When we keep in mind that the creators of these futuristic films created new-age gadgets and technical innovations just using their imagination, we develop a whole new appreciation for the movies. In hindsight, it’s hard to believe that the masterminds behind these popular films had come up with these handy technical advances before they came into existence.
These movies feature inventions that were not yet created, societal trends that have yet to catch on, and historical, technological advances that had not been made at the time of its release. Perhaps we are getting carried away when we say that the writers and directors must have used a time machine to travel to the future for movie inspiration. However, after checking some of these predictions out, the idea hardly seems farfetched at all.
Back to The Future II – Smartphones
The first movie that comes to mind when we think of classic films that literally predicted the future is, of course, Back to the Future II. Sure there were cars that could fly and sneakers that could lace themselves, but our current technology has not quite gotten to that point yet.
However, the creatures of the movie were able to predict the inventions of smartphones and how addicting they would be. Marty McFly’s children in 2015 were latched on to their smartphone devices, and it looks a lot like the kids we see today. Although the smartphones in the movie look a lot like Google Glasses, the prediction that kids would be hooked to them was spot on.
Back to the Future II – Flat Screens
Back to the Future II predicted that screens would go flat. While we look at this and have trouble trying to remember a time when screens were not flat at all; it’s important to know that we first saw them in this movie. When Marty Jr goes to his parent’s house in the future, he had a flat-screen TV.
This movie came out when TV’s were just getting into people’s personal living rooms, and we can assure you that they were years away from reaching any sort of flat shape. The prediction was so spot on that we’re getting ready to raise some suspicions about a real-time machine.
Total Recall – The Self Driving Car
Although the ‘90s hit movie, Total Recall is not one of the most realistic movies produced at that time, it did make some serious predictions about the future. Arnold Schwarzenegger took on the role of a liberator of a mutant blue-collar colony.
During the movie you see him riding in a self-driving car. The cab is operated by Arnie the robot who ironically resembles an old taxi driver. We might not all own the self-driving car yet, but they have already been invented without Arnie of course.
Terminator – Military Drones
This 1984 hit movie is a straight-up classic. It was one of the first action movies to cast a female protagonist! No one can forget the film’s awesome special effects which still hold the number one spot in the movie hall of fame.
However, putting all those factors aside, there is one thing people need to remember about the movie Terminator; there were military drones! The idea of an armed aerial drone taking the place of fighter jets is something that still hard to wrap our heads around today… but they exist and are considered common technology at this point.
The Truman Show – Reality-TV
Back in the late ‘90s, people were not yet spending their free time watching a person going about their dramatic days in real-time. Shows like Big Brother, and The Jersey Shore had yet to take over TV on the scale that they have today. However, the producers and writer of the movie The Truman Show may have sparked an idea that is going strong in the 21st century.
This movie introduced the world to the idea that we can be entertained by the real lives of certain individuals and get totally invested into their lvies. We are pretty sure that the Kardashians seriously owe their fame and success to this movie. Without it, they, as long as other reality stars such as Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and the like would not have the social influence that they have today.
WarGames– Hacking and Cyber Warfare
Most people remember the 1983 movie, WarGames. Now, if you remember correctly, you’ll surely recall all the scenes involving cyberspace and hacking. Back in those times, the internet did not even exist; that means the whole plot was sparked by pure imagination!
Watching this movie with the perspective, we have today has us thinking that the creators of the movie had some prophetic talents that they were trying to hide. Not only do we have the internet, but a lot of our wars are moving towards cyberspace.
Hackers – VR Gaming
In 1995 the film Hackers was released. Although it is most famously remembered for its incredibly cheesy lines, there is another aspect of the movie that people need to focus on, and that is the fact that it predicted the invention of VR gaming! In one particular scene, you can see a character wearing a VR headset.
Not only did they predict this invention, but they also predicted the way it would be modeled. The headset is nearly identical to the Oculus and Vive headsets that exist today. Perhaps the creators of these things used the movie for inspiration.
The Net – Online Pizza Delivery Service
This 1995 movie predicted one of the best innovations that were bestowed upon us of all time. Ok, there are more effective inventions, but online pizza delivery is one of the most exciting!
Although it may have seemed very “out there” when one of the characters in the movie orders her pizza on a website called Pizza.net, the concept quickly became realistic. If the invention was a result of this movie’s creativity, then we need to be awarding the craters of the movie The Net. This is one invention that has done nothing but good for this world.
Dick Tracy – Smartwatches
Watches that go beyond their ability to tell time had made their way to the screens long before they were invented. In 1986, Star Trek: “The Voyage Home” showed one of their characters using a special type of watch that could be used as a communication device.
These types of watches were also in the movie Dick Tracy, in 1990. The character performed so well with the device that it almost seemed like the real thing. Years and years later, a watch that doubles as a communication device were invented.
2001: A Space Odyssey – Tablets, Space Tourism, and The International Space Station
This movie did a pretty good job at making its future predictions. It didn’t just showcase one specific item that was created in the future; it predicted three. 2001: A Space Oddesy, came out in 1968 but the creator’s minds were way in the future. They used quality special effects to depict a moon landing.
Only one year later, NASA managed to land on the moon and transmitted the view on the Apollo mission back to planet earth. Because the transmission greatly resembled scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey, people suspected that the director helped NASA fake their landing. The producer also predicted tablets and the American-Russian International Space Station. Now that is creepy.
Minority Report – Touchscreen Gestures
Minority Report first came out in the year 2002 and showcased an invention whose creation was on the horizon. Although there were several aspects of the movie that was spot on about future technology, this one is the most notable.
Touch-screen is now a part of our everyday lives, but before it was invented, we saw Tom Cruise use it in the movie Minority Report. The prediction was too good to be true, and that’s because the producers worked the same scientists who are responsible for creating smart devices.
Minority Report – Facial Recognition
In addition to touch screen gestures, the producers of Minority Report foresaw another futuristic invention. They predicted the spread of facial recognition devices. Back then, the idea of a machine recognizing the unique structure of an individual’s face was totally unfathomable.
However, now we have this technology on our smartphones. We hardly need to type in a password anymore. We passed the phase of fingerprint passwords and moved right on to the world of using our own faces as our passwords.
Minority Report – Personalized Advertising
Another thing to add to Minority Report’s long list of futuristic predictions is personalized advertising. We thought the facial recognition and touchscreen gestures would be enough, but they did not stop there. They predicted the most prevalent and fast-growing trends in marketing and advertising today.
When Tom Cruise’s face gets scanned in the film, specific advertisements pop up on the screen according to his assumed customer profile. If only the makers of this movie put their ideas to work, they would probably be billionaires by now.
Gattaca – Home DNA Tests
In this 1997 film, Gattaca, viewers see a world with a society that is based on people’s genetic profiles. The people in the movie have their embryos scanned, fitted, and modified to fit society’s demands before they are allowed to enter it.
Luckily, this made-up world is far from the reality that we live in (for now), but there is one thing that this movie got right about the future; home DNA tests. Today we have the ability to use our own DNA kits from home. We can’t really make anything of the DNA that we have unless it is sent out to a lab, but at least we can collect it ourselves.
Weird Science – 3D Printing
When we think of all the movies that had some pretty awesome futuristic inventions, we tend to skip over the 1985 film, Weird Science. In this movie, a woman named Lisa was created in a similar way that 3D printing creates things today.
Her shape and dimensions were put into a machine and voila; there stood Lisa. So the next time you and your friends want to talk about conspiracy theories, you should probably discuss the possibility that the creators of this movie made their way to the future and back for some inspiration for their content.
Metropolis – Androids
One movie that is famous for the inspiration and influence it had on future science fiction movies for several decades is the 1927 movie, Metropolis. Although it came out long before the world of special effects started advancing, it has some incredible visuals.
Metropolis, predicted the invention of robots whos behaviors and mannerisms mimic that of an actual human. Scientists recently created an android named Furhat who’s facial expressions are so human that they almost seem empathetic.
Star Trek’s “Tomorrow is Yesterday” Episode
We recommend you take a seat before reading this spooky bit. In the 1967 Star Trek Episode “Tomorrow is Yesterday,” Captain Kirk and his devoted crew, the Enterprise, visited planet Earth. The team sent a transmission that gave a date and time for the first manned moon landing.
This episode came out two years before Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. The freaky thing is that Armstrong and his crew landed right around the same date and at the same time listed in the show’s transmission. This “coincidence” is another factor that has people thinking that NASA’s first steps on the moon were staged.
Star Trek TOS – Bluetooth Earpieces
Another thing that the famous ‘60s TV show, Star Trek, predicted is blue tooth earpieces. In this show, the communications officer Lieutenant Uhura used what looks like a wireless earpiece to repeat the captain’s commands and get feedback.
Every time you see someone walking around with their fancy EarPods, you can give credit to the makers of Star Trek for thinking of the idea. If only they could have thought up a plan to make these devices a heck of a lot cheaper, the world might be a little more grateful to the show.
Star Trek TOS – Flip Phones
Star Trek is building up a pretty good track record in the future predictions department. Another one of its technological predictions includes the flip phone. In the show, the characters use a communications device that has a staggering resemblance to a flip phone.
Ok, so a flip phone doesn’t sound so cool now that we’ve done away with the whole idea. However, at that time, people did not have cell phones, and when cell phones did come out, it took decades for companies to figure out a way to make them small, cordless, and with the ability to flip open like the one in Star Trek.
Star Trek TOS – Computer Voice Interfaces
In the Star Trek Original Series, the crew of the Enterprise said their commands to their computers using simple English, and the computers obeyed. This type of technology became available in the homes of the average American 50 years after the episode aired.
Today, computer voice interfaces are pretty common, and the technology can fit into our pockets. If you are not sure which devices we have today that use computer voice interface, just ask Siri, Alexa, or a Google Home. We are more than sure they have the answers and can even give you a history of when the technology was invented.
Star Trek – Tricorders
Trick orders in Star Trek are small devices that you could hold in your hand. They used sensors that could detect the chemicals components of an object, identify organic life forms, and pretty much give you the break down of anything and everything.
This is a technology that we do not see every day, but it does exist and is in the early stages of its creations. Scientists have recently invented a similar device that can tell a person what something is made up of. Amongst the many benefits something like this can have, it will especially help people with food allergies understand if their food is safe to eat or not.
Star Trek – iPads
Although we already touched on the freaky fact that the creators of Star Trek predicted the magic of touch screens, we forgot to mention how they predicted that touch screens could be portable.
Not only is the crew, the Enterprise, operating on stationary touch-screen computers; they are also walking around with smaller versions of them in their hands. The most interesting factor is that the model of their portable touch screen computers looks a lot like what we call an iPad today. It’s sleek, flat and can fit right into your bag… just like an iPad.
You’ve Got Mail – Online Dating
This movie is one of the Popular Everything team’s favorite romantic comedies. It is almost hilarious to see the main characters sitting by their chunky computers, and typing emails to one another. It almost looks like old-fashioned love compared to the way we date these days.
The movie predicted that dating would move from real-life conversations to online chats. Just like today, the two characters met on the internet, fell in love, and met in real life. The crazier part is that we are pretty sure the writers of this movie invented “catfishing,” as one of the characters lied about who they were in his emails.
Blade Runner – Digital Billboards
The 1982 film Blade Runner, is really an awesome piece of work. Putting aside its remarkable visuals and quality performances, its influence on future technology blew us away. In the movie, you see gigantic billboards that were powered by electricity.
The boards were so big that they could be spotted anywhere in the city. At the time that this movie came out, the billboards were smaller and simple signs that were painted or glued on. Nowadays, very similar billboards to the ones seen in Blade Runner, are all over cities today.
Face/Off – Face Transplants
In the 1997 cult classic film Face/Off the policeman is forced to undergo a full-blown face transplant surgery. He took on the face of an infamous criminal so that he could go undercover and prevent his future criminal plans from carrying out.
At the same time, however, the criminal wears the policeman’s face and uses it to cause chaos in the city. The main characters were played by John Travolta and Nicholas Cage who did an incredible job. However, no one watching the movie at the time it came out ever thought that face transplants could be possible. Less than ten years later a woman had the first ever successful face transplant.
Enemy of the State – Surveillance State, Metadata Tracking, and More
In 1998, the famous film Enemy of the State was released starring actor Will Smith. The characters in the movie live in a society that is monitored by surveillance cameras round the clock.
Ever action was recorded, making it easier for government forces to stop crime and convict criminals. Everyone thought this concept was ridiculous and would be an invasion of privacy. However, this idea became a reality and is more and more common all over the world. We have cameras flashing everytime we pass a red light and cameras that record random areas of the streets we walk every day.
Americathon – Hybrid Electrical Cars, And A Post-Communist Soviet Union
In the 1979 satire, the United State’s government loses all their money and goes bankrupt. The country gets a little desperate, and in order to save the economy and make some money, they decide to run a telethon. In the movie we see hybrid cards and the Soviet Union breaking up.
China is portrayed as a capitalistic power, and Vietnam is a popular place to travel to. All of these make-believe things actually came true, and it is pretty creepy when you think about the level of accuracy. How did the writers know?
I Am Legend – Batman Vs. Superman
The 2007 movie I Am Legend is a movie that freaked a lot of people out with its vivid images of a zombie/vampire apocalypse. Thankfully, the apocalypse aspect of that movie never came true.
However, the makers of this movie did predict something that fans across the world were extremely excited about. When actor, Will Smith, enters NYC he finds a perfectly in-tact city with no one living in it ( what an awesome real-estate opportunity). In the city, you see a billboard that shows an advertisement for the Batman V Superman movie. Only nine years later, this movie became a reality.
Trip to the Moon – The Moon Landing
The title of this movie pretty much describes what it predicted. Trip to the Moon came out in 1902 and had a few excellent predictions hidden in this movie. The filmmaker worked extremely hard to perfect his project and went down in history for pioneering film editing and special effects.
Trip to the Moon is considered one of the first science fiction films ever made. In the movie, the characters head to outer space on a mission to the moon. They predicted the fact that they would use a rocket to get to them to the moon. But what they were wrong about was the fact that they found aliens living on the moon.
Jurassic Park – Cloning Extinct Animals
In 1993 Steven Spielberg unleashed his awesomeness in the movie Jurassic Park. In this movie, the characters play god and experiment with cloning animals that were extinct. For some reason they decided to go with dinosaurs, perhaps they didn’t know how disastrous it would be!
The movie sparked some ethical debates across the country. The theory about cloning animals had circulated before the movie came out, but no one had attempted it. Decades after the movie came out scientists successfully cloned a Spanish Ibex and they did it in a similar way that the scientists in the movies did.
Snowpiercer – Insect-derived Protein Bars
Though this movie did not come out too long ago, Snowpiercer’s moving social and political take on a group of people living in a constantly moving train in a post-apocalyptic world is similar to today’s society in some ways.
The train is divided into social classes, and each class has different privileges. The people at the front of the train have the opportunity to eat the top of the line meals such as sushi and steaks. The people in the back only get food that is sufficient enough to keep them from getting hungry. They eat protein bars made from insects. Scientists are already working on these protein bars as some insects really do hold high levels of proteins within them.
Star Trek (The Next Generation) – Touch Screen Interfaces
In 1987, Star Trek: The Next Generation aired. The characters in the show used some pretty cool devices that did not exist during that time but exist today. They were using loads of flat touch-screen devices. Almost everyone in the Enterprise crew had one in their hand.
Although most of Americans today come into contact with touch screen devices on a regular basis, the whole idea of a touch screen was completely taboo back in those days. The technology in Star Trek: The Next Generation, is unimpressive to people today. However, if you look at those screens and think about how they were not even invented at the time, you develop a whole new level of appreciation for the show.
Star Wars – Holograms
Although the concept of the hologram was first discovered way back in 1948, it did not make its way to mainstream audiences until decades later. Many were first introduced to the idea only in 2008 when CNN introduced it during that year’s U.S Presidential Election.
Others only saw their first real-life hologram when Tupac made his legendary “resurrection” in 2012. Before all that, however, we had a brilliant showcase of Hologram tech in the 1977 Star Wars film, Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope. George Lucas and his team were clearly way ahead of their time.
Demon Seed – Smart Homes
The 1977 sci-fi horror film, Demon Seed, took a very sinister approach to what is recognized today as a common smart home system. In the film, an artificially-intelligent computer takes control of all the devices in its inventor’s home and wrecks havoc on him and his family.
Luckily, today’s smart homes have yet to develop minds of their own and take control of our houses. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see how closely this film came to a reality that did not exist until over two decades later. Hopefully, our smart devices don’t outsmart us anytime soon.
Network – Rating Obsessions
In the 1976 film, Network, a famous news broadcaster finds out that he is about to be fired due to poor ratings and reacts by having a huge outburst on live TV. Ironically, it was this outburst that caused his ratings to spike at an all-time high and he became an instant sensation.
The film then follows the obsessive pursuit to keep his ratings up and boost his numbers. There are many aspects of today’s society that mirror the reality seen in Network. Whether it’s our constant need for Facebook likes and Instagram hearts or TV taking over our pop-culture scene. Regardless of how you look at it, this film clearly had a hunch about something.
Smart House – Virtual Assistants
Similar to Demon Seed, the popular Disney Channel original movie, Smart House, which first aired in 1999, also follows the plot of a computer taking over a family home. After winning a contest, a family of three get to move into a state of the art computerized house, which although seems helpful and friendly enough, begins to take on a life of its own.
The role of the computer home is personified by a Stepford wife-esque woman, who begins to develop the personality of an overbearing mother. Sound familiar? To us, this sounds way too similar to the Siris and Alexas that we have welcomed into our homes. While these home devices might not be bossing us around just yet, they certainly play a part in our day to day lives.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind – Erasing Memory
We all have a regretful memory or two that we wish we could erase from our memory. That is exactly what this 2003 film starring Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet bring to fruition as Carrey’s character attempts to erase his heartbreak from memory. While this technology does not yet exist to such an extent, researchers are working on something similar.
Researchers are currently working on a potential procedure that will allow them to target and erase individual memories that inflict emotional trauma. This is being designed specifically for soldiers suffering from PTSD. So it looks like that regretful ex will have to stay in our memories for now.
Die Another Day – Invisible Cars
As the twentieth film in the James Bond series, Die Another Day received a lot of criticism for its overuse of computer-generated imagery and unrealistic spy gadgets. One such gadget used to Bond’s advantage was his extremely convenient invisible car. While at the time of it’s release back in 2002, this invisible car concept seemed too far fetched even for the Bond universe, today its not too far from reality.
In 2010, eight years after the film’s release, an Israeli company called Eltics created an early prototype for infrared camouflage of vehicles. In addition, another company called BAE Systems announced its own infrared camouflage technology which is used to protect military vehicles. Sounds like pretty soon, we can all pretend to be Bond, and not only when we order a Martini.
Gremlins 2 – Automatic Everything
While it’s not the center of the plot, in Gremlins 2: The New Batch, there are various scenes that showcase several high tech features that were not yet introduced to our everyday lives. For instance, the film showed automatic doors, and lights, among others.
Overall the movies Clamp Tower took on many characteristics of today’s shopping centers or modernized skyscrapers. Today, rarely do we walk into a mall or public bathroom without expecting everything in our path to automatically, open, dispense or click on.
Ghost in the Shell – Invisibility Technologies
Since this futuristic sci-fi film only came out a couple of years ago, in 2017, we won’t know what all it got right when it comes to predicting the future. One thing they did predict, however, that is currently in the works today, is The iconic thermoptic suit that Scarlett Johansson’s character wears in order to become invisible.
We might still be a way’s a way to the level of technology achieved in the film, but Japanese researchers are currently in the works on similar technology. This innovation consists of a high-tech fabric that allows whoever wears it to blend into their surroundings.
Airplane II – Full Body Scanners
While the moon has not yet been colonized and we aren’t exactly boarding planes headed out to space, there are a few things that Airplane II: The Sequel did get right, at least to an extent. The film, which released in 1982 predicted that we would one day be walking through full-body scanners at airports.
Anyone who has boarded a plane since the early 2000s knows that this concept has since become an integral part of the airport security process. While the scanners in the movie are a little cruder than the ones we use in real life, clearly the creators of this parody film had something there.
Videodrome – YouTube
While our love for user-generated television has not reached the disturbing levels depicted in the 1983 cult film, Videodrome, we have to admit that some of the ideas here do relate to the present day. The most obvious example being, our societies growing obsession with YouTube.
I mean sure, the user-generated content that we know and love doesn’t literally allow us to melt into our screens, but we certainly can get locked in for a few solid hours. Since YouTube wasn’t founded until 2005, 22 years after the film’s release, watching the movie today does hold an added eerie element to it.
The Cable Guy – Online Multiplayer Gaming, Broadband Internet
After this movie came out, a lot of people debated the level of quality it had. Many viewers found Jim Carrey’s performance to be a little unpleasant. However, there is one prophetic scene in this movie.
When Jim Carey, the psychopathic cable guy, gives a monologue about the future of technology, he was spot on. “Soon every American home will integrate their television, phone, and computer. You’ll be able to visit the Louvre on one channel or watch female wrestling on another. You can do your shopping at home, or play Mortal Kombat with a friend from Vietnam. There’s no end to the possibilities!” Umm, he was right!