Just playing around with an idea, which is whether there’s anything interesting to be said about speculations in science fiction versus science fact. Seems like quite a bit of what gets written about in fiction tends to become fact given enough time. This could be chance or it could be that if it gets written about, it gets thought about.
1657, Savien de Cyrano de Bergerac, A Voyage to the Moon – Apollo 8, 1969.
1888, Edward Bellamy, Looking Backwards (Credit cards) – Diners Club, 1950.
1964, Star Terk, The Cage, (mobile phones) – Motorola, 1973.
One issue is a lack of data. I have about fifty examples of things that got thought about and then happened, mostly from the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, but that’s not many. There’s also the infinite monkeys argument – given enough predictions something will eventually be correct. But are these really predictions?
There’s also the issue of which writer is right. Many musings are vague in terms of how things might work out and often there are numerous examples of people ‘predicting’ the same thing. For example, the internet, as an idea, can be traced back to Mark Twain, Douglas Adams, Geoffret Hoyle, William Gibson and many others.
What interests me most, apart from who is influencing what, is the time difference between speculation and appearance or invention. It does seem to getting shorter.