How do movies, books, and TV shows predict the future?

Nine years before the emergence and epidemic of the coronavirus, situations almost similar to those of COVID were depicted in the film Contagion, which was released in 2011. Similarly, a The simpsons The episode titled “New York City vs. Homer Simpson” which originally aired in 1997 features a plot line that eerily mirrors the 9/11 tragedy in some ways.

There are many other fictional incidents from various books, movies, and TV shows that almost seem to predict what happened later in real life, and many of them involve science and technology. Consider early representations of futuristic technologies like AI, robots, and virtual reality, for example.

Predictive programming is a theory devised by conspiracy theorists, it claims that government or elite groups use fiction films or books as a tool of mass mind control to make the population more accepting of planned future events. So how plausible is this theory? Does the media we consume make us more likely to calmly tolerate the changes managers want to make or to accept things that seem weird?

What is predictive programming?

Source: Angel-Kun / Pixabay

Predictive programming is not a scientific theory, but a notion developed by nonconformists and the conspirators who believe that the world is run by a totalitarian “people-lizard” government, or a powerful evil agency that simulates large-scale events to manipulate people’s opinions and further increase their dominance.

Conspiracy theorists claim that in order to prevent any sudden resistance or hostile reaction from the general public, the supreme totalitarian organization continues to add subtle references to its planned future events in the popular media so that when the event ends. actually produced, the public is already mentally prepared and receptive to new developments in the company.

This notion was first described and proposed by conspirator Alan Watt, who defines predictive programming as “a subtle form of psychological conditioning provided by the media to inform the public of planned societal changes to be implemented by our leaders.” If and when these changes are implemented, the audience will already be familiar with them and accept them as natural progressions, thereby reducing possible audience resistance and agitation. ”

Proponents of predictive programming theory suggest, somewhat illogically, that the government also use this technique so that people do not lose faith in the already established system. They claim that first the government plans a complex situation, then hides the references to it in the media so that people get somewhat used to the feelings caused by these situations, and finally, when the situation really arises, people will turn to the government for solutions.

Conspiracyists also often argue that while governments already have the solution to the problem they created in the first place, they are deliberately waiting for the right time to implement the solution in order to most undermine people’s ability to think. by themselves. Some believers even claim that predictive programming is in fact a highly advanced form of AI used for psychological conditioning of the masses. Needless to say, these types of arguments are filled with logical errors, forged sequences and documents, outright lies, and a complete lack of proper research or scientific rigor. So why do some people still believe them?

psychologists and researchers consider Predictive programming incidents like coincidences or probable scenarios based on real research. For example, it’s not that hard to imagine a scenario where an airplane is used as a weapon and write a book or movie with that as a plot, so when a similar event occurs in real life, conspirators claim that the previous book or movie was in fact a prediction. This tendency to view events as more predictable than they actually are is called retrospective bias and is a common psychological response to a traumatic event.

A belief in predictive programming can also result from a framing bias. It is when someone makes a decision or forms a belief because of the specific way information is presented to them, rather than objective facts. Many people come to believe conspiracy theories by listening to, reading, or watching influencers or media figures they trust because they sound familiar, rather than because they have been shown to be. truthful. Whereas, if such ideas are presented in a different way or by someone they do not trust, the believer may be more likely to come to a different conclusion about the information.

False facts also play an anchor role, where people use pre-existing information as a point of reference for all subsequent conclusions. This is why, for example, belief in a conspiracy theory often leads to believing in more and more conspiracy theories, even if later beliefs defy all logic and common sense.

Some reports also suggest that people may believe in predictive programming because of pareidolia, a generalized term for seeing patterns in random data. Pareidolia of the face, where people see faces in random objects or patterns of light and shadow is a common occurrence. Some common examples are seeing a likeness of Jesus in a piece of toast or a picture of a bird in a cloud. Formerly considered a symptom of psychosis, it actually results from a visual perception error.

However, researchers at the University of Sydney found that our brains detect and emotionally respond to these illusory faces the same way they do to real human faces. If the same is true with data models that don’t really exist, this could explain why some people tend to have an emotional response to these models.

Research published in 2015 by Dr Rob Brotherton, a psychologist at Goldsmiths University in London, found that bored people are also more likely to believe in conspiracy theories. Previous studies have also linked boredom with feelings of mild paranoia.

However, when it comes to technological innovations such as facial recognition systems, touch screens, microchips, and self-driving cars, science fiction has often served as inspiration for technological breakthroughs.

Perhaps it is life that imitates art?

Martin Cooper, the designer of the Motorola DynTAC 8000x which was hailed as the world’s first mobile phone, claimed he was inspired by the handheld wireless communications devices featured on the popular 1966 TV show. Star trek.

Today, companies like Apple and Microsoft invite science fiction writers to lecture on topics that highlight the close relationship between science fiction and real-world technological development. This relationship between science fiction and real life is often referred to as design fiction, and the design fiction sessions aim to inspire engineers and concept developers to come up with new and groundbreaking product ideas.

Cory Doctorow, author of the science fiction novel Little brother, design fiction lectures at companies like Tesco. He said Smithsonian Magazine, “I really like design fiction or prototyping fiction. There is nothing strange about a company doing this, commissioning a story about people using technology to decide whether the technology is worth pursuing. It’s like an architect creating a virtual overview of a building ”.

Most Popular Examples of Predictive Programming

Predictive Programming: How Do Movies, Books and TV Shows Predict the Future?
A work of art depicting the drowning of the Titanic. Source: Die Gartenlaube Magazine / Wikimedia Commons

Perhaps the oldest example of predictive programming can be found in Morgan Robertson’s novel. The wreck of the Titan or Futility which was published in 1898. The book tells the story of a glorious ship named Titan that is believed to be unsinkable, but during its April voyage in the North Atlantic Ocean the ship struck an iceberg and drowned with the 2,500 passengers on board.

About 14 years later, RMS Titanic actually experienced the same fate as that of Futilityis Titan. On April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic with 1,500 passengers after colliding with an iceberg. Apart from the month, place and conditions under which the ships crashed, the dimensions and speed of the Fictional Titan and the Real Titanic were also found to be almost similar. However, a large number of ships have been sunk by icebergs, so it’s no surprise that both people are using it as the subject of a novel and that it happens in real life.

1960s animated sitcom The Jetsons has successfully predicted various modern technologies such as flat screen TVs, video calling, smart watches, robotic vacuum cleaners, drones, 3D printed food, etc., although many of these ideas were floating around the world of science fiction for quite some time. Demon seed, a science fiction film released in 1977, describes smart home features such as door locks, lights, and AI-controlled alarm systems. Likewise, self-driving cars were featured in the feature film by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sharon Stone of the 1990s. Total recall.

Some argue that The simpsons predicted Trump’s presidency in their episode “Bart to the Future” which originally aired in 2000. However, this episode originally referred to Trump’s attempt to run for the Reform Party. in 2000. Perhaps more prescient was in episode 8 of season 6, when a bully Dolph writes the “Beat up Martin” memo on his Apple Newton PDA. However, Newton translates the text as “Eat, Martha,” a reference to the PDA’s poor handwriting recognition. It was reported that, years later, when Apple was working on the iPhone keyboard, employees were quoting “Eat, Martha” to point out the importance of using the AutoCorrect feature properly.

No doubt some examples of predictive programming seem intriguing. Perhaps this is the real reason why they are so popular among conspirators and hoaxes – they are useful in attracting a paying audience and building an audience. However, it is also important to keep in mind that scientists correct each other’s blind spots, flaws, biases and flaws; conspiracy theorists don’t.

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