science fiction writers predictions that came true

20 of the Most Accurate Sci-Fi “Predictions”

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Grace Lapointe

Grace Lapointe’s fiction has been published in Kaleidoscope, Deaf Poets Society, Mobius: The Journal of Social Change, and is forthcoming in Corporeal Lit Mag. Her essays and poetry have been published in Wordgathering. Her stories and essays—including ones that she wrote as a college student—have been taught in college courses and cited in books and dissertations. More of her work is at, Medium, and Ao3.

View All posts by Grace Lapointe

It’s fascinating to read books from decades or even centuries ago and discover details and technologies that subsequently came true — even indirectly. Most sci-fi authors don’t try to predict the future but instead satirize or comment on their own times. It’s especially ironic when some readers interpret an author’s warning or worst-case scenario as a wish or suggestion, but that’s part of the complexity of fiction. Samuel R. Delany said in an interview that sci-fi doesn’t predict the future but instead offers “significant distortion of the present.” Many other sci-fi authors have made similar statements, saying their extrapolations are not predictions.

I also want to distinguish between accurate sci-fi in general and sci-fi that correctly predicted the future. Hard science fiction (for example, Andy Weir’s The Martian ) is grounded in accurate technical details, but it tells stories that may or may not ever occur in real life. In contrast, the stories below offered scientific and social predictions, even if the authors weren’t trying to be prescient. These science and speculative fiction works captured or exaggerated the zeitgeist of their own times or the near future. It’s sometimes impossible to pinpoint the first person who ever developed an idea. Still, these authors’ fictional inventions and social changes ended up somehow anticipating the future.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, written when she was 17 , is widely considered the first science fiction novel. Although, some still debate whether it’s more of a horror or sci-fi novel. Some readers think it predicted future innovations from organ transplants to genetic engineering. Although I don’t think these are precise predictions, the book undoubtedly influenced many genres and made readers imagine scientific progress differently.

Parable of the Talents by Octavia E. Butler

Parable of the Talents by Octavia Butler

During Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016, several writers pointed out the similarities to Andrew Steele Jarret, a bigoted presidential candidate in Butler’s dystopian novel from 1998. Butler’s character even uses Trump’s slogan, “Make America great again.” Ronald Reagan also briefly used the slogan “Make America great again,” but Trump trademarked it decades later. In a speech at MIT, Butler said , “This was not a book about prophecy. This was a cautionary tale, although people have told me it was prophecy. All I have to say to that is: I certainly hope not.”

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

In 2018 on BR , I noted that, 65 years before humans would clone mammals, this 1932 dystopian novel described cloning entire social classes of people through the “Bokanovsky’s Process.” I find the cloning process the novel’s most remarkable idea. Some readers, however, think that its mood-altering drug, Soma, was more prescient and anticipated antidepressants .

Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This 1953 dystopian novel contains in-ear listening devices called Seashells. People have recently compared these to Bluetooth and AirPod s. This is impressive, considering they even predate stereo headphones, and transistor radios were new technology then. The novel’s other innovations include flat-screen TVs and banking machines, which resemble ATMs.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

When Facebook changed its name to Meta in 2021, several people pointed out that Neal Stephenson coined the word Metaverse in his 1992 cyberpunk novel. Like many other examples in this article, Stephenson’s Metaverse is dystopian. Snow Crash ’s characters are so poor that virtual reality seems preferable to their bleak lives and tiny living spaces. So, I think Meta’s claim that people will enjoy playing, shopping, and working in their Metaverse seems bizarre and deeply ironic.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

This bestselling 1990 novel and its blockbuster 1993 movie imagine scientists cloning dinosaurs from reconstructed DNA fossilized in amber. All the books and movies clearly warn that this would be a terrible idea. Still, as recently as 2021, scientists announced their desire to clone prehistoric animals. We’ve seen this story before. So, what’s the worst that could happen? Maybe we should listen to Dr. Ian Malcolm’s warnings.

Sultana's Dream cover

Sultana’s Dream by Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain

In 1905, the Bengali writer and feminist activist also known as Begum Rokeya wrote about a fictional, futuristic society: a feminist utopia, ruled exclusively by women. She also imagined video calls, flying cars, and solar power long before other sci-fi authors did. In 2019 on BR , Ann-Marie Cahill wrote about Begum Rokeya and other underrated science fiction writers.

Minority Report by Philip K. Dick

The Minority Report by Philip K. Dick

In this 1956 novella, some characters can use machines to predict crimes. So-called criminals are arrested preemptively, before crimes can even occur. The book anticipated the increase in surveillance and profiling around the time of the movie adaptation, Minority Report , in 2002. Today, with algorithms trying to predict people’s habits, increased surveillance technology, and even iris and retinal scans, it seems more prescient than ever.

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Neuromancer by William Gibson

Gibson coined the term cyberspace in his 1982 short story “Burning Chrome.” He defined it as “widespread, interconnected digital technology,” which sounds just like today’s internet. Then, in his 1984 debut novel Neuromancer , he expanded on these ideas. A defining cyberpunk novel, it describes augmented reality and virtual reality headsets like those that Oculus Rift makes today. Gibson changed our ideas of the internet forever.

Babel-17 by Samuel Delany

Babel-17 by Samuel R. Delany

This 1966 novel explores the relationship between language and thought. Today, it’s often paired with Delany’s novella Empire Star , as he originally intended. Babel-17 doesn’t predict a specific event, but today’s scientists have more evidence of the ways language can shape our thoughts . Many of the “stronger” versions of the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in which Delany believed at the time have been largely discredited, but linguists and neuroscientists still study how language and culture form our thoughts in complicated ways.

The Lathe of Heaven cover

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin

When an unethical psychotherapist learns that one patient’s dreams can alter reality, he manipulates the patient’s dreams for his own ends. This book is set in 2002, when the polar ice caps are melting, temperatures are rising due to greenhouse gases, and there’s a long war in the Middle East. Although scientists had known for decades that carbon emissions could cause global warming, Le Guin’s 1971 novel is still eerily accurate, considering what 2002 was really like. It’s also about gradual abuses of power and boundaries.

Akira cover

Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo

This 1982 manga series contains a strangely specific prediction. The 2020 Olympics are held in Tokyo, during an epidemic, while protesters call for them to be cancelled. In real life, the 2020 Olympics, in Tokyo, were postponed until 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, theories that this manga and its 1988 film adaptation predicted the COVID-19 epidemic were highly exaggerated. References to epidemics are not central to the plot, but it’s a striking coincidence.

“Spider The Artist” by Nnedi Okorafor

This short story published online in 2011, by the author of Binti and Who Fears Death , deals with domestic violence, technology, and colonialism. In the story, oil companies create robots to guard their pipelines, and a woman unexpectedly befriends one of these robots. Today, robots on pipelines are part of the trend to automate the dangerous work of human employees. The commercial use of technology developed for the military (for example, drones) has also increased since the story’s publication.

Infomocracy cover

Infomocracy by Malka Older

This sci-fi novel depicts a future where information technology completely controls politics. It was published in June 2016, just months before the 2016 Presidential election. After the election, when the public learned that Cambridge Analytica had used Facebook ads to micro-target voters, many people called the book prescient. However, in 2017, Older wrote that she was “not predicting the future, just observing the present .”

Woman on the Edge of Time

Woman on the Edge of Time by Marge Piercy

This 1976 novel predicts the popularity of minor, cosmetic procedures, like lip fillers. It also foreshadows huge political changes, including the increased influence of corporations in politics. It anticipates the 2010 Supreme Court ruling Citizens United , which gave corporations and super PACs unprecedented influence over elections. It also predicts civil rights protections for LGBTQIA people.

Metropolis book cover

Metropolis by Thea von Harbou

Thea von Harbou and her husband, Fritz Lang, adapted her 1925 novel into the 1927 film, also called Metropolis . The book and movie envisioned androids, human-like robots, long before scientists would create them. They’re also considered prophetic for their critiques of capitalism.

All You Need is Kill cover

All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka and Yoshitoshi ABe

This Japanese science fiction light novel from 2004 features robotic, powered exoskeletons, used by the military. By 2015, powered exoskeletons were used as assistive devices to help people walk, although they’re still inaccessible and prohibitively expensive to many disabled people. Previous attempts to create exoskeletons for military use were unsuccessful. The novel inspired the 2014 U.S. movie Edge of Tomorrow .

Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy

Looking Backward: 2000–1887 by Edward Bellamy

Bellamy was the first person to coin the term “credit card” in 1888. The first real credit card would not be invented until 1950 — 62 years later. The protagonist of this novel falls asleep for 113 years, Rip van Winkle -style. He wakes up in the year 2000, in a utopian society. Here, people buy items on credit in stores resembling a modern wholesale clubs like BJ’s or Costco. Bellamy’s ideas generated a lot of discussion soon after publication.

The Dreamers cover

The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

Published in 2019, this novel has some eerie parallels to the COVID-19 pandemic. A new, highly contagious virus appears suddenly, people buy face masks to contain the spread, and a town is quarantined. Some people believe the virus is a hoax. People even have heightened, vivid dreams in the novel, which many people have reported during the COVID pandemic.

cover of The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin

The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin

Spoilers ahead: the second volume of the Hugo- and Nebula winning Broken Earth trilogy , from 2016, reveals that people called Guardians control their charges through metal implant s in the Guardians’ brains. In 2019, Elon Musk said his company Neuralink could “solve” disabilities by implanting AI chips in disabled people’s brains. Disabled people, including me, called out Musk’s plans as dangerous and ableist. I tweeted a comparison to the fictional implants , which are oppressive, violating, and a source of generational trauma in the books.

But are these really predictions?

It’s debatable, but I don’t think so. Most of them are interesting coincidences or astute observations of the authors’ present. In William Gibson’s case, for example, he influenced the future as much as he predicted it. The goal of sci-fi is not prediction but imagining stories free of constraints. Authors aren’t oracles and usually aren’t trying to predict anything. For every vision of the future that seems prophetic, there are others that end up absurdly inaccurate or dated.

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14 Times Science Fiction Writers Predicted the Future

Jordan Love

All manner of people have made extraordinary future predictions throughout history, but science fiction writers seem to have a particular knack for getting things right. From Jules Verne to George Orwell, sci-fi writers have been frighteningly good at predicting what the future would hold. We may not be living in a dystopian or utopian society as many assumed, but there are plenty of aspects of today's society that make it seem like science fiction writers predicted the future.

H.G. Wells's time machine is still a matter of fiction, but that was only one of his several visions of the future. He had plenty of other predictions of the future that came true. Likewise, Ray Bradbury and Phillip K. Dick were hit and miss with their versions of the future. Some sci-fi authors made vague predictions that can certainly be interpreted as coming true, while others made decisive, intricate predictions that are startling accurate in hindsight.

Unlike Nostradamus, these writers weren't in the business of telling the future. They're all writers first and foremost, futurists who predicted the future second. Their writings reflect both realistic and fantastical versions of various futures they imagined, and their predictions are almost more impressive for that. Much of what these authors wrote was considered totally outlandish at the time, yet a considerable amount of it has come true.

George Orwell Predicted Big Brother

George Orwell Predicted Big Brother

Big Brother was a lot more extreme in George Orwell's classic 1984 than it is today, but he still got a lot of things right. We may not have the thought police, but we do have CCTV cameras just about everywhere.

Add that to all the other ways companies and the government can monitor citizens - from phone calls to online activity - and you've got a veritable surveillance state. In China, where things like the Internet are highly moderated and monitored, 1984 is even more foreboding.

Jules Verne Predicted the Moon Landing

Jules Verne Predicted the Moon Landing

Jules Verne certainly had his fair share of future predictions. One of the most impressively accurate came courtesy of his short story, " From the Earth to the Moon ," in which he predicted that man would travel to the moon. He got many facts about the voyage right, including elements of the space shuttle, the month it would launch, from where it would launch, and the number of astronauts on board.

Philip K. Dick Imagined a World Full of Virtual Reality and Holograms

Philip K. Dick Imagined a World Full of Virtual Reality and Holograms

Several of Phillip K. Dicks most famous works, including Minority Report, were full of virtual and augmented reality . The author imagined worlds where everything around you could be something else, thanks to electronics that altered the perception of reality.

In 2016, several virtual reality systems are set to take over gaming and entertainment, likely proving Dick's predictions to be accurate.

Robert Heinlein Predicted the Cold War

Robert Heinlein Predicted the Cold War

Five years before the United States dropped its nuclear bombs, Heinlein predicted their existence and how they would l ead to the Cold War . He imagined the United States would be the first country to develop nuclear weapons and that a heated and dangerous battle to catch up would ensue.

Edward Bellamy Came Up with Credit Cards

Edward Bellamy Came Up with Credit Cards

In his 1887 novel  Looking Backward , Bellamy describes a concept that is relatively close to that of the modern day credit card. In his future utopian society, set in the year 2000, citizens use credit cards, in lieu of physical money, to make purchases .

The credit cards are based on money in a central bank controlled by the government. In the same book, Bellamy also describes what are essentially modern department stores.

Aldous Huxley Predicted Genetic Engineering

Aldous Huxley Predicted Genetic Engineering

In Brave New World , Aldous Huxley imagines a future that is dominated by genetic engineering . In his future, people are genetically engineered to fit perfectly into various classes and societal structures. There is no room for imagination or freedom, as everything is essentially mapped out according to how you were engineered.

We haven't fallen into the pessimistic future that Huxley imagined quite yet, though the modern process of genetic engineering is quite similar to what he describes.

Douglas Adams Predicted eBooks

Douglas Adams Predicted eBooks

In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy , Adams predicts a sort of table t/eBook/Siri hybrid. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a book inside Hitchhiker's that talks and digitally displays information. It helps the protagonists navigate the mysterious galaxy, giving them helpful tips and information along the way.

It can be voice activated and in many ways acts like an iPad.

Hugo Gernsback Predicted FaceTime

Hugo Gernsback Predicted FaceTime

In Hugo Gernsback's Ralph 124C 41+ , the author predicted video calls with what he called the Telephot. It was a big video screen that allowed people to talk to each other just like modern video calls do. Gernsback's book was published in 1911, long before we had Skype.

Gernsback also made predictions about air conditioning, television, and the many uses of electricity. 

Arthur C. Clarke Predicted Smartwatches and Satellites

Arthur C. Clarke Predicted Smartwatches and Satellites

The science fiction author of 2001: A Space Odyssey first predicted satellite communication relays in a 1945 manuscript. Years later, after satellites had become a real thing, he predicted smartwatches, or " wristwatch telephones ," as he called them.

The writer also imagined the Internet, through which he believed people would be able to do things like book plane tickets and buy groceries.

Ray Bradbury Predicted Self-Driving Cars

Ray Bradbury Predicted Self-Driving Cars

Self-driving cars may not be the norm, but they are certainly the future, and Ray Bradbury knew that way back in 1951. Bradbury wrote about cars that drove themselves in his novel, The Pedestrian . Although plenty of other science fiction writers piggybacked off the idea over the last 60+ years, Bradbury is the real pioneer of the idea. Hopefully Google will give him some credit when their autonomous cars take over the world.

H.G. Wells Predicted Cell Phones and Voicemail

H.G. Wells Predicted Cell Phones and Voicemail

Sure, we don't have time machines to go visit the Eloi, but Wells's ideas of cell phones and voicemails certainly have. In both The Shape of Things to Come and Men Like Gods , Wells imagined what essentially amounted to cell phones and voicemails . The characters in his books used these gadgets as their primary sources for communication in much the same ways that we do today.

H.G. Wells Came Up with the Atomic Bomb

H.G. Wells Came Up with the Atomic Bomb

He may not have predicted the mushroom cloud, but H.G. Wells did predict the atomic bomb long before it was actually a thing . In 1914, he wrote that an explosion from radioactive decay would be massive and that the nuclear fallout from it would be devastating. As we know now, he was right on both accounts.

Mark Twain Wrote About the Internet Almost a Century Before It Existed

Mark Twain Wrote About the Internet Almost a Century Before It Existed

In 1898, Mark Twain essentially envisioned what would become the Internet. He wrote about something he called a telectroscope - essentially a dial-up connection -  which allowed people to connect to a worldwide network via their phone lines, letting them see and hear information from all over the globe.

Ray Bradbury Came Up with the Idea of Earbuds

Ray Bradbury Came Up with the Idea of Earbuds

Earbuds weren't around in 1953 when Ray Bradbury predicted them in  Fahrenheit 451 . He imagined them pretty much like they are today: little devices that fit right into your ear and play all sorts of sounds.

Out of all the futuristic predictions on this list Bradybury's ear buds may be the one that we use most in our every day lives. 

Mary Shelley Predicted Transplants

Mary Shelley Predicted Transplants

Published in 1818 Mary Shelley's The Modern Prometheus imagined a world where science could cure death with the help of organ transplants. In her book Doctor Frankenstein reanimates dead tissue with electricity after sewing it together, and while that may far out even for modern medical practices her foresight did imagine organ transplants more than a 100 years before they ever happened. 

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40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

Science Fiction is some of the coolest stuff we can watch, read, or listen to. It’s cool to see how accurate or nearly accurate it can be. Likely the best example of this is Jules Verne, who wrote tremendous novels like The Journey to the Center of the Earth ( 1864) and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea (1870). Verne discusses several crazy concepts for the time. Some of the ideas brought up were thought to ve impossible back then. In fact, Verne mentions what we’d one day call the submarine, Space Travel, the jukebox, and the holograph. While Verne was right about a lot of amazing things in his books, he wasn’t perfect. In fact, in his book From The Earth To The Moon , he was terribly wrong about how we’d get to the moon. He claimed we’d shoot people into space as projectiles with a big gun. Obviously we aren’t journeying to the center of the Earth anytime soon either.

No matter how accurate some writers are about the future, they are victims of the time they live in. It’s not Verne’s fault that he wrote his books in the 1800s and lacked the knowledge we have today. Yet this is what happens when you write about the future. Those future people can look back to see how accurate you were. Verne is one of many amazing writers who were both right and wrong about his future predictions. Yet some were completely wrong, and this involves far more than books. That is what our article is about, the science fiction out there that ended up getting the future very wrong. Enjoy!

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

40. 2012 Film (The World Is Ending)

The movie 2012 came out in November of 2009. The movie randomly threw us a few years into the future where we’re led to believe the world is pretty much ending. 2012 throws out the fact that the Earth’s core has heated up far too much, thus causing earthquakes, plate shifts, tsunamis, and more.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events


40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

39. Timecop (Self-Driving Cars By 2004)

Timecop is a 1994 movie that stars 90s action phenom, Jean-Claude Van Damme. The movie is set only 10 years into the future, in 2004. The writers hoped for too much by 2004, but probably the biggest the movie pushes through is the self-driving car. They claimed it would be in use all over the place by then.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

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40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

38. Heatseeker (Cyborg Kickboxing In 2019)

The Science Fiction movie, Heatseeker, was so 90s that it’s sad. Actor/Martial Artist Keith Cooke is the main star of the movie. While he’s a real martial artist with a massive background in kickboxing that helped make the fights realistic, the movie itself never made sense. Released in 1995, it claims that somehow by 2019, the biggest sport in the world will be Cyborg Kickboxing.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

37. Death Race 2000 (Population Control Via Hitting People With Cars)

We hope Death Race 2000 never becomes a reality. Released in 1975, the movie pushes that a new style of racing will be a huge form of entertainment. For drivers to get points, they must run over a pedestrian ideally killing them. The society wanted more population control, hence the “Death” Race part.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

36. Strange Days (Memories Filmed By Brain Recorder)

Weird science fiction film, Strange Days , released in 1995, was written and produced by James Cameron. His ex-wife Katheryn Bigelow directed it. While Bigelow was praised, the movie fell flat mostly. The main issue was the future Cameron envisioned.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

35. Foundation Series (World Empire Reigning For 12,000 Years)

The Foundation Series , written by brilliant science fiction writer Isaac Asimov, is tremendous. While Asimov came up with some ideas that eventually became a reality, he did not get certain things right with the Foundation Series . The books were written from 1942 to 1993, so this is understandable. Asimov wrote in the series that a major Galactic Empire had been reigning for 12,000 years.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

34. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Space Travel To Jupiter)

2001: A Space Odyssey is an incredible movie that most would rank as one of the best science fiction movies of all time. However, we must address the elephant in the room. The Stanley Kubrick film came out in 1968, so a lot of this movie has issues scientifically based on now known material about our planets.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

33. I Am Legend (Zombie Virus In NYC By 2009)

The I am Legend film is based on a novel of the same name that was written in by Richard Matheson. The novel released in 1954, around 53 years before the film released in 2007. To their credit, they kept the 2009 year in the movie that Matheson had in his novel.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

32. The Island (Human Clones By 2019)

The Island is a 2005 big-budget Michael Bay film that starred Scarlett Johansson and Ewan McGregor. The movie centers around two people, Lincoln Six Echo and Jordan Two Delta who live on an isolated compound. It’s claimed that the world around them has become too terrible for human life, yet a mysterious island is perfect.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

31. Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century (Her Parents Weightless Jobs)

Zenon: Girl Of The 21st Century is one of the most popular Disney Channel Original Movies ever. The original came out in 1999, with two more following. However, it’s set in 2049. In the movie, Zenon lives on a massive space station with her parents. They work as scientists for a corporation led by a man named Parker Wyndham.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

30. Fahrenheit 451 (Firemen Burning Books In 1999)

The book Fahrenheit 451 came out in 1953, well before the internet was even a thing. In the book, written by Ray Bradbury, we’re given a dystopian future 1999, but they never really offer a specific place. We’re led to believe it’s the American Midwest, however.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

29. Videodrome (Cable TV That Changes Us Mentally & Physically)

Videodrome , released in 1983, is set in the Canadian 1980s mostly. The story surrounds Max Renn, the President of CIVIC-TV who is tired of their current programming and wants a change. One day, he comes across Videodrome, a Malaysian plotless TV show. Upon watching it, Renn sees brutal murders happening to anonymous victims.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

28. Terminator (Self-Aware, Murderous Cyborg)

The concept of the original Terminator movie was that a Terminator robot would be sent back in time from the year 2029 to kill Sarah Conner. She’s apparently a crucial problem in the future, meaning her past death prevents her future existence. The Terminator released in 1984 and gave themselves a huge window to time-wise.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

27. The Running Man (World Economic Collapse & Criminal Game Show)

The Running Man takes place after a World Economic crash in 2017, which results in the United States becoming a totalitarian police state. They are able to censor any cultural activity they want, thus giving us game shows to entertain the population. “The Running Man” is one of those game shows where convicted criminals fight for their lives.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

26. Escape From New York (Manhattan Becomes A Huge Prison In 1988)

Escape from New York came out in 1981 and stars Kurt Russell. Yet the movie is panned for being unrealistic. Apparently, in 1988, there is a 400% increase in crime. This results in the U.S. turning the entire city of Manhattan into a massive maximum-security prison. A 50-foot wall surrounds the prison and all bridges have been blown up.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

25. Back to the Future Part II (Food Hydrators In 2015)

The original Back to the Futur e, starring Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox came out in 1985. The movies were all released within 5 years in real-time but they had to always return to the year of the original film, 1985. Instead of the past, the second film focused on the future.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

24. Lost In Space (Mission To Colonize Alpha Centauri)

The Lost in Space TV series ran from 1965-1968. The series mentions a few things that are problematic. First, the show is set in the year 1997. They predict a lot of impressive yet still nonexisting material.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

23. Soylent Green (Dystopian 2000s)

Soylent Green came out in 1973 and stars Charlton Heston. It’s actually based on a science fiction novel called Make Room! Make Room! by Harry Harrison, published in 1966. The main plot is that by 2022, we’re going to be living in a dystopian world. However, this all begins at the tail-end of the 90s as we head into 2000.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

22. 12 Monkeys (People Wiped Out By Super Virus)

The 12 Monkeys movie stars Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt and was released in 1995. They gave themselves an over 20-year window but missed the mark a lot. The plot of the film is that a virus is released in 1996, which is now wiping out mankind heavily by 2035.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

21. Demolition Man (Great Earthquake Combined Cities In 2010)

Demolition Man was released in 1993, based on the book Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, released in 1931. In the movie, by 1996, we’ve found ways to cryogenically freeze people. We apparently decided to use this concept for the California Cryo-Penitentiary. This results in most prisoners being put on ice until 2032.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

20. Robocop: The Series (Police/Corporate Controlled State)

Robocop: The Series reportedly takes place around 4 to 5 years after the original movie, yet it ignores the events of Robocop 2 & 3. We never get exact dates but we’re led to believe its set in the late 90s and early 2000s. This can vary from episode to episode. The show features a future Detroit that has a severe financial collapse due to high crime and financial issues.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

19. A Scanner Darkly (Extreme Police Monitoring In Drugged-Up 1994)

A Scanner Darkly is a pretty weird but well-liked science fiction film. It’s unique in how it looks and feels, but the story has some flaws. The movie is based on a novel of the same name by brilliant science fiction author Phillip K. Dick. It was published in 1977 but the movie came out in 2006.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

18. Daybreakers (2019 Vampire Plague)

Daybreakers , released in 2009, made a bold prediction about what would happen 10 years later. While the movie claims that a random virus released in the 2009 year, we’re sent forward 10 years in the movie. The virus apparently causes humans to essentially become vampires. As a result, the human population decreases constantly, leaving vampires lacking blood and becoming psychotic.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

17. Blade Runner (Human-Like Robots In 2019)

The original Blade Runner came out in 1982 but is based in 2019. Going over 30 years into the future usually is smart, but their future seemed a bit too “optimistic” with tech and progress. Meanwhile, it’s behind on other things.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

16. A Clockwork Orange (Forcing Psychological Treatment On Criminals)

A Clockwork Orange is a really weird yet slightly creepy science fiction 1971 Stanley Kubrick-led film based on the book of the same name. The book was written by Anthony Burgess and released in 1962. The timeframe of the story isn’t given but we’re led to believe, based on what was present, that we’re somewhere around 1995.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

15. Robotic Enhancements (Multiple Science Fiction Films, TV Shows, & Books)

It seems science fiction media will never tire of robotic enhancements. This happens when someone perhaps has a critical injury that brings them near death. Perhaps a government agency is involved too! They’ll be given replacements for their body to cybernetically enhance them then go out on random world-saving adventures.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

14. Buck Rogers In The 25th Century (Nuclear War In 1987)

The TV show Buck Rogers in the 25th Century aired from 1979-1981. The show centers around NASA/USAF Pilot, Captain William Anthony “Buck” Rogers. He launches into space via a spacecraft in May of 1987 but issues arise once he gets there. A life-support malfunction in the aircraft essentially freezes Buck.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

13. Escape From Los Angeles (Just So Much From 1998-2013)

After the surprise success of the first of these films, Kurt Russell and the crew returned for Escape from Los Angeles . This movie came out in 1996, making even less sense than the original. In 1998, we see a crime-ridden Los Angeles that is now governed by the new United States Police Force. In the year 2000, an earthquake causes Los Angeles to break apart and become its own island.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

12. Rollerball (Ruled By Corporations In 2018)

There original Rollerball came out in 1975 and takes place in a dystopian future. It’s actually set in 2018 where somehow rollerball has become a major sport in a world run by corporations that replaced governments. Jonathan, a famous rollerball player, is asked to retire. His sponsors think he’s overexposed.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

11. Back To The Future II (Flying Cars In 2015)

Set in the year 2015, the Back to the Future II ‘s main premise is that Doc and Marty originally go to the future to fix a few issues with Marty’s future kids. This seems weird, as it’s the future and could be altered simply by Marty knowing in 1985. In any case, this future is then messed around with when “Old Biff” sees the time-traveling Delorean.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

10. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Colonizing The Moon)

While 2001: A Space Odyssey may be a terrific science fiction movie, it still does get a lot wrong about our future. To be fair to the film of 1968, we’d obviously love to see their version of 2001 in part. In fact, one major thing we’d love to see is the colonization of the moon.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

9. Warriors Of The Wasteland (Nuclear War In 2019)

Warriors of the Wasteland was released in 1984 but actually came out in Italy under the name “New Barbarians” the year prior. On top of this, it was actually the first of three movies in a series. They were all shot in 6 months, which tells you the true care put into all three projects.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

8. Children Of Men (Human Race Dying Out Due To Infertility In Men)

Children of Men was released in 2006, starring a prime Clive Owens. The concept of the movie seems compelling. Plus, the movie went another direction by telling us that the human race is slowly dying out due to decades of infertility. Owen plays the only baby born in decades and has to try to figure out what is going on.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

7. Clothing (Multiple Science Fiction Films, TV Shows, & Books)

Have you ever seen anything from science fiction media and then began to think, this looks weird? The entire idea of most people who make science fiction content is that we are going to see a future of wild clothing styles. Unless they were trying to channel the 1980s, wild styles seem to be the last thing the future will head toward.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

6. Geostorm (Weather Satellites Keep The Planet Habitable In 201

2017 science fiction film Geostorm started out with a good concept. They mention climate change is so bad that it affects the world heavily, but they only picked 2 years into the future. In the movie, the Earth will be impacted so badly in 2019 that we will have to rely on a global system of weather-altering satellites.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

5. Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan (Eugenics War 1992-1996)

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan is simply spectacular. It takes place in the year 2286, so how did it land on our list? Star Trek is one of the most accurate movies/television shows to ever exist. The original version of this film (there’s a 2013 remake) came out in 1982. Sadly, there’s a glaring hole.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

4. Blade Runner (Off-World Colonies)

The original Blade Runner came out in 1982 and did attempt to give itself a more than 30-year cushion into the future. However, they get so much wrong in the movie that we had to highlight a few. The movie is set in 2019, allowing us to know pretty well if any of their concepts ever came to pass.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

3. Mad Max Series (Post-Apocalyptic World)

While a lot of science fiction media has given us a setting that looks odd or tends to look bad for random reasons, Mad Max took a different approach. The series was always hard to put a timeframe on due to the series attempting to avoid the very thing we’re doing with it now. However, an interview with George Miller in 1984 gave us a clue.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

2. Back To The Future II (Hoverboards In 2015)

More than anything else, this is what really makes us upset about Back to the Future II. The hoverboard, at least the type we see in the film, still does not exist. Several people have made their own version of one, yet most of them tend to be really large and ultimately aren’t as impressive.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

1. Time Travel (Multiple Science Fiction Movies, TV Shows, & Books)

Time Travel has been used in tons of science fiction media. We mentioned a lot of them on this list like The Terminator and Back to the Future . Yet others also exist that we did not cover such as Dr. Who, Interstellar, The Time Traveler’s Wife, Star Trek IV, The Butterfly Effect, Planet of the Apes, and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure.

40 Times Science Fiction Was Wrong About Predicted Future Events

Sources: [ Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, Columbia Pictures, Trimark Pictures, Orion Pictures, New World Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Pictures, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer(MGM), AVCO Embassy Pictures, The Walt Disney Company, & Warner Bros. ]

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Science fiction is meant to be fantastic. And while it's a good thing all those evil robots and planet-destroying space stations aren’t real, that doesn’t mean many of us aren’t still waiting for our jetpacks, flying cars, and teleportation. While you anticipate those life-altering developments (and let’s face it, it might be a while, even if Tesla did send a car to space ), read about these five sci-fi predictions that did come true.

The Internet

Close-up of an internet router.

Mark Twain isn’t well known for his brief foray into science fiction, but one aspect of his 1898 story From the ‘London Times’ in 1904 proved prescient: the telelectroscope, quite possibly the first conceived vision of the internet. Twain imagined that the device would be connected to phone lines (accurate) and that when the “improved ‘limitless-distance’ telephone was presently introduced,” the “daily doings of the globe” would be “made visible to everybody, and audibly discussable too” by people all over the world.

The main character in Twain’s story is an army officer awaiting execution. Like many of us today, he spends a lot of his time on the internet: “… day by day, and night by night, he called up one corner of the globe after another, and looked upon its life, and studied its strange sights, and spoke with its people, and realized that by grace of this marvellous instrument he was almost as free as the birds of the air, although a prisoner under locks and bars.”

The Moon Landing

Apollo 11 Landing On The Moon.

In 1865, Jules Verne wrote From the Earth to the Moon: A Direct Route in 97 Hours, 20 Minutes . A century later, Neil Armstrong took one giant leap for mankind. Verne wasn’t the first person to dream of landing on the moon, of course, but the detail with which the French writer imagined his lunar scenario makes From the Earth to the Moon (and its sequel Around the Moon ) unique in the annals of sci-fi history.

Not that he got every detail right. Apollo 11 took only 75 hours to reach the moon, and Verne’s Columbiad space gun — essentially a gigantic cannon — didn’t propel the American spacecraft (though Apollo 11 ’s command module was named Columbia, in part as a tribute). Verne’s novel was right on one major point, however: A trio of spacefarers made the initial lunar journey.

Long before John F. Kennedy declared that “we choose to go to the moon,” other artists picked up where Verne left off. Both his novel and H.G. Wells’ 1901 The First Men in the Moon were key influences on Georges Melies’ 1902 movie A Trip to the Moon , the first proper science-fiction film and still one of the most important.

Verne’s vision was so influential, in fact, that Neil Armstrong himself referred to it during Apollo 11 ’s return journey: “A hundred years ago, Jules Verne wrote a book about a voyage to the moon. His spaceship, Columbia, took off from Florida and landed in the Pacific Ocean after completing a trip to the moon,” he said . “It seems appropriate to us to share with you some of the reflections of the crew as the modern-day Columbia completes its rendezvous with the planet Earth and the same Pacific Ocean tomorrow.”

Tablet Computers

Close-up of a white tablet with a blank screen.

We haven’t yet seen the monolith or star child, but at least one element of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey eventually made its way into the world: tablet computers, with iPads currently being the most popular. One scene from the mind-bending 1968 classic shows the two main astronauts (played by Keir Dullea and Gary Lockwood) multitasking by eating meals while watching TV shows on their own flatscreen computers. The devices were never mentioned by name in the movie itself, but they were called newspads.

Here’s how Arthur C. Clarke, who co-wrote 2001 , described them : “The postage-stamp-size rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the screen and [the astronaut] could read it with comfort. When he had finished, he would flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination.” Sound familiar? Kubrick even thought up a number of New York Times headlines for the newspad, ranging from “Language Barrier Now Nil for 75% of Earth's Peoples” to “Move Gains Momentum in Western States for Return to 4-Party System.”

People distracted by their smartphones.

Anyone looking for evidence of how far ahead of its time Star Trek was need only watch its first episode. The communicator was first seen in 1964's “The Cage,” the long-running show's pilot, and has been a key feature of the franchise ever since. The futuristic (and, it must be said, awesome-looking) device is, for all intents and purposes, an early forerunner of the cellphone: It allows communication between the Enterprise and whichever alien planet Captain Kirk and his compatriots have landed on. There are no apps, as one thing Star Trek didn’t predict was how much time we would all spend looking at our phones rather than simply using them to communicate with one another.

Others imagined the idea of a mobile phone prior to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, of course. Inventor Eric Tigerstedt, the “Thomas Edison of Finland,” successfully filed a patent for a “pocket-size folding telephone with a very thin carbon microphone” in 1917, though the technology simply didn't exist to make his idea a reality until closer to the end of the century.

A hologram from Star Wars.

Long before Tupac appeared at 2012’s Coachella in hologram form , Princess Leia told Obi-Wan Kenobi that he was the Rebel Alliance’s only hope. Holograms are similar to mobile phones insofar as they were imagined by many different people before they became real (to the extent that holograms are real, that is), but Star Wars introduced them to the popular imagination in a new way.

This goes all the way back to the original 1977 film, when Carrie Fisher’s Leia first appeared onscreen as a holographic recording delivered by R2-D2. Australian company Euclideon Holographics has done its best to bring this particular type of table-projected hologram into the 21st century, but it comes with quite a price tag — it’s said that one of their devices can cost up to $100,000.



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12 Fictional Book Predictions That Actually Came True

science fiction writers predictions that came true

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12 Fictional Book Predictions That Actually Came True

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I am constantly amazed by science fiction writers. Blown away, actually. To create an entirely new world with rules, laws, and customs that are totally invented is truly remarkable.

And sometimes the details of these fictional worlds actually come true. Here are 12 such instances of science fiction prescience.

12. Cryonics

In 1931, Neil R. Jones wrote a short story called “The Jameson Satellite.” In it, Jones’ main character wants his corpse to be taken into Earth’s orbit so that it would be preserved at a temperature of absolute zero.

Sixteen years later, in 1947, Robert Ettinger wrote a short story entitled “The Penultimate Trump,” which also dealt with cryonics. Ettinger continued his research and later became known as the “father of cryonics.”

11. Lab-grown meat

science fiction writers predictions that came true

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Kurd Lasswitz’s 1897 novel  Two Planets  featured “synthetic meat” that was introduced to Earthlings by Martians.

10. The moon landing

science fiction writers predictions that came true

We all know Neil Armstrong was the first man to reach the moon in 1969. But maybe you didn’t know that Jules Verne published a novel all the way back in 1865 called From the Earth to the Moon about a huge space gun that launched objects to the moon. Verne’s story predicted the number of men aboard the spacecraft and the weightlessness that the astronauts would experience in space.

9. The sinking of the Titanic

The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility is an 1898 novella by Morgan Robertson about an “unsinkable” ship that sinks in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg. We all know what happened to the Titanic in April 1912.

8. Atomic bomb

science fiction writers predictions that came true

The famous H.G. Wells wrote  The World Set Free  in 1913. The novel was published in 1914 and detailed how “atomic bombs,” uranium-based hand grenades that had infinite power, would kill many people. A mere 31 years later, Hiroshima and Nagasaki were obliterated by atomic bombs.

7. The nuclear arms race

In 1941, Robert Heinlen’s short story, “Solution Unsatisfactory,” correctly predicted that the United States would develop nuclear weapons before the rest of the world and an arms race among competing nations would ensue.

6. Waterbeds

science fiction writers predictions that came true

Photo Credit: Facebook, IOldies

The same guy who predicted the nuclear arms race, Robert Heinlen, wrote about futuristic waterbeds in such detail in 1961 that the guy who actually invented the waterbed had a hard time getting a patent.

5. Credit cards

Although credit cards didn’t become commonplace until the 1950s, Edward Bellamy wrote about them all the way back in 1888 in his novel , Looking Backward .

4. Two moons on Mars

151 years before two moons were discovered on the red planet, Jonathan Swift made the  claim in his famous book Gulliver’s Travels. It was published in 1726.

3. Earbuds and Bluetooth headsets

science fiction writers predictions that came true

Good old Ray Bradbury. In Fahrenheit 451 , published in 1953, Bradbury wrote about personal earphones used to distract one’s mind. He also described listening devices which sound a heck of a lot like Bluetooth headsets.

2. The Internet

Credit this one to none other than Mark Twain. His 1898 short story, “From the ‘London Times’ of 1904,” was set six years in the future and featured a device known as the Telelectroscope, a “limitless distance” telephone that could create a worldwide network of information that would be available to all people. Sound familiar?

1. Antidepressants

Thank God for this one! Aldous Huxley’s classic “Brave New World” envisioned a world where citizens take a drug called “soma” to ensure that everyone stays within the rules of society. The book was published in 1932, two decades before experiments with antidepressants began.

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When Science Fiction Becomes Reality: Writers' Predictions That Came True

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science fiction writers predictions that came true

The illustrious science fiction writer Ray Bradbury loved to tell a certain story during interviews: when he was in his 30s and lived in New York, all his contemporaries liked to laugh at him at their fancy dinner parties over his seemingly far-fetched ideas. Bradbury kept all their phone numbers and, after the first moon landing, he called many of them, laughed and hung up, happy that his fantasy of space exploration had finally become a reality.

This is just one instance of a science fiction writer anticipating future technology or lifestyle changes here on Earth, both large and small. The following authors are a testament to the power of human imagination and how it can help inspire a whole new way of doing things.

Early Advancements:

• Edward Bellamy: It’s hard to imagine that someone in 1888 was wondering how modern society would spend their money. But Bellamy’s popular novel Looking Backward introduced the idea of “universal credit” and paved the way for advancements in shopping…and millions of people in credit card debt.

• H.G. Wells: Often called the “father of science fiction,” Wells is known for coining the term “atomic bomb,” anticipating the creation of tank warfare, laser weapons, and more ordinary items like the automatic door and pest-resistant plants.

• Jules Verne: Sure, he’s best known for his classics – Journey to the Center of the Earth, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea , and Around the World in Eighty Days , but some of his other works like From the Earth to the Moon and Paris in the Twentieth Century predicted such advancements as the submarine and the lunar landing.

Popular Electronics:

• Ray Bradbury: There’s a reason he’s a legend of the genre. In his seminal novel, Fahrenheit 451 , Bradbury’s description of “little seashells….thimble radios” which were responsible for an “electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk” certainly seemed to anticipate one of the most used technologies of the 2000s: the earbud. The Martian Chronicles also warned against some of the repercussions of nuclear warfare.

• Arthur C. Clarke: Not just a popular film,  2001: A Space Odyssey  is also a fascinating book, which offers a description of a device called a “newspad” that is eerily similar to a modern tablet. Other Clarke  predictions : mass transit and remote surgery (see video above). Additionally, a shorter manuscript was said to imagine a vast telecommunications satellite array that helped with television signals.

• William Gibson: Gibson coined the word “cyberspace” in an early short story, “Burning Chrome,” more than a decade before the World Wide Web was even invented. His seminal work,  Neuromancer, offered a further glimpse into the world of the Internet and guessed, rightly, that there would be computer hackers in the future.

• David Brin: His 1990 book EARTH describes “21st-century characters using screen displays filled with clickable links—in other words, Web pages.” More than that, there’s an entire website devoted to the other aspects of life that Brin’s text got right.

Social Implications:

• George Orwell: While 1984 was published back in 1949, adaptations of the text are very relevant today as we continue to worry about privacy, surveillance and the presence of Big Brother-esque technology.

• John Brunner: His 1969 novel Stand on Zanzibar is often cited as an eerily accurate depiction of life in 2010. The novel depicts a President Obomi in a country where terrorist attacks and school violence are sadly routine. Brunner also predicted an acceptance of gays, satellite TV and electric cars.

So what will the authors of today anticipate? Only time will tell.

science fiction writers predictions that came true

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science fiction writers predictions that came true

Ross Dawson

Savvy sci-fi futurists: 21 science fiction writers who predicted inventions way ahead of their time

Many futurists, scientists and inventors have been inspired by the imagination and anticipation of the future inherent to science fiction novels. From the Internet to iPads to smart machines, some of the world’s greatest advances in technology were once fictional speculation. As sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke wrote in Profiles of the Future (1962), “The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.”

Sci-fi is a powerful genre because it envisages how society could function differently. “This is the first step towards progress as it allows us to imagine the future we want, and consider ways to work towards it,” writes physicist and philosopher Dr. Helen Klus . “It also makes us aware of futures we wish to avoid, and helps us prevent them.”

The 21 sci-fi futurists featured below gave some of the earliest recorded mentions of inventions that have since become a reality. Several of these authors doubted that their fictional inventions would ever come to fruition, or thought it would take much longer for their inventions to occur than it actually took. Others were remarkably spot on. Regardless of accuracy, however, what these future thinking authors all recognized was that change is an inevitable and powerful force that can blur the boundaries between fiction and possibility.

1. Rocket-powered space flight: Cyrano de Bergerac, 1657

1.rocket Steve Jurvetson

“I ran to the Soldier that was giving Fire to it… and in great rage threw my self into my Machine, that I might undo the Fire-Works that they had stuck about it; but I came too late, for hardly were both my Feet within, than whip, away went I up in a Cloud.”

In a literary sense, this passage evokes the exhaust flames produced by rockets with internal combustion engines. The first rocket that propelled something into space—the satellite Sputnik—would be launched 300 years later, in 1957.

2. Submarines: Margaret Cavendish, 1666

Many people attribute the first mention of a submarine to Jules Verne, who described an electric submarine in his famous book 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1870). However, few people know that an early form of submarine was mentioned in The Description of a New World, Called The Blazing-World (1666), a book about a satirical utopian kingdom, written by Margaret Cavendish, the Duchess of Newcastle. The book is perhaps the only known work of utopian fiction by a woman in the 17th century, as well as one of the earliest examples of what we now call science fiction. Cavendish’s protagonist talks to sentient animals about various scientific theories, including atomic theory, before travelling home in a submarine when she hears that her homeland is under threat.

3. Machine-automated language: Jonathan Swift, 1726

Jonathan Swift, the well-known Irish satirist who wrote Gulliver’s Travels , critiqued the so-called scientific literature of his time, which was not always the result of rational thinking. Consequently, when Swift described an “engine” that could form sentences, he was satirizing the arbitrary methods of some of his scientific contemporaries:

“…the most ignorant person, at a reasonable charge, and with a little bodily labour, might write books in philosophy, poetry, politics, laws, mathematics, and theology, without the least assistance from genius or study”.

What Swift may not have realized was that his ensuing description of a machine containing all the words of the language spoken in Lagado, a fictional city, is one of the earliest known references to a device broadly representing a computer. Nowadays, computers are able to generate permutations of word sets, as Swift envisaged.

4. Eugenics: Nicolas-Edme Rétif, 1781

4. Australe left align cropped

Among the creatures Rétif’s hero encounters is an articulate half-human, half-baboon. “The book is part natural history, part imaginary evolutionary experiment, in which Rétif brings these primitive beings to life and demonstrates the genetic mixing that gradually results in both the differentiation of animal species and the emergence of humankind,” writes Amy S. Wyngaard . Rétif imagined Australasia as a sort of eugenic utopia, a century before the term “eugenics” would be coined by Charles Darwin’s half-cousin, Francis Galton .

5. Oxygen in air travel and space travel: Jane Webb Loudon, 1828

A future where women wear trousers and automatons function as surgeons and lawyers was foreseen by pioneering sci-fi writer Jane Webb Loudon . In her book The Mummy: A Tale of the Twenty-Second Century , Loudon gave a very early mention of the notion that, to survive in outer space in earth’s orbit, it would be necessary to take some air with you. She wrote:

“… and the hampers are filled with elastic plugs for our ears and noses, and tubes and barrels of common air, for us to breathe when we get beyond the atmosphere of the earth.”

So, next time you are on an airplane watching a demo about oxygen masks, don’t forget to remember the contribution of Jane Webb Loudon!

6. Debit cards: Edward Bellamy, 1888

Edward Bellamy’s novel Looking Backward: 2000 to 1887 featured an American utopian society that used so-called “credit cards”. Bellamy’s concept actually relates more to debit cards and spending social security dividends than borrowing from a bank. The main character describes how people are given a stated amount of credit on their card to purchase goods from the public storehouses:

“You observe,” he pursued as I was curiously examining the piece of pasteboard he gave me, “that this card is issued for a certain number of dollars. We have kept the old word, but not the substance…The value of what I procure on this card is checked off by the clerk, who pricks out of these tiers of squares the price of what I order.”

Debit cards and credit cards would be invented more than 60 years later.

7. Electric fences: Mark Twain, 1889

7. electric fence Hannah Banner

“Now, then, observe the economy of it. A cavalry charge hurls itself against the fence; you are using no power, you are spending no money, for there is only one ground-connection till those horses come against the wire; the moment they touch it they form a connection with the negative brush through the ground, and drop dead.”

Electric fences were not used to control livestock in the United States until the early 1930s.

8. Videoconferencing: Jules Verne, 1889

Famous French sci-fi pioneer Jules Verne described the “phonotelephote”, a forerunner to videoconferencing, in his work In the Year 2889 . The phonotelephote allowed “the transmission of images by means of sensitive mirrors connected by wires,” Verne wrote. This was one of the earliest references to a videophone in fiction, according to , a site that traces inventions and ideas from science fiction. In the Year 2889 also predicts newscasts, recorded news, and skywriting—inventions which have all come to fruition well before 2889.

9. X-ray and CAT scan technology: John Elfreth Watkins Jr., 1900

In a visionary article for the Ladies’ Home Journal entitled “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years” , an American named John Elfreth Watkins Jr. made several remarkable predictions. One of the most striking was his prediction of X-ray and CAT scan technology:

“Physicians will be able to see and diagnose internal organs of a moving, living body by rays of invisible light.”

In the same article, Watkins also foresaw high-speed trains, satellite television, the electronic transmission of photographs, and the application of electricity in greenhouses.

10. Radar: Hugo Gernsback, 1911

10. radar U.S. Naval Forces cropped

“A pulsating polarized ether wave, if directed on a metal object can be reflected in the same manner as a light ray is reflected from a bright surface… By manipulating the entire apparatus like a searchlight, waves would be sent over a large area. Sooner or later these waves would strike a space flyer. A small part of these waves would strike the metal body of the flyer, and these rays would be reflected back to the sending apparatus. Here they would fall on the Actinoscope, which records only the reflected waves, not direct ones…From the intensity and elapsed time of the reflected impulses, the distance between the earth and the flyer can then be accurately estimated.”

In 1933, a working radar device that could detect remote objects by signals was created.

11. Atomic bomb: H.G. Wells, 1914

One of the most unfortunate legacies of science fiction is the genre’s inspiration for the atomic bomb. In The World Set Free , H.G. Wells predicted that a new type of bomb fuelled by nuclear reactions would be detonated in the 1956. It happened even sooner than he thought. Physicist Leó Szilárd apparently read Wells’s book and patented the idea. Szilárd was later directly involved in the Manhattan Project , which led to the tragedy of nuclear bombs being dropped on Japan in 1945. Strikingly, Wells spelled not only spelled out the idea of a sustained atomic reaction, he also predicted the moral and ethical horror that people would feel upon the use of atomic bombs, and the radioactive ruin that would last long after the bomb was dropped.

12. Cyborgs: E.V. Odle, 1923

12. clockwork face George Boyce

Some readers believe that E.V. Odle was a pen name used by Virginia Woolf , who dabbled in science fiction and sought to protect her credibility as a serious writer. Most consider this an unfounded rumor, and hold that E.V. Odle was Edwin Vincent Odle, a little-known British playwright, critic, and author. Regardless of the author’s identity, Virginia Woolf’s work seems to have influenced the novel. Reviewer Annalee Newitz calls the book “an odd mashup of Virginia Woolf and H.G. Wells” .

13. In vitro fertilization: J.B.S. Haldane, 1924

J.B.S. Haldane was a British scientist who also imagined the future directions of biology in his book Daedulus; or Science and the Future . The work proclaimed how scientific revolution might alter the most private aspects of life, death, sex, and marriage. This was a bold move given the uproar that inventions like birth control were causing in contemporary media.

Haldane predicted the widespread practice of in vitro fertilization, what he called “ectogenesis”. His theory of reproductive technology and his scientific futurism influenced Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World (1932).

Haldane also stressed that humans need to make advances in ethics to match our advances in science. Otherwise, he feared, science would bring grief, not progress, to humankind.

14. Teleoperated robot surrogates: Manly Wade Wellman, 1938

14. robot surrogate Sebastian Dooris

Some robot surrogates already exist. See, for example, the Inmoov Robots for Good designed for hospitalized children, the InTouch medical rounding robot for doctors, and the Geminoid human replicas .

15. Microwavable heat-n-eat food: Robert Heinlein, 1948

In Space Cadet , famous sci-fi author Robert Heinlein took the newly invented microwave one step further by predicting the rise of ready-to-eat, microwavable food:

“Theoretically every ration taken aboard a Patrol vessel is pre-cooked and ready for eating as soon as it is taken out of freeze and subjected to the number of seconds, plainly marked on the package, of high-frequency heating required.”

It took a few decades before Heinlein’s vision became an everyday reality.

16. Earphones: Ray Bradbury, 1950

In Fahrenheit 451 , Ray Bradbury described earphones that were much more convenient than the huge headphones of his day:

“And in her ears the little seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind.”

In-ear headphones were released to the mass market in 1980.

17. Machine intelligence outsmarting humans: Clifford Simak, 1951

In Time and Again (also published as First He Died ), Clifford Simak depicted a chess game between a man and a robot:

“In the screen a man was sitting before a chess table. The pieces were in mid-game. Across the board stood a beautifully machined robotic. The man reached out a hand, thoughtfully played a knight. The robotic clicked and chuckled. It moved a pawn… “Mr. Benton hasn’t won a game in the past ten years…” “… Benton must have known, when he had Oscar fabricated, that Oscar would beat him,” Sutton pointed out. “A human simply can’t beat a robotic expert.”

Simak’s early sci-fi reference of robots or computers being unbeatable at chess occurred four decades before futurist Ray Kurzweil predicted in The Age of Intelligent Machines that a computer would beat the best human chess players by 2000. In 1997, sure enough, IBM’s “Deep Blue” beat Garry Kasparov .

18. iPad: Arthur C. Clarke, 1968

18 newspad us vs them

“When he tired of official reports and memoranda and minutes, he would plug in his foolscap-size newspad into the ship’s information circuit and scan the latest reports from Earth. One by one he would conjure up the world’s major electronic papers…Switching to the display unit’s short-term memory, he would hold the front page while he quickly searched the headlines and noted the items that interested him. Each had its own two-digit reference; when he punched that, the postage-stamp-size rectangle would expand until it neatly filled the screen and he could read it with comfort. When he had finished, he would flash back to the complete page and select a new subject for detailed examination…”

19. Electric cars: John Brunner, 1969

Perhaps one of the most prophetic novels ever , John Brunner’s novel Stand on Zanzibar , set in 2010, creates an America under the leadership of President Obomi, plagued by school shootings and terrorist attacks. The EU is in existence, major cities like Detroit become impoverished, tobacco faces backlash but marijuana is decriminalised, and gay and bisexual lifestyles have gone mainstream. The inventions used in society include on-demand TV, laser printers, and electric cars. Brunner believed these cars would be powered by rechargeable electric fuel cells, much as they are today, and that Honda would be a leading manufacturer. Recently, Honda has affirmed that its electric vehicles are a “core technology” .

20. Real-time translation: Douglas Adams, 1979

The amusing little Babel Fish in Adams’ renowned The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy brings real-time translation to Arthur Dent and his fellow characters. Several apps now on the market for Android or iOS mimic the Babel Fish’s abilities. One of these apps is Lexifone , which translates from one language to another when someone speaks during a call. Microsoft has also been developing real-time translation for Skype .

21. The ubiquity of the World Wide Web: David Brin, 1990

21. world wide web SEO

The ongoing role of sci-fi

As futurist Ross Dawson has observed , “Fiction about the future whets our appetite for new technologies. It is how we discover what it is we truly want, driving new developments.”

As the pace of change continues to increase, a statement by s cientist and sci-fi author Isaac Asimov rings truer than ever: “It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be.”

Science fiction writers foresee the inevitable. They inspire us to turn fiction into reality, but they also remind us to reflect on the consequences of our actions and remember what is most important to humanity.

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science fiction writers predictions that came true

13 Times Science Fiction Predicted the Technology We Have Today

Science fiction as a genre is recognized for its frequent inclusion of futuristic technologies, both fantastical and scientifically plausible. Sometimes, these technologies that authors and directors envision can move from the realm of impossibility and become a reality. With the advancement of technology, many predictions have turned out to be right — in some cases, eerily so. A surprising number of everyday items and modern knowledge were once just fictional ideas; here’s a look at some science fiction predictions that came true.

1. FaceTime

The 1968 movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” was an ambitious and groundbreaking film that exposed the world to technological ideas that seemed unthinkable at the time. The plot is centered around an artifact that connects past and future events and is based on a short story by Arthur C. Clake , a renowned science fiction writer. When it was released in 1968, there was no such thing as video calling. There are many absurd technologies in the film, but many of them were eventually invented, specifically FaceTime. One of the people on the space station video calls their family down on Earth in the movie, foreshadowing astronauts in the 21st century.

2. Moon Landing

Long before Neil Armstrong voiced his famous line as he set foot on the Moon, Jules Verne wrote the novel “From Earth to the Moon” in 1865. Throughout history, countless individuals have gazed at the moon and fantasized about visiting it. What made Verne’s science fiction story distinct was that he envisioned a spacecraft shaped similarly to Apollo 11 . Also, ironically, both Verne’s characters and the Apollo program launched from Florida.

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3. Mobile Phones and Tablets

Of all the things listed here, phones and tablets are among the most widespread today. The original “Star Trek” featuring William Shatner includes handheld mobile phones without cords, and in “2001: A Space Odyssey,” the characters use tablets. It wouldn’t be until decades later that the first phones and tablets would debut.

4. The Internet

Yes, the highly popular, addicting and life-essential tool called the internet was foretold through science fiction and by an unexpected person. William Gibson’s 1984 novel, “Neuromancer,” written just before the internet’s dawn, predicts the World Wide Web among other technologies. Far before that, though, in 1898 Mark Twain wrote a short story about a concept similar to the internet. Imagine a world where his thought never came to fruition.

5. Antidepressants

Probably one of the most surprising things on this list is antidepressants. The science fiction novel that predicted using such drugs is Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” in 1932. The antidepressants we have now may differ in usage and effects, but Huxley can still be credited with thinking of them before they actually came to be.

6. Earphones

Ray Bradbury’s 1953 science fiction novel “Fahrenheit 451” depicts thumb-sized earphones called “seashells,” radically different from that era’s large, bulky headphones. Earphones like AirPods and Beats are now essential devices that most people cannot live without. Like mobile phones, small earbuds would seem like a foreseeable invention to modern readers, but it took another 50 years for the devices to first appear.

7. Self-Driving Cars

Self-driving cars have yet to reach the roads unassisted and unmonitored. However, there are plenty of artificial intelligence devices and features in cars that automate driving. Many companies are still working on perfecting self-driving vehicles, and in practice, they are a (albeit imperfect) reality. A few science fiction sources foresaw this invention long before it arrived: Issac Asimov , for example, predicted vehicles with “robot brains” in 1964. Also, the 1990 movie “Total Recall” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger features self-driving cars.

8. Transplants

In 1818, author Mary Shelley predicted technology capable of organ transplants that could cure death. Her novel “Frankenstein” is widely considered the first recognizable science fiction story, and it contains many elements that present futuristic technologies, one of them being the organ transplant.

9. Credit Cards

Yet another tool people use daily is credit cards. Concepts from Edward Bellamy’s 1887 novel, “Looking Backward,” and later George Orwell’s “1984” in 1949 are comparable to them. The widespread usage of credit cards didn’t come until the second half of the 20th century.

10. Genetic Engineering

Charles Darwin wrote about “descent with modification” during the 1800s, and Gregor Mendel did a rudimentary form of genetic engineering with pea plants in the same century. Still, the type of genetic engineering done in the 21st century is more complicated, and humans can now be genetically altered. Science fiction used human genetic modification as a plot device before CRISPR and other technologies ever surfaced. “Brave New World” also depicts a world where humans are genetically altered to fit classes.

11. Atomic Bomb

Perhaps the most terrifying science fiction prediction to become a reality is the atomic bomb. Before World War II, such weapons were theorized but never put to the test. However, an author speculated on bombs of similar magnitudes and composition well before then. H.G. Wells , another big name in science fiction, wrote about nuclear fallout and the devastating effects atomic weapons could have in 1914. His novel “The World Set Free” includes a uranium-based bomb deployed via plane, eerily similar to the real-life American bombs dropped on Japan during the war.

12. 3D Printers

A more modern piece of machinery, 3D printers, existed in science fiction before they ever hit the drawing board or market. In the 1990 film “Darkman,” a 3D printer is used to fix the hero’s disfigured face. Simultaneously, “Star Trek: The Original Series” presented a slightly different kind of printing where food and items could be atomically created in a replicator. While today’s commercialized 3D printers can’t replicate food just yet, some can print biological material.

13. Virtual Reality

The 1992 film “Lawnmower Man” imagined virtual reality devices and headsets pivotal to the movie. The headsets were similar to those seen today. Another author who theorized that the future could contain computer-generated realities was Philip K. Dick in a 1977 conference . He also talked about a world akin to the movie “The Matrix.” Amid all these predictions that have come true, let’s hope that particular thought of his stays a thought.

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Brave New World
  • credit cards
  • moon landing
  • science fiction
  • self-driving cars
  • virtual reality

Joseph Gorzka III, University of Virginia

Writer profile, joseph gorzka iii, university of virginia english and east asian studies.

A student at the University of Virginia, an avid reader and a dabbler in the writing arts.

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Future shock: 11 real-life technologies that science fiction predicted.

Truth can be stranger than fiction, yes, but what about science fiction? Some of the most outlandish scenarios imagined by writers of films, TV shows, and books have come true, and they were actually inspired by science fiction. In fact, without writers to imagine them, digital technologies such as video chatting, cell phones and tablets, drones, and robots might not even exist.

Science fiction predicted credit cards, television and the 1969 lunar landing. Bionic limbs, military tanks, antidepressants and submarines emerged from sci-fi, too. Even the concept of the internet originated in a book published more than 30 years ago: “ Neuromancer ” by the author William Gibson, who coined the term word “cyberspace” and defined it (quite presciently) as “a consensual hallucination.” Gibson, who has been hailed as a modern-day Nostradamus , also foretold reality TV and nanotechnology, among other marvels.

Some science fiction predictions have been dystopic, like the villainous computer HAL 9000 in the Stanley Kubrick film “ 2001: A Space Odyssey .” More than 50 years after the film’s 1968 debut, HAL 9000 continues to serve as a warning of the malign potential of artificial intelligence.

Many other predictions, however, have pointed to tech’s potential for enriching and enhancing our lives. From the hologram table in George Lucas’s “ Star Wars “ (1977) to video chats and flying cars in the 1960s TV show “The Jetsons , ” so many modern-day digital wonders and wannabes were first imagined by — and inspired by — people who weren’t scientists at all, but writers.

Who knows what the future might hold? Science fiction writers do, it seems. The rest is up to science—enabled by advances in technology.

Imagining the Future

Military tanks, computing tablets, submarines, bionic limbs, psychotropic medications: The list of science fiction predictions is long enough to fill a book—and in fact, entire books have been written on this subject. But to foresee digital technologies before computers even existed? How impressive is that?

The connection of sci-fi to technology is far from coincidental, it turns out. Researchers find inspiration in the books, TV shows, and movies that imagine the future. According to one study , science fiction writers often consult with scientists, and what they write influences tech research and provides ideas in a number of ways:

  • Modifications to, or extensions of, the human body
  • Human-computer interactions
  • Human-robot interactions
  • Artificial intelligence

If you enjoy any of these 11 technologies, be sure to thank a science fiction writer!

  • Mobile phones: The TV show “Star Trek” debuted a flip phone, the communicator, in 1966. Thirty years later, Motorola launched the first mobile flip phone, which, in a nod to the series, it dubbed the StarTAC . Interestingly, the creators of “Star Trek” also gave crew members the tricorder , a hand-held device that gathered and stored data from the planets Captain Kirk and his crew visited. Had the creators thought to combine the two, they might have prefigured the smartphone.
  • 3D holograms: Perhaps inspired by the “Star Wars” scene in which the robot R2D2 projects a holographic image of Princess Leia asking Obi-Wan Kenobi for help,researchers have been busily working to bring this technology to life. Now, holography is offered in a number of applications, and in 2019, it will bring rock-and-roll icons Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison “back to life” in concert, backed by live musicians.
  • 3D food printing: The eponymous family in the animated TV show “The Jetsons” had a home food machine that produced full meals. “Star Trek” had the replicator, which could print food literally from thin air in mere seconds. Now, Columbia University has created 3D printing technology that can produce entire cooked meals from prepared ingredients rather than from molecules — although that technology is in the works as well. And for dessert, the race is on to invent the ultimate chocolate printer .
  • Domestic robots: Czech author Karel Čapek coined the term “robot” in 1920 in his famous science fiction play, “ R.U.R (Rossum’s Universal Robots). ” The word stems from “robotnik,” the Czech word for “forced worker.” In “Helen O’Loy,” Lester del Rey’s 1938 story, two men invent Helen, a robot domestic servant, and fall in love with it. And Philip K. Dick’s 1955 short story “Nanny” features a robot that takes care of children so well that the family it serves resists attempts to convince it to upgrade to a newer model. (Spoiler alert: Disaster ensues.) But the most widely known robot servant in science fiction is probably the Jetsons’Rosie, with its ever-present feather duster in hand and funny brrp-bing! punctuations when speaking. Today, we have disc-shaped robotic floor cleaners, said to do their job very well, but no multitasking, artificially intelligent robots serve our households yet. Researchers say the technology is in development, possibly available commercially in about a decade .
  • Autonomous cars: Cars with “robot brains” would be a central feature of the 2014 World’s Fair, science fiction writer Isaac Asimov predicted in The New York Times in 1964. "Much effort will be put into the designing of vehicles with 'robot-brains' – vehicles that can be set for particular destinations and that will then proceed there without interference by the slow reflexes of a human driver," Asimov wrote. James Bond movies, too, envision automobiles that drive themselves with a modicum of human intervention. Sitting in the backseat of his BMW 750IL, agent 007 controls the car using his phone in 1997’s “Tomorrow Never Dies.” In fact, Bond always has the coolest ride around , with lots of features we’re seeing today and will likely see tomorrow. A number of automakers and some tech companies are developing fully autonomous vehicles with an eye toward getting them on the road by 2025 .
  • Flying cars: The fastest way to get from Point A to Point B is to travel as the crow flies — in a line. Earth’s hilly, watery terrain makes that straight shot impossible much of the time, slowing us down. Is it any wonder that science fiction takes us to the skies ? Flying cars made an early appearance Bond creator Ian Fleming’s 1964 novel (and subsequent 1968 film) “Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car.” Fleming reportedly based his children’s tale on the real-life Chitty Bang Bang cars designed by Count Louis Vorow Zborowski, a British race car driver and automobile engineer. The real-life Chitties didn’t fly, but the final car in the series, Chitty 4 (rechristened “Babs”), did break the land-speed record in 1926 at 171 mph. The current record , set in 2018, is 448.757 mph—but who knows how fast flying cars will travel? “ Autonomous urban aircraft ” is under development privately as well as by the military and NASA. These flying vehicles, capable of carrying at least one human and therefore not considered drones, are predicted for common use by 2040 .
  • Drones: Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel “Dune” envisions a tiny “hunter seeker” assassin drone , and autonomous flying vehicles are everywhere in Star Wars . In fact, a number of sci-fi books and movies depict drones long before they were in actual use, first for military purposes in the last few decades, and more recently, for commercial and recreational purposes. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration reportedly issued its first commercial drone permit in 2006 and gave out 16 over the next eight years. Then, interest literally skyrocketed after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ 2013 announcement that the company was considering using drones to deliver packages. Then in 2018, the agency issued 100,000 remote pilot certificates , required to fly a drone. Uses for drones have grown accordingly , including aerial photography, emergency response and agricultural precision crop monitoring. And, as predicted in Raymond Z. Gallun’s 1936 short story “The Scarab” and popularized by the TV series “Black Mirror,” robo-bees may someday help pollinate our food crops: Wal-Mart filed a patent application in 2018 for tiny drones that can detect and spread pollen.
  • Virtual reality: Credit goes to Stanley G. Weinbaum’s 1935 story “ Pygmalion’s Spectacles ” for portending VR, complete with goggles. Steven Lisberger’s 1982 film “Tron” also imagines entering a digital world, and Neal Stephenson’s 1992 novel “Snow Crash” describes VR in a way that rings familiar today: “Through the use of electronic mirrors inside the computer, this beam is made to sweep back and forth across the lenses of Hiro’s goggles, in much the same way as the electron beam in a television paints the inner surface of the eponymous Tube. The resulting image hands in space in front of Hiro’s view of Reality…. So Hiro’s not actually here at all. He’s in a computer-generated universe that’s drawing onto his goggles and pumping into his earphones. ” Today’s VR looks very much as these writers imagined it, offering escape into alternative worlds by means of goggles that provide immersive 3D images and sound. Haptic gloves allow us to experience touch in our alternative universe, and researchers are working to bring flavors and aromas to the experience as well.
  • Smart watches: Fans of the comic strip “Dick Tracy” glimpsed the future in 1946 when creator Chester Gould gave his police detective a two-way wrist radio . In 1964, Gould added video, a feature that smart watches don’t sport today but that seems inevitable. Perhaps Gould’s inspiration for the video watch came from “The Jetsons , ” in which boy Elroy Jetson, in 1962, used his watch to view “The Flintstones,” another animated series produced by the same company, and to make and receive calls.
  • Video calls: With the use of Zoom; Facetime; WeChat in China; and other video-chat apps for business meetings and personal calls — video callers globally spend 340 million minutes daily on WhatsApp alone — it’s difficult to imagine how wondrous (and impossible) this technology seemed not too long ago. Seeing the face of the person you’re speaking with on the phone has long been the stuff of science fiction, starting with the 1911 novel “Ralph 124C 41+: A Romance of the Year 2660” by Luxembourgish-American writer Hugo Gernsback, which featured a video-conferencing device called the “telephot.” The German film “Metropolis,” made in 1927, depicted a wall-mounted videophone, as did “2001: A Space Odyssey.”
  • Ear buds: Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel “Fahrenheit 451” envisions seashells and thimble radios tucked into people’s ears, as well as Bluetooth-like headsets, producing "an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk and music and talk, coming in on the shore of [your] unsleeping mind.” How does that not sound like wireless ear buds? Some predict that speech recognition, powered by machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence) will replace typing on keyboards or keypads altogether . Some predict that the market for the technology will grow nearly threefold by 2024, to $21.5 billion (up from $7.5 billion in 2018).

Dreams Come True Via Memory and Processing

For these technologies to work, they need ample memory, storage and superfast processing capabilities. Virtual reality, for instance, must process vast amounts of data at the speed of thought without dropping frames, which causes motion sickness. Artificial intelligence, which drives nearly every technology on our list, needs to “think” as fast as we do, or we won’t consider it intelligent at all—a capability that 5G technology will enable.

Micron is meeting the challenges of tomorrow’s technologies with solutions capable of storing more and more data in increasingly smaller spaces and moving it more quickly to computer processors. These include high-bandwidth GDDR6 graphics memory, developed for video gaming but used in many diverse applications; fast DRAM; high-density NAND flash memory; and our lightning-quick solid-state drives.

What’s next among sci-fi inspired technologies? Time travel à la Spanish director Nacho Vigalondo’s “Timecrimes” or H.G. Wells’s “ The Time Machine ” ? A “beam me up” teleporter like the one used in “Star Trek”? An invisibility cloak like Harry Potter wears in the J. K. Rowling series? Voyages to other planets or even solar systems?

These technologies and others have yet to emerge — but if they do, chances are they’ll use Micron products. Now and in the future, Micron continually pushes our hardware to be the best, leading the pack in memory and storage solutions and paving the way for tomorrow’s science fiction predictions.

The films, TV shows, books, and plays mentioned in this article are the artistic works of their creators. Micron has no tie to their creation. The views and opinions expressed in those works do not reflect those of Micron Technology. Mention of these works are for reference only and does not imply a promotion or endorsement from Micron.

In order of appearance: “Necromancer,” William Gibson, 1984

“2001: A Space Odyssey,” MGM, 1968

“Star Wars,” Lucasfilm, 1977

“The Jetsons,” Hanna-Barbera, 1962-1962, 1985-1987)

“Star Trek,” Gene Roddenberry, 1966-1969

“Roy Orbison & Buddy Holly: The Rock ‘N’ Roll Dream Tour,” Base Hologram, 2019

“R.U.R. (Rossum’s Universal Robots),” Karel Č apek, 1921

“Helen O’Loy,” Lester del Rey, 1938

“Nanny,” Philip K. Dick, 1955

“Tomorrow Never Dies,” MGM/United International Pictures, 1997

“Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car,” Ian Fleming, 1964-1965 (3 volumes)

“Chitty Chitty Bang Bang,” United Artists Pictures, 1968

“Dune,” Frank Herbert, 1965

“The Scarab,” Raymond Z. Gallun, 1936

“Black Mirror,” Channel 4, 2011-2014; Netflix, 2016-present

“Pygmalion’s Spectacles,” Stanley G. Weinbaum, 1935

"Tron," Lisberger-Kushner Productions, 1982

"Snow Crash," Neal Stephenson, 1992

"Dick Tracy," Chester Gould, 1931-1972; Various illustrators, 1972-present

"The Flintstones," Hanna-Barbera, 1960-1966

"Ralph 124C 41+ : A Romance of the Year 2660,"Hugo Gernsback, 1911

"Metropolis," UFA, 1927

"Fahrenheit 451," Ray Bradbury, 1953

"Her," Annapuma Pictures, 2013

“Timecrimes,” Karbo Vantas Entertainment, Zip Films, Fine Productions, Arsenico PC, 2007

"The Time Machine," H. G. Wells, 1895

Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling, 1997-2007

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The many futuristic predictions of h.g. wells that came true.

Born 150 years ago, H.G. Wells predicted, and inspired, inventions from the laser to email

Brian Handwerk

Science Correspondent

HG Wells Poster

Science fiction pioneer H.G. Wells conjured some futuristic visions that haven't (yet) come true: a machine that travels back in time, a man who turns invisible, and a Martian invasion that destroys southern England.

But for a man born 150 years ago, many of Wells's other predictions about the modern world have proven amazingly prescient.

Wells, born in 1866, was trained as a scientist, a rarity among his literary contemporaries, and was perhaps the most important figure in the genre that would become science fiction.

Writers in this tradition have a history not just of imagining the future as is might be, but of inspiring others to make it a reality. In 2012, published a top ten list of inventions inspired by sci-fi, ranging from Robert H. Goddard's liquid-fuelled rocket to the cell phone .

“Wells's was an imagination in a hurry, he wanted to get to the future sooner than it was going to happen. That's why he's so predictive in his writing,” explains Simon James , head of the English Studies department at Durham University and the editor of the official journal of the H.G. Wells society .

Wells’s ideas have also endured because he was a standout storyteller, James adds. No less a writer than Joseph Conrad agreed. “I am always powerfully impressed by your work. Impressed is the word, O Realist of the Fantastic!” he wrote Wells after reading The Invisible Man .

Here are some of the incredible H.G. Wells predictions that have come true, as well as some that haven't—at least not yet.

Phones, Email, and Television

In Men Like Gods (1923), Wells invites readers to a futuristic utopia that's essentially Earth after thousands of years of progress. In this alternate reality, people communicate exclusively with wireless systems that employ a kind of co-mingling of voicemail and email-like properties.

“For in Utopia, except by previous arrangement, people do not talk together on the telephone,” he writes. “A message is sent to the station of the district in which the recipient is known to be, and there it waits until he chooses to tap his accumulated messages. And any that one wishes to repeat can be repeated. Then he talks back to the senders and dispatches any other messages he wishes. The transmission is wireless.”

Wells also imagined forms of future entertainment. In When the Sleeper Wakes (1899), the protagonist rouses from two centuries of slumber to a dystopian London in which citizens use wondrous forms of technology like the audio book, airplane and television—yet suffer systematic oppression and social injustice. 

Genetic Engineering

Visitors to The Island of Dr. Moreau (1896) were confronted with a menagerie of bizarre creatures including Leopard-Man and Fox-Bear Witch, created by the titular madman doctor in human-animal hybrid experiments that may presage the age of genetic engineering.

Though Moreau created his Frankenbeasts through more crude techniques, like surgical transplants and blood transfusions, the theme of humans playing God by tinkering with nature has become a reality. Scientists are working towards the day when a nimal organs could serve as long-term transplants for human patients , though today human immune systems still ultimately reject such efforts. And controversial experiments known as chimera studies create human-animal hybrids by adding human stem cells to animal embryos.

Notably, the human-animal hybrids Moreau creates eventually do the doctor in, and that ending echoes another common Wells theme. “It's often a warning about the consequences of technology, in particular when you don't think them through properly,” explains James. 

Lasers and Directed Energy Weapons

Martians in The War of the Worlds (1898) unleash what Wells called a Heat-Ray, a super weapon capable of incinerating helpless humans with a noiseless flash of light. It would be more than six decades before Theodore Maiman fired up the first operational laser at California's Hughes Research Laboratory on May 16, 1960, but military thinkers had been hoping to weaponize the conceptual laser even before it was even proven practical .

Wells's description isn't accurate enough to build a working laser, but it resembles both that device and other “directed energy” weapons, such as those using microwaves, electromagnetic radiation, and radio or sound waves, which the United States and other militaries have developed in recent years .

“Many think that in some way [the Martians] are able to generate an intense heat in a chamber of practically absolute non-conductivity. This intense heat they project in a parallel beam against any object they choose, by means of a polished parabolic mirror of unknown composition, much as the parabolic mirror of a lighthouse projects a beam of light,” Wells wrote.

Typically, Wells was more interested in what the effects of his future ideas might be, rather than working out the technical details, James stresses.

“He'll kind of take one element of scientific understanding of the world and tweak it. So in The Time Machine , if you think of time as the fourth dimension, what if you could travel in time as freely as in the other three? Or, in The First Men in the Moon , what if you could make a material [Wells called it Cavorite] as impervious to gravity as other materials are impervious to heat? You just take that one thing, and see what follows from it,” James explains.

(Today's leading science fiction authors still use this technique while at work shaping the future of tomorrow . In fact, some companies commission “design fiction” to see how innovative ideas might work if they become fact in the future. “There is nothing weird about a company doing this—commissioning a story about people using a technology to decide if the technology is worth following through on,” says novelist Cory Doctorow, whose clients have included Disney and Tesco. “It’s like an architect creating a virtual fly-through of a building.” )

Atomic Bombs & Nuclear Proliferation

Wells reveled in the potential benefits of technology but also feared their dark side. “H.G. Wells was probably the writer who saw most clearly in the early 20th century the possibility of total war,” says Eleanor Courtemanche of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (A new physical and online exhibition there shows off an extensive Wells collection .)

Wells recognized the world-changing destructive power that might be harnessed by splitting the atom. The atomic bombs he introduces in The World Set Free (1913) fuel a war so devastating that its survivors are moved to create a unified world government to avoid future conflicts.

Wells's bombs differed from those actually developed by scientists with the Manhattan Project. They exploded continually, for days, weeks or months depending upon their size, as the elements in them furiously radiated energy during their degeneration and in the process created mini-volcanoes of death and destruction.

Wells also clearly saw the dangers of nuclear proliferation, and the doomsday scenarios that might arise both when nations were capable of “mutually assured destruction” and when non-state actors or terrorists got into the fray.

“Destruction was becoming so facile that any little body of malcontents could use it; it was revolutionizing the problems of police and internal rule. Before the last war began it was a matter of common knowledge that a man could carry about in a handbag an amount of latent energy sufficient to wreck half a city,” he wrote. 

Where Wells Was Wrong—At Least So Far

Wells rejected the idea that the future is unknowable, writes esteemed science fiction writer James Gunn , who also helped to pioneer university study of science fiction.

“He believed that it was possible, through the use of what he first called "inductive history" and later "Human Ecology" (defined as the working out of "biological, intellectual, and economic consequences"), to chart the possibilities of the future and to push people into making sensible use of those possibilities. He was the first futurologist, the man who invented tomorrow,” wrote Gunn in The Science of Science-Fiction Writing , published in 2000.

But Wells did have other big ideas that haven't come to fruition, though of course there's always the chance that his vision extended farther into the future than our own time. As of this writing we've not been invaded by Martians. Human invisibility also remains elusive—though science is making progress in that direction . The time machine, an invention introduced in a 1895 novella, hasn't been worked out either.

Perhaps the biggest disappointment to Wells was the failure of his idealized political vision, a world government, which he described in A Modern Utopia (1905)

Wells was a committed socialist who hoped that a global “New Republic” would assure peace in perpetuity. Wells, who died in 1946, lived long enough to learn that this imagined future wasn't likely to ever come true, so he took a very active role in fostering international cooperation wherever he could.

“After World War II broke out, it was another slap in the face to the idea of a world state ever coming off,” James says, “so Wells started a campaign for universal human rights. I believe it was Wells writing letters to The Times that started the process that eventually led to the United Nations declaration of world rights in 1947.” Wells also laid out his vision in The Rights of Man (1940), and his draft declarations on the topic were used to help write the formal UN document. 

Courtemanche adds that Wells's idea of world government, while never reaching his Utopian ideal, actually did come to fruition in at least some small ways.

“Think of all the international agencies that sprang up after WWII in hopes that some kind of international framework would keep world war from happening again,” she notes. “Bretton Woods, the IMF, NATO, the European Union -- none of these were truly global, but they were definitely steps toward the more peaceful and organized world society that Wells envisioned.”

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Brian Handwerk is a science correspondent based in Amherst, New Hampshire.

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Jason CranfordTeague

Top 10 Things Science Fiction Promised Us That Didn't Happen in 2010

The Jetsons

Science fiction makes a lot of predictions about the future — that's really the point, isn't it? The best science fiction looks at the future, trying to see where we are headed and what it will be like when we get there. Some authors are so good at this it seems as though they actually are able to peer into the future (even if only through a scanner darkly ) and tell stories of what is to come. But even the best sci-fi has, over the years, gotten a lot wrong about what was the future when it was written.

2010 is almost over, and I thought it would be an appropriate time to look at a few things that were supposed to happen (or have happened) by this year, but didn't.

Flying Cars — This is a popular one to gripe about, but I've got bad news for you: it ain't ever gonna happen. It's not that flying cars are technically impossible, but they are socially impossible. I have little doubt that if our best and brightest applied themselves to the task, we could mass-produce personal travel devices that would allow us to rise off the ground and zoom through the air just like George Jetson . But imagine a world where the millions of cars on the road are replaced by millions of flying cars, or, should I say, millions of potential flying bombs. Even if we were to create some system that automatically forces cars to avoid buildings, how long before some moron with a beef against a particular government, philosophy, or just against sanity in general hacks that system and heads towards the closest sky scraper in a flying car packed with C4 explosive? No thanks, I'll stick to the ground.

A Moon Base — We were supposed to have Moon Base Alpha by 1999 , or at least by 2001 , but for sure by 2010. That didn't happen. What did happen in 2010 was some unmanned moon landings (deliberate crashes, really) that provided new evidence that it might be technically possible and financially rewarding one-day to establish a permanent (but small) outpost on our lonely satellite. Well, I guess that's something. The goalpost for a working Moon base has now been pushed all the way to 2069, according to a recent design challenge from Shift Boston . I'll be 101 years old in 2069, so I just hope we have anti-aging pills soon.

Anti-Aging Pills — Although you can not yet pop a pill and stay 36 forever, the possibility of arresting or reversing aging is looking promising. New advances in unlikely places such as nano-technology are pointing to ways that we might ingest little robots that rebuild our systems from within . But nano-bots are also the bane of a lot of sci-fi stories, turning the world into a mass of gray goo.

Trips to Jupiter — Zooming off to planets far was a staple of 1950s sci-fi. What's changed in the nearly-50 years since Yuri Gagarin took the first off-planet jaunt is that we learned space is a really inhospitable climate. No air, no water, no heat, no gravity and no magnetosphere leads to dead humans. And recreating all of this in a portable format has proven far more elusive than the dreamers of the golden-age of sci-fi first thought. Even the more realistic versions shown in 2001: A Space Odyssey and its sequel 2010: Odyssey Two may be centuries away.

Nuclear Holocaust — OK, so it's a good thing this one didn't happen, obviously, but when I was a child in the 1970s, it seemed like a high probability. Growing up with the specter of MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction, for anyone too young to remember it) looming over you was a way of life that we hoped no one was mad enough to test. The made-for-TV movie The Day After scared the hell out of me when I was a teen. But no one would have guessed in 1980 that by the end of the decade the Soviet Union would no longer exist. The nuclear threat may not have disappeared with it; however, the constant specter of nuclear holocaust has, if not disappeared, at least become less of a daily concern.

Virtual Reality — Sure, we have Second Life, World of Warcraft and Toy Story 3D, but the truly immersive user interface that is virtual reality is still just a dream. There's some promising work being done with wearable computing, but its still a long way from being able to jack your cranium straight into the net as in Neuromancer , or even hacking your optic nerve with VR goggles as in Snow Crash .

AI Robot Butlers & Self-Driving Cars — I want my piña colada served to me on the veranda at the perfect temperature by a slave robot . I want to be chauffeured around the city at night in my high speed luxury electric car while it reads to me the news of the day customized to my unique interests. I want all of this and I want it all guilt free. Oh sure, I can get a Roomba to vacuum my house or a Lexus which can park itself, but that's not really the same thing, is it?

Computer Overlords — On the up side, none of the non-existent robot butlers and self-aware cars have risen up to overthrow their human oppressors and imprison them in The Matrix . We'll call this one and #7 even.

Commercial Supersonic Air Travel — We actually had this mode of travel, but lost it in 2003 with the last flight of the Concorde (although we did get a very funny semi-eponymous TV show ). There is some movement to bring back supersonic commercial flights, but I suspect you'll be buying tickets to Moon Base Alpha before you are buying supersonic airplane tickets again.

Cheap, Clean, and Unlimited Energy — Nikola Tesla's dream of free and unlimited electricity seems even more impossible today than when he first proposed it in the early 20th century. Many of the wars on this small blue marble we call home are in large or small part over energy resources. Global climate change is intrinsically linked to the ways in which we produce energy. Whether it's gas for your car or electricity for your house, we all spend a lot of money on energy. A limitless, non-polluting, inexpensive (or even free) energy source could completely transform humanity, taking us out of the energy dark age we live in now, and leading to a true peace on Earth and good will between all mankind. That's my wintertime wish for the future. Do you have one?

Later this week : 10 for '10: 10 things sci-fi promised that DID happen in (or by) 2010.

Jason Cranford Teague is a writer, speaker, and the Director of UX for Forum One who still wears his 12 foot long Doctor Who scarf to work. He lives near Washington, DC with his 2 kids, 2 cats, but just the one wife.

Follow Jason on @jasonspeaking and @fluidwebtype .

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science fiction writers predictions that came true

Science fiction predictions that have come true

It can be overwhelming to think about it, but we are living in the future about which so many science fiction books and movies have talked over the years.

On many occasions, authors and filmmakers did a decent job predicting what the future would hold, at least when speaking about technology. 

Could we consider the magic mirror of ‘Beauty and the beast’ as a predecessor of FaceTime and Skype of the eighteenth century?

However, as science fiction became a genre and authors developed serious scientific knowledge and a great interest in technology, the fictional versions of the future began to be more precise.

Various authors and filmmakers collaborated or tested their theories with scientists, making their work more accurate and sometimes prophetic.

Total body scanners that are now common at the US airports have been mentioned in the 1990 movie ‘Total Recall’.

In the book ‘Gulliver's Travels’, published in 1735, Jonathan Swift predicted that Mars has two moons based on the astronomer Johannes Kepler’s hypothesis which was raised in the early seventeenth century.

One hundred and fifty years later, Phobos and Deimos satellites were discovered, since the optics available back then didn’t allow to see celestial bodies so small and so close to the planets.

In his ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’ book, published in 1879, Julio Verne devised a huge electric submarine called Nautilus.

It was a type of marine transport that wasn’t invented until 1960, although it is true that in 1800 there were already prototypes that could have inspired the French writer, who was interested in both science and reading.

In Edward Bellamy’s novel ‘Looking Backward’, citizens from the future carry a card that allows them to consume without using printed money.

The credit card was invented in the year 1950, and is already being replaced by payment through mobile devices.

H.G. Wells predicted the creation of war tanks in his short story "The Land Ironclads" which appeared in 1903.

He also coined for the first time in history the expression ‘atomic bomb’ in his novel ‘The World Set Free’, in which he warned of the devastation that this massive destruction weapon would cause 30 years before it was used in Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

In his book ‘Ralph 124C 41+’, Hugo Gernsback mentioned a device called “telephot”, which allowed people to see each other while talking from long distances; a precursor to the current Skype.

Written in 1914, the novel also introduces the concept of radar, literally described as "a wave of pulsating polarised ether that is reflected in metallic objects and returns to the emitter, thus allowing to calculate the position and distance."

In his book ‘1984’, George Orwell establishes a multitude of parallels between a fictional totalitarian and repressive society and that of today.

The novel, published in the mid-twentieth century, recreates a world in which communication is limited in order to prevent conspiracies against the government.

JG Ballard wrote an essay, in 1977, that turned out to be surprisingly prophetic, especially with regard to social networks, as this fragment shows:

"Each of our actions during the day, throughout the entire spectrum of everyday life, will be instantly recorded on video. At night we will sit down to see the images, selected by a trained computer to choose just our best profiles, our most intelligent dialogues, our most affectionate expressions, captured through the friendliest filters, and then we will gather all this to have an improved reconstruction of our day.”

In the novel ‘2001: An Odyssey in Space’, Arthur C. Clarke discussed about a network of geo-synchronised satellites, which move around the Earth at the same speed, remaining in the same position and thus allowing global communication.

In 1920, Hermann Oberth wrote about a similar idea, but Clarke's exact description is closer to the technology of communications satellites, which were put into orbit for the first time 15 years after the publication of his book.

Aldous Huxley foreshadowed the antidepressants in his novel ‘A happy world’, published in 1932.

In modern medicine, antidepressants were not considered or studied until 1950.

The characters in the book have a drug called Soma, which "raises an impenetrable wall between the real world and the mind of its users.”

The prolific writer also predicted the development of genetic engineering.

In ‘Farenheit 451’, Ray Bradbury describes a particular microphone headset that allows individuals to talk to each other.

Neither current telephone handsets nor Bluetooth communication was marketed until 2001.

In his first work, ‘Neuromancer, released in 1984, William Gibson mentioned the term ‘cyberspace’ and predicted the Internet phenomenon and virtual reality.

In the ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ movie, there is a scene in which astronauts watch/read from a pair of flat-screen tablets.

Not only is the tablet concept perfect, but the design is exactly the same as the ones we already use every day. Don’t these devices look like iPads?

The strange food bars that the poorest occupants of the train are forced to eat in the movie ‘Snowpiercer’ (2013), are precisely protein bars made with crushed insects, specifically cockroaches.

There are currently some protein bars derived from insects, such as Exo Bars, made from cricket flour.

This trend is likely to go further, since insects are a great source of protein with a relatively small impact on the environment, while Chirps, which are nachos made with crickets, are also becoming very popular.

Snowpiercer is a science fiction film is based on the 1982 novel Le Transperceneige.

Although the movie ‘Total Recall’ portrays a rather exaggerated view of the future, one of the technologies presented was very accurate.

The characters in the movie often use Johnny Cabs, which taxis are driven by automated drivers who control the vehicle. Although self-driving cars are not yet on the roads, they will be soon.

Movie ‘Short Circuit’, released in 1986 film predicts the development of autonomous military robots called SAINT (Strategic Artificially Intelligent Nuclear Transport).

Although we may be still far from having a Johnny No. 5 in our ranks, we do have unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) which operates while in contact with the ground.

The second movie of the ‘Back to the Future’ trilogy predicts the future use of virtual reality devices such as Oculus Rift.

Another of the technologies that are common nowadays are the hoverboards that fictional character Marty McFly uses when travelling to the future.


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9 predictions from old sci-fi movies that actually came true

  • We looked at some of the best sci-fi movies in history to see what kinds of predictions they made about technology and the world.
  • Many predictions are hilariously inaccurate, but some have proven eerily correct decades later.
  • Memorable movies like "Blade Runner," "The Terminator," and "2001: A Space Odyssey" predicted modern-day tech like military drones and cell phones.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .

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Not all science fiction films age well, and often the predictions they make are hilariously misguided.

1987's "The Running Man," for example, contended that in the year 2019, we'd be watching battle royale-style murder on live television.

2019 is also the year that "The Island" predicted human clones would be farmed like cattle for their organs — and that film hit theaters a mere 14 years ago.

But some classic sci-fi films made rock-solid predictions that proved eerily accurate decades later. Movies such as "Blade Runner," "The Terminator," and "2001: A Space Odyssey" are all worth revisiting for the modern-day technology they predicted.

Despite some great contenders from the last decade or two, we established the drinking age rule for this list: We looked only at movies that were 21 years or older (so tough break, 2002's "Minority Report").

Here are nine predictions from old sci-fi movies that actually came true.

Space travel — 'Le Voyage Dans La Lune,' 1902

science fiction writers predictions that came true

It's hard to make the case that any particular work of fiction predicted the general concept of space travel. Jules Verne may well have been the first person to write about it in any sort of modern, technological way with his 1865 novel "From the Earth to the Moon," but since then, countless films have featured travel to the moon or beyond.

Even so, " Le Voyage Dans La Lune " deserves special mention. With the movie camera barely 10 years old and the first cinema still three years away from a grand opening, French filmmaker Georges Méliès made a 13-minute, special effects-laden movie about explorers who travel to the moon in a cannon-propelled space capsule.

It's remarkable for many reasons. The subject matter is inventive, the visual effects are charming and downright iconic, and the conceit of firing a rocket out of a canon is not as far-fetched as it might seem to viewers accustomed to Space X launches.

In fact, the "space gun" — ballistically firing a satellite into orbit from the equivalent of a giant canon — has been explored for decades. In the 1960s, under the auspices of Project HARP, the Navy used a 100-caliber gun to fire 400-pound projectiles into suborbital trajectories that reached a height of 110 miles. So the idea, though impractical, is far from crazy.

No, we're unlikely to ever fire people into space from a canon. But "Le Voyage Dans La Lune" certainly ignited viewers' imaginations and paved the way for Neil Armstrong and Apollo 11.

Robots — 'Metropolis,' 1927

science fiction writers predictions that came true

Though relatively unknown to mainstream movie audiences, sci-fi fans will have no trouble recognizing the iconic 1927 film "Metropolis."

From the vantage point of 2019, this film isn't easy to watch, since it's a silent, black-and-white film that runs well over two hours. (Though if you're so inclined, you certainly can watch Metropolis in its entirety on YouTube .)

And Metropolis broke a lot of fresh ground, including the first on-screen depiction of robots. In the film, an inventor with an uncanny 1920's resemblance to Doc Brown crafted a metallic humanoid robot who is then "reskinned" to resemble Maria, a character in the film.

Today, we take the inevitability of robots — and even human-like androids in particular — for granted. But as novel as this was at the time, today we are virtually overrun with increasingly realistic androids.

In 2014, Japan saw the debut of " Kodomoroid ," a robot newscaster, and Osaka University's Professor Hiroshi Ishiguro has unveiled an android named Erica who is startlingly realistic. At the same time, robots like Boston Dynamics' Atlas and Honda's Asimo demonstrate that walking, running, opening doors, and even gymnastics are on the robot menu.

Earbuds — 'Fahrenheit 451,' 1966

science fiction writers predictions that came true

Ray Bradbury's iconic novel "Fahrenheit 451" has long been required reading for high schoolers everywhere, and François Truffaut tried his hand at making a film version in 1966.

Firemen never took on the role of starting fires, but that conceit wasn't intended to be taken as a prediction — it's a satirical parable. But there is a fascinating piece of technology in this film that sagely predicts the rise of earbuds and the modern earbud culture.

In "Fahrenheit 451," "seashells" are described as "thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind." In 1966, the most personal audio available was the transistor radio. And though headphones existed, they were large and bulky affairs. Bradbury and Truffaut envisioned a world with tiny, thimble-sized earbuds that played private audio — both music and talk.

It wouldn't be until 2001 and the first Apple iPod that people started wearing seashells, submersing themselves in music and podcasts just like the film depicted.

Skype — '2001: A Space Odyssey,' 1968

science fiction writers predictions that came true

The list of things that "2001: A Space Odyssey" predicted could probably fill an article all by itself, from tablet computers to space tourism.

But one element in the film stands out: Skype .

To be fair, no one in "2001" actually logs into the Microsoft-operated video chat service. But video calling is featured prominently in the movie, such as when Dr. Heywood Floyd calls his family from a space station orbiting the earth.

There's even more innovation in this scene: Floyd inserts what looks like a credit card in the videophone to start the call, predicting their eventual ubiquity — in the 1960s, credit cards weren't nearly as common as they are today.

And the two-minute call from space cost $1.70, thoguh we can't figure whether that's a bargain or not.

The tech world has had a 50-year love affair with the concept of videophones, and numerous efforts were made to make them a reality. The Picturephone was first demonstrated at the 1964 World's Fair, and it surfaced at retail again and again over the years — such as AT&T's 1982 Picturephone and the 1992 VideoPhone 2500 .

All were failures, but the internet, mobile broadband, and smartphones all conspired to eventually make video calling via apps like Skype and FaceTime everyday tools.

Mobile phones — 'Star Trek,' 1966

science fiction writers predictions that came true

Purists might consider this one a cheat, but we'd be remiss not to include "Star Trek" in the list, since it predicted more technology than Leonardo di Vinci's notebook.

Let's be clear: "Star Trek" started as a TV series in 1966, and its three-year initial run set the blueprint for the show's many technological predictions. But all of that eventually made its way to the big screen, starting with "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" in 1979, qualifying it for this list.

And when we say that "Star Trek" invented the modern mobile phone, we mean it. The show's pocket communicator with the flip-up grid antenna literally inspired Motorola engineer Martin Cooper to design the world's first mobile phone in 1973.

His prototype, which would eventually become the Motorola DynaTAC  was a veritable beast of a phone that weighed 2.5 pounds and had a 20-minute battery life. It took a decade to bring it to market, but 1983's DynaTAC started a revolution that led to ever smaller phones, flip phones, and eventually, smartphones.

Smart homes — 'Demon Seed,' 1977

science fiction writers predictions that came true

Some movie fans point to the goofy 1999 Disney film "Smart House" as the first major appearance of the Internet of Things and smart-home technology in a film. And admittedly, when the movie is actually called "Smart House," that's a little on the nose.

But you can go back further for the first example of a smart home in cinema: 1977's sci-fi-horror film "Demon Seed."

In "Demon Seed," a scientist develops Proteus IV, an artificially intelligent computer that starts off on a positive note by curing leukemia. But it quickly spirals out of control when the computer develops an unhealthy crush on its creator's wife, installs itself on a computer in their home, and takes control over all the technology and devices there.

The premise is terrible and the execution is pure 70's made-for-TV schlock, but what Proteus IV actually does is prescient — like a modern smart home, the computer can control lights, door and window locks, manages the home's alarm system, can show video of the front door like a smart doorbell, and even control devices like an automated swimming pool cover.

"Demon Seed" could easily be the blueprint for modern smart home technology from Philips Hue lights to Ring doorbells to Kevo smart locks, and dozens of other Internet of Things devices.

Flying cars — 'Blade Runner,' 1982

science fiction writers predictions that came true

Few sci-fi movies are as revered as Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner," a film that put cyberpunk and sci-fi noir on the big screen for the first time.

The movie goes big on audacious predictions for the year 2019, including snakes on the verge of extinction, fully humanlike androids, ceaseless rain in LA, and space colonies.

But the movie got a few things right, too. The pyramid-shaped LA skyline implies that the city's skyscrapers are no longer legally required to have helipads on the roof — something that changed for real in LA in 2014 — and the film also predicted the rise (no pun intended) of flying cars. An essential part of the "Blade Runner" universe is the Spinner, a flying car we see darting about the city.

Flying cars have been part of our "promised future" since the 1950s. And engineers have tried. Oh, how they've tried. Among the many attempts at flying cars, there has been the 1947 ConvAirCar Model 118 , little more than an auto with wings, and 1990's Sky Commuter from Boeing. And inventor Paul Moller spent his life developing various versions of his Sky Car , a reliable fixture in the back pages of pop science magazine for decades.

And while we don't have flying cars quite yet, they're definitely, at long last, coming. A number of companies are readying what are essentially "passenger drones" — electric powered, self-flying, vertical takeoff and landing vehicles that look like oversized drones.

And they can ferry passengers without the need for a pilot. Boeing, AirBus, and Chinese company eHang are all developing oversized drone flying taxi services, and some are just a couple of years (in theory) from operation, and Uber has already announced the first five cities that may start flying.

Military drones — 'The Terminator,' 1984

science fiction writers predictions that came true

James Cameron's sci-fi blockbuster "The Terminator" gave us a lot of reasons to lie awake at night — a self-aware computer that triggers nuclear Armageddon, relentless killbots, and Bill Paxton's spikey punk hair.

Mixed in with all that are visions of the future that reveal Hunter-Killer drones — in essence, military flying drones armed with weapons.

By the early 1980s, the military already had extensive experience with "target drones" — radio-controlled unmanned vehicles that could be shot down for target practice — and reconnaissance drones, launched from ships and aircraft. But it wouldn't be until the "war on terror" in the 2000s that the US military would fulfill the predictions of "The Terminator" and deploy UAVs — military drones — with weapons on board.

The MQ-1 Predator, first used in 2001, is the first known military drone capable of firing weapons that were triggered remotely by ground operators. And lest you think that the autonomous Hunter-Killers of Sarah Connor's nightmares are pure fiction, the US military is even now grappling with the question of fielding artificially intelligent drones capable of making their own firing decisions.

Self-driving cars 'Total Recall,' 1990

science fiction writers predictions that came true

"Total Recall" is like a live-action cartoon painted in primary colors.

But amid the memory-control technology, wall-sized TV screens, routine commercial flights to Mars, and alien superstructures under the Martian surface are a few interesting predictions. The most prescient: self-driving cars.

The movie's Johnnycabs are probably what self-driving cars might look like from a late-'80s point of view. They featured a stylized android avatar in the driver's seat, and — if you happen to have the strength of an Arnold Schwarzenegger — ripping out the bot meant you could sit down and actually drive the car.

That seems a little silly and perhaps naive today, but that's only because we know exactly what self-driving cars look like — they're in the news and on the streets. Bristling with sensors, today's fully self-driving cars can drive themselves without the need for anyone or anything to sit in the driver's seat. And semi-self-driving cars are not far behind, though they do require a pilot to keep their hands on the controls for safety, at least for now.

science fiction writers predictions that came true

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7 science fiction inventions that became reality

Sci-fi authors wanted to prevent dystopian futures. Instead they predicted them.

By Tom McNamara | Published Oct 15, 2019 8:45 PM EDT

Science Fiction photo

The future might already be written. Cheer, shudder, or eye-roll in disgust, but history shows that what awaits us is often spelled out in the pages of science fiction. The genre’s predictive track record stretches millennia: Authors mused about the lunar landing as far back as 175 A.D., when Syrian satirist Lucian of Samosata imagined flying ships to the moon, a tale that tapped the seafaring culture’s desire to ascend to the heavens. Fiction isn’t always pure fantasy. “Some of our greatest authors are not making up stuff whole cloth, but sampling from the zeitgeist—scientific or otherwise,” says Dan Rockmore, director of Dartmouth College’s Neukom Institute for Computational Science, which hands out annual prizes for visionary speculative writing. Of course, scribes do have blind spots. They never quite nailed the smartphone (easy, Trekkies—those communicators are more like fancy pagers). Here’s a glimpse of what sci-fi writers of yore got right.

Science-fiction inventions illustration

1. Defibrillator

Inspired by galvanism (manipulating muscles with electrical current), Mary Shelley’s Dr. Victor Frankenstein famously reanimates dead flesh. In 1947, the less-ghoulish Dr. Claude Beck saved a teenage patient with a 60 Hz jolt to the heart from his homemade defibrillator: two silver paddles wired to an outlet. By the ’50s, the machines were reviving patients in hospitals worldwide.

2. Space stations

In Edward Everett Hale’s 1869 novella, The Brick Moon , four old college bros use a river-​­powered flywheel to sling a ­skyscraper-​size brick sphere stuffed with people into orbit. The Soviet Union’s ­Salyut program launched a 65-foot ­cylinder—​the seminal space station—in 1971. The crew snapped photos of Earth and experimented with gamma rays and a secret ­military radiometer.

3. Machine learning

Characters in Samuel Butler’s 1872 novel Erewhon realize computers “were ultimately destined to supplant the race of man,” so they ban smart gizmos. Real robots have been learning to outdo us since the ’50s, when AI researchers held a workshop at Dartmouth; IBM’s Arthur Samuel coded a checkers player that refined its approach until it could beat him.

4. Lab-grown meat

In her 1880 short story “Mizora,” Mary Bradley Lane describes Amazonians who transform beef’s chemical elements into synthetic burgers, “a more economical way of obtaining meat than by fattening animals.” She wasn’t far off: Dutch scientist Mark Post’s petri-​­born patty starts as bovine stem cells. In 2013, the first one cost more than $280,000 to grow, but he’s since trimmed that to around $12.

5. Long-term heat storage

After decades of small-scale projects in Nordic nations, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s dream of saving summer sun to warm a town through winter (from her 1905 story ­“Sultana’s Dream”) got real in 2007. In ­Alberta, Canada, high midyear temps transfer to antifreeze in underground pipes. The warmed ground radiates heat into 52 homes for the whole cold season.

Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle details a boy inventor whose blaster stuns targets with “a powerful current of stored electricity.” That idea sounded neat to NASA engineer Jack Cover, whose TASER is an acro­nymic reference to that 1911 novel. The weapon he patented in 1974 conducts a jolt of juice from a battery, through a pair of leads, into the target’s ­nervous system.

7. Portable audio

Ray Bradbury famously wanted to prevent dystopian futures, not predict them. But one tiny piece of tech in 1953’s Fahrenheit 451 was about to hit a nonfiction tipping point: “thimble radios,” which provided “an electronic ocean of sound, of music and talk.” The next year, Texas Instruments debuted the first mass-​­market portable radio, complete with a single, wee earphone.

This story originally published in the Out There issue of Popular Science.

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Outer Space and Popular Culture pp 129–144 Cite as

Predictions of Science Fiction That Came True

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  • First Online: 02 August 2019

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Part of the Southern Space Studies book series (SOSPST)

The idea of other worlds and realities beyond what we can see in the sky has always stimulated the public imagination. In this way, space has had an important place in popular culture since early times, before the beginning of the space race. Representations of this can be found in many forms of arts, including cinema, plastic arts, music and literature.Whether popular culture inspires scientists in their work or technological developments expand the limits of writers and artists’ imagination, there is an undeniable interplay between both fields. From the astonishingly correct predictions in Jules Verne’s novel From the Earth to the Moon , to the early visions of space depicted in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, this chapter presents a compilation of “predictions” of science fiction that came true in the space industry.

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The Oxford dictionary is made available by Oxford University Press on the website .

The whole interview is available in YouTube at the following link: .

Verne J. (2005). From the Earth to the Moon . Barnes & Nobles Books. New York: Barnes & Nobles Publishing, Inc.

Howell E. (2014). Apollo 11 Flight Log, July 23, 1969: Preparing for Landing . [ONLINE] Available at: .

Taylor Red N. (2013). Konstantin Tsiolkovsky: Russian Father of Rocketry . [ONLINE] Available at: .

Wireless World magazine was a British electronics journal that began in April 1911 under the name Marconigraph . It was renamed as Wireless World in 1913 and Electronics & Wireless World in 1984. Finally, the journal adopted its current name, Electronics World , in 1996. An archive of the 1911–1994 issues is available at: .

Clarke A. (1945). ‘The Space-Station: Its Radio Applications’ in Exploring the Unknown. Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program Volume III: Using Space . Eds: Logsdon J M, Launius R D, Onkst D H and Garber S J, pp. 12–15.

Clarke A. (1945). ‘Extra-Terrestrial Relays: Can Rocket Stations Give World-Wide Radio Coverage?’ in Exploring the Unknown. Selected Documents in the History of the U.S. Civil Space Program Volume III: Using Space . Eds: Logsdon J M, Launius R D, Onkst D H and Garber S J, pp. 16–22.

Woman in the Moon/Frau im Mond. (1929). [Video] Germany: Fritz Lang.

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The film launch sequence referred to here can be watched on YouTube at: .

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Mónica Estébanez Camarena

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Estébanez Camarena, M. (2020). Predictions of Science Fiction That Came True. In: Froehlich, A. (eds) Outer Space and Popular Culture. Southern Space Studies. Springer, Cham.

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