Even though the stories are outlandish and the characters are aliens unlike anything humans have encountered in real life, sci-fi universes need to get the right technology to create a compelling experience. Grounding stories in cohesive, well-justified technology, as Star Trek and The Expanse did, is key to a believable sci-fi world.
As for the likelihood of the technology in these shows, movies, and games becoming a reality, the response to that can be varied but often surprisingly positive. With real-world technology constantly advancing, these are just a few of the sci-fi universes that seem more believable than ever.
Cyberpunk 2077’s cybernetic upgrades are plausible
Cyberpunk 2077 was many people’s first exposure to the long-running dystopian world of Cyberpunk TTRPG, and it immediately throws a lot of fantastic new technology in the player’s way. Perhaps the most striking example is cybernetic enhancements that allow humans to do far more than they were previously capable of.
In the real world, human-machine cyborgs are real, and much of the application so far has been helping people with disabilities. Some of the examples highlighted in Futurism include bionic limbs that can even allow the user something resembling a sense of touch as well as a head-mounted antenna that allowed color-blind artist Neil Harbisson to hear colors.
WALL-E’s robotic solution to pollution could become reality
In the world of WALL-E, the worst has already happened as humans are forced to leave a land made uninhabitable by pollution and settle aboard Starliners. Aboard the spacecraft, humans have become overly dependent on technology, and addictions to screens and junk food have only gotten worse.
With Time reporting that screen use has exploded during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and continued at high levels, it’s easy to imagine technology adapting to compensate for changing patterns. less active lives as a result. On top of that, companies like Recycleye promise to use AI and robotics to help shape the future of waste disposal, much like how WALL-E’s model was created for that purpose.
The expanse bases its fascinating story on real science
One of the biggest problems with the plausibility of science fiction is that faster-than-light travel remains an impossible dream in the real world, meaning it would take an inordinate amount of time to travel through space. The Expanse solves this problem by limiting humanity’s travel to Earth’s solar system, although the science of the Epstein Drive remains questionable at this time.
On the other hand, the show’s handhelds, which replace the nearly ubiquitous smartphones in the real world, seem entirely plausible given the evolution of cloud technology. Finally, Syfy reports that railguns from The Expanse may soon be a reality as the US Navy conducts tests on a similar electromagnetic weapon.
Mass Effect’s military tech could predict the future
While Mass Effect doesn’t always stay grounded in real science, with faster-than-light travel being one of the most debatable things added to the world to enable better stories, it’s fair to say games have more thought about the real world. physical than most. It’s one of the things that makes Mass Effect such an iconic game series.
Weapons, in particular, have had a lot of thought put into how they work. Fans including Kyle Hill from Nerdiston YouTube have explained how some of the game’s ‘element 0’ electromagnetic weapons work and how they’re based on real science. As with The Expanse’s rail guns, Navy testing of a similar type of weapon confirms its real-world potential.
Technology from the Alien franchise may become plausible
While the titular alien might not quite fall under the tech tag, there is some interesting technology on display in Alien. The decades-long planetary terraforming technology in the series reflects NASA’s estimate that if such a process were possible, it would take long periods of time, possibly even tens of millions of years. Likewise, Alien acknowledges that interstellar travel would mean long periods of transit.
It deals with this using stasis pods that essentially suspend the user’s body in time until they wake up, a concept not new to science fiction. According to Science Focus, cryonics that would produce a similar effect may still be a nascent technology, but it is attracting a lot of interest from researchers, which means progress is possible over time.
Blade Runner’s doomed synths just got more plausible
With rogue androids and flying cars, the quintessential cyberpunk classic Blade Runner may have seemed ridiculously speculative when it was released, but some of the tech feels much more realistic now. Flying cars may not be anywhere near a reality, but the artificial intelligence and technology behind realistic robots is advancing at an alarming rate.
Plus, the four-year lifespan of Blade Runner’s synths doesn’t sound so crazy considering that planned obsolescence is now at the heart of the tech industry. Not only that, but the real world already has extremely common equivalents to the film’s Voight-Kampff test to tell robots from humans in the form of Captcha and similar tests.
The Matrix has become closer to reality with virtual reality
Humans are unlikely to ever be used as a source of energy as they are in The Matrix, with scientist Robert Hurt explaining in Esquire that it’s simply impossible to get as much energy as needed to sustain the body. alive, but that doesn’t mean all the technology in the movie is impossible.
With virtual reality capable of more awe-inspiring immersive experiences than ever before, some believe humanity is on an inevitable march toward indistinguishable simulations of reality. Plus, with the metaverse presented as a virtual space where humans can even work and own property, the ubiquitous simulation in The Matrix feels closer than ever.
Halo’s military tech is surprisingly grounded
While Halo’s signature AI may have been emulated in the real world by Microsoft’s Cortana, the similarities between the two don’t go much beyond the name. Additionally, although a defense array in space was proposed as early as the Reagan administration according to History, the plan never took off in the real world like the Halo Array did for the Forerunners.
However, not all of Halo’s technology is implausible. In the form of Warthogs and Scorpion tanks, the vehicles employed by the UNSC appear to be a natural extension of the all-terrain armored vehicles and military tanks seen in the real world. Even more surprisingly, the BBC reports that the real-world military is very interested in creating supersoldiers, much like the Spartans in Halo.
The Martian Story Has Real Science Behind It
Simply by setting its story on Mars rather than the depths of outer space, The Martian is more plausible than many other sci-fi stories because it’s something humanity is interested in doing in decades to come according to NASA. In the film, the castcano survive by living in a special habitat that protects them from the harsh conditions of the planet.
In the real world, many have already thought about creating such living facilities, with NASA holding a design competition for just that in 2019. Likewise, Digital Trends reports that there are plenty of great ideas for how to produce water on Mars, which means Mark Watney’s ability to survive long-term is rooted in real-world science.
Some of Star Trek’s outlandish tech is already real
While there have been exciting headlines from outlets like The Debrief regarding the discovery of an actual “warp bubble” in recent years, the technology behind something like a Warp Drive in Star Trek is still in its infancy. beginnings. That doesn’t take away from the massive amount of Star Trek tech that now exists in the real world.
From tablets and live translation devices to things as simple as automatic doors, much of the technology featured in the various iterations of Star Trek didn’t exist when the show was made. Replicators and long-distance space travel might still seem like a reach, but few would bet against the show at this point.
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10 Sci-Fi Universes Whose Tech Could Actually Happen | Pretty Reel
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