10 times TV shows predicted the future

From laptops and iPads to Facebook and Gogglebox, we present the future 'as seen on TV'




A year before Mark Zuckerberg unveiled Facebook, Ross and Chandler were already seemingly on it. In a season nine episode, which aired in 2003, Ross says: “Have you seen this? It’s our new alumni website for college. It’s cool! You can post messages for people, let everyone know what you’re up to…” 

To which Chandler sarcastically replies: “Oh great, a faster way to tell people that I’m unemployed and childless.” We feel you, Chanandler Bong. 

OK, they were probably referring to Friends Reunited, but little did they know that a year later, a network that began around university alumni would launch and quickly become the biggest social club on the planet.

When Channel 4 first announced Gogglebox, I think it’s fair to say we were all a little confused. Why would we watch a TV show showing people like us watching other TV shows? But it turns out the idea for the show may actually been around for years. Since 2003, to be precise, when telly geeks Anna Stern and Seth Cohen from The OC appeared to invent it.

In Lisa’s Wedding, a futuristic Simpsons episode from 1995, Lisa’s fiance makes a phone call using his watch. Stupid, eh? Or at least we thought so until wearable tech was a thing and our empty wrists were suddenly behind the times… 

(and yes, we know there are lots of other examples of smart watches in shows and films, we just liked this one)

Enterprise communications officer Uhura had a fancy earpiece to help her with her job. Nowadays we all (well, some of us) have one, in the form of a Bluetooth headset. 

The kids at Springfield Elementary school were unknowingly tucking into horse meat back in 1994… just like we were almost 20 years later when Europe was rocked by the horse meat scandal, which saw foods advertised as beef containing undeclared or improperly declared horse meat and other meats. We should have seen it coming, eh?

Captain Picard had a iPad long before Apple released the first device in 2010. Here he is just casually scrolling through what we assume are the football scores, or Riker’s Instagram account. 

Sixties comedy The Jetsons was set in 2062 and followed a futuristic family. A lot of the gadgets the gang used actually materialised, including tanning beds, flatscreen TVs and moving walkways… 

An episode of 80s cartoon Inspector Gadget saw the detective’s niece Penny use a handheld computer book, which was wireless and featured a GPS and a search engine. 

Virtual display devices were portable devices used aboard Dominion warships in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. They gave the wearer the ability to view the space around the ship by simply turning his or her head. And the look suspiciously like Google Glass, the personal computer system designed in the shape of a pair of glasses.

The Simpsons predicted Donald Trump would be president 16 years ago during an episode which aired in 2000. In the episode Bart sees a vision of his future in which he is a beer-swilling bum, while his sister Lisa has become president, following Trump’s time in office.


Not so funny now, is it?