Fiction has a habit of predicting the future, and humanity has benefited from many of these inventions and ideas. Famous futurist and author Raymond Kurzweil has predicted many things that eventually materialized, such as books going digital, artificial intelligence (AI) becoming a world-class chess champion, and humans merging with nanotechnology. Of course, while Kurzweil was right on all three fronts, how has fiction fared over the centuries?
1. George Orwell: Various
When George Orwell penned 1984, he aimed his allegory at the emergence of centralized power structures ushered in during World War II, predicting with sobering accuracy what would follow. “The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it,” he once said. Who would have thought we would apply this logic so close to home one day? We can take our pick from his predictions: CCTV, Big Brother, Room 101, the Ministry of Truth, and the Thought Police, all of which exist in some format in modern times.
2. Aldous Huxley’s Soma
The century’s other groundbreaking dystopian future novel was Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, whose premise is eerily close to how industrialized society is becoming. There are several parallels between Huxley’s book and the modern age, namely the Malthusian population-control ethos and “decanting” of children, the breakdown of family as society’s form of governance, or the use of Soma — a state-sanctioned drug citizens consume daily, allowing them escape to a distant reality.
3. Fahrenheit 451 Book Burners
Ray Bradbury’s incredible Fahrenheit 451 is about a world where books are illegal. It centers on a futuristic government contractor responsible for burning illegal books. Protagonist Guy Montag’s change of heart comes after meeting a series of people, launching him on a quest to escape his bleak, thought-free world. Book burning is an allegory for the suppression of free speech and thought, with the novel mirroring Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave,” a short story about captives chained to a wall, interpreting the world through fire shadows. One can only imagine Plato’s reaction to modern-day cancel culture.
4. Fritz Lang’s Metropolis (1927)
The much-celebrated Weimar Republic-era Metropolis was part allegory and part science fiction. While the German expressionist movie’s images of air taxis and high-rise Maglev commuter trains aren’t quite there yet, the society is getting close. The premise of Metropolis may ring a bell — driven by hyper-capitalism, society in the future has eroded into two classes: the leisurely class and their subservient inferiors living in the underground dystopia beneath them.
5. Jurassic Park’s Reanimated Dinosaurs
Who wasn’t in awe when the first Jurassic Park movie arrived in theaters in 1993 as adapted from Michael Crichton’s 1990 book? The movie’s impressive (at the time) panoramas depicted scenes we could only dream of — or could those dreams now be a reality? The Woolly Mammoth Revival project has partnered with Colossal Laboratories & Biosciences, which claims they can revive several species, including an old favorite. “We’re already in the process of the de-extinction of the Woolly Mammoth,” says the company’s landing page. “Our teams have collected viable DNA samples and are editing the genes that will allow this wonderful megafauna to once again thunder through the Arctic.”
6. Stephen King’s the Stand
Novelist Stephen King has pleased fans for decades with countless books, mostly horror stories set in his native Maine. However, his apocalyptic — and arguably most ambitious — novel, The Stand from 1978, features a series of interconnected stories scattered across the country, its backdrop a seismic, post-pandemic wasteland inhabited by survivors of a virus that wiped out nearly everybody else. We learn that the contagion was airborne, unstoppable, and led to societal breakdown — sound familiar?
7. Brazil’s Plastic Surgery
Terry Gilliam was the creative engine for the old-school British absurdist troupe Monty Python. He became a lauded film director. Gilliam’s finest work is arguably Brazil, a dark comedy about false identity and dystopian societal oppression. One of the film’s famous scenes is when Ida Lowry gets her “facelift” procedure. While such a painful, exaggerated process might not happen today, some of the results we see on Instagram might easily belong in the movie.
8. Idiocracy’s Idiocracy
A movie that sadly finds parallels with modern-day life is the cult-favorite Idiocracy. For those unaware, the premise is that less intelligent people have multiplied over generations to create a precipitously low-IQ America. Among this society’s problems are that it uses an energy sports drink to water the crops has a Supreme Court presided over by uneducated imbeciles, and has elected a dangerous assault rifle-toting former wrestler as President. While the sports drink one is a stretch, I’m not saying which of the other two sounds more accurate.
9. Wall-E’s Cultural Descent
While some might argue about the philosophical questions behind Pixar’s marvelous Wall-E, there are several stark connections to the modern day. Whichever side of the global warming aisle you’re on, we can’t deny that humans are wasting raw materials on needless consumption, making some corners of the world uninhabitable. Moreover, obesity rates have jumped from 33% to 42% in the years since 2008, when Wall-E was released — a product of the movie characters’ tech addiction.
10. Christopher Reeve’s Real-Life Tragedy
In 1995, the made-for-TV thriller Above Suspicion starred Christopher Reeve as a cop who gets injured in a shoot-out and paralyzed from the waist down. He uses his new-found “disability” to enact vengeance against his cheating wife and brother. While the film’s plot may sound interesting, his character’s condition foreshadowed real life — six days later, Reeve suffered a devastating horse-riding accident, becoming paraplegic.
11. Ex Machina’s Adult Entertainment
One of movie trivia’s darker predictions comes from the cerebral thriller Ex Machina (2014), a modern sci-fi flick with a glimpse of what would follow in the subsequent decades. When a computer nerd wins a contest to give a tech tycoon’s latest lifelike AI creating a Turing Test, he flies to the billionaire’s isolated estate out in the wilderness. He finds a megalomaniac deep into an intimate physical relationship with one of his sentient droids, indicating what we should expect in the not-distant future.
12. Marty McFly’s Hoverboard
The most memorable scene in Back to the Future: Part II is the hoverboard scene in which Marty, riding an entry-level version, faces off against Biff’s customized beast. While Tony Hawk famously demonstrated today’s equivalent in 2014, we will not be satisfied until we have something like Biff’s Pitbull hoverboard that flies over the water.
13. Morgan Freeman’s Deep Impact
Deep Impact (1998) was a turn-of-the-century disaster movie classic with a premise some folk today are still pushing. Doomsayers love a mass-extinction event they can use to forewarn others, and while this event may happen one day, it hasn’t yet. The real Deep Impact prediction was a black American president, played dutifully by the great Morgan Freeman, keeping the seat warm for Barack Obama’s arrival. Maybe he was foreshadowing his own presidential ambitions?
14. Total Recall’s Driverless Cars
There’s much to love about Paul Verhoeven’s Martian fantasy, Total Recall, which parallels some modern-day concepts. The idea that corporations might one day control our air is terrifying, although the skeptic in me wouldn’t discount at least a discussion happening one day. However, one dystopian Total Recall feature we have is driverless cars, even not quite the Johnny Cab in the movie. The Johnny Cab is almost a hybrid of ride-sharing and driver-free taxis. “I hope you enjoyed the ride!”
15. The Jetsons’ Video Calls
The Jetsons is a poignant part of the ’60s zeitgeist, so perhaps an easy prediction to make in the era was face-to-face virtual calls. The decade was awash with optimistic, high-concept living ideas such as autonomous commuting pods, flying cruise liners, and gravity trains. While most of these are almost with us in some format, the Jetsons’ video calling arrived long ago with Bell Labs’ debut of its Picturephone invention at the 1964 World Fair in Queens, New York, and then later with Skype’s emergence in the mainstream market.
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Timeless Wisdom: 20 Seinfeld Quotes That Perfectly Capture Life’s Quirks
Enter the quirky, fast-paced world of “Seinfeld,” a sitcom that entertained and offered a treasure trove of timeless quotes. From “No soup for you!” to “Yada, yada, yada,” these lines have transcended eras, encapsulating life’s quirks with wit and precision. In this collection, discover 21 ageless Seinfeld quotes that effortlessly encapsulate the essence of everyday situations, proving that the show’s humor and insight continue to resonate, remaining as relevant now as they were during their first hilariously unforgettable airing. Thanks, Jerry, for your insight…
Raised in England and with a career background in international education, Ben now lives in Southern Spain with his wife and son, having lived on three continents, including Africa, Asia, and North America.
He offers a unique, well-traveled perspective on life, with several specialties related to his travels. Ben loves writing about food, music, parenting, education, culture, and film, among many other topics. His passion is Gen-X geekery, namely movies, music, and television.
He has spent the last few years building his writing portfolio, starting as a short fiction author for a Hong Kong publisher, then moving into freelance articles and features, with bylines for various online publications, such as Wealth of Geeks, Fansided, and Detour Magazine.