Modern Technology That Sci-Fi Predicted Years Ago


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It’s 2024, and the future is now! Between VR headsets, smart homes, and Bluetooth-enabled refrigerators, it certainly feels like we’ve reached the apex of technological advancements, and it’s hard to imagine what gadgets could possibly still lay ahead at this point.


While it may seem like the tech world has reached a stage that can’t be surpassed, the fact is that it will continue to advance at a rapid clip, and science-fiction movies and television shows have already predicted a lot of what we should expect. Read our list of cutting-edge technological advancements that you use today and that “The Jetsons” predicted decades ago.

Image Credit: IMDb.

1. Video Calls: ‘Blade Runner’ (1982)

In “Blade Runner,” Harrison Ford plays the titular character, whose job is hunting down and “retiring” human-appearing robots known as “replicants.” While most people remember the movie for its iconic look that combined science fiction with film noir, it also features a very quick sequence in which Ford’s character talks to someone on a video call, predating FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom by decades.

Image Credit: IMDb.

2. Voice-Activated Technology: ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ (1966-1969)

During the original “Star Trek” run, the crew of the Starship Enterprise had a very convenient way of turning on a computer. All they had to do was say “computer,” and the device would spring to life, which should be familiar to those of us who shout “Hey Siri” when we want to interact with it.

Image Credit: Star Trek by Kipp Teague/ Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

3. Driverless Cars: ‘Total Recall’ (1990)

“Total Recall” is more than just a ridiculously violent futuristic Arnold Schwarzenegger movie directed by the man who brought us “Showgirls.” It also depicts driverless cars, referred to in the movie as “Johnny Cabs.” They’re manned by extremely creepy-looking animatronic beings who whistle and talk about the weather but don’t actually drive the car. 

Image Credit: IMDb.

4. Wearable Tech: ‘Back to the Future Part II’ (1989)

While “Back to the Future Part II” is a terrible sequel that never should have been made, it does have one thing going for it. It depicts “smart” clothing in the form of self-lacing shoes, and while we still have a long way to go before something like that is commonplace, we already live in the era of smart socks.


Image Credit: IMDb.

5. Augmented Reality: ‘They Live’ (1988)

John Carpenter’s satire “They Live” features sunglasses that reveal subliminal messages to the wearer. The sunglasses also show that some of our neighbors are actually space aliens. While augmented reality apps will not reveal that your boss is an extraterrestrial, they will overlay visible digital data onto the world around you.

Image Credit: IMDb.

6. Space Tourism: ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968)

Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking “2001: A Space Odyssey” predicted a lot of technology that’s commonplace today. While we do not yet live in the age of the mysteriously appearing monolith, we are currently living in the early days of the space tourism era, thanks to ventures like SpaceX and Blue Origin. The movie depicts space tourism as normal and unremarkable, like flying to Duluth.

Image Credit: IMDb.

7. Facial Recognition Technology: ‘Minority Report’ (2002)

Facial recognition technology is fairly abundant today, and it’s easy to understand why. Why mess around with passwords and two-factor authentication when you can gaze into your iPhone and magically unlock it? This technology was depicted in 2002’s “Minority Report,” although they forgot to depict all the implicit bias issues that have come up in the real world since the technology was introduced.

Image Credit: IMDb.

8. Holograms: ‘Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope’ (1977)

When Princess Leia said, “Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi. You’re my only hope,” she was doing so in hologram form. Holograms are not yet omnipresent, but the Swedish band ABBA is using them for their latest concert performances, and the recently-retired KISS said that the band will live on and continue to tour as a hologram-only entity.

Image Credit: IMDb.

9. Roomba: ‘The Jetsons’ (1962-1963)

“The Jetsons” may have been a cartoon intended for kids, but it got a few things right about what the future would hold. Rosie the Robot, who vacuumed the Jetson home, was an animated precursor to the Roomba, a robotic vacuum cleaner that tools around your home unsupervised to eliminate dust and cat hair.

Image Credit: IMDb.

10. Wireless Earpiece: ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’ (1966-1969)

In the original “Star Trek,” Chief Communications Officer Uhura was never seen without a large and unwieldy gizmo sticking out of her ear. It was just a wireless earpiece, but it predated today’s iterations by decades. Today’s earpieces are more discreet and don’t jut out of the wearer’s ear as dramatically as Uhura’s did, but otherwise, the show predicted this technology pretty accurately.

Image Credit: IMDb.

11. Artificial Intelligence: ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968)

“2001: A Space Odyssey” may have used the HAL 9000 robotic character to warn us about technology running amok, but apparently, no one listened. Artificial intelligence is everywhere, and most people are grateful for the convenience it affords. However, maybe they should be more worried that it’s going to lock them out of a spaceship.

Image Credit: IMDb.

12. Tactile Feedback Controllers: ‘Minority Report’ (2002)

“Minority Report” got this one right too. In the movie, Tom Cruise’s character interfaces with computers by using glove controllers, or tactile feedback controllers, which are similar to the haptic feedback gloves used in such VR setups as the Valve Index and PlayStation’s VR 2.

Image Credit: IMDb.

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