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I occasionally hear responses to concerns about future technology which are of the form:

That just sounds like something out of a science fiction book.

It is obviously not the case that because something appears in fiction it is magically prevented from happening in reality, yet it occured to me that it might be interesting/useful to collect examples of 'predictions' from fiction, which did in fact end up happening. Ideally the examples I'm looking for would fit the following criteria:

  • Something happened that most people agree was bad.
  • Before the thing happened in reality, the possibility was discussed or occured in a work of fiction.
  • The first recorded mention of the possibility is in a fictional work (even if it is later discussed elsewhere prior to occuring).

I'd still be interested in examples which meet 2/3 criteria, e.g. positive things occured, or the possibility was discussed publicly, then incorporated into fictional work, then occured.




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In Dr. Strangelove (1964), the USSR builds a Doomsday Machine to function as a credible deterrent to a nuclear first strike against them, but keeps it secret. Dr. Strangelove famously remarks:

The whole point of the doomsday machine is lost... if you keep it a secret! Why didn't you tell the world, eh?!

The USSR actually built such a system and kept it secret.

(Typo: You say the US when you meant the USSR.)

Ah right. I was misremembering the plot. The conversation happened in the US, but the system was built by the USSR :-)

This website is great for all things science fiction. Here's a list of technologies that were predicted (there are hundreds!):


This appears to be a list of all science fiction technology, even if it doesn't exist in real life. For example I see "antigravity" on this list.

H.G. Wells' The World Set Free:

More than 30 years before the first atomic bombs were made, H.G. Wells’ 1914 novel, “The World Set Free,” depicted a war where atomic energy fueled powerful explosives. Inspired by the potential applications of new scientific discoveries, science fiction authors like Wells imagine possible future outcomes stemming from today’s cutting-edge technologies. While many of these ideas don’t come to pass, sometimes–as in “World Set Free”–these futures are surprisingly close to reality.

Linch commented this below, but I think Karel Čapek’s 1936 science fiction satire The War with the Newts  not-quite-predicted AGI and many aspects of WWII (the book portrays things that are eerily similar in style but different in form -- and is generally just insightful). 

Neuralink, and the Culture series also has voice-activated assistants that are a bit like Alexa 

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There might be some examples here.

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