Discoveries and breakthroughs in any field are emerged from imagination. No one can invent something before it is imagined. An idea, inspired from daily lives, observations, conversations, or incidents, becomes a reality and changes the world. The inspiration can come from anywhere, even from movies. Many technologies existing today have been inspired from science fiction movies. Researchers and scientists have acknowledged that science fiction played a crucial role in getting them interested in science and leading many breakthroughs. Many new technologies have been developed by taking inspiration from science fiction shows, movies, and books.
Arthur C. Clarke described how radio signals can be used for long-distance communication between satellites in 1945. Today, these satellites have become common. The communicators in Star Trek and video wristwatches in Dick Tracy have a lot of similarity with today’s smartphones and smart watches. The ill-behaved and wayward robots from Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey are what scientists have been trying to avoid. In addition, KITT, a driverless car shown in Knight Rider is no longer only an imagination.
The impact of science fiction on development of new technologies is increasing as the trend of innovation has emerged. Many researchers have been trying to understand how its role and how it drives innovation in technology. Philipp Jordan at the University of Hawaii in the U.S. and his colleagues have been studying the impact of work in science fiction on recent technologies. Researchers developing technologies based on human-machine interaction have been using concepts from sci-fi movies. Their research concluded that science fiction has a lot of impact on development of new technologies and its impact is increasing day by day.
Researchers searched research papers related to science fiction terms that were published since 1982. After flipping through the research papers, they categorized the results. They found that science fiction has been used in different ways by researchers. They found three categories. First involves theoretical design research. Another category involves new ways of human-computer interaction. The last category involves study of human body modification.
“Sci-fi movies, shows or stories do provide an inspiration for the foremost and upcoming human-computer interaction challenges of our time, for example through the discussion of shape-changing interfaces, implantables, or digital afterlife ethics,” said Jordan.
Jordan & the team also found that the role of sci-fi is changing. Researchers have referenced sci-fi movies and books more frequently now than in the past. Jordan claimed that the information they gathered is only a tip of the iceberg. He said, “We speculate that the explicit referral of sci-fi in human-computer interaction research represents a fraction of the actual inspiration and impact it has had.”
The research by Jordan and team has taken a small step toward understanding between the way humans are imagining the influence of technology and the way it is occurring in the reality. Technology companies have been hiring futurists who can take inspiration from science fiction to explore innovative technologies and study their social impact. The speed at which technology is progressing shows that there will be more innovation and new technologies. The creative people will imagine something unforeseeable and it will give rise to new technologies in future. It will not be surprising if there are real life Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man in the future.