Ways Sci-Fi Has Influenced Society

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Sci-Fi Has Shaped Countless Technological Advances

You only have to read through the pages of any Jules Verne, Ray Bradbury, or H.G. Wells novels to see how they successfully predicted many high-tech concepts in society that have today come to fruition. 

An excellent example is Jules Verne’s 1895 fantasy novel entitled The Floating Island (also known as Propeller Island) where he referred to the High Street being practically deserted by shoppers due to the new method of shopping (which we now understand to be online shopping). 

He clearly described how customers would see pictures of products and then place orders via a “teleautograph” system. 

Jules Verne was widely considered to be the Father of Science Fiction, and in the same novel, he referred to submarine fiber optic cables which would transmit information. 

Today, around 95% of all internet communication is made possible through fiber optic cables running underneath the ocean floor. Coincidence? I think not! 

Fantasy and Science Fiction has Helped To Make Society Less Racist

Society has come a long way in the past hundred years when it comes to racism. While the easing of racial tension has been largely down to people, themselves, the fantasy and science fiction genre has also played a big role. 

For instance, during the Civil Rights era, Star Trek was being created. One of the main actresses, Nichelle Nichols (who played Uhura) was ready to quit the Star Trek set but was convinced by Martin Luther King Jr not to. At the time, Star Trek was one of the only shows that portrayed African Americans as being equal to white people. 

Thankfully, Nichols persisted, and Star Trek came to be one of the most progressive shows of its time.

The Invention of Cell Phones was Partly Inspired by Star Trek

The birth of the cell phone came about in quite a boring way but did you know that its concept was partly inspired by Star Trek? 

In military sci-fi fashion, we got to see the first flip phone ever being used by Captain Kirk and his team on Star Trek. Although they would receive text messages, they weren’t able to send any. 

Science Fiction Writers Have Predicted Satellite TV

Back in 1945, space travel was pretty much the stuff of daydreams and fantasies. However, popular science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke wrote a piece entitled The Space Station: Its Radio Applications. 

Clarke predicted that in the coming years, space stations would be created from which they would transmit television signals to TV sets throughout the world. 

If you consider that, in 1954, very few folks had TVs, it’s quite an accurate prediction! 

Some Facebook and Google Employees Were Inspired by Sci-Fi

One of the lesser known but best sci-fi authors, Neal Stephenson (who wrote Snow Crash) has been the inspiration of many well-known figures from technology companies, like Google or Facebook. 

Sergey Brin, Google’s co-founder, has frequently stated that Snow Crash is one of the most inspirational novels he’s ever read. 

Neal Stephenson today works as the Chief Futurist for Magic Leap, an innovative virtual reality start-up. He has often been heard saying that although he made the content of his novels up, it’s becoming strangely prophetic today! 

People in the know have come to realize that some excellent technological ideas have come about from science fiction and fantasy novels. So much so, that companies such as Apple, Microsoft and Google are hiring science fiction writers to create content about new products and technology. 

Dystopian sci-fi, however, often depicts a future society where communities have largely crumbled and everything has been destroyed. A main theme running through many of these science fiction novels is technology destroying everything we hold dear. 

This begs the question: should we learn from the past and take note of how sci-fi and fantasy has predicted the future in order to create a better world for ourselves before we destroy it? 


Written by Annie May

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