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Science Fiction


Analysis and insight on science fiction related concepts. Stay updated as Singularity Hub discusses the most important trends for our future.

Are We Alone in the Universe? The $100 Million Search for an Answer

In the past six years, we have discovered some 1,030 planets circling distant stars, a number of which are in the "habitable zone" (i.e., not too cold, not too hot…able to sustain life). These planets, identified...

Speeding Up Physical Therapy With ‘Matrix’-Like Brain Training? It Isn’t So Far Fetched

Learning to walk again after a traumatic accident is no easy task. One of the hardest things for motor-impaired patients is to generate the correct brain signals to help them recover efficiently. The current best option...

Get Ready: Virtual Reality Is Arriving Well Ahead of Star Trek’s Far Future Forecast

In the television series Star Trek, virtual reality-chambers called “holodecks” take humans into computer-generated worlds where they interact with avatars — and with each other. Imagine being able to visit a distant planet or...

The Technologies ‘Back to the Future’ Got Right, Wrong, and Left Out Entirely

26 years ago, Marty McFly and Doc Brown climbed into their time-traveling flying DeLorean and set the controls to the distant future — October 21, 2015 — which happens to be this week. This is a fun...
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Our Star Trek-like Future Awaits on This Week’s Episode of Ask an Expert [VIDEO]

If you consider how much of our world's systems revolve around scarcity — from basic needs like food and shelter to quality-of-life improving desirables — it's no wonder that the resource-abundant world of the Star Trek universe would...

What Water on Mars Means for the Future of Space Exploration

Geomorphologist Lujendra Ojha of Georgia Tech first noticed strange streaks on Mars in 2011. They appeared on the walls of craters — dark, downhill smears that appeared and then disappeared. He and colleagues watched...
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A Helper Robot Reveals the Near Future in This Beautiful Short Film

In Courtney Marsh’s short film ZARI a bullet-shaped helper robot trundles about doing chores. Its smooth white-on-black design is vaguely Apple-inspired; its interactions are Siri plus a few years. The film’s pace is deliberate and...

Why This Neural Net Thinks the Starship Enterprise Is a Waffle Iron

Artificial neural networks have been all the rage lately. A neural net called DeepDream, built by Google and later released publicly, became an internet sensation for its trippy, dreamlike images. Google and Microsoft boast neural...

We Can’t Find Any Alien Neighbors and Virtual Reality Might Be to Blame

“If the transcension hypothesis is correct, inner space, not outer space, is the final frontier for universal intelligence. Our destiny is density.” – John Smart Only decades into our “age of cosmology” — the moment...
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Beyond Sight: The Gadgets Bringing Our Bodies Into Virtual Reality

When it comes to virtual reality, seeing is believing. But after those first few fascinated moments, you realize something: Seeing is often all you’ll be doing. Although nailing virtual visuals is very likely the tipping...
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Watch the Complete Evolution of the Terminator’s Killer Robots

Many movies, books, and TV shows predict an AI and robot apocalypse. But which one first pops into your mind when you hear killer robots? We’ll wager it’s the Terminator. From its inception in 1984,...

This Touchable Midair 3D Laser Display Is Pretty Magical

If you’re a science fiction fan—you are well familiar with holographic displays floating in midair. Maybe it’s Princess Leia materializing above R2-D2 or Tony Stark designing his Iron Man suit with a few cinematic...

AI More Like Iron Man’s JARVIS Is Coming This Next Decade…Bring It On

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the most important technology we're developing this decade. It's a massive opportunity for humanity, not a threat. So, what is AI? Broadly, AI is the ability of a computer to understand your question,...

The Ultimate Interface: Your Brain

Ramez Naam is the author of 5 books, including the award-winning Nexus trilogy of sci-fi novels. Follow him on twitter: @ramez. A shorter version of this article first appeared at TechCrunch. The final frontier of digital technology...

Visions of London’s Garden Bridge: A Futuristic Greenway Over the Thames

In William Gibson’s latest book The Peripheral, he describes 22nd century London. Beyond the ubiquitous nanobot assemblers, the cosplay zones, and the puppet-like peripherals—Oxford Street has been turned into a greenway. Well, as it happens, London already...
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Tomorrowland: Our Journey From Science Fiction To Science Fact

For the past 25 years, my beat as a journalist has been covering those moments in time when science fiction became science fact. As a result, and on a good number of occasions—like when...
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Sci-Fi Sunday: What Happens When Our Technology Outpaces Our Understanding?

Though the sci-fi short “Burnt Grass” deals with themes related to futuristic technologies, it doesn’t bother to develop said future in detail. It is, after all, a short film. You’ve got to pick your...

Our Solar System’s 9 Extraterrestrial Oceans in One Surprising Infographic

When scientists looked at Mars through early telescopes, they saw a fuzzy, rust-colored globe scored by mysterious dark gashes some believed were alien canals. Later, armed with sharper images, we scoffed at such naiveté. Mars is obviously dry as...
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Sci-Fi Sunday: Deep Space Is a Weird and Lonely Place for Humans and AI Alike

The desolate reaches of deep space figure heavily in today’s sci-fi short film double feature. Space, as it turns out, is really big and empty. Until we get warp drive or discover a local...

Might a ‘Gold Rush’ on the Moon Trigger the Next Epic Space Race?

As a kid, I devoured Star Trek: The Next Generation, and though it now appears nearly as campy as the original series did back then, I still love it. But Star Trek led me...

The Acceleration of Acceleration: How The Future Is Arriving Far Faster Than Expected

This article co-written with Ken Goffman. One of the things that happens when you write books about the future is you get to watch your predictions fail. This is nothing new, of course, but what’s...
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As the Powerful Argue AI Ethics, Might Superintelligence Arise on the Fringes?

Last year, Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking admitted they were concerned about artificial intelligence. While undeniably brilliant, neither are AI researchers. Then this week Bill Gates leapt into the fray, also voicing concern—even as a chief of...
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If You Upload Your Mind to a Computer—Are You Still You?

One of the most mind-bending far future predictions you'll hear from some futurists is this: Eventually, the technology will exist to copy your brain (every bit of data that makes you, you) onto a computer. Technical details and...
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Tour a Century of Sci-Fi Film in Just Four Minutes

I just watched over a hundred years of sci-fi crunched into four minutes. (See below.) And beyond a fun trip down memory lane, I noticed a few things. The effects have radically improved, but the themes...

3D Printed Electronic Devices Are Coming

The handheld computers we carry in our pockets represent almost unimaginable complexity. Batteries, sensors, chips, circuits, and touch displays in a space age shell, all painstakingly assembled by thousands of workers and shipped globally. Smartphones have disrupted...
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If We Made ‘Back to the Future II’ Today: What Would 2045 Look Like?

It’s officially 2015, the year Marty McFly and Doc Brown visited in their souped up DeLorean time machine in Back to the Future Part II. There’s been a flurry of press comparing the iconic...

5 Mind-Bending Sights: Finally, The Future Is Starting To Look Like We Thought It Would

2015—that just sounds like the future, right.  But does it look like the future? Because, that’s the thing, right—we all know technology is advancing at exponential rates. We are making soaring progress in a...

A 3D Printed Moon Base: Science Fiction or Science Fact?

One day everything in space will be made in space, and this will radically increase the potential for human space exploration. I recently read a novella that explores this very idea (see below for an...
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Short Film “Memories 2.0” Envisions Reliving the Past Through Virtual Reality

One of the hard truths of human existence is that though we are able to move freely through space, we are mercilessly constrained by time. Each moment of life arrives then rapidly passes, seemingly lost forever. In an attempt to capture information...
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Short Space Film “Wanderers” Reminds Us We Are All Explorers 

Wanderers is an inspiring vision of humanity’s expansion beyond planet earth, showing digital recreations of actual places in the Solar System, built from photos and maps that we might find if we remember that we...

Made In Space Transports and Replicates First 3D Printed Object on Space Station

In September, Made In Space and NASA partnered to deliver the first 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS). And now this week, another first. The ISS astronauts fired up the printer to...
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Short Film “Doubles” Is a Humorous Take on the Nightmare of Parallel Universes Colliding

We've all wondered how our lives would be different if things had gone another way. Would we be the same person or someone we wouldn't even recognize? The truth may be that we don't really want to know. Each...

Does humankind’s progress depend upon the even distribution of technology?

"The future is already here — it's just not very evenly distributed." This quote, credited to sci-fi writer William Gibson, is popular among futurists and technologists because it dismantles the notion that certain technologies are out of...
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Short Film “SYNC” Imagines Robot Couriers As the Defense Against Cyberterrorism

Hacking and cyberterrorism are modern-day realities, and the more connected we become, the more vulnerable we are. While this is true for individuals, it's much more grim for corporations who have millions and even billions to lose....
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Ex Machina Brims With Robot Fun and Mind Games

In upcoming sci-fi film, Ex Machina, writer and director Alex Garland gets ambitious. All we’ve got is a trailer so far. But it’s a tantalizing clip that manages to run through a range of cinematic...

Neuroscientists Discover ESP — But Is That A Good Thing?

In The Peripheral, the new stunner by cyberpunk godfather William Gibson, the reader is treated to a look at the future. It’s inexact, this future. The author, delightfully, gives it no date. Maybe it’s...
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Travel to a Black Hole’s Edge and a Far Future Where Humans Are Just the Same

Astrophysicist Kip Thorne—whose book on black holes sits on my shelf—recently teamed up with director Christopher Nolan of Dark Knight fame to build the perfect CGI black hole for the film, Interstellar­. As we’ve never...

Elon Musk Is Right: Colonizing the Solar System Is Humankind’s Insurance Policy Against Extinction

Why blow billions of dollars on space exploration when billions of people are living in poverty here on Earth? You’ve likely heard the justifications. The space program brings us useful innovations and inventions. Space exploration...
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Cute Robot Searches Post-Apocalyptic Paris for Friends in Short Film “L3.0”

Dystopian visions of the future often explore post-apocalyptic scenarios where life on the surface is rare or extinct. If robots are commonplace when life were to disappear, what would their existence be like? Would they continue to carry out their...

Virtual Reality May Become the Next Great Media Platform—But Can It Fool All Five Senses?

Jason Silva calls technologies of media “engines of empathy.” They allow us to look through someone else’s eyes, experience someone else’s story—and develop a sense of compassion and understanding for them, and perhaps for...
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Short Film “Envoy” Showcases Amazing Visual Effects at the Cost of a Recycled Storyline

In Stephen King's story Low Men in Yellow Coats, an older man offers some advice to a boy about reading books: "Read sometimes for the story...read sometimes for the words--the language...but when you find a book that...
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Sci-Fi Short “Restitution” Explores Whether Humans Are Ethically Ready for Cloning’s Consequences

Among the spectrum of technological innovations that are potentially forthcoming, human cloning is among the most debated and ethically ambiguous. In his award-winning sci-fi short, Restitution, writer/director Justin Miller explores human cloning and the lengths a...

Skully Motorcycle Helmet Not Quite Iron Man, But a Taste of Our Augmented Reality Future

If Tony Stark designed a motorcycle helmet, it might look a little like Skully. Sleek black (or white) with an aerodynamic fin. A visor that changes tint at the touch of a finger. A rear...
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Short Film “The Trail’s End” Entices with Bonnie-and-Clyde Android Couple

For nearly a century, filmmakers have explored the convergence of humans and machines in the form of androids. Whether as soulless servants or heartless killbots , movies often depict a future full of androids wrought with perilous pathways that will require all human ingenuity...

NBA Courtside at Home? Live Action Virtual Reality is Here and Better than Expected

William Gibson famously said, “The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.” I’m guessing Gibson was probably referring to the coming world of live action content for the Oculus Rift, and...

Technological Fears and the Latest Entry in the Planet of the Apes Franchise

Summertime in the US means action-packed disaster films, and this year, it’s the monkeys who are coming to get us. Hollywood is offering up the next entry in the Planet of the Apes franchise, which...

Machines Teach Humans How to Feel Using Neurofeedback

Humans are social animals, and feelings of attachment, connection and empathy are the glue that binds societies together. Before an infant’s immune system is fully operational, before a baby can even use its hands,...

DARPA Explores Virtual Reality as the Future of Cyberwarfare

In William Gibson’s sci-fi novel, Neuromancer, hackers jack-in to an internet-like virtual world called the matrix. Instead of working with lines of code, they’re digitally embodied in a realm where computers, programs, and the...

Donating to UNICEF Innovation Labs Could Land You in the Next Star Wars Movie

What are the grand challenges? Depends on the galaxy. In unspecified galaxies far, far away and long ago, energy and cheap space travel were no issue. Evil Sith lords suffering from acute megalomania, on the...

NASA Spacesuit Design With Sci-Fi Flair Prepares For Mars Missions

NASA may have decommissioned the Space Shuttle, but it's not the end of space exploration for the iconic agency which wants to send humans back to the Moon and on to Mars within the...

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