TV & Mobile Phones
Humans are always curious to know about the future. They always like to think ahead of time as to what may happen in the future. In the year 1000, a civil engineer by the name of Mr. Watkins, wrote an article in a home journal titled ‘What May Happen In The Next 100 Years’. He wrote “Man will see around the world. Persons and things of all kinds will be brought within focus of cameras connected electrically with screens at opposite ends of circuits, thousands of miles at a span”. A couple of decades later, television was invented and add a couple more decades to that, mobile phone was on everyone’s hand.
RMS Titanic Disaster
In 1898, an American author named Morgan Robertson published a novella titled as Futility or The Wreck of the Titan in which he predicted the disaster of RMS Titanic. The novella told a fictional story of an ocean liner named SS Titan, which sinks in the North Atlantic Ocean after hitting into an iceberg. Fourteen years later, in 1912, the events of his book were mirrored almost exactly with sinking of Titanic which perished 1503 people with it.
What the intriguing fact is that the list of similarities between the fictional Titan and the real Titanic is amazingly wide-ranging. Titan was described to have had the same size and speed as Titanic, both were deemed ‘unsinkable’, both had a dangerously less number of lifeboats on board, both sank in April and both lost more than half of the passengers and crew. Even the names sound similar! Surprisingly, Robertson wrote the book years before the actual disaster so how could he predict it so incisively? Though he denied all the indictments of clairvoyance stating that the similarities were merely a co-incidence and a result of his knowledge on shipbuilding and maritime trends due to his father being a ship Captain, it still blows a person’s mind off. (Source: Time Magazine)
Nikola Tesla, a Serbian-American inventor and engineer, often nicknamed as the Man who invented 20th Century. He is best known for the contribution towards the modern electrical supply system. Another amazing thing he did was that he predicted wi-fi in 1901. While in an interview with The New York Times, he discussed his predictions on the future technology and said ‘it will soon be possible to transmit wireless messages all over the world so simply that any individual can carry and operate his own apparatus.’
And surely by Apparatus he meant mobile phone, which is also shocking because the first mobile phone wasn’t created until 1973 and Wi-Fi wasn’t introduced until 1991! He also kind of foresaw the invention of Skype and Video-calling in 1926 as in another interview he stated ‘through television and telephony we shall see and hear one another as perfectly as though we were face to face, despite intervening distances of thousands of miles’. Indeed, a mega genius. There is a memorial statue of Tesla in San Francisco which emits free Wi-Fi for the visitors, appropriate enough!
Sources: (New York Times, Collier Magazine)
Robert Boyle, a critically influential scientist known for Boyle’s Law and referred as Father of Modern Chemistry made a prediction related to Biology! He was a person known for being way ahead of his time. In the 1660’s, he made a wish list in his journal explicitly mentioning that in the future, medicine will see the cure of diseases by transplantation, a notion which was never thought of at that time. Over 300 years after his staggering prediction, the first kidney transplant took place which was successful. Since then, this procedure has grown common all over the world and has been saving lives. For instance, in 2014, around 17,107 kidney transplants took place in the US alone. He didn’t just write about transplants, his mysteriously correct journal also had mentions about submarines, psychedelic drugs, genetically modified crops, GPS, Airplanes and prolongation of life.
(Sources: Telegraph, Kidney.org)
H.G Wells, an acclaimed author known for War of the Worlds and The Time Machine predicted the atomic bomb. On the verge of WWII most people couldn’t even imagine the destruction caused by an atomic bomb when H.G Wells in his novel The World Set Free, he described a uranium based hand grenade that would continue to explode indefinitely. Wells wasn’t much of a Science guy with a very little or no knowledge about the Radioactive elements and would have no way of knowing that it would actually be possible to weaponize atomic power in future. The first project which initialized making an atomic bomb started 28 years after Wells’ book was published.
American Literary icon Mark Twain predicted internet 90 years before Tim-Berners Lee launched World Wide Web. In 1898, he wrote a short science fiction story called ‘From the ‘London Times’ in 1904’ in which he described a device named Telectroscope which was connected with the telephonic systems of the world and made the daily doings of the world visible to everybody. He also ominously predicted his own death in his 1909 autobiography stating that ‘I came with the Haley’s comet in 1835. It is coming again next year, and I expect to go with it.’ He died on 21st April 1910, the same day the comet appeared as it appeared on his birth 75 years earlier.
(Sources: Solar Views, Neatorama)
The Landing on Moon
Another author whose fiction turned into being eerily true was Jules Verne. He was a 19th century French novelist who is well known for the classical adventure story ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’. In 1865, he wrote a small science fiction story called ‘From the Earth to the Moon’ which portrayed human’s first trip to the moon ever. Almost after a century of Jules visualization, in 1969, the events of his story came very much true when Neil Armstrong made one giant leap for the mankind.
Verne’s story of a lunar trip isn’t the thing which makes his prediction notable but the similarities between the journey in his book compared Apollo’s journey including the number of astronauts and that both rockets were launched from Florida. However, the weirdest of the co incidences was Verne’s description of astronauts feeling weightlessness. At the time he had written the story, even the scientists didn’t know that gravity behaves differently in space so how could he have known?
(Sources: Encyclopedia Astronautica, Business Insider)
The Cold War
A French Political Scientist named Alexis de Tocqueville predicted in his 1840 publication: ‘Democracy in America’ writing There are now two great nations in the world which, starting from different points, seem to be advancing toward the same goal; Russians and Anglo Americans each seems called by some secret desire of Providence one day to hold in its hands, the destinies of half the world.’
Back when this book was written, America had been independent from Britain for just 60 years and was deeply divided by the civil war whereas Russia was under autocratic and hierarchical leadership of the tsarist regime. In such circumstances, who would have predicted these two nations to become superpowers and battling for world supremacy just over a century later? This French Political scientist did! Since then, a kind of ‘cold war’ between the Us and Soviet Union has risen with each one trying to beat the other in nuclear advancements, weaponry, space technology and of course, world influence. (Sources: History.com, Britannica)
Now who would associate 17th century dramatist Cyrano De Bergerac with audio books? But there is one connection. It was Bergerac who first predicted about audio books first. In his novel, ‘The Other world: Comical History of The States and The Empires of the Moon’, he talked about small devices which would function both as musical instrument and books. Furthermore, he described headphones as pendants.