project that can connect the brain directly to a computer.
We need a project like this one. That’s right, folks, the Matrix is feasible enough for the U.S. Military to sink $65 million dollars into it. And as crazy as it sounds, there is some really interesting science behind it.If it's good enough for the U.S. Military, it's good enough for me. #thematrixisrealClick To Tweet
The Neural Engineering System Design program could have implications that heal the blind and paralyzed. Of course, if we’re thinking in sci-fi terms, it could also allow hackers to get uncannily ‘up close and personal’ with your computer.
Whether you fear it or welcome it, however, it seems like the Matrix is quickly becoming a reality.
We’re in for a Wild Ride
That’s my top three, but the list is by no means exhaustive. There are incredible advancements turning fiction into reality, just look through our blog and you’ll see. That being said, we’d love to hear from you if we missed anything.