Predictors

Throughout human history, man has tried to predict the future, and most of the predictors were frauds. The majority of the time, it is proven that when making predictions, mankind usually greatly underestimates the future. Just one example of this would be when computers were first invented, some people predicted that only the richest nations would be able to afford them, and that they would be massive machines. But I sit in my living room typing on my own personal computer. Some cell phones have more power than the computers that NASA used to send men into space. However, there are a few people who have gotten their predictions right, or at least close. When one wants to see what the future may look like, one just needs to read some science fiction. Science fiction (not science fantasy) seems to have a nasty habit of coming true. Maybe it’s because science fiction writers actually do some research, unlike FOX news reporters.

Jules Verne, for example, was actually pretty good at predicting the future in his novels. Obviously, I don’t mean 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, but a few of his other stories were pretty accurate. In From the Earth to the Moon, Verne told the story of a three-man trip to the moon. Now remember, this novel was written in 1865, 100 years before the U.S. actually accomplished sending a three man team to the moon. Verne also nearly predicted where the missions would launch. He was within miles of where Apollo 11 launched in Florida. And Jules Verne even nearly got the landing site correct. Now, I cannot say that From the Earth to the Moon was 100% correct in predicting the future. Jules Verne thought that gunpowder would have been used, as he didn’t understand rocket fuel (since it didn’t exist). And in Verne’s Paris in the Twentieth Century, he predicted everyone would have TV’s, Air Conditioning, Glass Skyscrapers, and high speed trains. Not bad for a book written in 1860.

Sometimes, science fiction writes get it right; they are just off by a few years, in some cases, many years. Gene Roddenberry’s Star Trek is a good example. Just look at all of our cell phones, in the 60’s they didn’t exist, but in Star Trek, everyone had their own personal communication devices. Tricorders and universal translators are being perfected now.

This history of “predicting” the future give me hope. Maybe one day we will see Arthur C. Clarke’s vision of an elevator to space (which some people in California are working on now) or his moon rail gun (which could cheaply fire supplies to outposts on the outer planets and moons). Maybe we will see Roddenberry’s transporter beams and warp engines. Maybe we will see the day when androids are among us, and have the same rights as we do.

The flip side of science fiction writers’ predictions of the future is the negative predictions. Will we end up with Clarke’s killer computers? Will we end up going to war with Alien races? Will the human race become extinct? Will androids run our lives because we cannot do it ourselves?

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