Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Early Sci-Fi And Computers

It seems odd that the scifi writers of the 1930s and 1940s were so far off when it came to calculating machines and data storage. They wrote about high energy weapons, faster than light space travel, telepathy and telekinesis, antigravity and instantaneous communication, among other scientific achievements, most of which have yet to be realized. But nothing about computers. In many cases they have navigators performing mostly manual calculations to plot courses in both normal and hyper space, an impractical if not impossible procedure. The calculating machines they did write about used tape for storage, even four centuries into the future. How did they miss the obvious need for calculating power beyond what humans can do?