A fictional technology is a technology which currently does not exist, but has been hypothesized or proposed either for entertainment purposes or in order to explore a philosophical or scientific issue.
Fictional Technologies arise in the following contexts:
- Exploratory scientific work, in areas such as Weapons Research which seeks to harvest emerging technologies in order to score real or propaganda victories against an enemy.
- Science fiction, which embeds the technology within a fictional future setting.
- Futures Studies which attempts to assess the impact of yet-to-be developed technologies on society and explores ethical and moral implications or objections.
It is sometimes the case that fictional technologies eventually develop into real technologies.
Some examples technologies which are currently fictional are:
- General Purpose Robots, such as in the 2004 film I, Robot
- The Star Wars defense program as promoted by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s
- Transporter and replicator technology as used in the Star Trek series
- Faster than light travel, used universally throughout science fiction
- Time Travel, as use, for example in the Dr. Who series
- Simulated Reality, as seen in The Matrix films or on the Holodeck in Star Trek
- Nanotechnology which is illustrated by 'Seven of Nine' in the star trek Films
It is interesting to note that some fictional technologies from previous eras, such as powered flight and mobile communicators are now part of our accepted way of life. The following technologies were fictional until quite recently: