It is said that there are some writers who stay ahead of their time. This is also true for the sci-fi writers. Though we sometimes think that they write from their imagination, still it is not a surprise that science-fiction writers provide prediction about future technologies which sometimes even come true. And with the advancement of movie making, the common people have started watching science-fiction writers’ ideas about what the future might look like on the screen. It would be nearly impossible to cite all the future technologies depicted in the movies. However there are some notable science-fiction films that have provided particularly accurate predictions of technologies before they were even invented. Here are a few such examples:
‘The Grim Game’ (1919)
The first robot made its debut on film before the term ‘robot’ was even used. In the Harry Houdini black-and-white silent film ‘The Grim Game’, viewers saw a humanoid-looking ‘automaton’ named Q. We have since had numerous robots invented throughout history.
‘Woman In The Moon’ (1929) Featuring Space Travel
While French director Georges Méliès’s famous ‘A Trip to the Moon’ film preceded ‘Woman in the Moon’ by over 20 years, the depiction of space travel in Fritz Lang’s film is considered much more realistic. While the characters in ‘A Trip to the Moon’ utilize a giant cannon to launch their spacecraft into the eye of an anthropomorphic moon, ‘Woman in the Moon’ includes a fairly accurate depiction of a multi-stage rocket launch. ‘Woman in the Moon’ offers an amazingly prescient depiction of later rocket launches into space, especially considering that the movie was made 28 years before the Sputnik 1 launched.
‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968) Featuring Tablet
‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ is a sci-fi classic that predicted numerous technological innovations. In the 1968 film, we see protagonist Dr. Dave Bowman watching videos on a tablet as he is eating a meal aboard a space station. However Apple began popularizing the tablet in 2010.
‘Blade Runner’ (1982)
Featuring Video Calls
Now people can call someone and see them through video on Skype, FaceTime, and so much more. In the movie ‘Blade Runner’ we see this idea for the first time. In the movie, Rick Deckard goes to what seems like a pay phone machine except when he types in the phone number, he gets to see the person he is talking to on a screen.
‘Star Trek III: The Search For Spock’ (1984) Featuring Mobile Phone
When it comes to predicting future technologies, it can be argued that the Star Trek franchise tops all other science fiction movies combined. Some of the currently existing technologies that the Star Trek franchise predicted include videophone communications, 3-D printers (replicators), and computer speech recognition. However, perhaps the most iconic Star Trek technology that later became a reality is the handheld communicator. Interestingly, the first two Star Trek theatrical releases - Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - depicted the films’ characters using wrist-worn communicators instead of the classic handheld devices used on the original television series. So perhaps the smartwatch should also be added to the list of technologies predicted by Star Trek. However, the classic handheld communicators returned in ‘Star Trek III: The Search for Spock’.
‘Total Recall’ (1990)
Featuring Driverless Car
Loosely based on a short story by science-fiction author Philip K. Dick, this blockbuster film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger is packed with all sorts of futuristic technologies. Among others, there is a scene that depicts a scene of driverless car technology.
‘Minority Report’ (2002)
Featuring Gesture-Based User Interface
The film ‘Minority Report’ did accurately predict gesture-based user interfaces long before touch screens and motion-sensing inputs became common. In one of the scenes, viewers see Tom Cruise manipulating images on a computer with dramatic gestures. While most people now don’t operate their smartphones and tablets with exaggerated two-handed gestures, the swipe and pinch-to-zoom motions used by Cruise are essentially the same gestures used to operate touch screens today.