The Cycle of Inspiration

There have been some pretty incredible “predictions” made in science fiction over the years. Space travel, the Internet, robots, genetic engineering — these are just a few of things that have left their ink and paper origins to become a part of the real world.

Science and science fiction have always walked hand in hand. Part of what makes science fiction so interesting is the fact that while the stories and many of the specific details are fictional, many of the things that seem imaginary and far-fetched are rooted in factual science.

Some people try to liken science fiction writers to prophets, saying that these authors knew what the future could hold and wrote about it. You can’t just write about something before it exists. How is that not prophecy, right?

It’s certainly exciting to think that science fiction writers and futurists have some sort of clairvoyant power, but that’s not the only explanation. You have to consider the close connection between science and science fiction. Science influences art and then art influences science.

Whether or not you call the foretelling of technologies predictions, depends on how strictly you define the word “predict”.

As the name suggests, science fiction draws on science. It could be that these predictions are just logical assumptions based on a understanding of technology, and recognition of the progression of technology. If you live in a world where electricity, cars, and computers exist, it’s not hard to imagine a world where self-driving electric cars could one day exist.

It could also be that science fiction writers inspire scientists to create the technology that can bring fictional science or technology to reality. Maybe it takes a creative mind to come up with an idea that challenges scientists. If Jules Verne never looked up at the moon and wrote about it, maybe scientists would never have been compelled to find a way to land on the moon.

You also have to consider that people only latch on to the predictions that come true. While a number of science fiction predictions have come true, there are many that still remain fictional (we still can’t time travel, for example). Regardless of whether or not works of science fiction predictions, the connection between science and science fiction cannot be denied.