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Old 07-31-2017, 07:11 AM #1
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Lightbulb When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

Inspiration for this thread has evolved from a few recent conversations that I've had here on LPF.
The working title of this thread is self explanatory, 'When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact.'

Like myself, most of the membership here has grown up with SciFi, as being part of popular culture. And it's been interesting to see certain things that used to be considered science fiction, actually become science fact. What follows and what I hope the purpose of this thread will illustrate and show are some prime examples of this very premise.

I'll start by providing a few examples of what I'm referring to. Let's begin with the ever popular Star Trek franchise. As a young lad, this was the first SciFi TV show that was both entertaining and fascinating, inspiring even as will be obviously demonstrated. One of the aspects of that original show that really captured my imagination other than the warp drives, phasers, photon torpedoes and the coed crew especially the ones wearing mini-skirts, was the device called the "food synthesizer"

Which is today what we refer to as a 3D Printer.

I've tried a few 3D printed, edible sundries and they weren't half bad! And of course the other areas of 3D printed objects continues to expand as the tech becomes more widely adopted, and integrated.

Well the 'replicator' has taken roughly 50 yrs. to become a science fact. Granted not in the exact same way that the original SciFi, version was to have supposedly operated* but close enough for the theme of this thread.

Another more recent and more direct mimic example was brought to mind when I reviewed the SciFi film Red Planet* from circa 2000, y2k remember that too Where once the crew that had to make a hasty exit from the main ship Mars-1 to try and proceed with the original mission of locating HAB-1, they are shown using a Flexible Display Mapping Device* and I thought to myself Hhmm, that one took less than 17 years to go from SciFi to SciFact.

Now we have flexible OLED dsplays.

So, what have you noticed that went from SciFi to SciFact?

Let's have some fun with this.


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Old 07-31-2017, 01:07 PM #2
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

Obvious one you probably already considered which immediately came to mind when reading this post was the Star Trek Communicator, our Motorola Razor flip cell phones sure reminded me of the communicator device.
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Old 07-31-2017, 01:41 PM #3
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

I'm still waiting for the transporter, no more excuses for being late for anything, ....unles you don't re-materialize!
BTW, those mini skirts are a definite necessity, how else are we going to distract those alien life forms?
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Old 07-31-2017, 03:08 PM #4
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan View Post
Obvious one you probably already considered which immediately came to mind when reading this post was the Star Trek Communicator, our Motorola Razor flip cell phones sure reminded me of the communicator device.
That's exactly what first came to mind when I read the
Thread title before reading the posts. That has always
been stuck in my head when I see the relationship of
Science Fiction/Science Fact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BowtieGuy View Post
I'm still waiting for the transporter, no more excuses for being late for anything, ....unles you don't re-materialize!
BTW, those mini skirts are a definite necessity, how else are we going to distract those alien life forms?
Yeah... The dog bit my transporter control.


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Old 07-31-2017, 04:34 PM #5
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

I wait for the day when I can yell "Tea, earl grey, hot!" to my printer and have it print just that!

Seriously though, there are lots of inventions stemming from Sci-fi, even the modern tablet resembles the PADD:

PADD | Memory Alpha | FANDOM powered by Wikia
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Old 07-31-2017, 09:33 PM #6
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

Oh yeah, the Razor flip. Kinda forgot about that one Lol! I think we still have Mama's Rzr Flip, sitting around here in a drawer and my old Motorola Startac, flip too. Remember when the original Motorola DynaTAC 8000X, first came out? It kinda reminded me of the old WWII style walkie talkies. And now we have the cells moving towards something that will resemble a lipstick tube, with the OLED display rolled up inside. And about that OLED, I mean holy cow! who would have thought that Organic led's would be developed into the thin flexible sheets that we have today? And FWIW, Universal Display Corp. (UDC) is the major patent stakeholder for OLED's so if anyone is looking to make a wise investment. If an investment was made 7 months ago you would have already doubled your money, just sayin'.

And yeah, 'Earl Grey Hot' do vending machines count? There was a recent post where BTG, mentioned some folks that work for a vendo co. that were getting chip implants so they don't even have to say Earl Grey Hot, now they can just wave their hand near the machine and abra kadabra, it's tea time. I wonder what would happen if there was a glitch and someone walking by a bank of those vending machines with that chip technology installed in them and somehow activated and paid for an item from each machine as they strolled by. Lol!
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Old 07-31-2017, 10:17 PM #7
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

I would like teleportation to become reality. However, this might drive UPS & FedEx outta business

-Alex
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Old 08-01-2017, 12:17 AM #8
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Post Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hap View Post
I would like teleportation to become reality. However, this might drive UPS & FedEx outta business

-Alex
Teleportation is at least do-able (Quantum Teleportation) on the subatomic scale, but doing large complex
objects would be massive undertaking (probably unrealistic).

The amount of computing power and memory to store individual molecules would be (at least) in theory colossal.

I hope I see the day of Star trek style teleportation. I can only wish.
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Old 08-01-2017, 01:29 AM #9
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alaskan View Post
Obvious one you probably already considered which immediately came to mind when reading this post was the Star Trek Communicator, our Motorola Razor flip cell phones sure reminded me of the communicator device.
I can understand why people would not the similarity, as they -seem- to do something very similar.

In reality though they are completely different technologies, the star trek one being a long range commnications device (as in at least ground to geostationary orbit) while the motorola one relies on cellphone infrastructure. Two of them could not even communicate with eachother in the same room without that infrastructure, let alone from remote locations.

One thing that seems to be much closer to me are the star trek tablet computers and the ipads/tablets - they seem quite comparable in both appearance and actual function.

On the front of the replicator vs 3d printer idea: A 3d printer is no replicator by any means, it just re-arranges stuff to a different form. If you want to 3d print a cheeseburger you need to input cheese, meat, bread somewhere and it could perhaps make you one.

On the other hand, 3D printing can have scifi-like applications such as growing replacement organs. It's not quite there yet, but not that far away either. We are at least at a point where it is feasible to grow something like a replacement knee disc from a 3d printed scaffold and then growing cartilage onto that using (stem) cells from the patient that needs it.

Then again some scifi things may come true and others may not: remarkably few scifi productions from before say the 70s/80s feature the internet, although it is arguable a major shift in the order of discovery of electricity.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:11 AM #10
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

Oh yeah, the camera's. I recall watching many a SciFi and spy thrillers, that used mini camera's Remember the James Bond films and the various micro camera's that they always used, and thru the years of that franchise the camera's kept getting smaller and more concealed, and now we have micro-mini camera's in just about anything. Spy vs Spy, I'm kinda glad we never adopted Maxwell Smart's 'shoe phone' Lol! And going back to the PADD, tablet- which now modern widely used commercial device had the camera installed first? was it a cell phone or a laptop/PADD?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hap View Post
I would like teleportation to become reality. However, this might drive UPS & FedEx outta business

-Alex
Yeah, if Amazon's drone's don't do em' in first.

Teleportation, ah that's one that I don't care even if it becomes a reality I'm not going to willingly opt to use it. Too many visions of the movie 'The Fly' come to mind. Lol! And there was some recent talk about teleportation Here on LPF*. and if you read on further in that thread the talk of quantum entanglement comes up and yeah, quantum anything is pretty mindblowing now that we are able to actually interact with devices that employ quantum physics. Again, China has (publicly) disclosed their successful recent launch of their quantum comsat* an additional point of interest was brought up in the comment section of that comsat* link, I'll paste it below.

" ccccubed Aug 26, 2016 12:58 PM
Entanglement

I think the article failed to mention the obvious reason for such research. The long-term goal would be interstellar communication. If indeed the communication can occur almost instantaneously over any distance then we have just found a way to communicate over vast interstellar distances almost immediately. This would be a very necessary thing if we were to ever colonize/explore outer space. I would add that if there are other interstellar civilizations, which I'm quite sure there are, this would probably be the way they communicate with their space fleet or other worlds they have outposts on. Furthermore, it is probably why our search for radio signals from other civilizations (SETI) has not yielded any results thus far; advanced civilizations have discovered the entanglement phenomena, and they use that to communicate over vast interstellar distances. This would be almost if not totally impossible to intercept one of the signals much less to decode it. there may be a brief window of time for a civilization from when they discovered radio signals to when they discover entanglement communications. Our window of time between such discoveries would be what, maybe, almost 100 years plus or minus? It seems like the natural world always has a built in solution to most of the problem we run into - We just have to do the work to find it. For example, our quest for a better and faster way to communicate over light years of distance appears to be entanglement. Of course, that is assuming the communication happens instantaneously (I don't know if that's been discovered or studied yet). The next discovery will be faster than light travel if that's not already being investigated."

Yeah, just how did they communicate with StarFleet on Star Trek?

And here's another quickie question. Since China, has publicly disclosed their quantum comsat capabilities, how many folks here feel that the U.S. has had this sort of tech for a little? while longer but is keeping it mostly under wraps Hhmm?

Glad that the web, was brought up. Moving closer and closer to the 'hive mind'. An implant here and a tuck there, and ouila' artificial telepathy and AI.
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Old 08-01-2017, 02:23 AM #11
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

As "Scotty" once said at a sci-fi gathering --
Man has developed many ways to disassemble a human
body but no good ways to reassemble it again.
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Old 08-01-2017, 03:46 AM #12
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

Always loved Scotty, both on & off screen. WYSIWYG

Recall Capt. Pike from the original series pilot season? And looking how we've developed ease of use interactive tech. An example would be Stephen Hawking. So this can actually be viewed as similar SciFi to SciFact.

And for Scotty's comment, we are developing tech to accomplish that. Luke Skywalkers, hand is amputated and he receives an artificial articulating appendage. We are getting very close to having this in the inventory. As well as 3D printed organs as mentioned using stem cells from the patient. There was also things like the 'Vacanti Mouse'* and of course the various joints, grafts, transplants etc; even occular and HRP, hearing restoration projects, and the list goes on and on. Genetic Manipulation.
So even Scotty's lament is becoming a thing of the past.

Lets just hope it doesn't follow the Universal Soldier, or Robo Cop etc; themes. Yeah, so maybe no 'good ways' to reassemble. But there are ways.
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Old 08-04-2017, 01:06 AM #13
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

I guess it all depends on how useful something depicted in old scifi actually is today.

We don't have commnicators that do point to point transmissions, possibly even through subspace to make them faster than light or anything like that. We do have smartphones that can send messages, pictures or even video to anyone in the world by dialing 12 or so digits.

Stem cell research combined with 3d printing and neuroscientific reasearch is also promising. Right now it would not be possible to replace a severed hand with an artificial replacement.

Now a hand is a pretty complex thing with all it's tendons, bones, cartilage, nerves, vessels and such, so it would be pretty difficult to grow one from scaffolds and stem cells. Realistically i think this is serveral decades away, though a pretty decent prostetic is not that far out.

Things with a less complex detailed structure like a replacement liver or pancreas could be much closer to be actually used. I wouldn't be surprised to see the first succesful transplantations with lab grown replacements in 10 to 20 years.
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Old 08-04-2017, 06:11 AM #14
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

With regards to communications, again China has publicly disclosed it's Quantum Comsats, which let's face it- are intended for deep space communications. And with NASA, ramping up their disclosures for upgrading the entire sub-space communications network by switching over to lasers (FSO) something is clearly happening to warrant a shift in these important areas.

Stem cell research continues to be restrained by ethical considerations. And this brings up another very interesting question, that can be read between the lines of the post that Hemlock_Mike recently made. IE; 'Just because we can do something-does that mean we should?'

There is a very well done documentary that is once again making the rounds here in the states, on the public TV networks entitled 'Fixed: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement*. IMHO it's an important examination of this area of science fiction becoming science fact with the main focus being the ethical concerns and questions that this advancing technology poses.

And like the advancing technology of AI, this is another area that is calling into question many things.
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Old 08-04-2017, 09:52 PM #15
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

On the communicator topic, though cellphones do for the most part rely on an infrastructure, there are apps that let you communicate without that infrastructure via bluetooth or WiFi peer-to-peer. But in line more with Star Trek, we do have satellite phones and modems that are portable/hand held that can send/receive communications from orbiting satellites. Granted its not common except in rural areas and remote outposts, and the cost to bandwidth is borderline robbery, but it does work.
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Old 08-05-2017, 01:26 AM #16
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Default Re: When Science Fiction Becomes Science Fact

Surely we do have sat phones that are used in remote areas like the offshore industry - those are not as compact as your typical flipphone was, and even bulkier that the average smartphone today.

Iridium phones are fairly compact, but still rely on those sats being there, they cannot communicate to eachother over significant distance without the network - not do they work well indoors.

As for stem cell research and such: what you can and cannot do depends on jurisdiction. The US might be restrictive on this, and the EU as well albeit much less so. If you really want to do borderline research there are plenty of other countries that have no legislation or very lenient restrictions on performing such work.

There are plenty of places with good scientific research centers available yet unhindered by american legislation on the matter. European countries are a bit more relaxed, but if you want to push a bit further, why not go to south korea, japan, singapore, or even something like laos where the term doesnt even appear in legislation?
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