But now, futuristic technologies such as superhero-style suits which give wearers incredible powers, implanted technology which will constantly monitor and diagnose each little blip in our health and supersonic trains which travel underwater without tunnels, are among the futuristic tech innovations which will become a reality within the next 50 years.
Space tourism, personal flying pods and invisibility technology such as Harry Potter’s invisibility cloaks are also among the seismic developments identified to become reality in new research by futurologist Dr Ian Pearson, commissioned to mark Channel 4’s futuristic new series Electric Dreams.
However, the ideas do not appeal to everyone, with most people saying they were worried about what the future could hold with Zombie style viruses, Star Wars style “robot armies” and never-ending lives lived in virtual bodies topping the future fear factor list.
Dr Pearson, who has worked in numerous branches of engineering, from aeronautics to cybernetics and sustainable transport to electronic cosmetics, said: “Many of the things we take for granted today like instant mobile global communication at the touch of a button and computer networks which allow us to tap into the sum of all knowledge were once fanciful ideas of science fiction.
“Our human quest for innovation is relentless and we will continue to see a whole raft of developments as ideas that were once features of futuristic sci-fi become not only a reality but an accepted part of our everyday lives.”
Among the predictions made by Dr Pearson is the idea that androids will become commonplace and will mix freely with humans in the workforce and in the home. He said that as well as carrying out helpful tasks, they could also offer “valuable companionship to any aging population”.
Meanwhile, keen travellers will be able to swap their two weeks in Spain for a trip into space, the report claimed.
“Space tourism will become routine, with holidays in space being commonplace,” the study said.
Other innovations include 3D printed fast food – quick and convenient but without any real nutritional benefits.
The report said that almost all diseases will be curable, meaning that countries will struggle to deal with the cost of people who could live forever.
“Lifespan may be limited only by cost, so countries might have to consider personal health spend limits,” the study said.