Even if the stories are outlandish and the characters are aliens unlike anything humans have encountered in real life, sci-fi universes need the right technology to create a compelling experience. Grounding stories in coherent, well-grounded technology, as Star Trek and The Expanse did, is key to a believable sci-fi world.
As for the likelihood of the technology in these shows, movies, and games becoming a reality, the response to it can be varied, but often surprisingly positive. With real-world technology constantly evolving, these are just a few of the sci-fi universes that seem more believable than ever.
Cyberpunk 2077’s cybernetic upgrades are plausible
Cyberpunk 2077 was many people’s first exposure to the long-running dystopian world of the Cyberpunk TTRPG, and it immediately throws a lot of amazing new technology the player’s way. Perhaps the most striking example is cybernetic enhancements that allow humans to do far more than they were previously capable of.
In the real world, human-machine cyborgs are real, and much of the application so far has been to help people with disabilities. Some of the examples highlighted in Futurism include bionic limbs that can even allow the wearer something resembling a sense of touch, as well as a head-mounted antenna that allowed color-blind artist Neil Harbisson to hear colors.
WALL-E’s robotic solution to pollution may become a reality
In the world of WALL-E, the worst has already happened as humans are forced to leave a country rendered uninhabitable by pollution and settle aboard Starliners. On board the spacecraft, humans have become overly dependent on technology, and addiction to screens and junk food has only gotten worse.
With Time reporting that screen use has exploded during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown and continued at high levels, it’s easy to imagine technology adapting to compensate for changing patterns. less active lives as a result. On top of that, companies like Recycleye promise to use artificial intelligence and robotics to help shape the future of waste disposal, much like how WALL-E’s model was created for that purpose.
The expansion bases its fascinating story on real science
One of the biggest problems with the plausibility of science fiction is that faster-than-light travel remains an impossible dream in the real world, meaning it would take a disproportionate amount of time to travel through space. The Expanse solves this problem by limiting humanity’s travel to Earth’s solar system, although the science of the Epstein Drive is still questionable at this point.
On the other hand, the show’s handheld devices, which replace the near-ubiquitous smartphones in the real world, seem entirely plausible given the evolution of cloud technology. Finally, Syfy reports that the railguns from The Expanse may soon be a reality as the US Navy conducts tests on a similar electromagnetic weapon.
Mass Effect’s military technology could predict the future
While Mass Effect doesn’t always stay grounded in real science, with faster-than-light travel being one of the most debatable things added to the world to enable better stories, it’s fair to say that games have put more thought into the real world. physically than most. It’s one of the things that makes Mass Effect such an iconic game series.
Weapons in particular have had a lot of thought put into how they work. Fans including Kyle Hill of Nerdiston YouTube have explained how some of the game’s ‘element 0’ electromagnetic weapons work and how they are based on real science. As with The Expanse’s railguns, Navy testing of a similar type of weapon confirms its real-world potential.
Technology from the Alien franchise could become plausible
While the titular alien might not quite fall under the tech tag, there is some interesting technology on display in Alien. The decades-long planetary terraforming technology in the series reflects NASA’s assessment that, if such a process were possible, it would take long periods of time, possibly even tens of thousands of years. Likewise, Alien recognizes that interstellar travel would mean long transit periods.
It deals with this using stasis pods that essentially suspend the user’s body in time until they wake up, a concept not new to science fiction. According to Science Focus, cryonics, which would produce a similar effect, may still be a new technology, but it is attracting a lot of interest from researchers, which means that progress is possible over time.
Blade Runner’s doomed synths just got more plausible
With rogue androids and flying cars, the quintessential cyberpunk classic Blade Runner may have seemed ridiculously speculative when it was released, but some of the technology feels a lot more realistic now. Flying cars may not be anywhere near a reality, but artificial intelligence and the technology behind realistic robots is advancing at an alarming rate.
Plus, the four-year lifespan of Blade Runner’s synths doesn’t sound so crazy considering that planned obsolescence is now at the heart of the tech industry. Not only that, but the real world already has extremely common equivalents of the movie’s Voight-Kampff test for telling robots from humans in the form of Captcha and similar tests.
The Matrix has become closer to reality with virtual reality
Humans are unlikely to ever be used as an energy source as they are in The Matrix, with scientist Robert Hurt explaining in Esquire that it is simply impossible to get as much energy as is needed to keep the body alive, but that does not mean. all the technology in the movie is impossible.
With virtual reality capable of more awe-inspiring immersive experiences than ever before, some believe humanity is on an inevitable march towards indistinguishable simulations of reality. Plus, with the metaverse presented as a virtual space where people can even work and own property, the ubiquitous simulation in The Matrix seems closer than ever.
Halo’s military technology is surprisingly grounded
While Halo’s signature AI may have been emulated in the real world by Microsoft’s Cortana, the similarities between the two don’t go much beyond the name. Additionally, although a defense array in space was proposed as early as the Reagan administration, according to History, the plan never took off in the real world like the Halo Array did for the Forerunners.
However, not all of Halo’s technology is improbable. In the form of Warthogs and Scorpion tanks, the vehicles employed by the UNSC appear to be a natural extension of the off-road armored vehicles and military tanks seen in the real world. Even more surprisingly, the BBC reports that the real world military is very interested in creating super soldiers, just like the Spartans in Halo.
The Martian story has real science behind it
Simply by setting its story on Mars rather than the depths of outer space, The Martian is more plausible than many other sci-fi stories because it is something humanity is interested in doing in the coming decades according to NASA. In the film, the castcano survives by living in a special habitat that protects them from the harsh conditions of the planet.
In the real world, many have already thought about creating such living facilities, with NASA holding a design competition for just that in 2019. Likewise, Digital Trends reports that there are plenty of great ideas for how to produce water on Mars, which means Mark . Watney’s ability to survive long-term is rooted in real-world science.
Some of Star Trek’s outlandish technology is already real
While there have been exciting headlines from outlets like The Debrief regarding the discovery of an actual “warp bubble” in recent years, the technology behind something like the Warp Drive in Star Trek is still in its infancy. That doesn’t take away from the vast amount of Star Trek technology that now exists in the real world.
From tablets and live translation devices to things as simple as automatic doors, much of the technology in the various iterations of Star Trek didn’t exist when the show was made. Replicators and long-range space travel may still seem like a reach, but few would bet against the show at this point.