Top 10 Movies and TV Shows That Predicted Future Technology or Events

Tags: #Terminator ,   #BacktotheFuture ,   #Technology ,   #StarTrek

Dan N. Scarborough

Dan N. Scarborough

Last updated:  2022-07-02 18:02:58

You've heard more than once that life imitates art. That's not unfounded, as some works of art depicted things invented decades, even centuries after. The most famous example of that visionary was Jules Verne, the French novelist considered a father of science fiction. Many of his works described the technology and events that took place long after his death. We'll mention Nautilus, his famous electric submarine, and his trip to the Moon. However, movies and television allowed a more significant influx of ideas to people. Hence, numerous works describe some of today's technology with scary precision. This top ten list presents the ten most prominent examples.

10. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – Procedure of Erasing Memories

How to deal with bad memories? Simply - delete them!

A pair of lovers, named Joel and Clementine, try to deal with the break-up by erasing their recollections of each other. Nonetheless, halfway through the process, Joel decides to keep the memory of Clementine. At the end of the movie, they introduced each other the second time around.  

The procedure of erasing memories isn't wholly explored yet, but it's in the late stages of development. Furthermore, some scientists suggest that the idea of erasing memories, especially the painful ones, is possible in humans. Even now, a standard heart medicine can lower the impact on the traumatic memory or even erase it. The memory would still be there, but a lack of emotional effect would make it insignificant.

9. Back to the Future (1985) – 9/11 Attack

Hints of the tragic attack in a beloved movie

This one might be a bit of a stretch, but the sci-fi adventure "Back to the Future" predicted the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, which took place September 11th, 2001. The story here is nowhere related to this tragedy, but there were some indications scattered throughout the movie. The biggest one was the terrorists from Lybia that attacked Twin Pine Mall. 

To make things more interesting, a clock on the mall fell over and showed the number 911. Also, there's a scene with Doc and his two stopwatches with both having upside-down 911 shown on displays. Twin Pines Mall is shown falling down in one moment of the movie, and it's featured in the sequel. Is it a bit too convenient for coincidence?    

8. Demon Seed (1977) – Smart Homes

Perils of the technology, home edition

The first movie that predicted smart homes was "Demon Seed" from 1977, directed by Donald Cammell. The movie's central character is Dr. Alex Harris, who develops an artificial intelligence program to cure leukemia. Unfortunately, Artificial Intelligence has become a bit too intelligent. 

Not only does it take control over all the electric appliances in the house, but the AI program also develops an obsession with the doctor's wife. Therefore, this movie almost exactly predicted modern smart homes. Many appliances are controlled by technology, and people take it for granted. Hopefully, that part of AI going rogue won't happen anytime soon. 

7. Wag the Dog (1997) – Bill Clinton's Scandal

War is the greatest distraction for the masses

"Wag the Dog" might be the most controversial movie on our list. This 1997 dark comedy was about covering scandals with fake news or even real wars. The plot here is about the president of the United States caught having an affair with a Girl Scout. To cover the scandal, a group of officials led by a Hollywood producer stages a fake war in a Middle East country. 

Only a few months before the premiere of "Wag the Dog," the then-president Bill Clinton admitted to having an affair with the White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Six months later, Clinton publicly apologized to the nation. Furthermore, he launched 75 missiles on a terrorist compound in Afghanistan just three days later. We're not sure if that was a coincidence or if the President took a hint from the movie.  

6. The Truman Show (1998) – Reality TV

Who would watch the real life of real people?

When "Truman's Show" first appeared in 1998, it wasn't received well. Peter Weir's comedy-drama about an ordinary guy, played by Jim Carrey, whose life was under constant surveillance, didn't sound very appealing at that time. I mean, who would like to watch the life of some ordinary guy 24/7? As it turns out, many! 

Along with "Battle Royale," which was a lot more disturbing, "Truman's Show" eerily predicted today's obsession with reality shows. The popularity of "Big Brother," "The Bachelor," and many more prove that people like to follow the lives of others. The only difference is, Truman wasn't aware he was being monitored. Also, actual reality shows tend to spice things up with scripted events to make things more interesting. 

5. Total Recall (1990) – Self-Driving Car

Sit back and enjoy the ride

"Total Recall" is one of the science fiction classics from the 1990s. It takes place in 2084 when Mars has been colonized, and people could get artificial memories implanted. The main character, Douglas Quaid, decides to make his life more enjoyable by trying the simulated trip to the Red Planet. Things go south very quickly, as it turns out Quaid was a real spy with deleted memories. 

There are many exciting features in "Total Recall" that might become real in the future. However, the closest to becoming real is Johnny Cab, a Robo-taxi that drives by itself. For decades, many companies have been working on self-driving cars, with AutoX starting an experimental Robo taxi service in Shanghai, China. Also, Tesla cars are pretty sure to have self-driving features. 

4. You've Got Mail (1998) – Online Dating

Dating with strangers has never been easier

The 1998 "You've Got Mail" would be another run-of-the-mill romantic comedy if it weren't for one thing. Namely, the whole romantic part took place online via dating apps. So, two of the main characters met and fell for each other in a dating chat room, unbeknownst to their real identities. As it turns out, they are bitter business rivals in real life. We won't spoil the movie, so you'll have to see how they get along by themselves. 

This movie predicts several things, the most important being online dating. Two of the main characters use the chatting service very similar to today's dating apps. There are many ways now to be romantically involved with strangers online, thanks to Tinder, Bumble, OkCupid, and such apps. Furthermore, this movie also predicted online meetings, discussions, and ordering food and drinks via the internet.  

3. Wargames (1983) – Hacking The Government

This movie inspired the entire hacker subculture

"Wargames" is just another unassuming science fiction movie for the teens in the 80s. The main character is an adolescent guy trying to hack the company developing his favorite video game. But, instead of them, he hacks into the military supercomputer. Convinced that he's just playing the game, our hero starts the military conflict between the USA and USSR. Once he finds out the truth, he does everything to stop the upcoming nuclear holocaust.  

Hacking was just a science fiction term back then, but it is a real danger today. Many resources are put into cyber defense, and no information on the internet isn't 100% secure from an attack. The movie "Wargames" inspired a whole subculture of hackers, who were breaking into the security systems of big corporations and governments. Those activities diminished with stricter punishment for hacking, but the "Wargames" influence remained. 

2. The Terminator (1984) – Military Robots

Perils of the technology, military edition

The 1984 movie "Terminator" shows the audience a disturbing future of war machines. After developing artificial military intelligence called Skynet, humanity faced the biggest challenge. Skynet became self-aware and started the campaign of eradicating humans from the face of the Earth. Except for titular killing cyborgs, one of the machines featured in the movie was an AI-controlled drone. 

Even without Skynet to control them, automated machines are widely used in the military. Above all, there are drones handled manually or by a computer. These flying machines are used for surveillance or precision strikes on enemy units or structures. Robots are also used to disarm bombs, search burning buildings, or bring medical health to the combat units.

1. Star Trek (1960) – Smartphones, Bluetooth Devices, Terraforming, etc.

The franchise that defined the future

When we talk about the show that predicted the most of current technology, the original season of "Star Trek" comes to mind first. In that show, we could see some machines and technology that we widely use today. In the first "Star Trek" movie, in 1976, we witnessed various contemporary gadgets, such as smartwatches, mobile phones, tablets, and even Bluetooth earpieces. That's at least 30 years before any of it was invented!

In "Star Trek: The Next Generation" from 1987, the characters used something very like today's touch screen devices. The second installment, "The Wrath of Kahn," even introduced the idea of terraforming - changing the environment of the planets to be like Earth. Elon Musk plans to do something similar to Mars to colonize it in the future.

So, you have undoubtedly seen a few movies and TV shows that featured future events and technology. While some unwittingly predicted those, others like "Star Trek" undoubtedly inspired scientists to invent those devices. 

What's your favorite movie or TV Show out of these top ten? Which one would you add?


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