The Technology Of Science Fiction Is Here Now

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:26 pm,

terminator service gang p2 The Technology Of Science Fiction Is Here Now

Terminator Salvation came to theaters on May 21st.  It sparked an idea in my head about technology in our society and if it’s really possible get to the point of what the Terminator franchise projects for our future.

When I presented the idea to a co-worker, he dissed it immediately. When a scientist or engineer starts to immediately diss the possibility of an idea, it’s a good clue that it might be a good idea for us to wrap our imaginations around. Hence, the birth of this article.

This was going to be a short piece… but unfortunately, like the technology in Terminator, the more I looked into the subject matter, the more the article grew on me. It got bigger than the original idea. It took me over and I found myself inexorably abducted into having to write it.

It became just a wee bit more than it’s original design.  Huh?  Where have we heard that before?

Technology In Science Fiction

When we watch our favorite Sci-Fi or fantasy movies, we love the idea of what could be compared to what is.  Despite the science community who nit-picks the details of science fiction in movies, we’re starting to see more and more real technology or science premises coming out of our beloved movies.  Odd isn’t it?

It’s not that odd.  Writers are sparked by imagination and are not limited by budgets, funding sources or the hassle of having to actually discover the math that underlies the technologies or premises they pitch.

a trip to the moon The Technology Of Science Fiction Is Here Now

Generally speaking, the first sci-fi film that predicted something “impossible” was from the French visionary Georges Melies and his milestone 1902 silent sci-fi film, A Trip To The Moon (Le Voyage dans la lune). The general consensus was that it was silly. Well, as we know, it wasn’t, but he was daring enough to envision it and create it.

A popular theme we continue to see is humanity fighting against the odds and fighting against out of control computer programs.  We love seeing our heroes prevailing over these obstacles to survive.  It also helps that we have super cool stars and awesome music and futuristic ideas that are easily digestible to help us devour the magic of these movies.

And yet science fiction or the imagination of science fiction writers and movie makers seem to pre-echo our real technological achievements or nightmares. But really, give me a break. Perfectly animated humanoid robots standing up against humanity?

Hardware And Software Conjoined To Make Trouble

exterminating a terminator p The Technology Of Science Fiction Is Here Now

There are two components to this nightmare: Machines and the software that operates them.  Software isn’t that hard to construct.  It’s a collection of logic that when run, appears autonomous. Or as I see it, can be instilled pre-learned behavior.

Walk. See Wall, turn. If wall on right, turn left. Else, turn right.

That’s a silly and rudimentary example of software code for a walking robot. I could spend hours writing out all the different options and opportunities just for walking. Or better yet, I could just create logic that would ask the robot to write its own software. It isn’t hard. It’s just a bookkeeping nightmare to create and sort out conflicting code.

In Fritz Lang’s 1930’s science fiction film Metropolis we see one of the earliest imaginations of robots.  We’ve seen the autonomous and independent Robby the Robot in one of my all time faves, Forbidden Planet.  There was the incredible tale of robot self awareness and growth in I, Robot.  On May 21st we saw the ultimate nightmare in Terminator Salvation, where they take 1983’s War Games just a step further with Skynet making it’s tools – machines in the form of different types of robots to kick our own butts.

But really, it’s pretty fantastic.  Right?

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  1. @JESSIE: Thanks for the kudos. Appreciate it. It was fun to write…

    GREENKNIGHT333: Don’t you DARE diss one of my favorite bands!! Grr, Argh… … ouch, I think I just hurt myself.

  2. Eh too, Kahless,,,
    Aarrrgghhh. 😉
    Who wants to live forever (electronically) on this rock ???
    Lol, Styx reference. ahhh,,, come sail away with me lad!!!
    Its a Starship ,,,

  3. I guess we’re all just “Renegades” with “Too Much Time on our Hands.” LOL. 😛

  4. Welcome to the Grand Illusion, Andy…

  5. Oh lord. What have you started? My brain hurts.

  6. As I found myself oddly humming the lyrics to Come Sail Away, I remembered a Navy friend of mine told me that (the Navy) has a completely automated battleship. Of course its controlled by humans on shore but if supposedly if its attacked it can act on its own and is really pretty much controlled by a powerful on board AI system. Its big too, Destroyer size.

  7. My father (R.I.P.) used to ride solo shotgun if F102 Delta Daggers just to be in the cockpit in case anything went wrong from the ground.

    Do the math on that one, as I blast myself with Half-Penny, Two Penny.

  8. 790( you renegade) you may not want to live forever electronically but I’ll be Rockin the Paradise from AD 1928 until someone SHows Me the Way with a Crystal Ball how to download myself to a hard drive.. I know I’m fooling myself but I’m an angry young man.. :)

    Geez that was bad but I think we have quoted all of Styx’s best songs anyway

    Love the band too Bruce!! Don’t let it end…

    ANyway I’ll stop now because I’ve got too much time on my hands!!

    I promise that’s it!!

  9. LMAO GK333, very clever,,,

    These are the Best of times,,, however nothing ever goes as planned. Some say I’m the great white hope but I’m Ok, I’m just a blue collar man. Living on borrowed time, Working for the pieces of eight.
    Gotta go see my lady, before I get heavy metal poisoning. I’m already leading a double life and she cares,,, :-)
    Show me the way, crystal ball…
    I just want to say why me this is all GK333’s fault!!

  10. Excellent article Bruce.
    what I am curious about Is
    Will the human mind be able to interface with computers one day?
    Today, Computers are minaturized .
    They can fit into your cellphone.
    Computers have mastered the external world.
    The internal world is next .

  11. Just wanted to clarify ,
    the BMI Technology was kind of what I was talking about but I
    was really thinking about interface with a massive computer system.
    Like Skynet ,but we would be interacting with each other.
    BMI does have some intruiging possibilties though .
    would we someday be able to transfer human consciousness into a robot body?
    or at least imprint a human personality onto a robot?

  12. @Gary I think that’s a big YES to your question. The air force already uses neural interfacing.

    Just today I was reading about a company called “Proteus Biomedical” that has developed a edible microchip that’s activated by stomach acid and uses exterior equipment to monitor medication levels in the body…

    The problem with the technology is that its developing too fast. A lot of this technology, in the long run could cause heath damage. We have yet to see the full impact of cell phone use on teenage women…
    Cigarettes weren’t considered unhealthy for years…

  13. 790,
    interesting about the Air Force and the use of neural interface .
    DEFINITELY Moving too fast .

  14. Interesting Gary yeah I’ve never been interested in that field but I’m sure they’re working on it in some underground lair.
    I read some info on James Cameron’s Avatar film and there’s some of that tech in the story.
    (Don Fontane voice impersonated)
    “In the future mankind uses technology to create clones and then downloads the memories of other people into them…”
    Avatar,,, rated PG-13 !!!!!!

    Personally with the way things are headed I’m not sure that ordinary people are going to see that benefit as long as elites run things. The treatment would be more than liky kept under military secrecy.

  15. Yeah gary the Air force has some exotic stuff that is controlled by neural implants. As the human brain is the perfect quantum computer… Yeah Borg!!!

  16. This is so wicked! I love robots, technology and stuff!!!