It’s been 20 years since we were first welcomed to the world of tomorrow, and 6 years since it’s left our screens. During that time, Futurama gave us a glimpse of what could be, what should be, and what we all better pray and hope won’t be. While we haven’t quite perfected intergalactic travel, the Clone-o-Mat, or the Finger Longer just yet, some of the things prophesied by classic sci-fi cartoon comedy have indeed, for better or worse, come to pass! Here are 10 trends and inventions which Futurama predicted before they became a reality.
10 Travel Tubes
The main form of non-space transport in the 31st century is tubes in which you are simply sucked to your chosen destination. A wonderful concept in terms of speed, efficiency, and straight-up fun, real-life Professor Farnsworth, Elon Musk, is working on the technology with his HyperLoop.
First publicly mentioned in 2012 in an interview with Pando monthly, Musk’s concept incorporates reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on air bearings driven by linear induction motors and axial compressors. For non-scientists, that basically means you will one day hopefully be able to sit in a pod and zip around the world to your heart's content.
9 Legal Suicide
One of the darker jokes in the show, when Fry first meets Bender the robot is trying to take his own life using a suicide booth, a mass-produced, commercial death box where citizens can have the opportunity to end it all if they desire.
As of March 2018, active euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Canada, although obviously under strict conditions and in clinics less macabre than a street corner box.
8 Beer Fuel
Some of the machines in Futurama, like Bender himself, require beer as fuel to keep their functions fully operational. In 2017, chemists at the University of Bristol have made the first steps in making sustainable petrol out of beer. While we are still a long way off from Budweiser-powered busses or Rolling Rock race cars, it’s a nice thought that moving away from fossil fuels could give drink driving a more positive meaning.
7 VR Headsets
Ok, so the VR headset has been a staple of Sci-Fi for years, but no one predicted it more accurately than Futurama. While on the moon in the first season of the show, Amy plays a game of Virtual Virtual Skeeball, a game that produces the sensation of playing a game that produces the sensation of playing skeeball. While the joke is that, in such an exciting and amazing world, Amy is wowed by something so mundane, current oculus rift games like Job Simulator and Desert Bus VR do exist and are available to purchase right now.
6 Transgender Athletes Dominating Sports
In the season 4 episode “Bend Her,” Bender changes his gender and becomes a fembot. Under his new guise “Coilette,” he goes on to win 5 gold medals at the 3004 Olympics in female events.
Since the episode aired in 2004, transgendered athletes have gone on to legally win big events, such as Rachael McKinnon dominating the 2018 Masters Track World Championship or Mack Beggs winning two consecutive state wrestling titles.
One of Professor Farnsworths most prized inventions, the Smell-O-Scope allows the user to sniff scents across the vast reaches of space.
In real life, The Nasal Ranger was created in 2015, and, although it can’t quite track smells as far as its fictional counterpart, and is used to measure the intensity of odors and help track the source.
4 Asteroid Prevention Techniques
When a giant Asteroid made up of Earth’s garbage from Old New York threatens to destroy the world in the season 1 episode “A Big Piece Of Garbage,” a second ball of garbage is used to counteract the apocalyptic sphere of trash and sends it crashing towards the sun.
Scientists believe the deflection is, in fact, the only way to defend the Earth should such an event take place, as destruction would only result in thousands of smaller rocks, or, thanks to mass gravity, a comet could just reform. If such a catastrophic event should take place, maybe NASA could take a leaf out of Futurama's book and help out with the environmental problem in the process by firing off are non-biodegradable waste in the process!
3 The Ebola Crises
The third prediction from “A Big Piece Of Garbage,” not only did that episode predict the Smell-O-Scope and asteroid prevention techniques, but it also warned of the dangers of the Ebola virus.
Ebola 9 is a planet completely affected by the deadly disease, mentioned at the start of the episode and serving as an eery herald about the real-life Ebola break out crises that effected western Africa back in 2014.
2 The New Star Wars Trilogy
In December of this year, the world eagerly awaits Star Wars Episode IX: The Rise Of Skywalker, the concluding chapter of the latest Star Wars trilogy.
Of course, in the year 3000, that film has been and gone, and makes an appearance as a background joke in the episode “The Lesser Of Two Evils.” Of course, the title is slightly different, as this version goes under the moniker “Yoda’s Bar Mitzvah.” Prehaps the name change came about as one of the inevitable re-releases to come.
1 Miss Universe Mix-Up
Another prediction from “The Lesser Of Two Evils.” During the Miss Universe 3001 contest, host Captain Zapp Branagan shouts the name of is one-eyed crush Leela after hearing her voice, and the crowd mistakingly believes her to be the winner of the pageant. After revealing that he hasn’t opened the envelope yet, the idiotic commander corrects the confusion and hands the prize to the true winner, Gladys Lennox
In 2015, poor old game show host Steve Harvey had to make a similarly awkward correction. After Miss Columbia mistakingly won the crown in 2015, it was up to the face of Family Feud to apologize and announce the real winner, Miss Philippines. What followed was a lot of stunned faces, shocked looks, and sheer cringe.