Science Fiction From My Youth That I Am Still Waiting For

I’m getting rather tired of news stories touting how many science fiction predictions have already come true. Sure, there are a few science fiction predictions from my youth (1960’s) which have come true, but very few of the really significant ones, such as:

  1. Time travel.
  2. Matter transmission.
  3. Human travel to other planets.
  4. Human travel to other solar systems.
  5. Human travel to other galaxies.
  6. Human travel to other universes.
  7. Faster than light travel.
  8. Wormholes in space.
  9. Anti-gravity.
  10. Invisibility — both people and objects, including at will.
  11. Cheap and plentiful fusion power.
  12. The computers from Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey (HAL 9000).
  13. The mnemonic memory circuit of the Star Trek computer. Enabled awesome AI.
  14. True artificial intelligence — human-level, higher-order intelligence, artificial general intelligence.
  15. Robots with human-level movement and very fine dexterity.
  16. Robots indistinguishable from humans.
  17. Personal robots with human-level, higher-order intelligence.
  18. Personal digital assistant with human-level, higher-order intelligence.
  19. Robots and AI systems combine in a large group-mind. Skynet.
  20. The robots and AI systems take over the world. Skynet. Colossus: The Forbin Project.
  21. Flawless universal automatic language translation.
  22. Personal flying cars. No pilot’s license required. Cheap and economical to operate.
  23. Jet packs. No pilot’s license required. Cheap and economical to operate.
  24. Supersonic air travel. Cheap, large-scale, for the average person. I personally flew on the Concorde, once, one-way, as a once in a lifetime experience (saw the cabin indicator click up to Mach 2.04, faster than an F-35!), but it was really expensive ($2,400 in 1983) — LOL, when will anybody be able to do that again, let alone cheaply?!
  25. Hypersonic air travel. Economical, large-scale, for non-military/non-astronauts. Not really cheap, but not just for the super-rich.
  26. Average person can travel to space.
  27. Average person can live in space.
  28. Large-scale human genetic engineering.
  29. Growing human organs.
  30. Transplant human brain into a new body.
  31. Transfer human mind and memories to a brain in another body.
  32. Transfer human mind and memories to a fresh artificial brain in a new body.
  33. Upload your brain (or someone else’s!) to a computer.
  34. Lifelike artificial limbs.
  35. Bionic limbs — enabling superhuman performance.
  36. Bionic senses.
  37. Immortality. Both within a renewable human body and life without a human body.
  38. Drill through the Earth’s crust to the mantle.
  39. Living undersea, undersea cities.
  40. Personal underwater long-distance travel.
  41. Underground homes and cities.
  42. High-speed long-distance travel underground.
  43. Long-term cryogenic suspended animation.
  44. Talking animals.
  45. ESP — mind reading and two-way communication.
  46. Realistic virtual reality which is indistinguishable from reality.
  47. Anti-matter weapons.
  48. Contact with other intelligent species.
  49. Full-gestation test-tube babies and artificial wombs.
  50. The merger of humans and machines.
  51. Superintelligence — machines wildly exceeding human intelligence. Singularity.
  52. Human extinction or near extinction. Whether technology, disease, overcrowding, environment, asteroids, or whatever. Such as Terminator/Skynet.
  53. Humanity abandons the planet and moves to space or somewhere else.
  54. Unified, peaceful federation of planets, even across solar systems or even galaxies.
  55. Waterworld.
  56. A new ice age, for a fully-populated planet.
  57. Recreate the dinosaurs, wooly mammoths, Neanderthals, and other ancient creatures from DNA fragments.
  58. Detect and exploit hyperspace.
  59. Dick Tracy’s 2-way wrist TV.
  60. Mile-high buildings.
  61. Floating homes, communities, and even cities in the sky.
  62. Weather control.
  63. Orwell’s 1984.
  64. Huxley’s Brave New World.
  65. Soylent Green.
  66. Shrinking people, animals, and machines, even to fantastically small sizes.
  67. Construction of macroscopic complex machines, structures, and biological creatures using atom-scale nanotechnology.
  68. Completely reducing a large number of people (the entire population of the Earth!) to a relatively small computer memory (a piece of wire) — and able to resurrect them fully at a much later date. Harlan Ellison’s “Demon with a Glass Hand” episode of The Outer Limits.
  69. Unassisted human underwater breathing.
  70. Artificial whole blood, including white blood cells and antibodies.
  71. Pills that make you much smarter.
  72. Major collision of a large space object with earth, such as leaving a crater the size of the meteor crater in Arizona. Short of extinction-level event. Technically, not fiction since it has happened.
  73. Extinction-level event due to major collision of a space object with earth. Technically, not fiction since it happened to the dinosaurs.
  74. Journey to the center of the earth.
  75. Create a planet or moon.
  76. Terraform a planet.
  77. Shrinking people and machines to microscopic size. See the 1966 movie Fantastic Voyage where they shrunk an entire nuclear submarine and its crew and injected them into a human body to get rid of a blood clot.

Dear [Fake] Media: Please stop bombarding us with claims about how much science fiction has become “fact” until we make a sizable dent in this list. But if you want to tout how little of science fiction has become fact, that would be okay. Thank You!

What fraction of these possibilities will become full-fledged reality in:

  • 2–3 years?
  • 5 years?
  • 10 years?
  • 15 years?
  • 20 years?
  • 25 years?
  • 35 years?
  • 50 years?
  • 75 years?
  • 100 years?
  • 250 years?

There are clearly a few on my list which are or at least could become a reality within the next five to ten years, but a lot of them are not on any realistic near-term timeline..

What fraction of them will come to fruition in my own lifetime? Assuming I live another 20 to 50 years.

Personally, I’m really hoping I can live in space around the time I start having trouble walking around down here on Earth. Zero G will begin to have some real appeal around then. Although a new body, artificial or bionic limbs, or even a brand new brain would make living on Earth more comfortable when I hit age 105. Currently, my expectation is that I may live until age 115, another 50 years.

What will we be dreaming of and reading in science fiction 50, 75, or 100 years from now, after a sizeable fraction of that list has been fulfilled?

Look, I’m not trying to be greedy, but seriously, how long before we have everything they had on Star Trek in 1966, over 50 years ago? Is that really too much to ask for??!!

Progress

  1. Intelligent digital assistants have made interesting progress with AI and voice response, but still fall far short of the capabilities of the computers in Star Trek and 2001: A Space Odyssey (HAL 9000).
  2. We’re seen interesting progress with jetpacks and hoverboards, but still only a fraction of what is available in science fiction.

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Freelance Consultant

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