Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Imagining the Future: Invisibility, Immortality and 40 Other Incredible Ideas

By Simon Torok and Paul Holper
144 pages, CSIRO Publishing, June 2016, $24.95
ISBN: 9781486302727
Pitched at 9–13-year-olds

We’re living in a rapidly changing world. Around the year 1900, the amount of human knowledge doubled every 100 years. It now doubles almost every year, and by 2020 could double every day. When most of today’s students in primary school grow up, they’ll have jobs that don’t exist right now. They’ll be using technologies that haven’t been invented to solve things that we don’t know are problems yet.

So you need to be ready – helped by the new book, Imaging the Future: Invisibility, Immortality and 40 Other Incredible Ideas, by Simon Torok and Paul Holper, published by CSIRO Publishing (

A day in the life of your great-grandchild might start with them sending a thought to their robot servant to say that they’re hungry. The robot would print breakfast, which would taste perfectly delicious thanks to new artificial flavours. There’d be no need to clean up after the meal, because all the kitchen’s surfaces will be self-cleaning. After breakfast, your great-grandchild would fly to school, possibly in their driverless flying car. Or perhaps they could breathe through their artificial gills while they swim to school in an undersea community. Their school might even be on the other side of the world: but that won’t be a problem, due to teleportation and their ability to take a pill to learn any language. Then, after school, they’d interact with their favourite show on their Holo-TV, and watch it all night because they would have no need for sleep. And they’d do this every day, over and over, for centuries, because they will live forever.

The paragraph above covers fewer than half of the inventions described in this book. Sure, some of them may be a little far-fetched. But hardly a week goes by without new, exciting breakthroughs being reported in the media, shared online, and appearing in our lives. That’s the great thing about human innovation – it never stops happening. Inventors keep inventing. We hope this book will help you determine when science fiction will become science fact.