The Most Futuristic Predictions That Came True in 2012


George Dvorsky in io9:

1. A Cyborg Competes Against Able-Bodied Athletes at the Olympics

For the first time ever in Olympic history, a double-amputee raced alongside able-bodied athletes. Nicknamed “Blade Runner,” South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius’s remarkable achievement raised as much enthusiasm as it did concern — some observers felt that his advanced prosthetic “Cheetahs” gave him an unfair advantage over the other athletes. But while Pistorius failed to medal, his remarkable achievement signified the dawn of the cyborg age.

2. NASA Starts to Work on a Faster-Than-Light Warp Drive

Speaking at the 100 Year Starship 2012 Public Symposiumearlier this year, physicist Harold White stunned the aeronautics world when he announced that he and his team at NASA had begun work on the development of a faster-than-light warp drive. His proposed design, an ingenious re-imagining of an Alcubierre Drive, may eventually result in an engine that can transport a spacecraft to the nearest star in a matter of weeks — and all without violating Einstein’s law of relativity. Though still in the proof-of-concept phase, White and his colleagues are trying to turn theory into practice — and potentially change the nature of space travel as we know it.

3. Scientists Enhance the Intelligence of Primates with a Chip

Back in September, scientists demonstrated that a brain implant could improve thinking ability in primates — and by a factor of 10 percent. By implanting an electrode array into the cerebral cortex of monkeys, researchers were able to restore — and even improve — their decision-making abilities. The implications for possible therapies are far-reaching, including potential treatments for cognitive disorders and brain injuries. And it also means the era of animal uplifting has begun.