10 Sci-Fi Universes Whose Technology Could Actually Happen

Even though the stories are offbeat and the characters are aliens unlike anything humans have encountered in real life, sci-fi universes need the right technology to create an immersive experience. Grounding stories in cohesive, well-grounded technology, as Star Trek and The Expanse did, is key to creating a believable sci-fi world.

As for the likelihood of the technology becoming a reality in these shows, films, and games, the response can be varied, but often surprisingly positive. As real-world technology continues to evolve, 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 Cyberpunk TTRPG, and it immediately throws a bunch of fantastic new technology at the player’s path. Perhaps the most striking example is cybernetic enhancements that allow humans to do far more than they were previously able to do.

In the real world, human-machine cyborgs are real, and much of the past application has helped people with disabilities. Some of the examples highlighted in Futurism include bionic limbs that can even enable the user to do something resembling a sense of touch, as well as a head antenna that enabled color-blind artist Neil Harbisson to hear colors.

WALL-E’s robotic solution to pollution could become a reality

In the world of WALL-E, the worst has already happened as people are forced to leave a pollution-uninhabitable country and settle aboard Starliners. Aboard the spacecraft, people have become overly dependent on technology, and addiction to screens and junk food has only gotten worse.

As Time reports that screen use has exploded and continued at high levels during the lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s easy to imagine technology adapting to compensate for changing patterns, leading to less active lives . Additionally, companies like Recycleye are promising to use AI and robotics to help shape the future of waste management, much like WALL-E’s model was developed for this purpose.

The Expanse bases its fascinating story on real science

One of the biggest problems with the plausibility of science fiction is that FTL travel in the real world remains an impossible dream, meaning it would take an inordinate amount of time to travel through space. The Expanse solves this problem by restricting humanity’s travel to Earth’s solar system, although the science of the Epstein drive remains questionable at this point.

Then again, the show’s handhelds replacing the near-ubiquitous smartphones in the real world seem entirely plausible given the evolution of cloud technology. Finally, Syfy reports that 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-world science, with FTL travel being one of the most controversial things added to the world to make for better stories, it’s fair to say that games have thought more about the real world. physically than most. It’s one of the things that makes Mass Effect such an iconic game series.

In the case of weapons in particular, a lot of thought has been given to how they work. Fans like Nerdiston YouTube’s Kyle Hill have explained how some of the game’s “Element 0” electromagnetic weapons work and how they’re based on real science. As with The Expanse’s railguns, Navy testing of a similar type of weapon confirms its potential in the real world.

Technology from the Alien franchise could become plausible

While the titular Alien might not quite fall under the tech tag, there are some interesting technologies to see in Alien. The decades of planetary terraforming technology in the series reflect NASA’s estimate that such a process, if possible, would take a long time, possibly even tens of millions of years. Likewise, Alien concedes that interstellar travel would mean long transit times.

It handles this using stasis pods, which essentially nullify the user’s body in time for them to wake up, a concept not new to sci-fi. According to Science Focus, cryonics, which would produce a similar effect, may still be a nascent technology, but it’s garnering a lot of interest from researchers, meaning progress is possible over time.

Blade Runner’s doomed synthesizers just got more plausible

Featuring rogue androids and flying cars, the quintessential cyberpunk classic Blade Runner might have seemed ridiculously speculative upon its release, but some of the tech now feels far more realistic. Flying cars may not be a reality yet, but the artificial intelligence and technology behind realistic robots is evolving at an alarming rate.

Also, the four-year lifespan of Blade Runner synths doesn’t sound all that crazy considering planned obsolescence is now at the heart of the tech industry. Additionally, there are already widely used real-world equivalents of the film’s Voight-Kampff test to distinguish robots from humans in the form of captcha and similar tests.

The matrix has moved closer to reality with virtual reality

Humans are unlikely to ever be used as an energy source like they are in The Matrix, with scientist Robert Hurt stating in Esquire that getting as much energy as needed to keep the body alive is simply impossible , but that doesn’t mean all the technology in the film is impossible.

With virtual reality enabling more immersive immersive experiences than ever before, some believe humanity is on an inevitable march toward indistinguishable simulations of reality. With the Metaverse presented as a virtual space where humans can even work and own property, the ubiquitous simulation in The Matrix feels closer than ever.

Halo’s military tech is surprisingly grounded

While Halo’s signature AI may have been emulated by Microsoft’s Cortana in the real world, the similarities between the two don’t extend much beyond the names. Although, according to History, a space defense facility was proposed as early as the Reagan administration, the plan never took off in the real world the way the Halo facility did for the Forerunner.

However, not all of Halo’s technology is implausible. In the form of Warthogs and Scorpion tanks, the vehicles deployed by the UNSC appear to be a natural extension of the armored all-terrain vehicles and military tanks seen in the real world. Even more surprisingly, the BBC reports that the real-world military is keen on creating super-soldiers, much like the Spartans in Halo.

There is real science behind the story of Mars

Just because its story is set on Mars rather than in deep space, The Martian is more plausible than many other sci-fi stories because it’s something humanity will be interested in for decades to come, according to NASA . In the film, the Castcano survive 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 habitats, and NASA held a design competition for it in 2019. Likewise, Digital Trends reports that there are many great ideas out there about how to produce water on Mars, so 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 in recent years there have been exciting headlines from media outlets such as The Debrief about the discovery of a true “warp bubble,” the technology behind something like a warp drive in Star Trek is still in its infancy. That doesn’t change 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 used in the various iterations of Star Trek didn’t exist when the show was filmed. Replicators and long-range space travel still seem like a reach, but few would bet against the show at this point.

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