Tomorrow’s world is often presciently presented in the form of entertainment, for years we watched sci-fi films and TV shows dismissing their premises as folly – but much of the technology shown has now come to pass or is much closer than we ever thought it might be. Everything from the small stuff we take for granted like earphones and tablets, to stuff which is only coming to the fore now like 3D printing and hover boards – they have been popping up in popular culture for longer than you might think!
Who knows, perhaps some of the outlandish things you see in the films of today will seem a lot less crazy in 20 years’ time. For now, we have picked out some of the most amazing examples of pop culture predicting things which later on came to be true.
2001: A Space Odyssey – Tablet Computers
Stanley Kubrick’s sci-fi classic was way ahead of its time in many different ways. There are a number of technologies which pop up in the film that could be mentioned here as proof of its prescience, but perhaps the most startling is the appearance of a tablet computer which looks eerily like an iPad – we think it may have even been the inspiration behind the design of the Apple product. For perspective, A Space Odyssey was released in 1968!
The Simpsons – 3D Printing
There is a popular phrase used online often in response to someone who thinks they have suggested an original idea – ‘Simpsons Did It’. That’s because the long-running family cartoon has tackled just about every subject you care to mention. As such they have an impressive track record of predicting technology which is yet to enter the public consciousness. One of our favourite examples is this rather ahead of its time 2005 gag on 3D Printed food – which is only now becoming a commonly accepted idea.
Back to the Future II – Hoverboards
Of course we couldn’t write a piece like this and not reference Back to the Future. The classic movie accurately predicted so much technology which was to materialise many years after its release. Perhaps the most notable among those is the appearance of the Hoverboard which everyone who watched the film definitely wanted. Marty’s goggles were also very similar to Oculus Rift.
Fahrenheit 451 – Earphones
Ray Bradbury’s classic 1953 dystopian novel about a future where books have been outlawed has long been a critical and commercial favourite, but within its still bleak shaping of the future are a few nuggets which have come to pass. Bradbury describes audio listening earbuds which fit snugly into the ear. It is something which most of us now use every day, but they were not really popularised until the introduction of portable cd players many years after the novel was published – meaning Bradbury was way ahead of the curve on this one.
The Jetsons – Too many to count
The Jetsons was well ahead of its time and surprisingly accurate in displaying some of the modern technology which we have come to take for granted and may even use every single day. Okay so we don’t quite have flying cars yet, but examples of things which appeared in the show before becoming common include video calling, tanning beds, flat screen TVs, robot vacuums, and much more. How far ahead of the curve were they? Well The Jetsons ran on TV from 1962 to 1987; so a few of these were incredibly prescient.
Can you remember any amazing technology predictions from your favourite films or TV shows? Let us hear about them on Facebook or Twitter.