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Isaac Asimov predicted microwaves

Credit: Digital Museum via Picryl

Sci-fi writer and biochemistry professor Isaac Asimov once wrote an article for the New York Times in 1964 about what the world would look like in 50 years. “Gadgetry will continue to relieve mankind of tedious jobs,” he said.

A tad vague, sure, but then he went to claim people would cook “automeals” that’d be fit for consumption within seconds “with the food semi-prepared, stored in the freezer until ready for processing.” The first microwave ovens went on sale just three years later.

Tom Selleck predicted GPS


In 1993, Tom Selleck predicted several tech marvels in a series of AT&T advertisements. Seriously. That’s not a joke. Look it up. Using his silky Magnum P.I. voice, Selleck asks rhetorical questions regarding future desires, only to answer them: “You will.”

One of the questions is “Have you ever crossed the country without stopping for directions?” showing a man driving with the aid of something scarily similar to GPS. Six years later, President Bill Clinton declassified GPS technology so that it could be used by everyone.

Alec Guinness predicted James Dean’s death

Credit: Hulton Archive/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

James Dean was just 23 when he died in a car crash back in 1955. The news sent shockwaves throughout Hollywood. But when it reached Alec Guinness, he couldn’t have been less surprised. He explained in a 1977 BBC interview that he had bumped into Dean at a restaurant. Dean at the time was showing off his new car.

“Some strange thing came over me,” Guinness revealed. “I said, ‘Please do not get into that car, because if you do … by 10 o’clock at night next Thursday, you’ll be dead.'” That’s right, the exact date it happened.

HG Wells predicted nukes


The first actual nuclear bomb was dropped in August 1945 in Hiroshima, Japan. But in the literary world, atomic explosions were old news. In 1914’s The World Set Free, HG Wells’ wrote about the devastating effect of a nuclear fallout.

“Perished museums, cathedrals, palaces, libraries, galleries of masterpieces and a vast accumulation of human achievement whose charred remains lie buried,” he wrote, “a legacy of curious material that only future generations may hope to examine.”

Brave New World predicted antidepressants


Novels tend to predate a lot of social innovation and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World was no different. Released in 1932, this story shone a light on the power that classic conditioning and psychological manipulation has (or will have) over citizens.

Set in 2540, at one stage the London government gives everyone a legal drug called Soma which “raised a quite impenetrable wall between the actual universe and their minds.” Simply put, they were stress-free. “Eyes shone, cheeks were flushed, the inner light of universal benevolence broke out on every face in happy, friendly smiles.”

Antidepressants were eventually rolled out in the 1950s.

Mars has two moons in Gulliver’s Travels

Was Jonathan Swift a Martian? Odd as it may sound off the bat, this is a theory with very long, believable legs if you mingle with the right crowd. Back in 1726, in his book Gulliver’s Travels, Swift wrote about “two lesser stars, or satellites, which revolve around Mars”.

He went on to guess their exact size and rotation. No human being on Earth at that time had the means to even see the Red Planet let alone decide whether it had moons or not.

The Simpsons basically invented autocorrect


We all know by now how many predictions The Simpsons made. But did you know that they’ve made technological predictions, such as the tempestuous relationship between man and autocorrect? In a 1994 episode, Kearney jots a memo on Newton, Apple’s first attempt at a digital assistant, to “Beat up Martin” only for the device to translate his writing as “Eat up Martha.”

Two decades later, Apple’s former director of engineering, Nitin Ganatra claimed this episode inspired the way things were run. “If you heard people talking and they used the words ‘Eat up Martha,’ it was basically a reference to the fact that we needed to nail the keyboard,” he said. “We needed to make sure the text input works on this thing. Otherwise, ‘Here comes the Eat up Marthas.'”

The Laugh-In predicted both the Reagan presidency and the year the Berlin Wall fell


TV comedy sketch shows are no strangers to a spot of political commentary here and there – a tradition that Dan Rowan and Dick Martin’s Laugh In didn’t stray away from to say the absolute least.

In one such sketch called ‘News of the Future’, the two not only predicted that Ronald Reagan (who was the governor of California at the time) would become president but the precise year the Berlin Wall would fall. Rowan and Martin made these calls back in 1969, 20 years before communism crumbled.

Movie Critic Roger Ebert Predicted Streaming Services


When Roger Ebert sat down for an interview with Omni magazine in 1987, they tasked him with predicting the future of cinema. “We will have high-definition, wide-screen television sets and a push-button dialling system to order the movie you want at the time you want it,” he said.

“You’ll not go to a video store but instead order a movie on demand and then pay for it. Videocassette tapes as we know them now will be obsolete both for showing prerecorded movies and for recording movies.”

A 90s high schooler predicted the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series in 2016


It took 107 years for the Chicago Cubs to finally win a World Series, baseball’s highest honour. It was a victory that shocked the pundits, the bookies, the Cubs’ fans themselves, you name it. It shocked everyone apart from one Californian high school student, Mike Lee, a Cubs fanatic, who back in 1993 wrote below his senior year photo: “Chicago Cubs. 2016. World Champions.

You heard it here first.” Lee had to be reminded of his prediction by his friend who made the photo go viral after the Cubs claimed the title.