“Where is the line between science fiction and design?” This is a key issue and this question has yet to be answered. To be honest I am not sure I shall find the answer but I do have a few guesses.
At the forefront of that question is “artists renderings” and “CAD models.” For example, take the newly released images of NASA’s plans to go to mars. These images are taken more seriously than any science fiction story yet these images are not real. The general public finds them “believable” and perceives them as fact. Someone thought of them, used a program to create it in the very same way someone would have thought up a space ship for a distinct alien race.
Why is that? There are plans for these to be real sometime in the future but I doubt that plans are concrete and funding is definitely not assured. Shouldn’t that put these images back into “fiction?”
Is it intent and the time frame? Is it because it is a government agency or a university that puts out these images? Maybe it is just because people believe this can be done, that these things will be made in the near future, because it isn’t too far off from the present? Maybe it is a combo of all of these factors plus something else, maybe it is something I don’t know about… but it is definitely food for thought.