APU Cyber & AI Original

Science Fiction and Its Influence on Modern Technology

By Dr. Kandis Y. Wyatt, PMP
Faculty Member, Transportation and Logistics

Science fiction is a genre that continues to grow in popularity. The number of published sci-fi books has doubled since 2010 and represents 26% of all new publications.

In addition, with the creation of electronic readers, it’s easier than ever to get access to books in the science fiction genre. There are also social media channels, such as Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn that encourage like-minded enthusiasts to share their latest sci-fi inspiration.

Science Fiction Has Inspired People to Enter STEM Fields

Many leading STEM enthusiasts credit sci-fi for piquing their interest in science, technology, engineering and math. Science fiction writer Ken MacLeod stated, “Science fiction inspired scores, hundreds, perhaps thousands of people to study, to become engineers.”

The sci-fi TV series, “The X-Files,” has inspired many women to pursue STEM careers. This inspiration has been coined the “Scully Effect.” 

Related link: STEM Women: Creating Their Own Businesses Despite COVID-19

Science Fiction Explores What Is Possible

Most sci-fi writers are not motivated by money or fame, but enjoy the opportunity to explore the unknown and show new worlds to readers. Even though most science fiction books, movies, and other artistic expressions follow traditional themes such as good vs. evil, strong vs. weak, and rich vs. poor, sci-fi writers can explore science and technology in a way that stretches the imagination.

Wormholes, time travel, teleportation and parallel universes may be hard to imagine today, but they are common themes in sci-fi books and films. Traveling to new worlds, for instance, was first documented in science fiction when Margaret Cavendish wrote about traveling to a new world in her 1666 book, “The Blazing World and Other Writings.” Similarly, Jules Verne discussed the exploration of a new world in his 1864 novel, “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”

Science fiction can also explore the future, highlight the cultural evolution of society and stretch the imagination in how technology will impact daily experiences.

Related link: 5 Important Cybersecurity Concerns for Today’s Business Managers

Science Fiction and Today’s Technology

Science fiction is credited for influencing many of the technological advances we have today. Here are eight connections between sci-fi and how it has predicted or influenced modern technology:

  1. Star Trek is credited for inspiring the modern-day cell phone and Bluetooth technology.
  2. Arthur C. Clarke first predicted Internet capabilities in 1964.
  3. The 2002 Tom Cruise movie “Minority Report” predicted targeted advertising.
  4. Self-lacing shoes were first referenced in the 1985 movie “Back to the Future.”
  5. Tesla valves were inspired by books describing shark intestines.
  6. The movie “The Dark Side of the Moon” envisioned nuclear-armed satellites 30 years ago.
  7. John Wilkins’ book, “A Discourse Concerning a New Planet,” discussed the colonization of the moon in the early 17th century.
  8. The exploration of Mars was mentioned as early as 1880 in the book “Across the Zodiac: The Story of a Wrecked Record” by Percy Greg. In 2021, the Ingenuity helicopter provided highly detailed images and video of the Martian surface.

Make the connection with the future by experiencing sci-fi today. Find your inspiration by reading a book or watching a science fiction movie.

Dr. Kandis Y. Wyatt, PMP, is an award-winning author, presenter, and professor with nearly 30 years of experience in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). She is the creator of the Professor S.T.E.A.M. Children’s Book Series, which brings tomorrow’s concepts to future leaders today. A global speaker, STE(A)M advocate, and STE(A)M communicator, she holds a B.S. in Meteorology and an M.S. in Meteorology and Water Resources from Iowa State University, as well as a D.P.A. in Public Administration from Nova Southeastern University. She is a faculty member in Transportation and Logistics for the Wallace E. Boston School of Business and specializes in Artificial Intelligence (AI) in transportation, education, and technology.

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