Originally Posted by gprace
This may be a little off on a tangent, but (in reference to "science" fiction) Captain Kirk's "flip" communicator preceded the Motorola flip cell phone by many years. Who is to say what may become real science at a future date.
How about one of Isaac Asimov's mid 50s robot novels that described people no longer leaving their homes, to go outside, but conducting all communication and business through screens (in their homes) rather than face to face. I wonder whatever happened to that piece of fantasy?
I actually made that same point in some other thread around here somewhere. I will say, though, the communicator (minus the flip panel) actually was more like those Nextel Push-To-Talk phones in the way they operated. In fact, in cases where someone talks to the ships computer via one, it's very much like using Siri. The original Star Trek also predicted floppy discs and optical storage, too - just not their downfall well before the era Star Trek takes place in.
I know of a lot of people in the tech world created a lot of stuff based off of Star Trek technology specifically because they watched the show and thought "that would be cool to have". I have no doubt that if interstellar travel eventually occurs, it will be because someone wanted to create a real warp drive of some kind. There are already scientists moving molecules around via a crude transporter device.
The best writers of predictive SciFi generally work backwards for best accuracy. Instead of looking at where they think things are going, they look at where they've come from the beginning. That helps them not only predict where things will go, but potentially come up with a good timeline for it. One great example is from the original version of "The Time Machine". As the main character goes forward in time, he sees a shop window with a mannequin in it wearing Victorian era clothing of the time. As he progresses, there are fewer layers of clothing in the dress, less lace and eventually the clothes become more streamlined. Along with that, the hemline starts going up and you see what looks very much like the mini-skirt that was invented in 1964. The movie came out in 1960. In this case, whoever came up with that imagery for that scene likely looked at where clothing was at the time and where it was several decades ago to make a prediction that women's clothing would become much more revealing as the years went on.
Honestly, while I enjoy Falling Skies enough to continue to watch it despite constantly wondering why these people do so many silly things. However, it very often makes Robocop look like a lesson in serious SciFi - though I would be surprised if that's where we're headed. The bomb squad and SWAT teams already use robots in their jobs and drugs are likely to continue to be a problem as new and different substances come about to get people high. Heck, before a few years ago, who had ever heard of people getting high on bath salts?