3 Examples in which Science Fiction became the Model for important Trends

The view into the world of tomorrow. This is a task that many professions have set themselves as a mission. Future researchers, futurists and me as an innovation profiler; with our finger on the pulse of time we try to imagine the future as precisely as possible. We look for the trends that will shape our work or our lives in a few years’ time, examine the traces of change and draw conclusions for companies that want to adapt to change. But even beyond futurology, there are people who imagine this world in a creative and sometimes shockingly precise way. Authors and producers for the science fiction genre have not only once correctly predicted the future.

The sci-fi genre has long been an inspiration for futurology. Some companies even employ science fiction authors as trend scouts for this purpose, since they often penetrate future scenarios with their visions, in which one can hardly believe oneself. In interviews, recognized masterminds such as Elon Musk explain the influence science-ficiton has had on their work and their innovations, and it is not unusual for elements that were completely fictional a few years ago to find themselves in today’s world. Here are the top 3 innovations that started out in science fiction books and films.




There is hardly a science fiction film to be imagined without them: the holograms. Whether at Blade Runner as an advertising campaign, at Star Wars in communication or at Iron Man as a tool for product design, the images drawn in the air have been a central part of our vision of the future for decades.


Pictures in the air: 3D printing with light (Source: nature video)


Even though they are not as widespread as in the films mentioned above, there are already great approaches to using holograms today. About some developments, like the holographic table or the Holoportation I have already reported, but the Brigham Young University has managed to give these pictures an unprecedented level of detail and this in 3D. However, the experts distance themselves from the well-known holograms from science fiction films:

“This is doing something that a hologram can never do – giving you an all-round view, a Princess Leia-style display – because it’s not a hologram…”

But no matter what you call it, the vision of holograms is within reach and will fundamentally change our world in the near future.



Today it is hard to imagine many areas without tables. Whether from Apple, Samsung or Amazon, the portable computers have long since found their way into our living rooms and offices. But who was the first to come up with the idea for a tablet? Was it Apple or Microsoft? As it looks like, however, the origin of iPad and Co is way ahead of Steve Jobs official product announcement in 2010.

Scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey (Source: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer)


As the video clip shows, it was probably Stanley Kubrick who invented the tablet computer in his masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey” in the 1960s. Even today, the film is still called a far too plausible vision of the future, but the design and functionality of the devices shown in the film is almost too clear. In 2011 the film even became part of the patent dispute between Apple and Samsung:

“As part of Samsung’s defence, the company’s lawyers showed the court a still image and clip showing the astronauts played by Gary Lockwood and Keir Dullea eating while watching a TV show on their own personal, mini-sized, flat-screen computers.” – Samuel Wigley, British Film Institute

The Kubrick’s masterpiece is also known for other innovations, as the intelligent HAL 9000 computer also seems a bit like a remote user of Alexa and Google Home.


Universal translators

A common prognostication of the future says that our grandchildren will no longer know any language barriers. For anyone who has struggled through the lessons in Spanish or French, an unimaginability. But a communications revolution is in sight. The current developments in the field of speech recognition were once again inspired by a fictitious work, namely the best-seller “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”. In Douglas Adams’ book, the “Babel Fisch” translates every language in real time, simply by putting the little creature in your ear. The BBC program based on the novel explains it as follows:


Babel Fish – The Oddest Thing In The Universe (Source: BBC Worldwide)


What is a recognizable fiction in this case has inspired many companies such as Microsoft and Google. But whoever came closest to the idea of Babelfish was the startup “Pilot”. The intelligent earplug translates the spoken word for the wearer in real time. Seamless and without any content deviations. The company’s vision is simple: whenever language is a communication hurdle, the “pilot” should eliminate these problems and help ensure that everyone understands each other.


Can You Hear Me in French? (Source: Pilot)


These three examples illustrate how close reality and fiction are to each other and how they influence each other. Other ideas that have been exemplified by science fiction authors are currently being developed by companies all over the world, such as flying cars, augmented reality glasses and virtual worlds. Only the future will show which vision of a creative mastermind will find its way into our everyday life next, so it means to remain curious!


Post picture: Disney / Star WarS

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinkerhttps://www.medialist.info
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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