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cience fiction movies, as well as novels, are what paved the road toward today’s technological advancements. These are the things that gave today’s famous engineers the inspiration towards making the lives of people much easier with the use of technology. I remember looking at some old science fiction movies which would present devices similar to smartphones that would be uncloaked using a fingerprint scanner implemented into the screen.

Such technology used to amaze me and made me wonder if I would live long enough to see that technology in my hand. Today I have that technology right at my fingertips and I am not as excited as I used to be when thinking about the concept which was originally behind a science fiction title. Technological evolution is moving at a much faster pace and the possibilities are almost endless (bounded by current resources), which makes it even more difficult to predict which way we are heading.

Predicting Time

Predicting the future is pretty much predicting time, especially in an era when many people are very financially focused. Today, everyone is trying to predict what will happen tomorrow and many foolish people are listening, whilst back in the day (the 1970s) only a few would dare to predict and most would severely disagree with such predictions.

The original cover of 2001 a Space Odyssey written by Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke (Source: Open Library)

Such a case also happened with Arthur C. Clarke, a famous Science Fiction writer from the 1960s/1970s who became famous for writing the novel “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968) which even to this day is considered one of the best science fiction novels. Most of you may be more familiar with the movie that came out in 1968 based on the novel which became a cinematographic phenomenon overnight.

Arthur C. Clarke presenting The Exploration of Space (1951), another one of his famous science fiction novels

Early in his life, during the Second World War, he served in the Royal Air Force, ending up as a radar technician and specializing in satellites. Besides his writing career, as a scientist, he tried to make strives within the satellite industry during the late 1960s early 1970. Clarke was also the first to come up with the blueprint for the first generations of satellites used for telecommunications.

Through many of his space novels, Clarke would very often make detailed predictions on how our world would look in our current present from a technological perspective. He would emphasize the way we would communicate as well as interact with one another with the use of technology.

The most memorable time when Clarke made such predictions was in 1976 at a technological conference about the future of communications organized by AT&T and MIT. In the conference, Clarke was asked many questions about how the future would look like in his eyes and he responded by making these predictions presented in the video as well as listed below:

Predictions that have come true

  • Internet
  • Social Media
  • Smart Phones
  • Online Shopping (Ecommerce)
  • Online Books (Ebooks)
  • Traveling for enjoyment rather than work
  • Communication stations (satellite houses)
  • Replacement of information on paper to a digital format (Digital Transformation)
  • Artificial Inteligence
  • Smart Watch

These predictions are very interesting because they were mentioned in a period where technology had sort of stagnated due to the appearance of computers and people not quite understanding the advanced technology for the time. When the first Macintosh was launched the same year, people didn’t know what such advanced technology was good for and this is because people didn’t yet allow technology to change their lifestyles.

Predictions that are left to be proven true

Some of the other predictions that have been made by Clarke which haven’t yet happened was space travel being affordable for everyone and communications with people from other galaxies. These are two things that I strongly believe will occur in the next 50 years or so.

Photo by NASA on Unsplash

The lesson that we need to learn is to listen to the experts who with years of education and scientific logic have come to such conclusions. However, at the end of the day, a prediction is only a prediction, meaning it is never mentioned with 100% certainty that it will actually occur.

With that being said, there are certainly many things that will take place in the future which are being screamed out by certain influencers as well as speculated by the media, but as mentioned before, we are in the same sort of spot that Clarke was back in 1976 with technology. Technology right now is moving quite quicker than our necessities therefore we don’t quite know which direction to take or what to prioritize within the technological industry.

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