From fiction to science: 5 sci-fi predictions that turned out to be right

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Science fiction movies don’t always age well. Sometimes they end up being completely wrong. For example, “The Running Man” predicted that 2019 would be the year we all started to watch a Hunger Games-like battle on live TV.

2019 also happened to be the year that we would be cloning humans like cattle, as proposed in “The Island”. This film isn’t even that old either.

That being said, there are some that do come true, some of which seem too close for comfort.

Here are 5 sci-fi predictions that turned out to be right.

1. Space Travel

It’s tough to say that a single piece of fiction predicted the idea of space travel. It’s accepted that Jules Verne was the first person to write about space travel in 1865 with the release of his book “From Earth to the Moon”, but ever since there have been more bodies of work dedicated to this idea than we count.

Fast-forward nearly around 100 years later from the original book and the launch of Apollo 11 saw Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins set off on the greatest adventure in the history of the human race.

Today, we are thinking about putting people on Mars, let along going back to the moon. It’s fascinating to think that what seems revolutionary and almost achievable now was once thought of as impossible and just a dream.

The 1902 film “Le Voyage Dans La Lune" tried to conceptualize what it would be like to be on the moon. They used some great special effects that were made even better by the fact that cinema wasn’t even around until 1905. Even the film’s idea of launching a rocket from a cannon doesn’t even seem too farfetched.

2. Robots

Today’s world relies on robots and artificial intelligence almost every day. Back in 1920 though, it was just a crazy prediction.

Anyone familiar with the 1927 film “Metropolis” will understand what we’re talking about. Watching today is not so easy - it’s silent, runs for more than two hours and is only available in black and white - but it broke ground at the time.

It was the first time ever that a movie depicted the use of robots. The film follows an inventor who creates and humanoid robot based on one of the other characters named Maria.

Today, there are many companies and organizations creating all sorts of robots. For example, Boston Dynamics have developed several machines that can walk by themselves (some can even dance too) while a humanoid named Erica has acted as a news anchor over in Japan.

3. Earbuds

Everyone that buys a smartphone gets a pair of earbuds in the packaging. It’s just standard and is now expected by customers when they upgrade their handset. But it wasn’t until the release of “Fahrenheit 451” that the idea first came into the public eye.

The film adaptation of this iconic piece of literature came out in 1966 and there’s a really interesting bit of tech that predicts how we would use earbuds in the future.

“Fahrenheit 451” describes “seashells” 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."

Now, transistor radios were around at the time of the movie’s release, as were headphones, but they were very bulky and unsightly. But both Ray Bradbury (author) and François Truffaut (director) envisioned a world where small earbuds could be used to listen to music and for conversation.

Seashells didn’t arrive until 2001 when Apple released the iPod, but it’s another case where something that seemed just science fiction turned out to be right.

4. Mobile Phones

This next sci-fi prediction that turned out to be right comes from “Star Trek”, one of the biggest franchises of all time. Like the “2001: A Space Odyessey”, “Star Trek” also predicted a lof of modern technology.

The original series first aired back in 1966 (this year seems to be a hit year for tech predictions) and arguably one of their boldest and biggest predictions of all was the mobile phone. It was the first time that the idea had floated about and made its way into society.

The concept of a mobile phone inspired Martin Cooper, an engineer at Motorola, to design the first-ever mobile phone in 1973. The prototype, later named the Motorola DynaTAC, was a behemoth, coming in two-and-a-half pounds and had a battery that lasted for 20 minutes.

It wasn’t until 1983 that the DynaTAC was released but it paved the way for the mobile phone industry to grow and become what it is today.

5. Skype

No one used Skype in 2001 to video call their friends and family. But the idea certainly came into fruition in “2001: A Space Odyssey”. In fact, this film predicted all sorts of sci-fi ideas that have come true, but none more so than its use of Skype.

Video calling was a prominent feature of the film. For example, Dr Heywood Floyd used such a thing to call his family while orbiting the Earth.

But this particular scene shows further innovation when he inserts what appears to be a credit card into the videophone before the call starts. Credit cards weren’t very common when the film was released back in the 1960s. Dr Floyd was charged $1.70 to make a space call, but it’s hard to think if he got a good deal or not.

Tech companies have been in love with the idea of video calls and videophones themselves for years now. Many companies have tried their hand at creating such a device, such as AT&T’s 1982 Picturephone.

While this didn’t take off the ground, the idea sure did stick. Today, we have all kinds of technology to make video calls every day with the internet, smartphones and all kinds of apps like Skype and FaceTime.

There are plenty of other bold sci-fi predictions such as these five that you have just to check out. This list of 22 best science fiction books of all time is certainly worth the read.



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