We see research and reports about what the future of life and work will be, but it can be hard to imagine how the research will actually play out and affect our everyday lives. If you're struggling to imagine the future with autonomous vehicles, implanted phones, or machine learning, look no further than science fiction books and movies. These resources are a great way to help picture the future and imagine what's possible. Perhaps the most amazing part is that books and scripts that were created decades ago are now coming to fruition with real technology. Consider some of these plots and glimpses into the future:
In Star Trek, technology like the Internet and GPS keep the ship moving. The Federation also works without money, which is where many people see our society moving today. Instead of cash or even credit cards, we can now pay for things with our smartphones or fingerprints. Star Trek also featured an early version of the smartphone that is part computer, part navigator, and part communicator way back in 1966, which is very similar to devices we use today.
Total Recall featured a new kind of taxis known as Johnny Cabs with humanoid chauffeurs to take people wherever they wanted to go. Today's versions of autonomous cars are very similar, except without the creepy driver. With investments by Uber and Google, we soon really could be driving places in autonomous taxis. The movie shows how society could adjust to having self-driving cars on the streets.
Isaac Asimov's The Foundation series tackles a variety of themes and predictions for the future. In his universe, artisans and engineers must come together to save the world after seeing the fall of the empire through a predictive future created by a mathematician. Asimov's version of the future shows the growth of science, math, and engineering and demonstrates the idea of machines being able to predict human behavior, similar to some of the AI in development today.
Michael J. Fox famously rode a hover board in Back to the Future II to escape from bullies in town. The movie was supposed to take place in 2015, so we're a little off in our technology adoption, but the idea of hover boards is still being developed. We've seen a few different versions that are close but don't actually hover, but versions that use magnetic levitation are in development and seem to be the closest to the movie's prediction.
2001: A Space Odyssey was written in 1968 and showcased characters using devices called newspads to follow what was happening in the world. The machines were thin computers that people controlled by tapping directly on the screen, eerily similar to today's tablets and iPads that we use to work and stay in touch.
In 1999, the world was much further from AI and machine learning than it is now, but The Matrix predicted a world powered by artificial intelligence and overtaken by machine overlords. Humans use cybernetic implants, similar to what Elon Musk has said we'll actually have to do to stay ahead of machines in real life. We're definitely seeing the growth of AI now, although we're hopefully far from the machine rebellion seen in the movie.
If you're curious about the future, just go pick up a sci-fi book or watch a movie--you'll likely end up with a pretty good idea of what things could look like. Not everything in sci-fi will actually become reality, but it helps paint a picture of what the future could look like when it comes to technology, transportation, and more.
Glimpse the future of work with science fiction here.