Future Tech: When Sci-Fi Becomes Real

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This is an online-exclusive sidebar to Jason Tselentis’ article “Back to the Future” in the Summer 2015 issue of Print. Grab a copy of the issue for Tselentis’ look at big future tech… and an exploration of whether or not we’re finally ready for it.

What user interface technologies, software and/or hardware from science fiction books, movies or television look promising… or downright awful?

“The most obvious innovation that has gained serious ground in what seems like a very short time is the idea of the autonomous, self-driving car, which you can spot in both Total Recall (1990) and Demolition Man (1993). Self-driving automobiles will represent a tremendous leap forward once they reach critical mass. This, of course, assumes a great many things, but consider a world where 32,000 people in the United States didn’t die in 2013 to automobiles.”—Nate Voss | VML


“My hope for science fiction lies in games because that’s where we are the most willing to experiment, especially [as] consumers. Although current attempts are unpractical, the holodeck [from Star Trek the Next Generation] is still the ‘holy grail’ of video games.”—Nathalie Lawhead | AlienMelon


“The series finale of Weeds, and the final season of Parks & Recreation both did a jump to the near future, and they showed it by having everyone using clear phones. I would assume there are companies that will make clear phones just because the future of television says that’s how it will be. I’m not sure I want a phone that allows everyone else in the room to see my screen from the back, do you? I think a Hot Tub Time Machine would be amazing—but I don’­t see anyone introducing one.”—Donovan Beery | Eleven19

Related: James Pannafino explores 6 recent developments that push boundaries and redefine the future of design.

“We are in a new wave of Future Shock: The biomedical tech fields are far outreaching the production/entertainment fields.”—Roymieco A. Carter | North Carolina A&T State University

“There were a lot of spider robots at CES [consumer electronic show] this year, and I don’t know if you’ve seen the 1984 Tom Selleck classic Runaway but those things are dangerous and we should all be afraid.”—Nate Voss | VML


What sci-fi tech do you want to see? Let us know in the comments.

Breakthrough Thinking by Thomas Vogel is a guide to developing effective creative thinking skills, and applying them to challenges in the competitive business environment and an evolving world.