Science fiction writing is often packed with inventions that test the limits of our imagination. Even though the authors write these stories for entertainment purposes, many of them have unintentionally predicted future events, or items, that have since become a part of every day life. These include:
H.G. Wells became one of the world’s most popular storytellers towards the end of the 19th century. His writings include The Land Ironclads, which was first published in The Strand in 1903. During this era, metal hulled warships were used in battle. Wells altered their appearance, in the book, and changed them to land machines which were approximately 100 feet long and rolled on eight pairs of wheels. Each pair of wheels had an independent turning axle, and the captain surveyed the battle through a conning tower in the vehicle’s top. A scene in The Land Ironclads shows where 14 of them are able to conquer an entire army. Without knowing it, H.G. Wells had predicted the creation of the tank, which was first used in 1916, during the Battle of the Somme.
- Video Chat
In 1911, Modern Electronics Magazine printed Hugo Grensback’s Ralph 124c 41+. In the story he described a device called the ‘telephot’ that allowed people to have eye contact while communicating over long distances. In 1964, AT&T revealed its ‘picture phone’ and ‘long distance communication with eye contact’ now includes FaceTime, Skype and many other video calling options.
- Debit Cards
In modern times, the banking system been upgraded to include features which make it possible for us to access our money quickly and easily. This includes the use of debit cards, which are connected to our account, to make payments or withdraw cash. In 1888, Edward Bellamy predicted this phenomenon in his novel, Looking Backward, which takes place in the future. In the story, he introduces the concept of ‘universal credit,’ which gave citizens a card that they used to pay for goods and services and eliminated the need for physical currency to be exchanged.
- The Landing on the Moon
During the 1800s, Jules Verne became a popular sci-fi writer. One of his stories, From the Earth to the Moon, not only predicted that man would eventually visit the moon, but also included many aspects of Apollo 11’s landing in 1969. In the tale, the astronauts were transported in an aluminium capsule, which had been launched from Florida. In addition, his calculations about the force that would have been needed to propel the capsule out of Earth’s atmosphere were eerily accurate.
- Video Surveillance
George Orwell’s novel 1984 is now used as a literature book, in schools worldwide. Written in 1949, the story describes a Big Brother society in which security cameras monitor the lives of all its citizens. Video surveillance, GPS tracking and other technology which records all aspects of our lives, is now actively used in both private and public facilities.