What science fiction technology do you wish were open source?

What science fiction technology should be open source?

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Science fiction ranges from complete fabrications to some surprisingly accurate visions for the future. What tool, device, object, or other item from your science fiction library do you hope, or even expect, to one day find an open source version of?

We posed this question to our staff and team of community moderators here at Opensource.com and got back some really creative and interesting responses. Here are some of our favorites:

  • 3D space photo viewer, from Blade Runner, because while the hardware was probably created by a corporation, the looking-around-corners stuff was definitely a hacker changing the way the hardware worked.
  • Flying cars, from Blade Runner and Fifth Element, because cars like these should definitely respect user freedom!
  • Gort, from The Day the Earth Stood Still, because such an advanced race would and should be completely open.
  • HAL9000, from 2001: A Space Odyssey, because open source is a surefire way to stop computer mutiny.
  • Holodecks, from Star Trek, because we all need more mindless entertainment.
  • The Intergalactic Banking System, from Charles Stross's book Neptune's Brood, because intergalactic banking protocals could definitely use a little peer review. 
  • Lightsabers, from Star Wars, because it's part of Jedi training to build your own, so the tech must be achievable.
  • Orac, from Blake's 7, because everyone should have a homemade super computer with a superiority complex.
  • The Positronic Brain, conceptualized by Isaac Asimov but invoked in many sci fi universes, because everything should be Three Laws compliant.
  • Proton packs, from Ghostbusters, because nothing about unlicensed nuclear accelerators should be proprietary.
  • Replicants, from Blade Runner, because we must be able to see what they've seen with our eyes.
  • Soylent Green, because there would be no surprise that it's people.
  • The TARDIS, from Doctor Who, because we'd finally understand how it's bigger on the inside.
  • TCRI Mutagen, from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, because who wouldn't want to grow their own ninja animals?
  • Wintermute, from Neuromancer, because a self-conscious AI has much to teach us.

Thanks to Bryan Behrenshausen, Deb Nicholson, Scott Nesbitt, and David Both for their contributions, and especially to Seth Kenlon for posing the question and providing many of these examples.

If we listed every great idea, they wouldn't fit in our poll, so please add your own in the comments below. What sci fi technology would you open source?

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13 Comments

dboth
The Krell Machine, Robbie the robot, and the IQ booster from "Forbidden Planet." Because Morbius wanted to control those technologies and hand them out a bit at a time if humans were "good." That implies an openness that was already in place that Morbius wanted to close off.
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Algot Runeman
Nexus from the book by that same name by author Ramez Naam, providing a brain function support system including NFC and allowing interpersonal communications indistinguisable from telepathy.
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sfsdf
Atomic Precise Manufacturing / Molecular Assembler devices.
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Anonymous
Because monopolization of such manufacturing technology would basically completelly concentrate and centralize power in the hands of the individual/organization controlling that technology. It completely destroys any balance in the marketplace / playing field. Especially since patents exist.
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Neo
The Matrix
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Onebuck
Rube Goldberg was the ultimate open source machine by Rube himself.
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Purple Library Guy
Transporters and similar teleportation devices. If there's a machine that's supposed to be dissassembling me into particles, sending them somewhere, and re-assembling me at a destination, I want plenty of eyes on that code.
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Greg Lehmann
We are getting there with the holodeck, but it's not opensource. The equipment needs to shrink a fair bit and we need more scenarios, but hey, small steps...
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texrat
Alcubierre war drive
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texrat
arg... WARP drive
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ted
How about the mobile market today? Open up LTE or instead use mobile IP, something... rather than the abomination we have today.
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Elmar
Avatar technology... In the movie you see what happens if it's controlled by a big company. So let's be prepared and have it all open-source. Same for things like SkyNet. Or the technology in Minority Report.
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Earl
All of the "Star Trek" and "Star Wars" things would be great. Phasers, warp speeds, light sabres, etc.
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