80s Films That Predicted The Future With Creepy Accuracy
1 Weird Science: 3D Printing
John Hughes’s 1985 film Weird Science was ahead of its time. Anthony Michael Hall, Ilan Mitchell-Smith, and Kelly LeBrock starred in the classic film about two nerds that create their dream woman on a computer program. Then a random electrical surge brings her to life.
Their creation of a computer-generated supermodel was a loose prediction of 3D printing. Although technology has yet to advance far enough to create an actual person, it’s not a far stretch to say that John Hughes was the first to predict that 3D printing could one day be a possibility.
2 Now: 3D Printers Are Real
Weird Science isn’t exactly an example of truly advanced technology. The boys did just feed magazine clippings into a computer to create a woman, which we know could never happen in actual life. Yet, John Hughes was onto something when he dreamed up the concept.
3D printers are no longer just a fantasy, and according to Digital Trends, the ability to transform virtual ideas into physical objects was first attempted in the 1980s, and became a reality in 1989. Scientists can even create 3D printed organs for transplant surgeries.
3 Blade Runner: Digital Billboards
Blade Runner was considered groundbreaking when it first premiered in 1982. Ridley Scott directed this sci-fi film that starred Harrison Ford and Sean Young. They set the story in the year 2019 and had some interesting predictions about what they thought the future would look like.
We may not have flying cars or synthetic humans, but one of their predictions became a reality. Digital billboards created a dramatic backdrop in the movie, and we see them everywhere in the year 2020. Just look at Times Square in New York City!
4 Now: Digital Billboards Are Everywhere
What was meant to look like a dismal landscape in the distant future has become so commonplace in our modern times that most people don’t stop to look twice at digital billboards. Ridley Scott imagined a world that heavily influenced by commerce and animated billboards competed for everyone’s attention.
Now we see them at sporting events, airports, and shopping malls. These enormous screens take up most of Times Square, which is always glowing and flashing right before our eyes. From advertising to breaking news tickers, digital screens are here to stay.
5 Back to the Future II: Google Glass
Back to the Future II was a sequel that brought Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd back together on the big screen. They sent Marty McFly to the future and back to the past to prevent disastrous changes from happening.
The movie premiered in 1989 and set in 2015, which gave audiences a glimpse into the possibilities of technological advances. We don’t have a sleep-inducing alpha generator that erases your memory, but the movie predicted that we would communicate through glasses, which became a reality with the invention of Google Glass.
6 Now: Google Glass Was Created
It seemed so “out there” to think people might one day communicate through glasses when we saw the concept in Back to the Future II, way back in 1989. It’s no longer a pipe dream, thanks to the introduction of Google Glass, which was unveiled in 2017.
Google created an optical head display in the form of glasses. Users communicate through voice commands with their smartphones constantly in view. It seems like a cool concept, but Google Glass never really hit its stride. Despite not being as successful as expected, Back to the Future II was right on target.
7 The Terminator: Military Drones
The Terminator was a sci-fi film that introduced the world to a terrifying cyborg assassin played by Arnold Schwarzenegger. James Cameron directed the blockbuster movie that struck fear into the hearts of movie-goers as we all pondered the possibility of one day being hunted by killbots.
The movie predicted the rise of weaponized hunter drones with scary accuracy. What started out as fiction became all too real with the use of military drones to take out targets during the war on terror. This is one example of science fiction becoming a reality.
8 Now: Military Drones Are Real
James Cameron was a visionary when he created The Terminator. What seemed like a near impossibility became reality. The movie introduced the concept of remote-controlled military planes that were unmanned and weaponized. Drones had been in our military since the 1980s, but became front and center in the 2000s.
After the tragedy of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the United States deployed military drones with weapons on board to fight in the war on terror. They are still used to defend our country. We can’t help but wonder if James Cameron gazed into a crystal ball since his prediction was so accurate.
9 The Running Man: Reality-TV
The Running Man is another 80s movie that featured Arnold Schwarzenegger in a dystopian future. The film came out in 1987 and was set in the year 2019, which was a big year, according to movie makers of that time.
The future looked bleak as the favorite TV program was a game show called The Running Man, where prisoners were forced to outrun a gruesome death. Several of the predictions made in the film never came to pass. People are not hunted for sport, but reality TV is very much an actual thing in our current culture.
10 Now: Reality-TV Is Here To Stay
Our modern society loves Reality Television and shows no sign of stopping. We just can’t get enough of unscripted shows that follow the lives of everyday people. Some earlier reality shows were MTV’s The Real World and Survivor. These days, there’s a reality show for almost any topic.
From The Real Housewives Of Orange County to 90 Day Fiance, we have no shame when it comes to Reality TV. Although, we’ll more than likely never watch a television show where prisoners are hunted down and murdered in horrific ways like in The Running Man.
11 Back to the Future II: Hoverboards
Back to the Future II made many predictions we see in our current times. We’ve already covered Google Glass, but Steven Spielberg had another thing right when he featured hoverboards in the year 2015. We see Marty McFly zipping around on a floating board in the film.
We don’t have skateboards that defy gravity in 2020, but hoverboards are popular today. We can see kids and adults alike zooming through their neighborhood on their self-balancing personal transporters. Hopefully, we’ll have actual hoverboards at some point because they look super fun!
12 Now: Hoverboards Are A Thing
The technology of the hoverboard in Back to the Future II may be more advanced than the hoverboards we see in 2020, but the self-balancing scooters we ride today are pretty close. They don’t float, but the concept is similar. Our hoverboards just have two wheels instead of being jet-powered.
They invented hoverboards in 2013, but they’ve had several issues. There were complications with the patent rights and the batteries of several units overheated and became a fire hazard. Not to mention that there was a rash of injuries from people falling off their hoverboards. Steven Spielberg’s vision seems much safer.
13 War Games: Cyberwarfare
War Games was a movie made for children that premiered in 1983. Truth be told, it was an alarming film that scared kids into pondering the possibility of thermonuclear war. Matthew Broderick played David Lightman, a high school computer genius who hacked into a military computer in search of a video game.
It may have been a work of fiction that he unwittingly almost triggered World War III, but it wasn’t too far-fetched. Cyberwarfare is a genuine threat that our government deals with today. They also predicted the Internet before it existed. It seems as if the writers had glimpsed into the future.
14 Now: Cyber Warfare Is An Actual Threat
What seemed like an implausible danger in the movie War Games has become an actual threat in our times. Cyberwarfare has been a topic of conversation in recent years and continues to loom over our nation to this day. Hackers have been breaking into government and political party systems to wreak havoc.
The 1983 movie even inspired Ronald Reagan to issue National Security Decision Directive 145, National Policy on Telecommunications and Automated Information Systems Security. Cybersecurity is one of the top fields in demand today and continues to rise.
15 Short Circuit: Military Robots
Short Circuit is another 80s film that nailed a prediction for the future. The 1986 film starred Ally Sheedy and Steve Guttenberg. Number 5 was an experimental robot who was struck by lightning and developed intelligence. He came to life before moviegoers’ eyes.
Kids from that decade will remember the popular quote from the film, “Number 5 is alive!” Technology may not have advanced enough to produce an intelligent robot that has the potential of taking on a life of its own, but military robots have become very commonplace and police officers and bomb squads use them regularly.
16 Now: Military Robots Are Commonly Used
Short Circuit was ahead of the times when the movie introduced us to Johnny Number 5. Military robots are in use today, and although they’re not armed with lasers or a conscience, these robots are used for military operations.
They may not be alive like Number 5, but they are used in search and rescue. Remote-controlled robots can be used to attack as well, and there are several more models in development. Let’s just hope that none of them get zapped by lightning and try to overtake the world. That would be scary.
17 Airplane II: Airport Body Scanners
Airplane 2: The Sequel was a follow up to the comedy film Airplane!. The movie may have been a spoof disaster movie about a doomed shuttle traveling to a moon colony, but there was one moment in the film that predicted the use of body scanners at airports.
What seemed like a joke is actually a reality for today’s travelers. The scene featured body scanners that showed images of people’s private parts to security guards to ogle. Hopefully, that sort of thing isn’t happening, but just about every airport is outfitted with a body scanner in this day and age.
18 Now: Airport Body Scanners Are Commonplace
Anyone who has ever flown on a plane in the last 20 years has been forced to step into a body scanner on the way to their gate at the airport. What seemed like NSFW joke on a zany movie has become a reality for today’s flyers. Body scanners became more common after the 9/11 attacks when luggage regulations were tightened.
They’re a controversial topic of conversation as many people see them as an invasion of privacy. Either way, technology caught up with the vision that the writers of Airplane II: The Sequel forecasted. Who would have thought a spoof movie could predict the future so accurately?
19 Total Recall: Driverless Cars
Total Recall is another sci-fi film that featured Arnold Schwarzenegger. The premise seemed improbable when the movie premiered. A bored construction worker paid a company called “Rekall” to implant memories of an adventure on a colony on Mars. There were a lot of cool tech predictions in the film.
We have yet to colonize Mars, but they did accurately predict driverless cars. In one scene, Schwarzenegger hops in a “Johnny Cab” that was driven by a robot driver. Driverless cars are upon us and are the wave of the future. Some futurists have predicted that it won’t be long until computers drive all cars while we sit back and enjoy the ride.
20 Now: Self-driving Cars Are A Reality
The Johnny Cab drivers in Total Recall aren’t as implausible today as they were when the film premiered in 1990. We may not have cars driven by synthetic humans, but Google and Tesla have developed self-driving cars. These driverless cars have yet to take off, but technology has caught up to the possibility.
With the advancement of global positioning systems, it won’t be long until drivers are a thing of the past and become passengers in their own cars. Hopefully, these vehicles won’t come equipped with wise-cracking robot drivers behind the wheel like the Johnny Cab driver seen in the film.
21 Star Trek: Handheld Communicators
Star Trek has been around for decades and was the first of its kind to make predictions of what the future may hold for technology. There are several examples of what the writer’s got right, but the most impressive example is the use of Bluetooth communication.
We often saw captain Kirk and other members of the team communicating on what looked like flip phones. In the ultimate case of life reflecting art, cell phones are so common in our society that elementary-age kids even carry them. Star Trek totally inspired the idea.
22 Now: Everybody Has A Cell Phone
The cast of Star Trek used communicators in almost every episode of the show and in the various films. Now, cell phones are a necessity. The flip-phone was popular for years until cell phones transitioned to the single screen models we use today. According to Time magazine, the man who developed the first cell phone for Motorola, Martin Cooper, cited Captain Kirk’s communicator on Star Trek as an inspiration.
Cell phones perform many of the same functions as they did on the show. From person-to-person talking to tracking location through GPS, the vision of the future on Star Trek has come to pass.