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I don’t like when science fiction becomes reality (but I am not sure why)

Francisco Miraval

Every time I read a report or press release about something that it was just science fiction and now it is real I feel uneasy, but I am not sure why. It is a kind of existential uneasiness created, I think, because each time one of those stories is published, it increases the fluidity of the difference between fiction and reality.

For example, in the 1990s, the well-known science fiction series Star Trek: The Next Generation presented almost in each episode human-looking robots, or androids, with superhuman intelligence and strength.

And now, just a few weeks ago, researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder announced the development of artificial muscles, with the flexibility of an octopus, the speed of a hummingbird, and the strength of an elephant. Those muscles will be used to create androids in the next few years.

Also, the famous Terminator series of movies suggested that once robots reached a certain level of intelligence, those intelligent robots will become hostile to humans.

According to a recent media story, those robots will need to be just moderately more intelligent that humans to rebel against humans. According to the report, once the intelligent robots achieved a IQ of 100 (barely above the average IQ among humans), intelligent machines will rebel.

Another example. In the first Stargate movie, there is a scene where a chamber is shown inside the Great Pyramid, above the King’s Chamber (where, it is believed, the pharaoh’s body once rested.) At the time the movie was released, the existence of that chamber was speculation. Now, it has been confirmed.

According to an official press release by the Ministry of Antiquities in Egypt, recent scientific studies using the latest generation of scanners detected the “new” chamber inside the Great Pyramid. The chamber, it seems, is at the place shown in Stargate. (Of course, the official press release doesn’t mention the movie.)

Let me share one more example (among many others). In the movie Minority Report, a technology is used to anticipate future actions of people, thus giving information to law enforcement to arrest people for their future crimes, that is, crimes not yet committed. That technology is (almost) here.

A recent report by Colorado State University (Fort Collins) revealed that experts of that university, working with colleagues from other universities, have developed an algorithm that will soon allow (perhaps in just two years) to identify in real time future actions of millions of people all over the world, so law enforcement could arrest terrorists for their future attacks.

So, why I feel uneasy to know that science fiction becomes science reality? I don’t think that it is because imaginary technology is now available and real, but because I would like to know if, given the fact that technology shown in the movies is real, do other technologies shown in those movies (space fleet, time travel, stargates) are also already real?

Perhaps I should simply accept that fiction and reality are just two different states of consciousness.

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