10 TV Shows That Predicted The Future

Sometimes sci-fi predicts the future better than science. Agent Gabriel Vaughn has been enhanced with a microchip in his brain that gives him direct access to the global information grid. How long until science fiction becomes science fact? Intelligence, Monday 10/9c, only on CBS.

1. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) — Tablet Computers

Star Trek: The Next Generation / CBS



The slick, touchscreen computers on the ’90s version of the Enterprise looked unbelievable at the time. Now we’d be complaining about the image resolution of the monitors.

2. Inspector Gadget (1983) — Invisibility Cloak

Inspector Gadget / DiC Enterprises



In one episode, Inspector Gadget’s sidekick Penny wore a sweet invisibility cloak. Today scientists are developing materials with nanotechnology and LEDs that can replicate invisibility.

3. Small Wonder — Housecleaning Robots

Small Wonder / 20th Century Fox Television



The 1980s thought you needed a child robot to help around the house. The 2000s taught us that all you really need is a tiny, subservient disk.

4. The Jetsons — Hyperloop Transit

The Jetsons / CBS



Scientists and inventors, most notably Elon Musk, are currently working on technology to send passenger trains through vacuum tubes at speeds topping 2,500 miles per hour.

5. Max Headroom (1987) — Annoying Internet Advertising


Max Headroom was a TV talking head in a society ruled by media networks. He predicted the glitchy, pop-up ridden world of early internet advertising.

6. Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987) — The Holodeck

Star Trek: The Next Generation / CBS



Star Trek: The Next Generation also teased us with a room that holographically recreates other locations. Recent computer advances are enabling 3D holographic interfaces (similar to scenes in the movie Minority Report). A functional holodeck might not be too far off.

7. The Simpsons (1992) — Baby Translator

The Simpsons / FOX



A 1992 episode of The Simpsons foretold a machine that translated Maggie Simpson’s baby talk. Today there is an iPhone app that claims to translate a baby’s cries.

8. Doctor Who (1963) — Universal Language Translation

Doctor Who / BBC America


Google Translate


The titular Doctor has been able to have all sorts of languages instantaneously translated into English with the help of his TARDIS’s translation circuit, a telepathic field that renders almost every language immediately comprehensible. In reality, we’ve developed an incredible selection of smartphone apps and websites that work just as well.

9. Star Trek (1966) — Internal Medical Imaging


The magic, flashing wands that doctors waved over patients in the sickbay of the Starship Enterprise were today’s equivalent of digital diagnostic imaging.

10. The Six Million Dollar Man (1974) — Bionic Limbs

The Six Million Dollar Man / ABC



The Six Million Dollar Man would be worth $30 million in 2013 dollars. That seems like a bargain for the ability to run as fast as a car and jump over buildings. Today, for significantly less money, doctors are now fitting patients with prosthetic limbs that respond to brainwaves.

The human mind is about to get upgraded.

With a microchip in his brain and direct access to the information grid, Gabriel Vaughn just got the upgrade of a lifetime. Don’t miss INTELLIGENCE, Monday 10/9c, only on CBS.

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