Science fiction literature has affected society significantly. It has inspired many to pursue careers in science which has in turn resulted in advancements in technology such as the developments in cloning, rockets, artificial intelligence, satellites, wireless internet..etc.
The question arising is, is it good or bad for society?
Everyday things we take for granted are in essence are a bi-product of sci-fi literature. These items are so basic (such as cameras and mobile phones) that we do not realise how we, society as a whole are dependant on the evolution of science fiction.
The creations of writers are used to inspire the coming generations of the limitless possibilities of the future in which they then create, resulting in the progression of science fiction becoming a reality. This is evidently viewed as a benefit of Sci-fi as according to Denise Caruso (a science policy researcher at Carnegie Mellon University),
“science fiction helps [scientists] think about how the work they’re doing might eventually turn out.”
This is how the first mobile phone was developed. In 1973 Martin Cooper stated that his inspiration for creating the world’s first portable phone was indeed the ‘communicator device’ used in the Star Trek episodes in 1966 – Thus exemplifying the ever lasting cycle of science fiction and scientific advancements.
Given that it is so common for literature to inspire minds to create the impossible, it makes us wonder if our obsession with creating the make believe will bring upon the downfall to the world to the world as we know it today.
A problem that has emerged from the science fiction genre is that it never puts our dependance on technology in a positive light. Many writers use this to foreshadow the future and the detrimental effects of our dependance on technology. The classics such as The Giver, 1984, Brave New World and The War of the Worlds explore the possible horrors arising from society’s dependance on technology. A world where you are always watched, or emotion ceases to exist puts into perspective the negative consequences of a world lessened by the constant need to evolve with the ever changing technology.
Using a very pessimistic perspective, sci-fi writers are fixated on the negative effects to innovative thinking such as zombie apocalypses and dystopian living that due to vast exposure of these ideas people also start believing in these wayward possibilities. This is detrimental consequence of science fiction as due to its popularity and influence as a genre, people forget that it is not a reality and are unable to separate the real from the make believe.
However, can we imagine a world without science fiction?
I certainly cannot.
What we all need to understand is that, science fiction plays a HUGE part in the progression of society but we need to be able to function adequately without it. By not limiting our use of it, we need to separate our dependance on technology so we do not let sci-fi literature govern the demise of society.
Yes science fiction is beneficial and innovative towards society, but in order to avoid the plot of every science fiction novel and movie we have to understand that it is only make believe.