The Future According to Pop Culture

Estimated Completion Time
3 min
The Future According to Pop Culture
Image: Warner Bros/Handout/Hulton Archive

About This Quiz

If you've ever wondered where your flying car was (especially when stuck in traffic) or why you can't zoom off to your next meeting using a personal jetpack, this is the quiz for you! Find out if pop culture is really a good predictor of future trends.
With its flying cars, robot maid and huge videophone screens, "The Jetsons" tried to depict the future as set in which year?
1990
2013
2062
“The Jetsons” was set in 1962, so creators tried to show the future as it might be 100 years later.

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Which of the following future technologies was correctly predicted in the 1989 movie "Back to the Future Part II"?
self-tying shoelaces
video games played without using controllers
There are a lot of urban legends surrounding the predictions in the “Back to the Future” movies, but several of them, including video games without controllers, have actually come true.
home fusion generators

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Which popular horror writer wrote of traveling to a colony on Mars in the early 24th century via teleportation in the story “The Jaunt”?
H.P. Lovecraft
Stephen King
King’s story was originally published in 1981. While it predicts teleportation as the preferred means of travel, there’s an unpleasant wrinkle that makes itself known in the story.
Clive Barket

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In which "Star Trek" movie does a doctor give a patient a pill that allows her to grow a new kidney?
“Star Trek: First Contact”
“Star Trek”
“Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”
In "Star Trek IV: The Vogage Home," Dr. McCoy encounters a patient who tells him that she's on dialysis. McCoy gives her the pill and mumbles about being back in the Dark Ages.

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What form of identification did sci-fi writer Elizabeth Moon claim that we should all be using in the future?
microchips
bar codes
In May 2012, Moon stated that people should be bar coded at birth for easier identification.
tattoos

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Which famous physicist stated in 1932 that "there is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable"?
Carl David Anderson
Albert Einstein
Einstein was a genius, but he didn’t foresee the use of nuclear energy to power homes, ships and submarines.
J. Robert Oppenheimer

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Aldous Huxley’s novel "Brave New World" predicted a unified government whose citizens worship which industrialist?
Henry Ford
Henry Ford’s assembly line principles are applied to all aspects of life in the book, and Ford Day is celebrated, complete with tiny wooden “T”s to represent the Model T.
Cornelius Vanderbilt
Andrew Carnegie

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What was the first TV show to depict the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse?
“Zombieland”
“The Walking Dead”
“The Walking Dead” TV show is based on Robert Kirkman’s comic book series of the same title, which debuted in 2003.
“Sleepers”

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Lots of movies have predicted underwater habitats in the future. What's the longest that anybody has spent actually living under the sea?
30 days
58 days
69 days
In 1992, Richard Presley scored a Guinness World Record for "longest time spent living underwater" when he spent 69 days and 19 minutes in an underwater module in a Florida lagoon.

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Why did freeze-dried "astronaut ice cream" only make it to space once, on the 1968 Apollo 7 mission?
Nobody liked it.
Now it’s sold in museums and stores everywhere, but the astronauts didn’t care much for freeze-dried ice cream. Today, regular ice cream is taken aboard spacecraft or the space station.
It crumbled and got stuck in the spacecraft’s delicate instrumentation.
NASA determined that ice cream should not be included on spaceflights because it’s not healthy.

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When did the concept of a personal jet pack first appear in pop culture?
1915
1928
The first known mention of a jet pack was in the 1928 pulp magazine Amazing Stories, a serialization of what would become the novel “Skylark in Space.”
1943

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Which movie features the first robot ever to be shown on film?
“A Trip to the Moon”
“Flash Gordon”
“Metropolis”
The Maschinenmensch (German for “machine-man”) of "Metropolis" is a bronzed metal robot with a very curvy female body and a creepy blank stare.

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When was the stereotypical phrase "little green men" first used to describe extraterrestrials in print?
1908
1932
1938
Although it’s impossible to know how long the phrase has been around, the first print example of it was in a 1938 newspaper column about the panic following H.G. Wells’ “War of the Worlds” broadcast.

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The 1960s TV show "Lost in Space" features a family called the Robinsons setting out from Earth to start colonizing a planet orbiting which star?
Sirius
Alpha Centauri
In the TV show universe, the Robinsons are selected as the first space colonists from the U.S. Their mission, launching in the "future" year 1997, is to colonize a planet that orbits the star Alpha Centauri.
Vega

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The first scene in the Kevin Costner sci-fi movie "Waterworld" showed him performing what act that many film-goers found disgusting?
using the ocean as a toilet
eating roadkill
urinating, filtering the urine, then drinking it
Yep, he drank his own (filtered) pee. But he's in good company: As of 2008, the International Space Station has had a Water Recovery System, designed to process about 93 percent of the astronauts’ sweat and urine into drinking water.

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In the sci-fi movie "The Fifth Element," what meal does the character Leeloo cook in seconds using food pellets and a microwave-like oven?
roast chicken
Food pellets or pills are a mainstay of sci-fi -- apparently we'll want our food in concentrated form in the future. Leeloo's feat – a whole roasted chicken – is one of the most impressive, though.
pizza
steak and potatoes

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Who was the first person to predict human colonization of the moon?
Isaac Asimov
John Wilkins
John Wilkins, a bishop who was around in the mid-1600s, predicted future moon colonies in his book “A Discourse Concerning a New World and Another Planet.”
Arthur C. Clarke

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What year did the powdered orange drink called Tang appear on the market?
1949
1959
Many people think that Tang was invented for the NASA space program, but the truth is General Foods started selling it to the public in 1959. It didn’t become popular until after it was used in Project Mercury in 1962.
1969

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The Eloi and the Morlocks are two imagined, post-human races from which sci-fi novella?
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
"The Time Machine"
In "The Time Machine," H.G. Wells wrote of two races encountered by the Time Traveller in 802,791 A.D. The Eloi were weak and lived a life of ease, while the Morlocks did all the work.
"Time After Time"

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What does the term "retro-futurism" mean?
depictions of the future as seen from the past
depictions of the past as seen from the future
both of the above
Retro-futurism can mean two different things: Pre-1960s projections of the future or a current re-imagining of a past that contained futuristic elements. Steampunk is an example of the latter.

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You Got:
/20
Warner Bros/Handout/Hulton Archive
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