“In science fiction, we tend to have faith that problems that seem insuperable now will be solved- perhaps in ways that are utterly unexpected” - Isaac Asimov (1983)
The birth of a good invention is the wonderful result of mixing intelligence, creativity, a vision and also a bit of luck. Most times a good invention stays in ideas and words, other times it becomes a story that feeds our imagination and sometimes, only a very few times, it becomes reality.
Not everyone has the ability to imagine how the world will be in 100 or 10000 years, much less to come up with the technology that people from the future will use. But in the last centuries, there has been a few geniuses who predicted future inventions or even inspired engineers or scientists to create new technology. This is our top 10 sci-fi genius' list:
1. Jules Verne
Jules Verne was born to be the #1 of every list about futuristic authors. This French writer, known as “The Father of Science Fiction” was born in 1825. Verne, took his readers to the moon 100 years before anyone else with his book “From the Earth to the Moon”(1865)
In 1869 he published “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” where he describes an electrical submarine that 18 years later was created by Isaac Peral, a big fan of Verne’s work.
Not amazed yet? In his novel “Paris in the twentieth Century” he talks about an international communication net to share information all around the world. A clear precedent to the Internet. Thank you Monsieur Verne!
2. Isaac Asimov
He was a Professor of Biochemistry with a wonderful mind and a limitless creativity. He was born in 1919, but to this day his work inspires us. He predicted how modern communications would change society, the smartphone and 3D technology. His main passion was clearly Artificial Intelligence, one of the latest and most popular trends among tech people.
Asimov is actually credited with introducing the word “robotics” into the English language. He was talking about analysis of big data and the use of AI back in 1950. His amazing work has been the base of many movies and technology innovation. For that we give him a #2 in our genius list.
3. William Gibson
Gibson is the first American cyberpunk. In the early 80s, before the World Wide Web was created, this author was talking about worldwide communications network.
His most controversial novel was “Neuromancer” (1984) in which he talks about a cyber thief with the ability to “jack in” cyberspace. When the internet was at a very early stage, Gibson already had a clear vision of its importance in the transformation of society.
4. John Brunner
“Stand on Zanzibar” published in 1968, takes place in 2010. In this novel, the British author talks about an overpopulated world with a lot of social problems. Ring any bells? Well, his prediction doesn’t stop there. He describes laser printers, electric cars and satellite TV.
John Brunner was particularly worried about the nuclear threats. He spent his last years in distress because his predictions were becoming truth.
5. Arthur C. Clarke
Sir Arthur C. Clarke was not only a sci-fi writer, he was also an inventor, undersea explorer, and the host of a TV show. He is well known as the author of “2001: A Space Odyssey”. The novel was published in 1968 and taken to the Big Screen that same year by Stanley Kubrick.
Next to the fact that the movie became a cult film, in the novel Sir Clarke describes in detail a device he called “newspad”, a little box controlled by tapping its screen. With the “newspad” you would be able to follow news from all over the world. Any resemblance to the iPad is not pure coincidence.
You might also want to take a look at this guide that includes some of the most popular sci-fi movies ever made, and some of the technologies that they predicted.
6. Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury was born in 1920 in Illinois. He grew up reading H.G Wells books and creating his own stories, he began to write sci-fi when he was 11 years old. One of his most iconic novels is Fahrenheit 451 (published in 1953).
It takes place in a future American society where books are outlawed. It’s a great love story in a dystopian society, but what’s quite surprising to see is the use of a technology similar to “little white seashells” that people could put on their ears to listen to music and voices. He is describing the earbud headphone 50 years before Apple made them so popular with the iPod!
We love tech, we admire the mind of these geniuses who dared to challenge the limitations of their time to dream about unlikely novelties. Forerunners? Visionaries? People with unbridled imagination? Maybe a bit of all. Definitely, people who deserve a space in our blog for their contribution to the technology we need so much nowadays.