Innovation ideas from science fiction

War of the Worlds

War of the Worlds illustration by Warwick Goble, from Wikimedia Commons.

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:

  • 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?

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