We, human beings, like to make things up. Our imagination takes us to the future filled with mind-bending technologies, surreal gadgets, and abilities that surpass everything we thought possible. We read about them in science-fiction books, watch futuristic movies, and eventually get inspired to create them in real life. Think smartphones are a totally new invention? Nope, they were predicted decades ago! Same goes for credit cards, self-driving cars, and even smartwatches. Here are 10 modern things that were predicted hundreds of years before they appeared.
It seems that some people, like the 19th century artist Jean-Marc Côté, had an ability to glance into the future. He’s one of the creators of En L’An 2000, an image series of technological achievements we should have made by the year 2000. This art collection was first printed in 1899! In it, Jean-Marc Côté depicted the future of video chatting – when no such visual technologies existed yet!
Arthur Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, made a prediction in 1968, describing a technologically advanced civilization that created life on Earth. In the book he mentioned electronic newspapers that look much like modern day iPads or tablets for reading.
Jule Verne’s From Earth to the Moon has the exact depiction of Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. The similarities are uncanny! In the novel three men boarded a spacecraft named Columbiad and launched from Florida. 104 years later three astronauts boarded the Apollo 11 spacecraft with a command module named Columbia that also launched from Florida! In the novel a telescope was able to see the mission in progress, and that’s exactly what happened in real life!
H. G. Wells is known for his futuristic novels and precise predictions. Back in 1898 he described what he called a ‘Heat-Ray’ in his novel The War of the Worlds. This weapon was capable of destroying anything from any distance without a hint of noise with just one short flash of light.
Another illustration from En L’An 2000 demonstrates a fully automated bathroom that will make you all pretty in a matter of minute. We might not be using automatic brushes and robotic makeup machines (yet!), but what we can do is control most of our bathroom with just one gadget and an app. It’ close enough!
Isaac Azimov’s novel Sally was among the first ones to introduce the concept of a car that doesn’t require a driver – it simply drives on its own! Well, today automated cars are part of our reality and companies like Tesla and Waymo are already testing them in actual traffic, without a safety driver. Soon we’ll be roaming around in smart cars operated by computers only!
We should thank Edward Bellamy and his 1888 book Looking Backward for the invention of the credit card. Yep, wireless money transactions have been bothering the minds of people for centuries, and now it is the reality we live in! All you need is a smartphone and a special app to move your money around.
The French art series En L’An 2000 imagined future education to be super hi-tech with headphones, wires, and lots of gadgets. While our education process doesn’t quite look like that, it has certainly become more technologically advanced. Most of the information and books have gone digital and there’s no need to dig around the library anymore.
In 1926 John B. Kennedy interviewed Nikola Tesla for New York Times and got priceless gems of knowledge. Tesla predicted there would be immense amounts of information transferred wirelessly, communication would become effortless with pocket-sized equipment, and the whole planet will be united into one. Well, we’re close enough, Mr. Tesla.
Headphones and flat-screen TV
Ray Bradbury was quite good at predicting the future himself. In his classic dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 he mentioned modern-looking headphones and technology that used big flat screens just like modern computers and TVs.