Predicting the Future – Hollywood Edition

Predicting the Future – Hollywood Edition

Categorized under: predictions

“The best way to predict the future is invent it.” – Alan Kay, Computer Programmer

Self-driving cars with advanced technology may help make our roadways safer by reducing/eliminating human error from this complicated activity. Medical devices have the potential to not only save lives but improve the quality of life as people live longer. Advances in food science could enable us to provide better nutrition to undernourished populations at a lower cost. High quality sensors that can be deployed inexpensively may improve our ability to detect toxins (lead) in water before they harm people. There are many challenges that require novel inventions to help positively impact the world.

Many of these inventions will be developed by visionaries who imagine their creations will make the world a better place. We have often seen creative illustrations of new technologies well before they are launched. While it can and often does take time before disruptive inventions ever see the light of day, let’s take a look at how Hollywood has helped give us a sneak-peek at the future.


While Fitbit & Apple Watch are all the rage nowadays, wearables first made an appearance in a movie released in 1985 entitled “Back to the Future”. In addition to wearables ‘Back to the Future’ also predicted self-lacing shoes, virtual reality, hoverboards, and mobile payments.

Autonomous Vehicles

Technology companies and established automotive manufacturers are aggressively pursuing autonomous vehicle technology. However, a television show from the 80’s “Knight Rider” not only gave us a preview of self-driving vehicle but also paired the communication with a technically-advanced watch to help Michael Knight, the lead character, call KITT whenever he needed the vehicle. Modern day entrepreneurs have demonstrated similar functionality with Amazon Alexa & Tesla.

Facial Recognition

We are all familiar with the box that shows up around faces when taking a picture using our smartphones or when uploading a new photo to Facebook and being asked to tag who’s in the picture. However, the “Minority Report”, starring Tom Cruise illustrated this technology in the movie which was released in 2002. This is a full 5 years before the iPhone was launched.

Smart Phones/Tablets

In modern society, mobile/smart phones have become ubiquitous. While the idea for a handheld communication device may seem obvious, Star Trek’s creator first demonstrated the visual concept in 1984. Even though tablets were launched after mobile phones, the visualization for these devices was well beforehand in a movie entitled, “2001: A Space Odyssey” which was released in 1968. That’s some forward thinking!

There is no doubt that the next wave of inventions are currently percolating in the heads of young people all across the globe. As they begin to make their vision a reality, we’re excited to see what the future has in store.

About the Author: Omowale Casselle ([email protected]) is the Co-founder & CEO of Digital Adventures. Prior to Digital Adventures, Omowale led the development, launch & management of an interactive advertising & marketing platform, SAMPLEit (division of Outerwall, Inc.), in high traffic retail locations (Walmart, Meijer, HEB) that will help consumers trial, discover, and ultimately make more informed choices about their most important purchase decisions. Earlier in his career, Omowale was part of the new product development team that successfully brought industry-leading vehicles to market including Ford Mustang, Ford Fusion, and Ford Escape Hybrid. His passion for continuous learning and development has led to degrees from Harvard Business School (MBA), University of Michigan (MS Engineering), and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (BS Engineering).