From Science Fiction to Science Fact – The Sci-Fi Origins of Modern Technology2 min read

In 1486, leornodo Di Vinci, while under the patronage of LudoVico Sforca devised an armoured vehicle for use in the battlefield. In a letter to Sforca he declared;

I can make armoured cars, safe and unassailable, which will enter the close ranks of the enemy with their artillery, and no company of soldiers is so great that it will not break through them. And behind these the infantry will be able to follow, quite unharmed and without any opposition..

220px-Le_Voyage_dans_la_luneDesigned to drive straight into the enemy and decimate it with its 360 degree cannons. At the time this was what we would describe today as being in the realms of science fiction, something outside the realms of current (or even future!) possibility. Yet this device did become reality, over 400 years later and the start of the Great War.

Science fiction as we know it today, was born in the early 1900’s. Vivian Sobchack described science fiction as “a genre which emphasizes actual, extrapolative, or speculative science and the empirical method, interacting in a social context with the lesser emphasized, but still present, transcendentalism of magic and religion, in an attempt to reconcile man with the unknown”.

Since then, Science Fiction has grown into a huge media enterprise and generated trillions of dollars. Along the way it has introduced to us the possible technological advancements of our future. Though some of these seemed outlandish and even crazy at the time, many have become a reality. When, in 1902 “Le voyage dans la lune” was made by Georges Méliès, few thought that man would ever go to the moon (the Wright brothers only made their first flight on December 17, 1903), yet less than 70 years later mankind would send a rocket that put two men exactly there, on the moon…science fiction had become science fact.

Over the following months, will be looking at some of speculative science that science fiction has proposed in movies, television, books and comics, and that have in time become science fact, often forming part of our everyday lives. In fact, your likely reading this article on one such device right now. And who knows…. maybe we are all living in a computer generated world controlled by machines that we invented in the future… only time will tell!

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Sebastien Clarke
Sebastien Clarke

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