How stories have shaped today’s technology

From the Ancient stories of Gods and their almighty powers to modern Sci-fi novels with sonic screwdrivers and lightsabers, fiction (or what we perceive to be fiction) has always had a drastic effect on today’s inventions.

Greek Mythology

Hephaestus was the God of fire, metalwork and sculpture and he forged beautiful items for members of his Godly family. He also became known as the God of technology, he invented servants designed to predict the needs of their bosses and help them in any way they require. Perhaps this is where modern-day AI stemmed from. These servants, once created, had no need to be programmed, they learned on their own.

Star Trek

Star Trek inspired lots of the technology we see on the market today, the way they communicated (video wristwatches) is strikingly similar to today's smartwatch.

Credit Cards

Perhaps this goes back much further than we ever imagined. Look in your wallet/purse now. How many credit or debit cards do you have? I am willing to bet you have at least one. In 1888 Edward Bellamy wrote a book called ‘Looking Backwards’ in it, characters could use a card to borrow money from a central bank. They could then use this card to purchase goods. The first credit card was not introduced until the 1950’s.


If you haven’t read it, you really should. George Orwell’s 1984 was written and published in 1949, only a few years after surveillance cameras were first introduced. Even then he predicted the amount of surveillance our society would eventually have. Today we can’t go anywhere without being captured on camera.

The Tablet

The tablet or iPad was first introduced to the market in 2010 by Apple but it had been featured in fiction some forty years earlier. Arthur C. Clarke released 2001:Space Odyssey in 1968. Astronauts would use full-sized tablet computers to contact the people on earth.

Electric Cars

Published in 1969, John Brunner’s Stand on Zanzibar introduced us to the electric car. We aren’t yet at a stage where all diesel and petrol cars have ceased to be manufactured but the Government announced this year that there was a plan in place to eradicated petrol and diesel cars by 2040. This is almost a century after the book was originally published.

So, if you have a huge idea for a Sci-Fi book containing mind-blowing technology, you might just see your ideas come to life in the near future.