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Best technologies are predicted by sci-fi: What’s next on the event horizon?

Uber are contemplating the development of Aerial ridesharing, somewhat reminiscent of flying taxis present in ‘The Fifth Element’.

Military drones figure prominently among the exhibits at the World Defense Show in Riyadh - Copyright AFP/File Daniel LEAL
Military drones figure prominently among the exhibits at the World Defense Show in Riyadh - Copyright AFP/File Daniel LEAL

Sometimes science fiction predicts the technologies that we will one live with; at other times, science fiction can inspire the types of technology we have today.

For example, things such as mobile phones and sliding doors were envisioned in ‘Star Trek’; the Internet search engine was a feature in Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’; and technology depicted in the ‘Back to the Future’ franchise once seemed out of this world, whereas time travel apart, much of it is commonplace.

As we immerse ourselves in these sci-fi wonders, a question arises: which other fictional technologies will eventually transcend the screen and become a reality?

To consider what is possible, the company Distrelec has collated a list of the top 10 technologies from science fiction that are already here. Such a list is, of course, selective and based on the personal preferences of the selectors. It is, nonetheless, interesting.

The top ten technologies from science fiction that are already here

FilmYearType of TechnologyTechnology (Film)Today’s Equivalent
The Fifth Element1997DronesFlying TaxisUnmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)
I, Robot2004Autonomous CarsAudi RSQAutopilot
Wall-E2008Trash BotsWall-ERobot-based Autonomous Refuse (ROAR)
Iron Man 32013NanotechnologyNanoTech Suit – Mark LNanotechnology
Her2014Intelligent OSSamanthaSiri/ Alexa
Big Hero 62014Healthcare RobotsBaymaxRobear
Ex Machina2015Real AIAvaCollaborative Robots
Blade Runner 204920173D Printed ReplicasReplicants (fictional bioengineered humanoids)3D Printed Replica
Ready Player One2018AvatarsOnline AvatarsPersonal Artificial Intelligence
No Time to Die2021Smart WatchesSpy WatchSmart Watches

In terms of what could be next companies such as Uber are contemplating the development of Aerial ridesharing, somewhat reminiscent of flying taxis present in ‘The Fifth Element’. At present, we have unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) which have become increasingly popular for aerial photography, surveillance, and delivery services.

The Audi RSQ in ‘I, Robot’ included technology enabling it to predict traffic patterns, automatically adjust routes, drive, and park itself. Nowautopilotand advanced sensor coverage is becoming more widely utilised within the automotive sector.

Automated robots have been around for almost a century now, especially common now in Industry 4.0, where they help humans with automated tasks through a cyber-physical human intelligence system. Volvo, in collaboration with Chalmers University of Technology, Mälardalen University, Penn State University, and recycling company Renova, have created ROAR. The Robot-based Autonomous Refuse uses a drone to scan the area and select certain bins, then deploys a robot to empty each bin into the back of the lorry truck

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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