from the world's big
6 sci-fi prophecies that are already here
Think the future isn't already here with us? Think again!
One of the reasons we love sci-fi so much is that it has an amazing ability to make the most impossible concepts actually feel possible. Well, it turns out that some of these concepts are much closer to reality than we might think. In fact, some of them are already a reality.
In this article, we’ll take a look at six of the most popular sci-fi prophecies that are already here in 2018.
We’ve witnessed many different experimental interpretations of virtual reality over the past few decades. From perhaps one of the most famous movies of all time, The Matrix, to The Veldt, a short story about two children and a virtual nursery, to The Tunnel Under the World, a story about a man who was forced to relive the same day over and over again, before discovering that he was trapped in a virtual marketing simulation.
Perhaps one of the most accurate descriptions of the VR we have today is Pygmalion’s Spectacles - a short story written in 1935 by Stanley G Weinbaum.
Now, thanks to headsets like HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, virtual reality has become available for the mainstream population to enjoy. In the future, it’s likely that virtual reality will be developed even further to impact all of our senses, including the likes of even touch and smell.
While virtual reality completely immerses you in a whole new world, augmented reality merely adds digital elements and suggests effects to a live view using object recognition.
Augmented reality has been a popular concept in many sci-fi works. Smart Glasses that give characters x-ray vision are one example.
Snapchat filters are one example of augmented reality in action, but this is only the beginning. There are now augmented reality cameras capable of conducting 3D scans of entire rooms. This is very effective for redesigning areas, as it can help to measure spaces and even placing virtual items, such as furniture, into them to see how it will look.
Contact lenses that record experiences
Just imagine contact lenses that are also cameras, giving them the ability to record and store whatever you see so you can play it back whenever you want to - your wedding, the birth of your child, or a particularly happy vacation that you don’t want to forget.
Well, Sony has recently filed a new patent for ‘smart contact lenses’ that actually record your experiences. The technology behind these lenses would be highly sophisticated. They would feature special sensors that would convert mechanical energy into electrical energy to activate the camera. It would even be able to adjust for the tilt of the wearer’s eye and use autofocus to adjust for blurry images.
The electronic tablet
The electronic tablet appeared in many science-fiction works many years before it was actually created and sold to the public by the likes of Apple and Samsung.
If you’ve ever seen the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey that was released all the way back in 1968, you might remember the tablet-like device.
In the Samsung-Apple patent battle where Apple claimed that Samsung’s Galaxy phones and tablets infringed on Apple’s intellectual property, Samsung even used this scene to claim that iPad-like tablets had already been established as ‘prior art’.
Smart home devices
When Disney’s Smart House movie was released back in 1999, most of the technology seemed like a far-off concept. But fast forward today, and it turns out that quite a lot of it is already a significant part of our everyday lives.
The movie features a family that moves into a ‘house of the future’ that is run by an inbuilt virtual assistant. There are a couple of concepts that particularly stand out.
For instance, the family relied on a voice-powered smart assistant - much like Amazon Echo - to delegate tasks. The assistant could even support voice commands for tasks such as controlling the lighting or the temperature of your home - something that many of us have implemented in our homes today.
Back in 1990, Arnold Schwarzenegger took a self-driving taxi called a ‘Johnny Cab’ in the movie, Total Recall. Fast forward to today, and Google is now test-driving self-driving cars. As of today, Google’s cars have racked up a total of over eight million self-driven miles. Right now, their cars are driving a combined total of 25,000 miles per week - most of which is done on complex city streets. They’re already rolling out their first public trial of self-driving cars in Phoenix, AZ in the United States.
Meanwhile, Tesla’s Elon Musk reports that within the next year or so, Tesla cars will be able to drive themselves all the way from California to New York without any human interaction.
However, following a recent report by Navigant Research at the beginning of 2018, it’s clear that what was once thought to be one of the leading players in the autonomous car industry still has quite a long way to go.
This is only the beginning
As technology continues to advance, we’ll see more and more implementations of concepts that we once believed to be impossible.
So the next time you watch a sci-fi movie, pay close attention - in a few years, it could become a part of our everyday reality.
Join multiple Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress Judith Light live on Big Think at 2 pm ET on Monday.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.
- Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
- One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
- "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.