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Top 7 Most Prophetic SciFi Inventions

Top 7 Most Prophetic SciFi Inventions

By Becky Ferreira

The next generation of the Starship Enterprise might include you. An engineer named BTE Dan (as in "Build the Enterprise" Dan) has decided to "make it so" with his ambitious plan to construct a real version of the Enterprise in Earth orbit over the next 20 years. The ship will be almost a kilometer long, far bigger than any structure ever built by humanity, and the project is well on its awesome way. As mind-blowing as BTE Dan's plan is, it is far from the first time science fiction has produced uncannily accurate prophesies about the future. Check out these 7 predictions from classic science fiction books and movies that ended up coming true.

7. Full body scans, predicted in Total Recall (1990)
A remake of the scifi classic Total Recall comes out in August, but the reboot isn't the only legacy left by the 1990 original. The TSA has made headlines during the last few years for their controversial use of full body scanners in airports, eerily similar to the ones that peek through the masses of Arnold in this scene. Incidentally, Total Recall also predicted that the line "clever girl" sounds awesome, and should be used in future movies.

6. Reality TV, predicted in Real Life (1979) and The Truman Show (1998)
In Albert Brooks' 1979 comedy Real Life, an Arizona family welcomes a camera crew into their house for an experimental documentary about the average American home. Almost 20 years later, The Truman Show took the concept to the next level with its depiction of a reality show in which the subject isn't aware that his entire existence is staged. Both movies poke fun at the exhibitionist streak in American culture and lampoon the rise of voyeurism, but who knew the 21st Century would deliver countless reality shows along the same lines? And given the Kardashians, Extreme Couponing and Bridalplasty, who wanted to know?

5. Wikipedia, predicted in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1978)
Douglas Adams foresaw the rise of a user-sourced, re-writable guide to... well... the galaxy! Yes, the "Hitchhiker's Guide" referred to in the title is a Nook-style encyclopedia generated by its own users and constantly updated just like our lovely friend Wikipedia. Also similar is the multitude of factual areas: for example, the entry about the Universe was copied from the back of a cereal packet. Oh, how we miss that Adams wit!

4. Directed memory erasure, predicted in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
In Eternal Sunshine, Kate Winslet undergoes an operation to erase Jim Carrey from her memory, an idea so crazy it could only have burst forth from Charlie Kaufman's weird brain. Speaking of things bursting forth from brains, turns out a pill that helps you remove bad memories may actually become commercially available. Dr. Merel Kindt of Amsterdam University has been testing beta-blockers on volunteers, and has found that they block negative recollections. Talk about un-total recall!

3. The Internet, predicted in From the 'London Times' of 1904 by Mark Twain (1898)
Mark Twain, never content to be simply the best American humorist of all time, predicted the Internet a century before it became that thing we stare at all the time. In his 1898 short story, Twain imagined a "telectroscope," a worldwide web based on phonelines.  That's just the kind of intellectual hijinx that goes on when you're a literary genius who constantly hangs out with Tesla.

2. Pretty much everything predicted in Back to the Future II (1989)
Needles uses video conferencing to fire old Marty. A holographic shark targets Marty like a giant pop-up ad. Marty Jr. watches multiple channels at once. Heck, with the advent of quantum levitation, even hoverboards may be on the way! Back to the Future II is more than a sequel, it's a full-blown oracle! Now if only we could figure out the Flux Capacitor...

1. The moon landing, predicted in From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne (1865)
Jules Verne predicted the moon landing to a ridiculously specific level. He foresaw that there would be three astronauts, a Florida launching pad and his guess for the weight and cost of the vessel was off by a tiny margin. Even weirder, Verne's vessel was called Columbiad while Apollo 11's command module was called Columbia. WHAT?! The list of accurate predictions goes on and on and to us, it's definitive proof that Verne is some kind of time-traveling alien! As we always suspected.

What scifi inventions do you think predict the future?

Tags: movies, tv, sci fi, star trek, total recall

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About the Author
Becky Ferreira

Becky Ferreira is a writer, performer, and raptor based in New York.

Wanna contact a writer or editor? Email contribute@sparknotes.com.