When people reflect on their most memorable experiences with the sci-fi genre, they refer to the meditative dystopian featured in Blade Runner, the adventurous optimism of Star Trek, or the legendary Star Wars space western.
Since the inception of the genre, science fiction and modern technology have demonstrated a cyclical relationship.
Science fiction and technology are correlated.
Researchers at the University of Hawaii have even studied this relationship, publishing the document “Exploring the Referral and Usage of Science Fiction in HCI Literature”.
Put simply, films like the ones mentioned above help inspire scientists to create better interactions with robots and progressively smarter artificial intelligence systems.
While science fiction may seem like a relatively new genre, its beginnings date back a few centuries. In the early 1600s, Johannes Kepler wrote Somnium, a story about the demons that can be summoned to make the trip to the moon possible.
Samuel Madden, in 1773 used angels to describe time travel in his Memories of the Twentieth Century.
The idea of living in one of the many or potentially infinite universes is currently one of Hollywood’s favorite tropes.
You see it time and time again as a plot device, – perhaps the most recognizable in the adult cartoon Rick and Morty. However, there is real physics behind this idea.
The general idea is that our universe is only one of the possible and infinite universes.
Space-time can really be infinite, we could be part of a bubble in a “bubbling soup” of other universes, that cannot interact with each other, or because all possible results of the measurements of the quantum mechanics are realized, – in this universe and in every other universe that could possibly exist.
Scientists have co-signed this idea, with even famed Professor Stephen Hawking dedicating his latest published article to exploring the idea of a multiverse.
You know the scene. Neo from the Matrix downloads a kung fu program directly into his brain, learning the ancient martial art in seconds.
It seems impossible, but it could become a very real possibility over the next two decades.
Elon Musk’s Neuralink is a reader that can be painlessly installed in your brain, offering the promise of instantly learning a new set of specific skills.
This device will allegedly allow you to deliver information directly to your brain.
Teleportation is used in many science fictions.
Only, it might not work as you think. Researchers were able to transport quantum information through the particles for distances of up to 63 miles.
Unfortunately, teleportation can only apply to information and whatever. So no matter how you wish that were true, there will likely never be a device that can teleport you in and out of the dreaded DMV.
Artificial Super Intelligence.
Artificial intelligence can be divided into three evolutionary stages:
1. Narrow artificial intelligence or the application of AI only to specific tasks;
2. Artificial general intelligence – apply AI to multiple domains and autonomously solve problems that AI software was never even designed for; and
3. Super artificial intelligence – AI capable of scientific creativity, social skills, and general wisdom.
We are still far from general artificial intelligence or even superintelligence.
Artificial intelligence is a controversial topic, with many tech leaders coming out very clearly on how to properly move from narrow intelligence to general intelligence, and beyond.
However, there is an equally vocal group that says AI can never exceed its narrow limits.
Portal Guns and Wormholes.
The portable device allows opening wormholes in almost any place imaginable in the multiverse, moving easily through various universes. Science says wormholes are possible.
A wormhole is essentially a theoretical tunnel through space-time that could create shortcuts for long journeys through the universe. However, making these holes in space-time is no easy task.
You have to find negative energy to repel gravity long enough, to keep a wormhole open, a way to navigate to your intended destination, and the certainty that you will actually survive the trip.
CGI-powered immersive experiences.
Virtual reality (VR) technology has quickly evolved from a pure novelty to a useful and exciting tool. Games and entertainment will certainly continue to evolve, with VR ultimately becoming the medium of choice for thrilling experiences.
But why stop there? Films like Ready Player One imagine futuristic worlds, that blur the lines between reality and fantasy.
Experiences like Another World VR already use full haptic feedback to immerse players in their game world. Making total immersion a reality could be a simple matter of gaining enough computing power.
Reality is a “simulation”.
There are some figures in the technology and scientific community like Elon Musk that believe that this controversial idea could be plausible.
Nick Bostrom made famous the Simulation theory ,in his 2003 paper, “Are you living in a computer simulation?”
Bostrom claims that our future ancestors will probably have the computing power to simulate reality, so what is stopping them from computing our current reality?
What if our current reality is not part of some computer simulation program?
Philosophers and theoretical physicists have explored these questions. But their studies should be not be taken so seriously.
Bostrom said that living in a simulation reality is a philosophical thought experiment than a possibility.