Notable SF ideas that have or may come true

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 07 April, 2008, 12:00am

Space elevator by Arthur C. Clarke

The concept was first proposed by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky in 1895, but Clarke introduced it to public in his 1979 novel The Fountains of Paradise. In the novel he writes about a metal tether that rises from a mountain peak on Earth to a spacecraft. It is used to transport cargo. With recent carbon nanotube development, scientists now consider it a feasible idea. They are looking for materials strong enough to make the tether. Nasa has been running a space elevator research project and regular competitions to make the fantasy come true.

Cyberspace by William Ford Gibson

In his 1984 debut novel Neuromancer, Gibson first uses 'matrix' to refer to a visualised internet and create the concept of cyberspace. He describes matrix as a worldwide communication network, operated by millions of users, including children, in every nation. He wrote this a decade before the World Wide Web was available to the general public. He also mentions virtual reality and genetic engineering in the novel.