8 things sci-fi TV and movies predicted about the future
As a genre, science fiction has always been a fertile playground for speculation and exploration, taking audiences on a journey through time and space, while offering glimpses into a future shaped by technology and innovation.
It holds up a mirror to society’s dreams, fears, and aspirations, and every now and then, the visions of tomorrow depicted in its stories manage to hit the mark in reality. This prescient quality of science fiction is not only intriguing but also serves as a testament to human foresight, creativity, and potential.
From the farthest reaches of outer space to the minutiae of daily life, the predictions made in sci-fi TV and movies range across the board, touching on technology, social trends, environmental changes, and more. Some of these have come to fruition, proving to be uncannily accurate, while others remain within the realm of possibility. In the following passages, we will explore eight instances where the world of science fiction has successfully anticipated the future, showcasing the genre’s ability to reflect and, occasionally, shape reality.
Let’s take a look at some sci-fi ideas that appeared to come true…
“Star Trek” – Personal Communication Devices
Star Trek’s communicators, the flip-open devices used by the crew of the Starship Enterprise from the very beginning of the franchise, bear a striking resemblance to the flip phones that dominated the mobile phone market in the 1990s and early 2000s. It’s a clear example of life imitating art, with the sci-fi series predicting personal communication technology long before it became a reality.
“2001: A Space Odyssey” – Artificial Intelligence
Stanley Kubrick’s seminal film “2001: A Space Odyssey” introduced audiences to HAL 9000, an artificial intelligence system responsible for maintaining the spacecraft and assisting its crew. Today, with the advent of AI like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, HAL’s capabilities don’t seem too far-fetched… indeed they are part of our everyday lives on earth.
“Minority Report” – Gesture-Based Computing
In the 2002 film “Minority Report”, Tom Cruise’s character uses a gesture-based computer interface, manipulating data with a wave of his hands. Today, similar technology exists and is being further refined, with touch-free, gesture-based interfaces gradually becoming more common.
“Back to the Future Part II” – Video Conferencing
The 1989 sequel to “Back to the Future” depicted video conferencing, a technology that has become a significant part of our daily lives, especially in the era of remote work and social distancing. It isn’t the only sci-fi to show such activity, but one of the more prominent in a big Hollywood franchise.
“Star Trek: The Next Generation” – Tablets
In “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, the crew uses PADDs (Personal Access Display Devices) – portable, handheld computers that closely resemble today’s tablets. Once again, “Star Trek” was ahead of its time, predicting the advent of compact, touch-screen technology.
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