Humans today enjoy a tremendous amount of technological inventions that assist us in our everyday life. A lot of the technology we have today would not be here had it not been for the imagination of creative media of the past. Movies like “Back to the Future” shows like “Star Trek”, and even various comics, all had their own imaginary future tools that they featured in their stories, and a lot of these make-believe inventions turned from fiction to reality in just 50 years! “1999 A.D.” is a short film from 1967 that basically got the future spot on! You could even say they predicted the future. We put together a list of 99 A.D.’s predictions turned into reality.
So, let’s talk about the 1960s for a moment. This was a time when most of the technology in the world as we know it, did not even exist. Society seemed to move at a much slower pace, and in turn, the future seemed much more distant.
In the movie, the narrator explains how much faster the 90s would be, and even though his explanation was presented as fiction, it was actually very accurate. The first personal computer would be invented eight years later, and from there, the sky became the Limit!
After the invention of the personal computer, the world began to almost immediately speed up! Businesses were now able to run faster and store more information in less space.
Cars became faster, food became cheaper, people started to communicate more quickly, and the distant future of 1999 and beyond had even exceeded any expectations of any creative thinker from the 60s.
The narrator of the movie goes on to explain that the future home would be built in the model of a “hexagon modules” whatever that means?
But regardless they did get one thing somewhat right at least suggestively. Most homes today in America look the same, but they are very different from what existed in the 60s.
Let’s start with the shape argument. Most homes today in America are usually shaped the same way they were in the past.
However, modern homes today come in all types of shapes and sizes, and they feature within them various kinds of technological tools that go way beyond the standard air conditioning unit giving you the ability to be able even to turn your lights on and off from the office.
In the movie, we see a father named Michael. Michael is a 45-year-old astrophysicist who is on a team that is planning to go on their first mission to Mars.
Maybe the computer itself does not look too accurate, but the mission to Mars idea is not too far off at all. Two years later, America would make history by being the first country in the world to land a man on the moon.
Here we are in 2019, and the once thought science fiction pipe dream of traveling to Mars is slated to be completed within our lifetime. The man leading the charge is no other than the inventor of the world wide web.
Entrepreneur Elon Musk is investing billions of dollars into his company “SpaceX” with just that mission in mind. Really the only thing this movie may have gotten wrong is the suggestion the primitive computer system they are using in the scene.
Before the invention of the home computer, 99% of the world was filing information by hand. In fact, one of the stories I would hear growing up is about my Aunt taking a job organizing files for a law firm to pay for college.
I bet she would have never imagined that such a job would not even exist not more than thirty years in the future at most. The movie tells us that the modern millennial family would be able to compile all their information into separate “memory banks.” They could not be more right.
By the year 2000, my family had already acquired our very own home computer. It was slow, but at the time we didn’t know it or even care. By 2000 letter’s had begun to disappear completely, and emails with digital photo’s attached to them had started to enter the mainstream.
By the time I reached high school, there was Facebook and Myspace, and I was able to upload tons of images of my family and me onto my very own profile. Today, I don’t even have to store them too, as Facebook does that for me!
The futuristic family has one eight-year-old child who only attends a physical school twice a week. The rest of the week, he is essentially watching television to learn.
Well, at least that’s how we see it. But to the imagination of the 60s writer, there is nothing more futuristic then being able to learn just by looking at screens. However, things did not precisely workout that way.
Today, considering the fact that women rightfully joined the workforce, there is still a need to keep children in schools six days a week, and although there are tons of information on the computer to help them learn in class, studies show that screen time at home is actually very damaging to a child’s growth.
This is odd considering the fact that adults seem to benefit significantly to things like online courses, and lectures at just the click of a button. It will be interesting to see how this educational gap plays out in the near future.
This movie was still made at a time where women were still, in a sense, segregated into specific gender roles that no one had imagined would change in the near future. The family is having a video conference in this scene and gently ordering the mother Karen to make them food.
The people who thought up this scene can keep dreaming, because, by the year 99, women would begin enforcing their role in society, and do not plan on moving back to the kitchen anytime soon.
Today, women in America have things better than ever before. The expectation of a stay at home mom turned into a choice, and women around the country are benefiting from that freedom in ways other societies can only imagine.
In America, more women are graduating college then men, more women hold executive roles than men, and more women are beginning to run the world altogether. There may be a lot of work still to do, but this prediction was by contrast way off compared to everything else. Had it been a prediction for modern Iran, or Gaza, then maybe they would be right.
One of the biggest problems that still today needs to be solved is the problem of getting kids to wash their hands, face, and brush their teeth.
The creators of this movie very correctly predicted that you would be able to press a button and turn on the faucet, or hand dryer, but what they could not anticipate is that even in the future, kids do not always listen to mom and dad when they tell them what to do.
Automated body cleansing is precisely what it was predicted to be in the movie. Today, there are not only automatic hand dryers, faucets, and electric toothbrushes,
there are even walk-in showers that turn on the second you walk inside. You can even set your ideal temperature for the water too!
Further on in the film, there is a scene where the mother scrolls through a menu of several meals from a screen, and with a click of a button is able to summon food into existence.
The inspiration for such a dream was not far-fetched considering that the first stovetop microwave was introduced in 1965, the writers of the movie predicted that by the year 1999, we could have ready-made food at the click of a button. They were not far off!
Since the 1960s the microwave has gotten so strong that it can heat up a slice of pizza in less than 15 seconds! Powdered food can be mixed with water, put inside for a minute and come out a plate of French fries, and you can even make a muffin in a mug.
But that’s old news! Today there is also technology that can 3-D print a burger from bun to bun without an issue, but just like the first computer, the process still takes relatively long. But 1999 A.D. missed that prediction by only 20 years!
In another scene, we see the mother doing something that could have only been imagined at the time, and who knows how much hope there even was for it to become a reality! What was she doing? Simple, she was shopping for clothes online.
Who could have thought that one of the most disrupting concepts in the modern world spawned off a movie made before the internet even existed!
By the early millennium, a company by the name of Amazon would join the world of online sales, and start with selling books to eventually cornering the E-commerce market and literally dominating the world of retail.
Amazon’s disruptive one click, one-day delivery model has changed shopping online forever. Today we can order a new pair of shoes in just minutes, and in many cases get those shoes in the mail within the same day.
In the next scene, the film shows yet another gender construct of a frustrated man flipping through the bills, but instead of attaching them with a check in an envelope, he proceeds to use a complicated computer system to organize and pay the bills from home.
This scene only gets one thing right, humans will be using computers to pay their bills in the future, but not like this.
The narrator’s vision for how bills will be paid was almost spot on, yet he did not consider that just one computer can do all those functions in one go. At the time, not much was understood about how computers worked.
Today with just a couple of flips with your smartphone or tablet, you can pay the bills without even flinching, you can receive them to your email instead of the mail, and you can also track the amount of electricity, water, and gas you have used in your home throughout the month.
In yet another predictive scene in the film, the narrator shows a closet that is cleaning itself! I don’t know what could have been so futuristic about this.
At the time there was already dry cleaners, and laundry machines, they did not work that well, but they still existed. Regardless this vision would eventually fruit into reality, but not in 1999.
Today with the help of IoT Technology (Internet of Things) many household items like a washing machine, or a dryer can turn into a smart machine that you can even turn on by using voice control,
and yes there are walk-in closets built into very rich persons home that can dry clean your clothes for you with the click of a button.
The movie then goes on to go more into detail on the future of homes being smart. It depicts a giant machine inside the house, that basically handles all of the maintenance work, produces power, and water, and maintains air temperature.
Again, the narrator was not far off on the technology of a smart home, he only got the date wrong.
Within the last few years, humans have been able to install smart home systems in their house that track everything in your home and give you a full data platform of the status of your utility bills for instance.
They can regulate temperatures in different rooms automatically, and even send you a notification if there is a fire in your home or a gas leak.
Here we see a scene where the young boy is diving into the ocean with his father, as they both use special futuristic fishing tools.
This is quite the optimistic view of the future of the ocean, but it’s not too surprising considering at the time people would throw their trash out the window while driving. Earth conservation just wasn’t a thing back then. The future for the ocean would be much bleaker than this.
In reality, the oceans around the world have begun to dwindle in resource, and whole ecosystems are starting to go extinct for many reasons because of humans.
In the case of fishing, you have a much higher chance of not even getting a bite let alone catching a fish in 2019, this is mainly due to big fishing industry’s that basically fish whatever they can out of the water for profit.
This scene shows us the father being scanned by some type of light that can see right inside his body, and maybe even heal him.
The writers were on to something here. The X-ray had already existed, and maybe birthed a vision of something way more sophisticated in the future.
No, we are still not in a world where one machine can do it all, but we are close enough. It’s odd considering a phone can do it all for virtually anything else, yet modern medicine can’t.
Instead, we are in a sense paying the bills with all types of machines that work together to achieve the goals of healing us, but let’s just say this is more than what you need to be grateful for as humans in western society today are living longer than ever!
In another scene, you see Michael sit back on his chair in front of what I can only call a screen on top of radio with buttons on it that seem not to have any meaning.
What is kind of funny, is that the style of clothing everyone is wearing is a lot like 2019, but nothing like 1999.
If they had only called this movie 2019, instead of 1999, it would have been spot on about almost every detail including the style! However, video chatting technology did not exist in the way it was depicted in the film quite yet in 1999.
Video chatting for quite a time was a complicated process that required external programs to be installed into the computer. Today we can enjoy a video chatting service on almost every social media platform available.
It seems that this movie in no way passes the Bechdel test. It seems the mother in the scene is either always cooking, cleaning, raising the children, or in this case gently doing pottery.
This movie did not just get this analogy flat out wrong for 1999, but it wasn’t entirely realistic in the 60s either. As women have been contributing to society in America since the birth of the nation. If anything, this movie just showcases some kind of suppression of that reality.
Today women are leading the world more than any previous years in the past, and no longer is the western woman expected, or even portrayed in the mainstream as a house mother who provides food and comfort and can give nothing more.
Women today play a big part in every aspect of society, leading in politics, technology, medicine, and science. From there, the list just goes on.
Here we see the son James, playing a game of chess against the computer on the big screen. The exciting part of this is scene is that the screen almost seems to appear as a flat screen. However, throughout the 60s 70, and 80s tv’s were not this big, and there was no concept of a flat screen even.
Despite not having a concept of a flat screen tv, the film still sensed what the future holds and predicted the truth as there really were flat screen tv’s in 1999, and things only got better from there.
Today we have way more than just a big tv with a game of chess attributed to it. Microsoft has just released news on their new gaming console the “Xbox Project Scarlett.” This new console features graphics that are borderline realistic to the naked eye.
And it’s not just the consoles. Today there are huge, thin flat screen tv’s that feature resolution such as “4k” that gives you the clearest gaming experience possible. But the last thing the movie envisioned was something I could not even imagine when I was a child.
On the last slide on our list, we will focus on the most extraordinary prediction the movie was able to think of. In this scene, we see the family hosting quite a large party with their various friends and peers. In the party, they all seem to be playing some sort of personalized virtual reality game.
Although V.R. did not enter the scene of the gaming world until very recently, the fact that in the 1960s, it was even envisioned is astonishing. Let’s take a look at what V.R. has to offer us today.
V.R. technology has become the most expensive and exhilarating form of gaming in the world by 2019. Both Sony and Microsoft have their own version of Virtual reality goggles that you can connect to your console and use to play a plethora of different games.
This new style of gaming gives us a sense that we are actually on the battlefield dodging bullets and shooting hoops on the court.