Would you believe that science fiction saves lives and changes the world? It’s hard to imagine how fictional stories about flying cars or robots determined to wipe out the human race could have a real effect on the world that we live in, but science fiction and the technology that results from real science have a special relationship.
The fictional stories and the real technologies that result from science inspire each other and push the boundaries in storytelling and innovation. It’s a friendly rivalry; they learn from one another and spur each other to accomplish bigger and better things.
Science fiction and technology are intertwined
Science fiction as we know it today started in the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution familiarized the public with machines and automation; this totally changed manufacturing as well as the world we live in.
Machines, robots, and automation captured the imagination’s of writers and storytellers who explored the possibilities that could result from these exciting new things.
Science fiction looks at current technologies and theoretical technologies, and pushes real concepts to the realm of fiction. However, because science fiction is rooted in science, we often see inventions and innovations that fulfill the predictions, or use fiction as inspiration for a goal.
No matter how far real science and technology advance, fiction can push those technologies even further. As science fiction sets the bar higher, inventors, researchers, and innovators have more more inspiration to fuel their discoveries.
This responsiveness is kind of like the feedback loop used in Indramat motion control systems. Except instead of one-upmanship, it’s about regulation; your control just makes sure that the other parts of your motion control system are operating smoothly.
How will sci fi affect industrial automation?
We see wearable devices, video calls, and exoskeletons used in manufacturing: all technologies that were once confined to science fiction. This makes you wonder just how far industrial automation technology can advance.
We’ve even seen representations of advanced cities that rely on industrial machines (as well as manual labor) for lavish living in science fiction stories, such as Metropolis.
Perhaps one day we will have industrial machines like those in Metropolis (let’s hope that conditions are better for factory workers, though), but until then you still depend on your legacy motion control system.
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