Stranger Than Fiction? Five Times Writers Somewhat Predicted Future Technology
Have you ever heard of the saying, “What you think you become, what you feel you attract, what you imagine you create?” Maybe there’s some truth in this after all as evidenced by how some writers were able to predict the future based on what they’ve imagined.
As countries all over the world are scrambling to find ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19’s latest mutation, the Omicron variant, tech writer John McKay was way ahead of us when he posted this tweet in August.
Coincidence? Maybe. But this is not the first time a writer's thoughts ended up as reality. Here are five other examples.
In 1887, Edward Bellamy published a novel titled, “Looking Backward” which mentions the use of credit cards in the United States. In the novel, the main character fell asleep in 1887 and woke up 113 years into the future where he realized that he now lives in a socialist utopia. In this new reality, people are able to swipe their card to pay for an item and get a receipt after. Bellamy was even able to predict that such cards can also be used to transact in different countries.
Big Brother / Surveillance
Published in 1949, George Orwell’s famous dystopian novel, 1984 is known to be well ahead of its time as it talked about various technologies which have eventually become part of our everyday lives. From cyber vigilance, collecting information through internet cookies and automatic speech transcription, this well-known novel, its accuracy is both amazing and creepy.
Recording What You See
In 2011 the Black Mirror episode, “The Entire History of You,” showed people with implants that allow them to record whatever they see and hear. In 2016, Samsung announced that it has been granted a patent for smart contact lenses that have a built-in camera and can be activated when you blink.
Video Calls / Mobile Phones
From video calls, the internet, emails, search engines, mobile phones and even remote work, popular science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke definitely had a rich imagination and an incredible ability to sort of predict the future of technology. In 1976, he described the 21st century in detail with most of his predictions that have come true today.
At the start of the pandemic, social media was filled with posts about Dean Koontz’s “The Eye of Darkness” which is said to have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic. In the 1989 version of the novel, a biological weapon called “Wuhan-400” was brought to the United States causing a pandemic.
While this is not to say that writers are psychics, it’s amazing how their rich imaginations don’t just result in compelling stories but also a possible glimpse of what can be.