Do You Think Science Fiction Literature, Movies , TV Series, etc have Created the Modern World As We Know it?

I don't think so. Most SF is extrapolated from existing technology and not a prediction of things to come. I also think that we assign purpose or meaning to things after the fact.

In an alternative time-line where flip phones weren't a thing, would we link mobile phones with the communicator in Star Trek, or would it be just a phone? Was the aesthetic an important factor for that link? If mobile phones weren't a success, would we credit Star Trek for them? I suspect not and that alas, only money genuinely influences the modern world.
 
Most SF is extrapolated from existing technology and not a prediction of things to come.

I agree that the more techy SF hasn't changed the modern world much, although it may have inspired people to become engineers and engineers to try to solve particular problems. However, the classic dystopian novels have been very influential, both in language and the way that we talk about what we do and don't want in society.
 
I can think of only one example where this might be true, Dick Tracy and the smart watch. For most other modern day items, I can see a long, slow evolutionary process at work. The smart watch, however, is one where I can't think of any underlying rationale for anyone developing it without the prior influence of the Dick Tracy comic strip.
 
Arthur C Clarke came up with the concept of Satellites in paper he wrote 1945 ?

Jack Williamson came ups with the terms Genetic Engineering and Terraforming .
Not even a little bit. Artificial satellites are as old as Newton. Clarke proposed the communications satellite - which is arguably a little obvious.

And William Gibson coined the term "cyberspace". That doesn't mean that Gibson invented the internet or Williamson invented gene manipulation. People just borrowed their terms and pasted them on existing science.

There is no terraforming.
 
I can think of only one example where this might be true, Dick Tracy and the smart watch. For most other modern day items, I can see a long, slow evolutionary process at work. The smart watch, however, is one where I can't think of any underlying rationale for anyone developing it without the prior influence of the Dick Tracy comic strip.
So you can't believe that the folks that put altimeters, GPS, calculators and games in digital watches wouldn't have moved other computer functions to a wrist worn device if it weren't for Dick Tracey?
 
Sure. And we have Soylent Green because tofu is popular, and Koko the gorilla presages the rise of the Apes..

We had a food-bar named Soylent. Break-off product of a guy who wanted to make Soylent. He had a point about how apartments needing to have kitchens was wrong-think.

Thanks to Planet of the Apes, we're not likely to uplift apes even if we gain the ability.
 
Arthur C Clarke came up with the concept of Satellites in paper he wrote 1945 ?
Geosynchronous communications satellites.

Kind of funny since it was before transistors.
 
There is no terraforming.
Human activity has considerably changed Earth's surface on a global scale, just because it wasn't deliberate and things didn't turn out better doesn't mean it isn't terraforming. The goal is Earth like and things are sort of like Earth used to be.
 
Human activity has considerably changed Earth's surface on a global scale, just because it wasn't deliberate and things didn't turn out better doesn't mean it isn't terraforming. The goal is Earth like and things are sort of like Earth used to be.
Since everyone here reads, I think you probably know that I know about people-powered climate change. But that isn't the way the word "terraforming" is used since the term literally means "to make earth-like". The current trend of making the earth Venus-like is not by design.
 
There are lots of reasons why the modern world is the way that it is, but science fiction isn't one of them. There are no doubt some people who were driven to become scientists/astronauts, astronomers etc because of reading Clarke or Asimov, or watching Star Wars or Star Trek, but I don't think it's influenced where we are at today.

If the world had been influenced by scifi, then we'd have bases on the Moon, manned flights to Mars etc. And a commercially available hoverboard.
 
I think of the numerous sci-fi cautionary tales about the environment from the 60s and early 70s, yet it was an episode of All in the Family that brought CFC and ozone depletion to the social forefront.
 
I think of the numerous sci-fi cautionary tales about the environment from the 60s and early 70s, yet it was an episode of All in the Family that brought CFC and ozone depletion to the social forefront.

The science fiction novel The End of The Dream by Phillip Wylie makes some interesting projections about human degradation of the environment . He coauthored with Edwin Balmer When Worlds Collide and it’s sequel After Worlds Collide .


The 1973 film Soylent Green does mention the Green House effect.
 
Last edited:
There are lots of reasons why the modern world is the way that it is, but science fiction isn't one of them
Agreed, it’s an absurd and specious thesis. I think the trap is, typically, it’s part of the human condition to look for ‘one answer’ to most things.

It’s just as likely motivational memes are responsible for ‘modern world as we know it’.
 
Years ago, the History Channel produced an extremely enjoyable but rather silly "documentary" titled "How William Shatner Changed the World" hosted by the man himself. One of the highlights was an interview with Martin Cooper, inventor of the cellphone. They got him to say the TOS communicators inspired him to make the cellphone. But years afterward he said the documentary producers basically tricked him into saying that and the real inspiration was Dick Tracy's wrist radio!
Regardless of its factual accuracy, it was a really fun program and I'd recommend people watch it and check it out.
I guess I'm going to disagree with most of the people on here, but I think it is a pretty important factor in shaping our world. Apparently, based on what I've read, it's extremely common for people at NASA to say things like "Star Trek inspired me to do this."
I agree with Shelley that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of mankind.
 
Years ago, the History Channel produced an extremely enjoyable but rather silly "documentary" titled "How William Shatner Changed the World" hosted by the man himself. One of the highlights was an interview with Martin Cooper, inventor of the cellphone. They got him to say the TOS communicators inspired him to make the cellphone. But years afterward he said the documentary producers basically tricked him into saying that and the real inspiration was Dick Tracy's wrist radio!
Regardless of its factual accuracy, it was a really fun program and I'd recommend people watch it and check it out.
I guess I'm going to disagree with most of the people on here, but I think it is a pretty important factor in shaping our world. Apparently, based on what I've read, it's extremely common for people at NASA to say things like "Star Trek inspired me to do this."
I agree with Shelley that poets are the unacknowledged legislators of mankind.

I recently saw another documentary that had the Star Trek Communicator thing. It felt recent, so that myth will probably continue until it's common knowledge.
 
The Century of Science Fiction - Hosted by Christopher Lee, he starts the show by saying science fiction starts with known facts and creates fantastic stories or words to that effect.

There are 2 ways it plays out, one reads or sees a story and does nothing, or, one hears, or sees a story, and does something to make what they read or saw real. The second option happens infrequently but does happen. The fact that it was already known has little to do whether it becomes real, that is entirely up to people and what motivates them. This can cover anything from baking a cake to going to Mars, though more new style cakes do get made.

It is also true that when someone makes something, they are usually not the first person to think of it. No idea if most people see that thing in person to start with or do they find out about it by other means. Even if they didn't see it somewhere else, invariably it has already been thought about or done by someone else.

Most inventions seem to amplify our efforts, which automatically have an ever increasing effect on the world.
 
From time time I see comments like, how shows like Star Trek have had impact on the world .

This reached a peak when flip phones came on the market and Trekkies wetted their knickers about how much they looked like tricorders and endlessly posted, "Star Trek had predicted the future!" memes... but since then?....

EDIT: And there is a perfect example of why you shouldn't start a post, walk off and do something else then come back and post it without checking to see if what you are posting hasn't already been said, and said better, in your absence by other people.
 
Last edited:
I think that it had probably had a greater influence on our culture and what we say rather than what we create or invent. Orwellian being one example. Another when a government or some other official body is compared to 1984. Some may argue that Star Wars isn’t even SciFi but where would May the fourth be without it?

Many years ago, a drunken friend of mine got himself arrested because he grabbed a policeman’s radio and shouted ‘Beam me up, Scotty!’. That could never have happened without Star Trek (even though Kirk never actually said that).
 
We always appreciate your two cents, JunkMonkey.
 

Similar threads


Back
Top