Science fiction is an incubator for imaginative minds to create visions that help us to glimpse not only the future, but also something about ourselves in the present. Fueled by the extrapolation of 'what is' into 'what can be', science fiction transports us beyond the horizon of our current technologies enabling us to observe the possible incarnations of scientific progress and to experience and appreciate the many ways this may impact upon us. For example, George Orwell's classic work, 1984, introduced the notion of an omnipresent 'Big Brother' and served as a focal point for discussion about our attitudes, perceptions, hopes and fears about technology, society, and how they intertwine. Also, the concept of rules of ethical conduct for robots was introduced as 'Three Laws of Robotics' by U.S. author Isaac Asimov in his book Runaround originally published in 1942.
For genre un-enthusiasts, it's easy to dismiss science fiction as a land of make-believe--a place where androids can become sentient and no one bats an eye. But for those who are willing to suspended disbelief and don't mind looking beyond CGI, the best sci-fi titles are filled with more than enough action, drama, comedy, and even romance to keep any movie fan glued to the screen. You just need to know where to look. Below is a selection of the best sci-fi movies you can currently stream on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. We hate to state the obvious, but with a seemingly infinite number of new films in the works, the Star Wars franchise is getting dangerously close to oversaturation.
The fragile apparition endured only long enough to say: "Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope" before flickering out. But R2D2's 3D projection gave millions of young eyes, including mine, their first taste of holograms, and planted unrealistic expectations of a future playing dejarik, the gruesome game of holographic chess played on board the Millennium Falcon. The concept of the hologram was already familiar, invented in the 1940s by physicist Dennis Gabor, but since the force reawakened the idea almost 40 years later, things haven't really moved on. That depends on your definition of a hologram. We have made astounding strides in 3D TV and virtual reality, and in the eye-twistingly complex world of computer-generated holography (CGH) – simply put, a way of recording and reproducing 3D images on a medium like standard images on film.
Most people visit the Swiss Alps to ski or hike, maybe to launder money. British photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews went to find Frankenstein. Mathews, a fan, brought along her old copy to read, letting the text guide her journey through the landscape. "My eyes scanned the barren white lands for Frankenstein's creature, crossing the glacier at'super-human speed'," she writes in the introduction to her new photo book, In Search of Frankenstein - Mary Shelley's Nightmare. "I imagined catching a darting figure in my peripheral vision or coming across a makeshift cabin that had sheltered the fugitive for the night."
Apart from the occasional tasteless Nazi costume, the current crop of royals just doesn't seem to generate much in the way of juicy headlines. The marriages of three of her four children were on the rocks. Princess Diana had published a memoir in which she revealed the long-standing infidelity of her husband, Prince Charles. A tabloid had run a photo of a man licking the toes of the queen's estranged daughter-in-law, the Duchess of York. Oh, and Windsor Palace was extensively damaged by fire.)
As our sun dies, it will explode outward and destroy Mercury, Venus, and Earth. But the solar system could rebuild, with new planets cobbled together from the scraps of those dead worlds. When sun-like stars exhaust their fuel, they expand outward into a type of star known as a red giant, which in turn eventually expels all its hydrogen and helium. That leaves behind a white dwarf, a planet-sized mass of electron matter.
While only a handful of researchers currently have the experience and skills to work on machine learning, it is imperative that the general public understand the role AI will play in our society and learn to adapt with it. Economists argue on exact figures of unemployment, but there is no doubt that AI will alter, if not eliminate, most unskilled labor jobs. There is not enough mainstream media coverage depicting this, leaving far too many people in the dark. The "Today" show should bring in computer scientists and engineers to discuss AI instead of a fashion designer to cover an awards show.
Works of science fiction and fantasy are more prone than other genres to be judged based on the originality of their premises rather than the skill of their execution. There's not exactly a shortage of "workplace rivals fall in love" stories or "reckless cop and straight-laced partner solve crime" stories or "reckless crook and straight-laced partner do crime" stories, and that's without even getting into shows about lawyers. But works reusing tried-and-true premises in other genres don't have their complete family tree examined, while every single "medical experiment gone wrong" story since 1818 gets compared to Frankenstein . That said, judging from its trailer, the only way The Passage could turn out to feel fresh and original is if it ends up secretly being a "workplace rivals fall in love" romantic comedy. The show, which stars Saved by the Bell's Mark-Paul Gosselaar, is an adaptation of Justin Cronin's bestselling trilogy of novels, the first of which was published in 2010.
It is a nightmarish science fiction scenario, in which two people's memories can be swapped between their brains. But fiction has become reality, after neuroscientists were able to transfer a memory from one animal into another. The memory was the recollection of being given a mild electric shock, in sea slugs zapped repeatedly for two days. When material from their brains was transferred into sea slugs which had never been shocked in their lives, they reacted exactly the same way to the weak touch of a wire. The results suggest that memories can be physically transferred by injection, and follow claims from similar experiments in the 1960s that this could lead to'memory pills' or jabs in the future.