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Will technological progress make sci fi obsolete?

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Aug 7th 2022 at 7:24:31 PM

I mean you have people who are working on actual Powered Armor, there’s been a fair amount of progress on AI research and apparently someone recently made a functional stem cell mouse embryo. If those things become commonplace, what’s the point of writing about them?

Chortleous antelope friend Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
antelope friend
Aug 7th 2022 at 7:38:31 PM

Not sure if I follow the logic, here. Some notable works of early science fiction center around manned journeys to the moon, but sci-fi as a whole didn't suddenly become obsolete when we actually went and did that. The genre evolves as society does, and that's not even getting into works that don't involve far-off fictional or theoretical technologies—The Martian, for instance.

Edited by Chortleous on Aug 7th 2022 at 9:44:25 AM

MorningStar1337 Diamond Princess from 🤔 Relationship Status: -not set
Diamond Princess
Aug 7th 2022 at 7:56:46 PM

I don't think so, for several reasons

  • Science Fiction is a broad umbrella, much like its more magical sibling, so there will still be some ground to cover...literally in some cases
  • to clarify on the literal bit, the universe is a vast place, not unexplorable, but it has already came to a point where there will be parts of the universe that we will never know about, much let set foot on, due to expansion. As such that unknown becomes room for speculation and thus for fiction to flourish
    • the same principle is magnified by time travel and multiverse stories due to the current impossibility of the former or dimensional travel. If that is somehow realized then it would put a damper on those subgenres, but wouldn't kill them simply due to the endless possibilities there
  • Relatedly, the aliens and robots aspects prolly also wouldn't be obsoleted as easily, as mentioned before, there will always be a place where we will never reach. And therefore there will always be a place where aliens that may or may not match ones we would encounter could theoretically exist. However specific settings based on explored planets might be obsoleted due to the march of time dispelling any misconceptions, as had already happened to Mars, the Moon and other planets close to Earth (and to Earth itself).
  • As far as the general tech level goes. I'm certain that there will still be concepts birthed into existence, and discorveries that would reframe what we currently know for eons.

Put simply, the only limit here is imagination. And as such the genre will continue to evolve and adapt with the technology and science that inspired it, just as it has for the last century.

As above, so below.
Noaqiyeum Void Given Distraction (it/they) from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Void Given Distraction (it/they)
Aug 7th 2022 at 8:12:20 PM

Unlikely. SF focusing on futuristic technology will just shift to new inventions whenever real life catches up. But that isn't really what SF is about.

Science fiction emerged as a genre in response to the industrial revolution - people saw society as they knew it changing rapidly in response to new scientific discoveries and technological advancements and commented on what they saw and what questions were being unexpectedly answered or raised by imagining what else was possible and what might happen. If anything were to kill sci fi, it would be a lack of technological progress, if new discoveries and inventions failed to be relevant to everyday life.

[down] :D

Edited by Noaqiyeum on Aug 7th 2022 at 7:00:58 PM

Nonsense makes the heart grow fonder | Moonlight visions
shiro_okami ...can still bite Relationship Status: Anime is my true love
...can still bite
Aug 7th 2022 at 8:29:01 PM

You have it backwards. Sci-fi took off as a genre because of technological progress. For centuries, technology progressed at a snail's pace, so people did not expect the future to be any different than the present. It was when technology began to progress at a rate fast enough to be observed within a single human lifespan that people were able to imagine a future different than the present. That imagination is what fuels sci-fi, the idea of: "If I have already seen technology go this far, how much further can it go?" I doubt that technology will be able to keep up with human imagination.

Thinking that technological progress would make sci-fi obsolete is a failure to understand why it came to be at the time that it did and why it was absent before then.

EDIT: [up] Darn, you beat me to the post!

Edited by shiro_okami on Aug 7th 2022 at 11:30:41 AM

minseok42 Relationship Status: TV Tropes ruined my love life
Aug 8th 2022 at 2:34:41 AM

Also, there ain't no rule you can't write sci-fi about obsolete scientific theories or technologies. Case in point: steampunk.

Self-inflicted disaster
SeptimusHeap Christmas worms from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Christmas worms
Aug 8th 2022 at 2:56:05 AM

Or about things that won't become possible. It's far from a given that we'll have faster-than-light travel, for example.

"For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled." - Richard Feynman
MorningStar1337 Diamond Princess from 🤔 Relationship Status: -not set
Diamond Princess
Aug 8th 2022 at 8:29:23 AM

or that aliens exist, or that hovercars would become a viable vehicle.

As above, so below.
Bornstellar Relationship Status: Complex: I'm real, they are imaginary
Aug 8th 2022 at 1:46:52 PM

People write about commonplace things all the time. Like, coffeehouses and schools.

DeMarquis Who Am I? from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Aug 9th 2022 at 8:56:47 AM

Mind you, if power armor or AI become commonplace enough, it might force Sci Fi authors to write about something new...

"Respond to demands with silence, respond to challenges with questions."
TitanJump Relationship Status: Singularity
Aug 9th 2022 at 9:02:34 AM

Nope. (On the main question for this thread.)

The more tech evolves, the further Sci-fi goes ahead of it.

Edited by TitanJump on Aug 9th 2022 at 6:02:48 PM

MorningStar1337 Diamond Princess from 🤔 Relationship Status: -not set
Diamond Princess
Aug 11th 2022 at 8:33:54 PM

[up][up] AI with Energy Being bodies :V

As above, so below.
WarJay77 She's a cute red monster from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
She's a cute red monster
Aug 11th 2022 at 10:02:30 PM

Plus, sci-fi is more than just a spectacle of tech, it's any story that makes use of science-y elements. Think time travel, aliens, robot invasions, clones, etc; it's more about speculating on how society will change and how we'll interact with others and how we'll rely more on tech as time goes on. A lot of it is very much meant to be metaphorical or otherwise a warning to be better.

Current Project: N/A
AwSamWeston Fantasy writer turned Filmmaker. from Minnesota Nice Relationship Status: Married to the job
Fantasy writer turned Filmmaker.
Aug 11th 2022 at 10:13:12 PM

Important to note that Sci-Fi is less about "predicting future technology" and more about commenting on where society is at the time it's published.

Early Star Trek famously had plot threads about working with your mortal enemy (it was communists back then) and was generally a progressive, utopian vision of where we were headed in the 60s.

1984 wasn't predicting a surveillance state so much as saying "hey, it's already here." That was in the late 40s.

The Hunger Games is a pretty direct commentary on the American government's tendency to pit people against each other and never actually address the root cause of our problems. It's also a chilling indictment of the 21st century media landscape.

Dune is about imperialism. Full stop. It just happens to take place in a neat space setting.

There's no end to people predicting new technologies in the near- and far-future, but the technology is just the fancy trappings that make people pay attention to what the author's really saying.

Edited by AwSamWeston on Aug 15th 2022 at 9:45:02 AM

Award-winning screenwriter. Directed some movies. Trying to earn a Creator page. See my work here.
WarJay77 She's a cute red monster from The Void Relationship Status: Armed with the Power of Love
She's a cute red monster
Aug 12th 2022 at 2:17:16 AM

That's what I was getting it, but you worded it way better.

Current Project: N/A
DeMarquis Who Am I? from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Sep 5th 2022 at 11:53:52 AM

Dune is also about ecological fit.

"Respond to demands with silence, respond to challenges with questions."
Nukeli The Master Of Fright & A Demon Of Light from A Dark Planet Lit By No Sun Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The Master Of Fright & A Demon Of Light
Sep 19th 2022 at 4:37:20 AM

Humans can always imagine more advanced tech than they currently have. Among other things because some scifi is scientifically impossible.

~ * Bleh * ~
Wrensong Grand Duchess from Utopia Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Grand Duchess
Sep 27th 2022 at 9:36:31 PM

No, it will only turn what was sci-fi today into Zeerust.

YourBloodyValentine from Italy
Oct 8th 2022 at 8:20:39 AM

Technological progress hasn't even made older sci fi obsolete. Sure, the works that had nothing to offer than a brilliant idea and/or extrapolations of current trend ended up being forgotten, but those with a literary qualit are still read.

TheLivingDrawing Lucas, the Living Drawing from The Town of Clayton Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Lucas, the Living Drawing
Oct 8th 2022 at 10:33:45 PM

No. Technology progress will never hit a ceiling where it’s impossible to improve further. And a lot of Sci-Fi, more specifically soft Sci-Fi, is more or less fantasy with technology instead of magic.

Why waste time when you can see the last sunset last?
dvorak The World's Least Powerful Man from Hiding in your shadow Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The World's Least Powerful Man
Oct 19th 2022 at 10:10:30 PM

We'll always find something to write about. The Orthogonal series was inspired by an error in a physics calculation, of all things, for example.

Edited by dvorak on Oct 19th 2022 at 10:14:15 AM

Now everyone pat me on the back and tell me how clever I am...
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