I’m not thinking of the coolest tech but those technologies that are found in sci-fi that make the most sense in the real world. Like for example I think the computer AIs from Andromeda act exactly how I believe AI will behave in the future.
I like the nano-clone transport in Dark Matter: You lie down in a stasis pod and get scanned; all your thoughts & memories are transmitted, along with a physical profile, via some hyper-light transmitter to another star system, where a nanotechnological clone is created of you and jump-started with your memories. The clone has a limited lifespan and wanders around with your thoughts and goals and eventually returns to the stasis pod it came from, where they send all the new memories back to your original body.
This makes sense as a way for people to travel to other star systems effectively instantaneously, just for a vacation or a meeting or an assassination or whatever.
A lot of the tech in William Gibson’s books I could see becoming real , and some of that would be really nasty. The concept of the Peripherals and the gene seeking missiles were two that stood out in my mind.
One of the most clever reveals ever in a TV show.
The Holodeck would have to be right up there for me, as well as the Antigravs from Star Trek. And the Flashy Thing from MIB.
In the Known Space short story * Flatlander,* a minor bit of technology is a wine glass with a tiny teleporter in the base that keeps it permanently full. I can definitely see someone making those if we had the technology.
On the other hand as pointed out in-story it would probably trick any number of people into alcoholism.
This is heavily dependent on how a transporter would actually work. But in theory, it would be tremendously helpful for transporting freight.
Dean Ing wrote a book called “The Big Lifters” which had lighter-than-air craft – dirigibles – that were used as mobile cranes. Very useful in loading and unloading long-haul freight trains. The idea makes a heck of a lot of solid good sense.
I’d also really like to see Star Trek-type stunning weapons. They could “civilize” warfare, and would be a total godsend for hostage situations.
Replicators are a very useful. Want to eat roast beef for breakfast but don’t have the time to make it, than the replicator is your friend.
The Vorkosigan series has stunning weapons, and brought up two interesting tactical implications.
1: “Stunner reflexes”; since they aren’t lethal, in a fight with stunners people shoot* instantly* at anything that moves, without taking an extra moment to identify the target.
2: Stunners lack intimidation value. You can’t hold off a mob with a stunner because they know if they charge you they’ll win, and anyone you shoot will just get up again later.
zero-G sleep bunks (although I’d worry they would lead to unfitness)
Disintegrator Rays: never take out the garbage again!
“Smart” clothing: insulates when you’re cold, breathes when you’re hot, etc.
Stasis box: keep your kitten or puppy in one while you’re at work and asleep, they stay young and cute for years! (Illegal to make child-sized).
Life Recorder: full audio and video record of your entire past.
Full Service Laundry Machine: clothes come out clean, dry, and folded.
Robot Butler (with emergency kill switch should it turn homicidal).
That’s funny, because I had exactly the same reaction to the robots in the movie Interstellar, it really struck me that of course machines designed to interact with humans are going to seem well…human…in personality at least, even if they are distinctly non-humanoid in appearance.
I do think mental and physical augmentation are technologies that will become commonplace if or when they finally put in an appearance. Whether this is purely genetic and biological, cyborgisation, or something else we haven’t really forseen.
I’d love to have JARVIS from Iron Man as my butler. I think that would be potentially very useful and attainable with tech now.
I think invading a starship should be a far more lethal outing than star trek makes it out to be. For example a group of Klingons teleports to the bridge and suddenly the computer makes the gravity under the klingons increase to 100x normal gravity. Or in voyager era have holographic security guards that can appear anywhere on the ship.
Also a forcefield appears around the invaders and have the air teleported away.
Babelfish from The Hitchhiker’s Guide. I mean like, not actually organisms that go in your brain via your ear but an earpiece or eventually an implant that can do instant translation.
The best sci-fi tech I’ve encountered recently was in John Sandford’s Saturn Run.
I liked it because it was believable, and there were no "magic’ tech solutions. I won’t spoil any plot elements, but in the Afterward, he discussed his methodology for writing the book. He worked with a physicist who helped him extrapolate to get a reasonable set of technology for the year in which the book was set (2066). He said they compiled the level of advancement that occurred in the last 50 years, and decided on a likely level of technological ability 50 years in the future. With the help of the physicist consultant, he limited all the whiz-bang stuff sciencey stuff to their assumptions about 2066. No FTL, no replicators, no “beaming”. Just a rational extrapolation of our current engines and abilities. And went to Saturn with it.
I think it’s one of the best sci-fi books I’ve read in a long time.
If future AIs look like Lexa Doig, you are going to have to pry my AI away from my cold, dead (and slightly sticky) hands.