Religious and intelligence communities have always been in the business of forecasting the future. But what about pop culture’s role in divination? Pop culture isn't concerned with interpreting the Mayan calendar, predicting locust swarms and the End of Days, or proving or disproving the 1555 prophecies of Nostradamus. However, that hasn't stopped it from having its finger on the pulse of the future.
From books and films to advertisements and song lyrics, the predictions in pop culture are the work of fantasy and the imagination, or what is commonly called the “Accidental Prophet Effect.” In other words, if science fiction writers attempt to envision life in the distant future, then sooner or later they're going to predict something like satellite communications (Arthur C. Clarke, 1945) or the video chat -Isaac Asimov, 1964. As the saying goes, “even a broken clock is right twice a day.”
At the same time, there are predictions and off-hand forecasts that seem like more than just creative coincidences. Here are 10 events that were predicted in pop culture.
10 Poltergeist Predicts Heather O’Rourke’s Death
Poltergeist was released in 1982, so why does the little boy, Robbie, have a poster for 1988’s Super Bowl XXII on his bedroom wall? Poltergeist has long been considered one of Hollywood’s most cursed films, and the unexplainable choice of bedroom décor only adds to the mystery.
9 John Elfreth Watkins Predicts High-Speed Trains
John Elfreth Watkins wrote for Ladies’ Home Journal magazine. In 1900, in an issue titled “What May Happen in the Next Hundred Years,” Watkins predicted that by the year 2000 trains would reach speeds up to 150 mph.
8 Magnum P. Eyes GPS in 1993
7 Roger Ebert Predicts Movie Streaming
In 1987, Omni magazine interviewed Roger Ebert. When asked how he thought the competition between movies and television would play out in the future, the legendary critic for the Chicago-Sun Times made several comments that turned out to be prophetic.
“We'll have high-definition, wide-screen television sets and a push-button dialing system to order the movie you want at the time you want it,” said Ebert. “You won't go to a video store but instead order a movie on demand and then pay for it.”
6 Vanilla Sky and 9/11
5 Philco-Ford Predicts Online Shopping
4 1987 Apple Promo Predicts the iPhone
Big hair. Big shoulder pads. And even bigger computers. In the ‘80s, personal computers were monstrous; they were ungainly Rubik’s Cubes of interconnected boxes. In '87, Apple released a promo video called “Knowledge Navigator” that outlined their predictions for future technology.
And there, way back in '87, two years before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the eventual dissolution of the Soviet Union, was the iPhone 4S.
“Knowledge Navigator” featured a small, flat, touch-screen, tablet-like device that served as a telephone and connected wirelessly to a "worldwide information network." A what? And if that isn't enough, the device had a talking digital assistant that responded to voice commands.
3 The Simpsons Predict Farmville
Created by Matt Groening, The Simpsons debuted in 1989 and is the longest running American animated program. There have been 26 seasons and 574 episodes, so it makes sense that the Rule of Longevity would come into play and the show’s writers would somehow manage to predict the future.
2 George Orwell’s 1984 Predicts the Propagation of Surveillance
Big Brother is Watching. George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece, 1984, envisions a world of political tyranny and government surveillance. Published in 1949, Orwell’s view of the future featured public and private telescreens in which the Party watches all citizens for signs of rebellion and thought crimes.
1 William Gibson Predicts “The Future”
A 2014 GQ article asked the following question: Can William Gibson predict the future?
Long before the Internet, the cult sci-fi novelist coined the term “cyberspace.” The term first appeared in a 1982 short story called Burning Chrome. Gibson is also credited with predicting the rise of modern reality TV, a concept that is illustrated in books like Virtual Light (1993) and Idoru (1996). From nanotechnology and viral marketing to drones and the information age, the cyberpunk pioneer made several predictions that became reality decades later. In 1999, the Guardian called Gibson “the most important novelist of the past two decades.”
Sources: listverse.com, disqus.com
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