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"When SciFi tech is worse than what we have now" Topic


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Korvessa14 Jul 2021 10:16 a.m. PST

Been binge watching Star Trek DS9 – which is my favorite of all of them and noticed that some of their tek is actually much worse than what is available now.
Specifically, they were doing a combat operation in low light and they basically just had flashlights on top of the phaser rifles.
Don't they have night vision equipment?

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2021 10:25 a.m. PST

In the original Star Wars, Luke and Han are talking to each other over headsets. The problem is they are wired. Pretty funny that they have faster than light speed space ships, but they don't have wireless technology.

Kropotkin30314 Jul 2021 11:39 a.m. PST

picture

picture

Slovakian flying cars look kind of nifty.

von Schwartz ver 214 Jul 2021 12:15 p.m. PST

Probably photoshopped!

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2021 1:04 p.m. PST

No SF writer--I dignify Mr. Lucas and the DS9 crowd by including them--ever gets the relative pace of different technologies right. There are Heinlein novels with interstellar travel--and really fast mathematicians for astrogators. But neither do the "futurists" the high-level politicians or the guys who think they can do strategic planning for economies.

If the story isn't really about the technology--which is true of almost all TV and movie production--I figure the writer has done his job well if the tech is internally consistent and the people act like real people. For real SF stories--"hard" SF in books and magazines and some of classic Trek--I think the author scores if he correctly anticipates the consequences of any single tech shift on individuals and society.

And now I'll go off and read "Business as Usual, During Alterations" again.

Prince Rupert of the Rhine14 Jul 2021 1:16 p.m. PST

Not exactly SCi-fi but I loved this TV show as a kid.

But Kit would now by an electric car, with built in Alexi, wi-fi hotspot, a sat-nav and a much better computer with a touch screen and blue tooth connectivity to play Michaels Spotify account on.

Zephyr114 Jul 2021 2:22 p.m. PST

"Don't they have night vision equipment?"

Yes, but it costs more to rent from the prop department… ;-)

Col Durnford14 Jul 2021 3:21 p.m. PST

One of my favorites was an episode of the Time Tunnel where a man from the future arrives and accidentally leaves behind a data storage device – a solid gold punch card.

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Jul 2021 5:14 p.m. PST

As an SF author myself, I can say that it is not easy keeping up with the tech. I wrote a novel around the year 2000 which was set in the year 2040-2050 approximately and one of the important tech devices were 3D printers that could produce metal parts which could be used in high-performance machines. In 2000 such things were in their infancy, but now, only 20 years later we are basically there. I only missed it by 20 years :)

rvandusen Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2021 5:22 p.m. PST

Warhammer 40k come to mind. Heavy power armor with a saw and a bolt gune that fires with less range than an antique PPSH.

Tortorella Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2021 6:50 p.m. PST

Its the stories that matter the most. The tech is not thought out much of the time because its not the focus unless its a plot point itself.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Jul 2021 7:49 p.m. PST

There's no reason to believe that there is an absolute direction of "progress" in technology. Old solutions tend to come back (in shinier wrappers) and the whole premise of (the original) Star Wars (movie) is that the big, bad techno monster was susceptible to a kid who got his jollies abusing small animals back home.

The whole close combat vs ranged thing has done cycles in history. Why would it not continue? Is it that hard to believe in space armour that can effectively reflect, absorb, and/or dissipate an energy weapon but can still be physically broken by a peer technology chainsaw? In fact, it might be more susceptible to close-on kinetic attack because of what it has to do to keep from being zapped by a mircowave laser from orbit. It's not like current weapons systems don't have that trade.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Jul 2021 7:51 p.m. PST

While I don't know the one above, we've had convertible flying cars for decades. The problem isn't the cars … it's that driver's can't be trusted in two dimensions. They will continue to be a novelty.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2021 9:46 p.m. PST

@etotheipi:

I expect that, at least above some traffic density, all flying cars will be controlled by computers interfacing car-to-car and car-to-traffic control.

Right now, we are, in a way both backwards and rushed, working out self-driving ground vehicles.

Fortunately, we are probably a long way from the cheap antigravity technology needed for flying personal vehicles. By the time we have that, we should have safe autonomous ground vehicles that can be the basis for safe automonous flying vehicles.

The societal savings in not having to maintain a road network will make personal grav vehicles a very attractive option at the macro level.

Oberlindes Sol LIC Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2021 9:49 p.m. PST

I think that one of the most interesting and believable presentations of the chaos of technological change -- the lack of an "absolute direction of 'progress' in technology" -- is in Dune, where force fields prevent the use of energy beam weapons and nuclear explosive devices, but can be penetrated by a slow-moving blade.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP14 Jul 2021 10:56 p.m. PST

Frank Herbert had many interesting things to say about technology. The evolution of computers lead to robots, who did all the work and eventually all the thinking. Humans became degenerate. By the time of the events in Dune, robots had been long abolished and humans had to become like computers, thus the Mentats.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP14 Jul 2021 11:48 p.m. PST

@Oberlindes Sol LIC – I think flying cars under centralized (not peer-to-peer) control would come before ground ones. We have (near) complete freedom to create and modify our traffic lanes in the sky. Roads generally suck and are extremely difficult to sense. Going in the air alleviates a lot of the control problems.

I believe it's Hong Kong that already has some 'copter automated taxis in "reasonable" use. I also believe they are still a slower, more expensive transport mode for people with money (not necessarily the uber rich, but people who want to blow a little cash to say they did a thing). I think its a four or five year old technology. (Believe and think means, I'm too lazy to go look it up from when I did tech reviews on the stuff at work.)

What I think we could actually reasonably get in a couple years is automated drone delivery of stuff to your house. You don't need as big a corridor and as much safety margins for the air lanes.

There are still some fundamental computer science problems (the only way to mathematically eliminate collisions is to accept (rare) total system gridlock) with centralized control. But with delivery of pre-planned and routed things, you can segment the problem and make it so you don't need too much human intervention to fix things.

Peer-to-peer automated control is just a dog's nightmare.

Legion 415 Jul 2021 7:24 a.m. PST

Warhammer 40k come to mind.
Yes one of the many things about 40K I saw as "dumb" … Short ranges of almost everything. At least with Epic you got a little closer to more realistic weapons ranges. But 40K is more all about Close Combat, IMO. Why shoot someone when you can run up and hit them over the head with a range weapon ?🤔🙄😆

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP15 Jul 2021 9:18 a.m. PST

the whole premise of (the original) Star Wars (movie) is that the big, bad techno monster was susceptible to a kid who got his jollies abusing small animals back home.

Point of order— the "womp rats" Luke claims to have "bulls-eyed" are described as "not much bigger than two meters." Two meters (roughly 7-8 feet) is hardly a description of a "small animal"— more like an apex predator such as a polar bear.

Back OT, It struck me the other day when I had to be "scanned" by a handheld forehead thermometer that we are very close to having McCoy's handheld "salt shaker" medical tricorder.

Korvessa15 Jul 2021 11:13 a.m. PST

Point of order— the "womp rats" Luke claims to have "bulls-eyed" are described as "not much bigger than two meters." Two meters (roughly 7-8 feet) is hardly a description of a "small animal"— more like an apex predator such as a polar bear.

That makes them bigger (not to mention scarier) than the feared ROUS

Prince Rupert of the Rhine15 Jul 2021 12:13 p.m. PST

Yes one of the many things about 40K I saw as "dumb" … Short ranges of almost everything. At least with Epic you got a little closer to more realistic weapons ranges. But 40K is more all about Close Combat, IMO. Why shoot someone when you can run up and hit them over the head with a range weapon ?🤔🙄😆


Kropotkin30315 Jul 2021 12:13 p.m. PST
Korvessa15 Jul 2021 3:27 p.m. PST

Robert P
Always loved that meme!

Legion 415 Jul 2021 4:16 p.m. PST

Prince Rupert +1

von Schwartz ver 215 Jul 2021 5:48 p.m. PST

I always thought it was kind low tech as the weapons they have, the bolts and laser blasts are visible for miles and will give away your position. So much for ambushes!

Covert Walrus15 Jul 2021 8:00 p.m. PST

+1 to Tortella.

Legion 416 Jul 2021 9:01 a.m. PST

IMO 40K is a "game" … not really "war game". It appeals to many who like bright shiny things … 😁😆

robert piepenbrink Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2021 9:47 a.m. PST

People seem to think there's a tech pace. No such animal. There's an energy tech pace, a communications tech pace, a speed of transport tech pace and so on down the road.

And sometimes they're marching in place. We've done great stuff with DNA and computers over the last 40 years, but transport speed hasn't increased since jetliners came into use. We're actually down a little from the days of the Concorde. How long has fusion power been 10-20 years away? I think at least 60 years now.

So cut the SF writers a little slack if they tell a good story. And as for the 40K players, anyone locked into a franchise game has enough troubles without me piling on.

Zephyr117 Jul 2021 2:32 p.m. PST

Star Trek DS9 & NG

When they had episodes with "movie night" scenes, they watched b&w movies from the 1930's-1940's (and not even the classics, either.) I'm guessing it was too difficult for the writers to come up with entertainment ideas for hundreds of years in the future… ;-)

nvdoyle17 Jul 2021 3:22 p.m. PST

Flying cars: read Admiral Cloudberg's (nom d'internet, not naval rank) articles on air crashes, then go drive around your nearby city for a while.

Wired headsets in the Falcon: the F35 helmet is going to be a terrible shock for you.

Inevitable Progress of Technological Development In A Manner Familiar To A Denizen Of A Specific Region Of Current Year: 🤣

40k Ranges: Maximum Range vs. Effective Range, game table space, scale of game, relationship between weapon range and movement speed to create enjoyable gameplay with meaningful choices and maintain a particular fictional theme while realizing that *every* simulation is a compromise, let alone a game as a commercial product…no? And we pat ourselves on the back for being the smart ones.

USAFpilot Supporting Member of TMP17 Jul 2021 3:59 p.m. PST

Wired headsets in the Falcon: the F35 helmet is going to be a terrible shock for you.

Um, yea, I know. Not a shock. They don't wear headsets in fighters; they wear helmets. Have to connect the oxygen hose from the helmet to the ship, so might as well connect a virtually weightless comm wire as well. I think you pretty much missed the point.

Personal logo etotheipi Sponsoring Member of TMP17 Jul 2021 4:13 p.m. PST

I think nvdoyle's point was leading down the road that if using a microwave in the other room can nerf your wifi gaming, why would you want to trust the tech in a more critical task environment. Well ignore adding another MIJI attack surface for the time being.

If you wanted to upgrade the cockpit comms, you would go with two physically separated fiber channels inside a kevlar sheathe.

A technology being newer does not make it better for any particular use. The spork is newer than forks and spoons …

Legion 417 Jul 2021 4:51 p.m. PST

Maximum Range vs. Effective Range,
Of course you learn that early on with weapons training in the Army …


*every* simulation is a compromise,
Very much so … but I don't like the 40K compromises. But as I said, I do play 6mm SF/Epic. This scale, etc., is a much "better" compromise overall, IMO …

IMO 40k rules/scale would best be used for Sqd or Plt games and Co. level at the very tops …

Zephyr106 Aug 2021 10:01 p.m. PST

When fictional universes collide:

picture

;-)

ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa07 Aug 2021 2:57 a.m. PST

The assumptions about computers from 70's through the 80's and even into the 90's can be pretty hilarious. Bearing in mind that the predictive Moore's Law dates from 1965. And even Gibson didn't get the 'internet' right in his Sprawl series.

Legion 408 Aug 2021 10:31 a.m. PST

I like Star Trek Enterprise's MACOs. Yes, actual combat forces on a starship. It only makes sense …

Now the US Space Force is nothing like that, BTW … At least not yet …

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