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25 PROPHECIES FROM BOOKS THAT WERE AHEAD OF THEIR TIME

25 PROPHECIES FROM BOOKS THAT WERE AHEAD OF THEIR TIME
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Lida Melnychuk. String Theory, «Everything from the Sea Forked» series, 2023 / Facebook, Sil-Sol

 

Throughout history, the boldest predictions about future technologies and events have been made in the pages of books. Huxleў presents you 25 predictions — from water mattresses to the Internet, which surprise with their accuracy.

 

#1 MARS HAS TWO NATURAL SATELLITES

 

This surprisingly accurate guess can be found in the pages of Gulliver’s Travels, written by Jonathan Swift in 1726. Only 146 years later, in 1872, the Red Planet’s satellites, Phobos and Deimos, were discovered by astronomers.

 

#2 SOLAR SAILS

 

In 1865, in the science fiction novel «From the Earth to the Moon», Jules Verne proposed the idea of solar sails. This bold guess was realized 145 years later when the first solar sail (IKAROS) was used.

 

#3 ELECTRIC POWERED SUBMARINE

 

In the book «Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas» (1870) by the same Verne, the amazing submarine Nautilus is powered by electricity. Real submarines with an electric motor appeared 90 years later — in the 1960s.

 

#4 CREDIT CARDS

 

Edward Bellamy predicted the advent of credit cards in his sci-fi work «Looking Backward» 62 years before their invention, which occurred in 1962.

 

#5 AERIAL ADVERTISING

 

 Once again, we return to Jules Verne. A rich imagination suggested to the writer the idea of aerial advertising, when an inscription is drawn by an airplane in the air by means of a smoke trail. The conjecture was expressed in a story written in 1889. It was realized soon enough — in 1915 at the San Francisco Air Show.

 

#6 AUTOMATIC SLIDING DOORS

 

Another great science fiction writer, Herbert Wells, predicted the advent of automatic sliding doors in his novel When The Sleeper Wakes (1899). This type of door was invented 60 years later.

 

#7 TANKS

 

And a few more years later, Wells wrote a short story, «The Land Ironclads» (1903), in which he described tanks. Thirteen years later, these fighting machines appeared on the battlefields of World War I.

 

#8 DETECTOR OF LIES

 

In fiction, the first mention of a lie detector can be found in E. Balmer and W. McHagen’s «The Achievements of Luther Trant» (1910). The first use of a real polygraph occurred in 1924.

 

#9 UTILIZATION OF SOLAR ENERGY

 

In 1911, Hugo Gernsback began publishing his novel «Ralph 124C 41+» (on the list of books with the strangest titles, this work can also take its rightful place) in Modern Electrics magazine. One of the technical predictions concerned the utilization of the sun’s energy for the benefit of mankind. Sixty-seven years passed and in 1978 the first calculators appeared, which were recharged with the energy of our luminary.

 

#10 ATOMIC BOMB

 

One of the darkest predictions made by Herbert Wells, and which unfortunately became a reality, was the invention of the atomic bomb and nuclear war described in The World Set Free (1914). A little over three decades later, atomic bombs fell on Japanese cities. By the way, in the same novel, the English fiction writer also told about cheap atomic energy.

 

#11 VOICE MAIL

 

A little more time — about 57 years — it took to realize Wells’s prediction about the use of voice mail (the novel «Men like Gods»). This technical innovation became widespread after 1980.

 

#12 ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION

 

J. B. S. Haldane became famous as a brilliant popularizer of science and a prominent scientist. In one of his books, Daedalus, or Science and the Future (1924), among other interesting speculations, he proposed the idea of artificial insemination. The first successful «in vitro fertilization» was performed after more than five decades, in 1973.

 

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#13 GENETIC ENGINEERING

 

In his famous dystopia, «Brave New World», Aldous Huxley gave a vivid description of genetic engineering. The level described in the book, today’s science has not yet reached, although the first genetic manipulations began in 1972.

 

#14 TOTAL CONTROL

 

George Orwell painted a very impressive picture of the total control of the state over its citizens in his book «1984», written in 1948. And in 2013, a scandal broke out related to the spying activities of the NSA, which tapped the phones of many American and foreign citizens.

 

#15 IN-EAR HEADPHONES

 

The description of this type of miniature headphones can be read in the pages of Ray Bradbury’s novel «Fahrenheit 451», published in 1950. Melomaniacs had to wait a little over half a century until Apple launched the first headphones of this type.

 

#16 COMMUNICATION SATELLITES

 

In «2001: A Space Odyssey» (1951), the English science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke predicted the appearance of artificial communication satellites in Earth’s orbit. The wait was not long — in 1965 the first such satellite was launched.

 

#17 VIRTUAL REALITY

 

Five years later, Clarke wrote «The City and the Stars», which mentions video games in virtual reality. In 1966, that is, just 10 years later, the first flight simulator was developed, bringing to life this conjecture of the brilliant sci-fi writer.

 

#18 WATER BEDS

 

Distinguished in the field of predictions and another famous sci-fi writer — Robert Heinlein. In the 1961 book «Stranger in a Strange Land» gives a description of water beds, and the first patent for them was issued in 1971.

 

#19 SPACE TOURISM

 

The idea of space travel for tourist purposes was expressed by the same Clarke in the novel «A Fall of Moondust», and in practice it was first realized by Dennis Tito — the first space tourist.

 

#20 EUROPEAN UNION

 

In John Brunner’s book «Everybody Stand on Zanzibar» (1968) you can find a reference to the European Union, which officially appeared in 1993.

 

#21 BIONIC PROSTHETICS

 

Martin Caidin expressed the idea in the pages of his Cyborg (1972). 41 years later, in 2013, the first bionic prosthetic leg was created.

 

#22 REAL-TIME TRANSLATION

 

Douglas Adams’ humorous work The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (1980) features a «Babel fish» that can translate from one language to another in real time. In 2014, Google introduced a real-time translation feature to its app.

 

#23 WORLD WIDE WEB

 

William Gibson, the founder of the cyberpunk genre, predicted the emergence of cyberspace and hacking in his novel «Neuromancer». In the early 90s, the World Wide Web, or simply the Internet, began to cover the Earth with its web, involving more and more PC users in its virtual networks.

 

#24 THE BEST HUMAN CHESS PLAYER WILL BE BEATEN BY A COMPUTER BEFORE THE YEAR 2000

 

This was the prediction made by Raymond Kurzweil in his book «The Age of Intelligent Machines», published in 1990, when chess computers were still quite weak and were almost easily beaten by grandmasters. However, only 7 years later the supercomputer Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov, the strongest chess player on the planet. Today, chess programs are so strong that the match between man and computer has lost all sporting sense.

 

#25 LUNAR MODULE WILL BE LAUNCHED IN FLORIDA AND, AFTER RETURNING TO EARTH, WILL LAND IN THE OCEAN

 

104 years before the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon, this is exactly how it was described in Jules Verne’s novel From the Earth to the Moon (1865). The same scenario was followed in reality — a team of American astronauts led by Neil Armstrong landed in a special module and were soon picked up by the aircraft carrier Hornet.

 


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