What Book, Movie, or TV show most accurately predicted the future?

Something I was pondering today while watching The Critic on DVD.

Most of us are probably familiar with the retro-50’s WORLD OF TOMORROW! look, (a la The Jetsons), which seemed to involve lots of girders with circular holes in them, plexiglass, and flying hovercars…

Yet here we are, halfway through 2006, and we don’t have Flying Hovercars (and no-one is to try and mention the Moller Aircar, alright?), we can’t take a Pan-Am Clipper to the Moon for a holiday, and I’ve yet to see anything approaching a convincing, real-life Android.

Yet all these things feature prominently in science/speculative fiction from as recently as 15 years ago…

Anyway, has any movie, TV show, or book from the past managed to- more or less- accurately depict the future, when the future finally arrives? (You know what I mean!)

Call me a cynic, but in my mind Orwell’s “1984” is the closest anyone came/has come/will come.

So what predictions of Orwell’s 1984 have come true? In America and Europe I mean, not North Korea.

Did you even read 1984?

No, I never read it :rolleyes:

If you’ll notice I said it was the “closest” anyone has come to predicting the future, not that it was an accurate depiction.

I will go with Huxley’s Brave New World - pacifying the masses via pharmaceutical substances, in vitro fertilization leading to designer babies according to class structure, movement towards a utopian society - everyone is cared for and gets what they need - that robs them of freedom.

Lemur866 - methinks you are missing the point regarding 1984, which is another great choice:

  • War is Peace = Bush’s war on terror
  • Ignorance is Strength = beat down the press to avoid divulging secrets that would limit the war on terror
  • Freedom is Slavery = lack of privacy, etc.
  • The various phrases Orwell coined associated with propaganda and spin control over message - doublespeak, etc. - can’t remember them off the top of my head
  • Room 101 - where unbelievers are tortured into belief - obviously applies to oppressive regimes around the world, but I would also argue it applies to Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and the Black Prisons set up on foreign soil where those incarcerated have been Disappeared.

It ain’t pretty.

As for gadgets - you have Star Trek for communicators/mobile phones and a few other niceties…

Oh, and no thread like this would be complete without references to Neuromancer and Snow Crash - books from the late 80’s (NM) and early 90’s (SC) that paint a compellingly accurate portrait of the cyber-life we are all experience on line these days. Snow Crash in particular - which coined the phrase “avatar” for online representation of one’s self - sets up Sims-like worlds where folks interact virtually that is very similar to what is happening with increasing frequency today…

I would say Network but Paddy Chayevsky at his most prognosticative fell far short of predicting the depths of depravity to which television would eventually sink.

So if we’re living in a totalitarian dictatorship ala 1984, why the fuck aren’t the gestapo breaking down your front door and arresting you for complaining about it on the internet?

There is one country in the world that has implemented 1984 as a blueprint, like the Iotians did for “Chicago Mobs of the Twenties” in TOS, and that’s North Korea.

Our society is much MUCH further away from the society depicted in 1984 than we were in 1948. 1984 is an important book, a brilliant book, but it’s an example of a self-negating prophecy, the existance of the book made the types of things depicted in the book LESS likely, because Orwell warned us about them.

There really are real dictatorships that really exist for real, and they really are really bad. Please stop pretending to believe that the US is one of them.

Well I have a vague recollection of a “Jetsons” episode in which George’s boss has an “tan-o-matic” bed. He would lie on it, a beam of light would shine down on him, and presto his pale white skin was perfectly bronzed.

There’s an old pulp story from the 1940s called “A Logic Named Joe” (whose author’s name eludes me.) It accurately predicted the rise of home computers and the internet.

And while we aren’t dispatched to Carousel at age 30, a lot of components to the society in “Logan’s Run” seem to have come true - specifically the bland, sanitized consumer lifestyle, the casual acceptance of radical cosmetic surgery, the utter indifference / ignorance of anything outside of a person’s immediate sphere.

Take it to Great Debates or the Pit, sir or ma’am. I choose to disagree on a number of fundamental levels, as is my right. I could pick apart a number of your observations above, but that is not what this thread is about.

The obscure political science fiction novel, The Golden Kazoo by John G. Schneider. Written in 1956, it predicted:

  1. Candidates would run for president by tailoring their message in order to match public opinion polls.
  2. Madison Avenue would run politics (Remember. The Selling of the President came 12 years later).
  3. The Republicans would run a handsome idiot for president, who would get elected by saying exactly what the public wanted to hear.

Now, you could argue about #3, but the rest was dead on.

Yep, #3 isn’t true, George Bush isn’t handsome.

Lemur866, I think the problem is that we’re interpreting the question differently. Most people are seeing it as, which science fiction stories had significant technological innovations which have come to pass? There wasn’t anything in the OP about totalitarian dictatorships, but as soon as I read the OP, I thought of 1984 as well, mostly because, aside from the viewscreens, it had no technological innovations… and now we have viewscreens.

That ain’t the 2006 I live in! Or are you making a prediction for further down the road?

We have viewscreens? Where?

Yeah, 1984 wasn’t about technology, the technology is irrelevant. 1984 was about rolling up the techniques that dictatorships of the 20th century had pioneered into one horrible perfect dictatorship. There had been dictatorships before Nazi Germany, Soviet Russia, Imperial Japan, and Fascist Italy, but never totalitarian dictatorships, and 1984 was the first to really explore what these totalitarian systems were all about.

Thing is, 1984 isn’t a good model for how government and social control is maintained in today’s open societies. 1984 didn’t predict lying corrupt politicians, or wars started for commercial gain, or jingoism, those have existed since the Sumerians. Although none of the extreme social conditioning of Brave New World ever came to pass, in some ways it’s a much better model. Where’s the boot stamping on a human face…forever…in today’s world? That’s not happening today, that’s not even close to what’s happening today, and claiming that George Bush is a modern incarnation of Big Brother is simply ludicrous when we can look at North Korea and see that the dictator Kim Jong Il is literally deified, or Syria where any criticism of the dictator gets you literally pulled out of bed in the middle of the night and shot in the back of the head.

I am thinking of the whole “make sure I get my entitlements/convenient capitalism - and if that means I have to give up my personal freedoms to get them, well, if I have done nothing wrong, why should I care?” mindset that seems so prevalent today…

Allowing for variations in details, our present cybersociety is a lot like that portrayed in Max Headroom.

In today’s society, we have:

  • cameras on many street corners - in recent articles, I have read where London has cameras at many, many street corners and many other cities are close behind.

  • PC’s where, via cookies, our moves are being monitored for commercial purposes but also for surveillance

  • our phone records and financial transactions being monitored

It doesn’t seem to be too far a stretch to look at 1984’s always-on monitor scrutinizing even more of a person’s daily life…

Which aspect of the future? Different sources got some things spectacularly correct, and others spectacularly wrong. H.G. Wells , in When the Sleeper Wakes makes a host of logical predictions that made a lot of sense at the time, but which turned out spectacularly wrong. Yet in other works he correctly predicted the importance of air power in modern warfare (both in his book "The War in the Air, and leter in “Things to Come”), the use of the tank, and the importance of atomic bombs (which he called “atomic bombs”) as a major force in world politics.
Jules Verne gets high marks for correct predictions – Television, Lunar capsules made of aluminum, Rubber Survival suits, high-tech submarines, guided missiles, heavier-than-air aircraft built of composites, portable electric flashlights (before Edison). Of course, he missed having torpedoes and periscopes on his submarines (subs show up in four of his novels, not just 20,000 Leagues).

H.G. Wells, Murrat Leinster, and Arthur C. Clarke wrote presciently about the Internet (especially Leinster, with “A Logic Named Joe” circa 1948)

was a movie about the 1938 World’s Fair in NYC. I remember that the GM pavilion had something about the future of cars-and they accurately predicted that American cities would adapt to mass ownership of automobiles-by building giant highways. What is really funny-they “kitchen of tomorrow” 9by General Electric-they featured a dishwashing machine that was the size of a large refridgerator!
What seems never to have happened:

  1. Widspread adoption of "modern architecture’-where i live, people want their houses to look like colonial houses, ca. 1600! they actually WANT fireplaces?? By now, i though we would all be living in bauhaus -style glass and steel houses
  2. Clothing styles; we are extremely conservative; a modern man’s suit toady is almost indistinguishable from ther style of 1915. No "jetsons’style clothing
  3. we carry on in business much as we did in 1900-still have staff meetings, write memos, even though we have email.
  4. We still cook food the way we did in 1900-most people use microwave ovens to heat things up.
  5. WE haven’t made a lot of progress in education: if anything, we have allowed standars to slip (try taking a highshool history exam from 1900).