Phil McKinney points out that science fiction writers have a record of “inventing” things years before they become reality:
It’s staggering how much of what we do today is last generations science fiction! Did you know:
- Suba [sic] was predicted in “20,000 Leagues Under The Sea” by Jules Verne in 1875
- Test tube babies in “Brave New World” by Aldous Huxley in 1932
- Robots in “Rossun’s Universal Robots” by Karel Capek in 1920
- Cable TV in “1984” by George Orwell in 1949
- Screen saver in “Stanger In A Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein in 1961
Internet in “London Times of 1904” by Mark Twain in 1898
On the other hand, science fiction has frequently missed the mark. (“Where’s my rocket pack?”)
The trick is starting with an unobtanium-fueled whatsis as the a launching pad for idea generation. The “robots” described in R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots) bear little resemblance to today’s robots, aside from the idea of creating a device to do menial or dangerous tasks.
Rather than read the books, could it be more profitable to talk to a few writers of hard science fiction and ask them how they develop the ideas for their future inventions?