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Writers Who Foretold Future Tech Trends

Are authors visionaries? According to technology and fiction writer, Tessa Wegert, they certainly have a knack for predicting the future.

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William Gibson and the Internet


William Gibson's 1984 speculative fiction novel NEUROMANCER was a masterwork of world building and futuristic fantasy…except that some of its most fantastic elements are now a contemporary truth. Besides coining the term "cyberspace" Gibson managed to anticipate everything from the future global-access structure of the Internet to virtual gaming and our reliance on the digital world. Don't we all "jack into" the social media matrix now?

Michael Crichton and De-Extinction


In JURASSIC PARK, Michael Crichton speculated that dinosaurs could be brought back to life using ancient DNA. Millennia-old cells were reanimated, and a long-extinct species was reborn. As it turns out he wasn't far off: de-extinction has sparked the interest of scientists who, using genomic technology, are exploring the idea of bringing back the Wooly Mammoth and the Dodo using tissue cells frozen in time. In 2003 they succeeded: an extinct species of wild goat was born. Though it died shortly afterward scientists persevere, because just like Ian Malcolm says, "Life finds a way."

Chester Gould and the Smart Watch


In his iconic Dick Tracy comic strip, Chester Gould introduced the 2-Way Wrist Radio in 1946 as a way for Tracy to communicate with the police force. The invention preceded handheld mobile phones by about 25 years, and the first cell phone watch by 60. Now Bluetooth-enabled "smart watches" are one of the hottest technology trends. Never again will you have to fight crime without access to Twitter.

Stanislaw Lem & Digital Books


In 1961, Polish author Stanislaw Lem wrote RETURN FROM THE STARS as a work of Science Fiction. Little did he know that many of its invented features would come to pass. Among the tech-heavy themes Lem explores are devices for reading paperless newspapers and books, and "electronic paper." The latter was developed by Xerox in the 1970s. The former – our iPads and Kindles – can store hundreds of thousands of digital pages for just the kind of paperless reading Lem had in mind.

Sci-Fi Writers and Driverless Cars


Google, Tesla, and Audi are working on them. Nissan plans to have one on the market by 2020, while a government-funded fleet is coming to a UK town as early as 2015. But autonomous vehicles also appeared in novels like Daniel Suarez' DAEMON, Peter F. Hamilton's THE COMMONWEALTH SAGA series, and Alastair Reynolds' REVELATION SPACE. Prototypes of flying cars are surfacing too. We may one day forgo highways for skyways a la J. K. Rowling's HARRY POTTER AND THE CHAMBER OF SECRETS…minus the magic, of course.

J. K. Rowling & The Invisibility Cloak


The "Cloak of Invisibility" features prominently in several of J. K. Rowling's books, and though the concept also appeared in J. R. R. Tolkien's THE LORD OF THE RINGS and Edgar Rice Burroughs' A FIGHTING MAN OF MARS, it's Rowling's version most of us think of now. Scientists developed a cloaking tool a few years ago by deflecting microwaves around a copper tube, and are now experimenting with light-bending chambers. The optical illusion can't conceal a human – yet – but it might someday hide a Horcrux.

Douglas Adams and Crowdsourced Content


Based on the BBC Radio series, THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY books delved into many whimsical technological advancements with a signature comedic spin. One of them is the Guide itself, an e-book compiled and edited by multiple users. Call it Wikipedia or the World Wide Web; either way, it bears an uncanny resemblance to the crowdsourced content the likes of which we see in digital media today.