Writers and directors quite often were these futurologists whose forecasts came true with an amazing accuracy. The fantasy suggested decades the fresh ideas to scientists and inspired on new experiments. Moreover — fantasts of the 70th thought better about technologies of the 21st century so in some sense we still should catch up with the technologies described in books and movies about our time. So, what ideas of modern technologies science fiction writers threw to inventors?
Mobile phones (“Star Trek”)
You remember a personnel from “Star Trek” where the captain Kirk used a golden folding communicator for negotiations with people, crews of the ships and for sending a distress signal? For the first time the communicator appeared on the screen in 1964 in the very first episode of Startrek — “Cage”.
There is the whole list of modern technologies on which creation scientists and inventors were inspired by “Star Trek”. We for the present didn’t learn to transport people, and here the whole history of creation of the mobile phone is connected with a communicator.
The developer of the first mobile phone Martin Cooper worked in the Motorola company since 1954. At first he was engaged in enhancement of pagers, then — creation of automobile phones. Surprisingly, as that, and other invention already used technology of cellular communication. In the early seventies Cooper was concerned by the fact that the main competitor of Motorola — technological giant AT&T — will take leadership in a niche of automobile phones: at that time the company actively lobbied the bill of obligatory placement in cars of telephone sets. Its concerns were not groundless — AT&T had much more research projects and financial opportunities, than at Motorola. But Cooper, nevertheless, wanted to overtake the giant in a technological race. And here, having come to work one fine day, Cooper declared that he decided to work on the first-ever wireless phone which idea peeped in “Star Trek”. 90 days later, in 1973, his team provided the first-ever working prototype of the mobile phone with a frequency of 800 megahertz, weighing 1 kg and with the battery which could work without recharge of only 20 minutes.
However the first commercial mobile phone went on sale only 10 years later when for mobile phones necessary infrastructure appeared. It then cost 3995 dollars that in the present prices constitutes nearly 9,5 thousand dollars. Today you will surprise nobody with the mobile phone any more, and technologies went much further, than predicted “Star Trek”, however if screenwriters of the movie wouldn’t think up then a communicator, perhaps, many technologies wouldn’t be also in mention.
Surveillance cameras (“1984”)
The author, perhaps, of the anti-Utopia, most known in literature, George Orwell published the novel in 1949, however many technologies which then were read by fantastic, managed to predict with an amazing accuracy.
However with the fact that the novel “1984” predicted appearance of surveillance cameras it is possible to argue at least because in the novel “teleeasel” there were more advanced technology, than modern outside video cameras. The device described in the novel combined in itself the TV set with the single channel and the camera which couldn’t be switched off. In each location where there were party members, there was a separate teleeasel via which transmissions were round the clock broadcast and shadowing people was carried out. Key difference of the modern surveillance cameras from book technology of Orwell is that in the book the screen of the teleeasel and was the camera! Yes, today we learned to mount in video camera instruments of the size of a pin, but after all we didn’t manage to develop technology in which shooting would be carried on the screen yet.
Probably, an opportunity to talk to other person by video conference can be read the most popular technology of the majority of works of the science fiction. “Videophone” appeared in “Star Trek”, “Running on an edge”, “the Space Odyssey” and even in “Alice’s Adventures” of Cyrus Bulychev. But the very first mentioning of a videophone in the science fiction belongs to 1927 when the mute anti-utopian drama “Metropolis” shot according to Teja von Harbou’s novel came out.
Action of “Metropolis” is torn in the far future in the large futuristic city the Metropolis. One of heroes, the foreman Grot, uses a videophone to report on the authorities on the beginning revolt in a working ghetto. The movie outstripped the time not only in technological aspect, but also in social — many scientists still find a prediction of events of the contemporary history in the movie. And we already so got used to Skype that today it is difficult to provide how fantastic this the technology seemed at the beginning of the last century.
Creation of genetically faultless people (Gattaka)
The picture of the New Zealand director and screenwriter Andrew Niccola is removed in an anti-Utopia genre, and the movie came out in 1997 — nearly 20 years ago. At the same time the movie was almost prophetical from the point of view of development of genetics and its application in practice.
In Gattaka almost ideal world in which each separately taken person is a set of the best genes of the parents is described. In this ideal world only madmen rely on will of destiny and make the child a natural mode, the others set a set of genes of future child in special laboratory. His place in society therefore the talented main character by the name of Vincent conceived in the natural way because of short-sightedness and heart disease is forced to work at unskilled work in many respects depends on genetic set of the person also, though dreams to become the astronaut.
And let before exclusive division of society according to a genotype to us it is still far, in Gattaka the technology of genetic selection was nearly for the first time shown. Today when carrying out extracorporal fertilization it is possible to carry out PGPT (preimplantation genetic preliminary treatment) of embryos and to place in a uterus only those embryos in which genetic anomalies weren’t revealed. It is especially important in cases if parents had stories of genetic diseases in a family or if the woman tries to become pregnant after 40 years when the risk of anomalies of a fruit increases several times. Of course, at PGD it is still possible to learn only about genetic mutations, and here, for example, doctors will be able to know an embryo sex, but to the parents who will have no right to report about it — in the developed countries it is forbidden legislatively.
Self-driving cars (“Dunno in the Solar city”)
vtomatichesk steered transport — one more popular subject in fantastic literature and cinema beaten, apparently, tens of times in various variations.
The fantasy predicted even emergence of Uber, and, none other than made it Nikolay Nosov. In the book “Dunno in the Solar City” it describes special columns with buttons for a car call which were placed on all city. The real technology went much further and suggested to cause from the mobile phone.
Drivers in cars of the Solar city weren’t — instead on the control panel it was necessary to press the button with the name of the street or a necessary stop. Directors of movies “Remember Everything”, “Fifth Element”, “Transformers” laughed at a subject of self-driving cars (well, well, it is not absolutely cars, but after all). Cars without drivers were published in series “The Knight Is Dear” and in Isaac Asimov’s book “Sallie”.
News and rumors which periodically reach from depths of the technological companies convince more and more that we enter an era of pilotless transport. The same Uber in September of this year declared that it started on streets of the American Pittsburgh the first-ever self-driving cars for trips around the city which can be caused, having pressed the button on the smartphone. Similar developments are conducted by all world carmakers, and developers call approximate time of emergence on our streets of pilotless cars approximately same — 2018−2022.
Voice-activated control (“2001: Space Odyssey”)
Voice-activated control by the equipment and in general creation of computers, capable to training, was predicted by many fantasts, but, perhaps, the director Stanley Kubrick who has released the movie “Space Odyssey of 2001” in 1968 became one of the first.
The computer HAL 9000 system (in Russian translation — EAL) — a classical example of the self-trained computer which can recognize the speech, visions, to communicate with the person in his language, to perform tasks, to create objects of art and even to show emotions.
However, HAL 9000 in the movie had a horrible role: the computer has made a mistake in calculations and when the crew of the ship has conceived to switch-off it, has killed almost all members of team — one in an outer space, and the others — shutdown of a life support system. Later the captain has switched-off all modules of system, and in the first part of “Odyssey” the infernal machine didn’t give life signs any more.
The voice Siri system has no sufficient functionality yet to disconnect us from life support, however can quite prompt the closest address of a pizzeria, turn on the music or poserfit something useful by voice inquiry on the Internet.