Lately, with the Mayan 2012 Apocalypse scheduled to rip humanity a new asshole in less than 3 years now, the idea of clairvoyance has been hotter than 2 Tabasco-smothered lesbians making out on the surface of the Sun. Is it at all possible to foresee the future? It would seem that… yes, it is. Throughout history there have been at least five people who’ve successfully predicted some of the most important events of the 20th century. They are:
Predicted: The Internet, in 1984
The notion of a bunch of telecommunication outposts connected in one worldwide web was hardly Gibson’s idea and has in fact existed for decades in various shapes and sizes, from the telegram cables right till the early ARPANET. Still, those networks were basically only good for sending out one-sided communications and emoticon penises. Similar, but not really THE internet.
However, in Gibson’s 1984 novel “Neuromancer”, the author first presented his vision of an entire global computing network which operated like an actual cyber world. It was supposed to be a whole separate universe with constantly updated content, a virtual marketplace of ideas where people from every corner of the globe could connect in a meaningful way, but which was mainly used to feed the darkest and most twisted vices of humanity. You know, just like the internet of today.
Though hidden under a metric crapton of cyberpunk malarkey, what was proposed in “Neuromancer” sounds so eerily similar to the intertubes we use nowadays that it would get Gibson burned at the stake for witchcraft no more than 40 years ago. You should definitely check the book out, if not for its future-predictions, then at least for the cyborg-samurai chick heroine.
Predicted: Global Satellite Communication, in 1945
In a time when carrier pigeons were still considered a viable communications option, famed author Arthur C. Clarke dreamt of a future where flying antennas in the sky would be used to transmit audio and visual signals (i.e. porn) to any place on the planet. The problem was the Earth with its apparent ADHD, constantly spinning around and around, meaning such contraptions would always inevitably fall out of range.
But what if, Clarke thought, we construct “satellites” which rotated around the planet with the same speed as Earth? It would mean that from our point of view, these aerials will appear like most British women in bed – motionless. Clarke’s theories, as described in “Extra-Terrestrial Relays”, have today come true in the form of geosynchronous satellites, the little buggers which make it possible for modern TV sets to receive those exotic smut-channels your parents/wife don’t know about.
To be fair, geosynchronous satellites did bounce around in the scientific community a few years earlier, but it took the combination of Clarke’s knowledge of science and literary flair to completely flesh out this idea, producing a very accurate vision of the future, albeit without all the cheap Bulgarian pornography.
Predicted: The Wii, in 1991
Imagine it’s the early 90s. The Soviet Union has literally just fallen changing the modern world forever, and you are just a dumb kid interested only in your December ’91 issue of “Nintendo Power”. But inside it—hidden somewhere in the letter section you never read—there lied the correspondence of one Jimmy Peterford, who wrote the magazine about his dream console. A console which sounds suspiciously like the 2006 Nintendo Wii.
Peterford’s wet-dream was supposed to be a 512-bit system (Wii’s 512 Mb flash memory), which could run games from other systems (Wii’s Virtual Console), had a built-in band that played your favorite music (Wii Orchestra) and would be operated by 27 buttons (Wiimote + Nunchuk + Axis of sensitivity + Lateral movements = ~27). Jimmy’s console also came with a “Super Mario Galaxy” game, a title that did not exist until 2007, and the overall cost of it all was set at $259.95. During its launch in the US, the Wii went for $249.99.
Some of those are admittedly a stretch but Nostradamus has had an entire cult of crazy people built around him for way more ambiguous predictions. Where are Jimmy’s crazy people, huh?! WHERE ARE THEY?!!
Predicted: The answering machine and the waterbed, in 1942 and 1956 respectively
Together with Isaac Asimov and Arthur C. Clarke, Robert A. Heinlein was one of the most famous science-fiction writers in the world. Interestingly enough, Heinlein, same as Clarke, also happened to be one of the few true prophets on Earth, meaning that he and his writer buddies were undoubtedly future-seeing aliens from another dimension.
For example, in “Beyond this Horizon” (1942) Heinlein wrote about a futuristic robot-secretary message-recording telephone – essentially a modern answering machine, which was only first patented in Japan a whooping 41 years later. But that’s nothing compared to Heinlein’s depiction of the waterbed, as described in “Double Star” (1956) and “Stranger in a Strange Land” (1961). This device was not a simple background ornament boiling down to “a bed filled with water”. It was very thoroughly thought-through and described in great detail in the books. So much detail in fact, that in 1968 when Charles Hall tried to patent HIS waterbed—an actual real-life invention, mind you—he was turned-down because what he had built was virtually identical to Heinlein’s fictional contraption.
What’s really cool though is that Heinlein also foresaw a future where multiple sex-partners were a social norm. That’s something to look forward to.
Predicted: The sinking of the Titanic, in 1898
You know, there probably is a humorous way to begin this entry, but the 1898 novella “Futility, or the Wreck of the Titan” by American writer Morgan Robertson is just so damn freaky it’s impossible to write or talk about it without a feeling of dread in the deepest corners of your soul. The story freaking predicted the sinking of the RMS Titanic 14 years before it happened. In the novel:
– The Titan was the biggest ship in the world, at 800 feet long, dubbed the “unsinkable”. Now, there are of course some disparities here… The Titanic, for instance, measured something like 882 feet, which is an important difference, only not really.
– Both ships sunk on April in the Northern Atlantic after hitting an iceberg because their captains were a bunch of speed freaks.
– The ocean liners carried about 3000 passengers and both prepared too few lifeboats (~20 each). No info if any of Titan’s passengers stood at the head of the ship yelling something about being royalty of the entire planet though.
– Oh yeah, their names are virtually identical…
If you’re still not convinced that Robertson was some kind of psychic sorcerer, then definitely pick up his 1914 short story “Beyond the Spectrum”, about a sneak Japanese attack on the US somewhere near Hawaii and a new destructive American weapon characterized by a surge of blinding lights.
Jesus Hell, that Nostradamus kid has NOTHING on Mr. Robertson. Quick, someone make-up a religion based on his books! We can all become stinking rich by getting on the ground floor of something big here, people!
Reference, click here.
Sandia Ennis, Universal Guide – 661-505-8071
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