The Past Predicting The Future: 5 Inventions That Showed Up In Movies Before Real Life

Technology plays an integral part in our daily lives, so much so that we almost can’t think of a time we didn’t need it to go through our day. That said, if you look back at movies in the early 20th and 21st centuries, you’ll find some of them that predict some of the tech we use today, even though they didn’t have it at the time.

While we still don’t have flying cars or hoverboards, a few other pieces of tech appeared in one form or another in past movies, becoming the blueprint of what we have today, so we looked back at some of them to see which ones made the correct predictions.

Metropolis (Video Calling)

While we used to and still use video calling for social reasons most of the time, things took a turn in 2020 after the spread of the coronavirus, which created a high demand for services to facilitate video calling for business calls and meetings since everybody was staying at home. 

Now, it’s not uncommon to see people talking to each other via their phones or computers to relay messages or communicate with each other, but believe it or not, a German movie from 1927 predicted this technology before being readily available to the masses.

In one of the movie’s scenes, a character approaches a device with a large screen, a phone handset, and a bunch of buttons; after calibrating everything, the screen lights up, connecting him with someone in another location with whom he starts a conversation. It’s pretty much the same concept we have today, minus the phone handset and the fact that it’s much smaller since we use it on laptops and phones.

However, it’s still fascinating to find out that the idea of video calling appeared in such an old film before other concepts like cell phones or tablets.

Star Trek Franchise (Eye Scanning Technology, Touch Capabilities, Cell Phones, & Tablets)

The Star Trek franchise had a huge influence on many of the pieces of tech we use today. Mainly because it’s set in space and wanted to reflect the futuristic setting in its props, leading to the appearance of devices like touch-screen tablets and communicators that influenced the creation of similar items in the real world.

There is a lot of tech in the franchise (more specifically the shows), which feature touch capabilities, like tablets, screens, and spaceship controls. In earlier seasons, several cast members used tablets to get data from and talk to other crew members via video call. They also used a small communicator device, which looked akin to a flip phone, all of which would release years later as actual devices.

In “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” released in 1982, Admiral Kirk, played by William Shatner, gains access to secret documents using a retinal scan, which was still unheard of at the time; now, it’s available as a biometric security device in some airports globally.

Back To The Future 2 (Wearables, Augmented Reality, 3D & 4D Movies, & Too Many Sequels)

“Back to the Future 2.” released in 1989, had the famous lead characters Marty and Doc travel to the future instead of the past; in that future, viewers can see a lot of tech predictions, some never materialized later on, such as the hoverboard, hydrator, or the flying cars.

On the other hand, some predictions would see the light of day, such as the abundance of sequels. There’s a movie theater in the movie showing that the “Jaws” movie got 18 sequels, similar to how the “Fast & Furious” franchise is now going on its tenth movie with an eleventh movie expected too.

That same theater also teased passers-by using an augmented-reality shark, which is something that is used today but on a smaller scale and needs a phone to see, but it’s going to take some time to have it as effective as in the movie.

The theater is called HOLOMAX too, which makes us assume that it’s using holograms; the closest thing we have similar to that are 3D and 4D movies; unfortunately, we haven’t reached holograms yet.

There’s another scene in the movie where all the future members of Marty’s family sit around the table; if you keep an eye out, you can see that the kids are wearing glasses that notify them when a phone call is coming in. 

Years later, there are now smart-glasses that use augmented reality to show info to the wearer, like messages and phone call alerts.

Minority Report (Targeted Ads)

The internet is an essential tool in our daily lives; there’s no denying that. And as we access more websites along the way, there has been an increase in ads, with many of them targeted toward the users’ preferences to show them things they might be interested in buying. However, in 2002, the movie “Minority Report” showed how companies take that concept to a whole new level in the future.

Audiences can see Tom Cruise’s character, John Anderton, pass through a mall in search of clothes in the year 2054; once he gets recognized by eye scanners, ads start to pop up specifically for him, calling out his name, and try to tempt him to buy more products.

While we still don’t have hologram technology readily available as much as in the film, the ads feel eerily familiar to the ones we can see on websites today. These website ads show you products that users might have been talking about recently and were thinking of buying, making the whole situation too creepy.

Total Recall (Self-Driving Cars, Colonization Of Mars)

The 1990 film “Total Recall” was another movie that succeeded in predicting several pieces of tech we use today. One of which was the ambition to colonize the planet Mars; Set in 2084, the movie shows that that had already happened with many people living there in closed-out cities protecting them from the planet’s atmosphere.

Also, people would traverse the red planet using AI-driven vehicles, a feature that is now applied in today’s cars, such as in Teslas and Fords. There’s even a new driverless taxi service launching soon in Dubai called Cruise to take passengers from one location to the other; without having anyone in the driving seat.

This gives us hope for the future, at the same time, makes us keep an eye out for any futuristic prop that appears in the movies, you never know it might end up in the real world later.

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