Predicting the future is always a matter of "throw guesses at the wall, then only brag about the ones that stick." The world is full of sci-fi stories and futurist essays, and some of them are bound to be right, just due to sheer volume.
Still ... sometimes they get a little too accurate. We're not accusing anyone of witchcraft -- all we're doing is presenting the evidence.
If you owned an Apple product in 1987, odds are it looked like this:
The only way to use it for porn involved a pawn shop.
Back then, Apple wasn't the company that makes the sleek, sexy handheld devices you know today. They were all about primitive desktop computers and were just coming off from having booted Steve Jobs from the company (a desperate Apple would bring him back a decade later).
In the middle of all this, in an era when the World Wide Web was still years away and most people were still using rotary dial phones, Apple released this silly "technology of the FUTURE!" promotional video:
"Why yes, Bill Nye, I would like to conquer Africa!"
They called the concept the Knowledge Navigator, and it appeared to be several steps ahead of anything they were using in Star Trek.
It was a flat, tablet-shaped computer that would have featured a fully automated digital assistant, a front-facing camera with video chat, a multi-touch interface and voice-based Internet search (remember, at the time there was no "Internet" for this thing to be surfing -- that also was pure fantasy in 1987). Oh, and it was also a telephone as well as an e-reader.
"It will absolutely revolutionize the field of unsafe driving habits."
You already know how dead-on all of this was. Just check out Apple's recent iPhone commercial:
It turns out that when Apple has an idea, they run with it. Available technology be damned!
Here's Where It Gets Weird:
Not convinced yet? How about this:
If you pay close attention to the Knowledge Navigator video, you can see that the calendar says September 16, and the digital assistant mentions that a research paper was written "about five years ago" in 2006. That places this video on September 16, 2011. The new iPhone 4S with the Siri digital assistant -- the device that finally made everything you see there come true -- was released about two-and-a-half weeks after this video was to take place.
2015 is only three years away. Ball's in your court, Mattel.
You probably don't remember the short-lived '80s TV show Second Chance. It came and went in 1987 after just half a season. Today it's only remembered for starring a pre-Friends Matthew Perry, and for making a startlingly accurate prediction 24 years in advance.
The show was about a man who dies in an accident in 2011 and gets sent back to 1987 to save his younger self from eternal damnation. Since it was dealing with what (to it) was the bizarre future of 2011, it did predict some things that didn't pan out, like hovercrafts and how Matthew Perry was going to look in 2011 (played by Kiel Martin).
"This, uh ... *burp* ... this meal is free, right?"
In the pilot episode, the character of Charles Russell appears in heaven with St. Peter, awaiting his eternal judgment. But before he makes his way up to the pearly gates, another man finds himself at St. Peter's mercy.
What kind of God lets people take machine guns into the afterlife? The best kind.
That man is Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, and according to this show, he dies on July 29, 2011.
Here's Where It Gets Weird:
If something about that video clip is making you want to pull up Wikipedia to do some fact checking, we'll save you a trip: Gadhafi was killed on October 20, 2011. OK, we'll admit: It's not the same date this show said it would be. It's a whole three months before it actually happened. For a prediction made 24 years in advance.
The show only lasted half a season. Who knows what kinds of things Second Chance would have predicted correctly if it had been allowed to continue, considering that at least one member of the writing staff was a wizard?
Long before Chris Rock was a talking cartoon zebra, he was an up-and-coming stand-up, and in 1997, he got his own series on HBO. The show was a sketch comedy/late night talk show that eventually earned Rock a Primetime Emmy Award (also: one of the writers was Louis C.K.).
One of the segments was called "Chris Rock Remembers." It involved Chris Rock showing the audience the backstage area, where he reminisced about famous people and events that took place there. Here's one from 1999:
Near the end of the sketch, he talks about the time O.J. Simpson stopped by to promote his new video entitled I Didn't Kill My Wife ... But If I Did, Here's How I'd Do It.
Here's Where It Gets Weird:
If I Did It; or, The Importance of Eyeballing Your Glove Size
The picture on the left is the joke video that Chris Rock had made for the skit. The book on the right, though, is the very real book by O.J. Simpson called If I Did It, about the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. The book was published in 2007, almost a decade later. O.J. even planned a video much like the one Rock had on his show -- a television special called O.J. Simpson: If I Did It, Here's How It Happened was planned but quickly canceled when everyone came to their collective right minds and put a stop to it.
"Man, it sounded like such a good idea when O.J. first pitched it to us. He has such a compelling vision."
Now, we have to acknowledge the unthinkable: that O.J. saw the Chris Rock sketch and from that, got the idea to write the book. If so, it has to be the most gruesome example of life imitating art in history. We think we'd prefer to just fall back on our "one of the writers was a wizard" explanation again (they did have Louis C.K. on the staff, after all).