Created By: mechanixis on September 27, 2011

Everyone is a Genius in the Future

All characters have an intimate knowledge of how the futuristic technology of their daily lives works.

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Do We Have This

It's the future. The world is now teeming with fantastic technology to append to our every need - there's space travel and robots and rayguns.

Naturally, because technology has developed so far, so too has the layperson's understanding of this technology. Anyone on the street can tell you how their household Matter Replicator works - why, they use that thing every day! Just like how anyone who drives a car understands an internal combustion engine works.

In reality, science and technology are two very different things. You can use technology without ever understanding the science that drives it; using a lot of technology does not mean you know a lot of science. Many writers disregard this, and thus characters can have long, off-the-cuff discussions about their universe's technology and how it works. Common reasons for this are either to provide exposition into how the universes technology works or to show off how civilized and intelligent this vision of the future is.

Very frequently results in Techno Babble. This also leads to characters being innately adept at repairing or modifying technology, when in reality one would probably call a repairman or some other specialist.

The most prominent example I can think of is obviously Star Trek, in which almost any two non-specialist characters can have a detailed conversations about warp-core schematics or modify their phasers to perform any number of tasks for which they were not designed.
Community Feedback Replies: 13
  • September 27, 2011
  • September 27, 2011
  • September 27, 2011
    I started a YKTTW similar to this called Technology Equals Intelligence, which would have also included works were the inhabitants of a past society are portrayed as less intelligent than modern people. I remember the examples I found for that, if you want to list them as inversions:

    • A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthurs Court - the medieval English are childlike to the point where they can't distinguish fantasy from reality.
    • Everworld - The Everworld humans seem to have no concept of lying and readily believe anything the protagonists tell them. In the second book, it's implied that the idea of prisoners trying to overpower their captors and escape is unknown in Everworld, despite the Everworlders' otherwise casual attitude toward violence.
    A minor example:

    I don't have any future society examples though.
  • September 27, 2011
    Compare The Singularity and Transhumanism, which can be seen as a justification of this trope.
  • September 27, 2011
    Speaking of which, isn't there also a trope for everyone being ripped/stronger/more badass in the future, particularly in a Bad Future that this could be related and sometimes crossover with?
  • September 27, 2011
  • October 1, 2011
    Star Trek easily. Everyone has some knowledge of warp technology, quantum physics, etc...
  • October 20, 2012
    Thom Kallor AKA Starman from the Legion Of Super Heroes travels back in time to do stuff. He teaches Mr. Terrific((3rd smartest man in the world)in/from Justice Society Of America) a little of Third Grade Science from the 31 century which is just beyond Mr. Terrific knowledge.
  • October 20, 2012
    Rather than "genius", which implies a broad intellectual acuity, the title probably ought to be more specifically about technological knowledge. Everyone Is A Tech Wiz In The Future, perhaps? That way, it doesn't sound like every future human can solve a sudoku in half a minute with their eyes shut.
  • October 20, 2012
    • Aversions may be too common to list, but a possibly notable one is in The Matrix Reloaded, where Councillor Hamann says "There is so much in this world that I do not understand. See that machine? It has something to do with recycling our water supply. I have absolutely no idea how it works. But I do understand the reason for it to work."
  • October 21, 2012
    Massively averted in the film Idiocracy. It's a wonder that anything still functions there (although it is pretty over-the-top satire).
  • October 30, 2012
    The World Of Expospeak?
  • October 30, 2012
    Similar to another YKTTW called Middle School Calculus.