It’s a safe bet that if there’s a joke to be made about popular culture, The Simpsons has probably beaten you to it.
And with 25 seasons of comedy under its belt, America’s favorite TV family has even managed to predict events that we laughed off until they came true in real life.
From heavy hinting at potential NSA snooping to goofier predictions of future video phones, we’ve rounded up 11 times that The Simpsons imagined the digital future with eerie accuracy.
NSA Wiretapping In the 1997 episode “El Viaje Misterioso de Nuestro Jomer (The Mysterious Voyage of Homer)”, a scene pans from Marge and Homer’s upstairs bedroom down into the family living room. But if you look closely at the passing floorboards, you’ll notice phone wires labeled with NSA, FBI and CIA tags.
Video Chatting In the futuristic 1995 episode, “Lisa’s Wedding,” Lisa and Marge chat on rotary phones fitted with TV screens reminiscent today’s videochatting capabilities.
NSA Snooping In this scene from the 2007 Simpsons Movie, Marge, Lisa and Bart are fugitives trying to lay low as they attempt to rescue Springfield from destruction. But as they chat on the train about their fugitive status, Lisa warns her family to be careful what they say. Marge assures Lisa that no one from the government is listening, unaware that the snooping NSA is listening in and already plans to arrest them on the spot.
Smartwatches In “Lisa’s Wedding,” the futuristic episode from 1995, Lisa’s fiance makes a phone call using his watch. Nineteen years later, wearable tech has taken off with the release of smartwatches like the Samsung Galaxy Gear and the Pebble.
3D Printed Cake In the 2005 episode “Future-Drama,” Marge pulls out a camera to photograph Bart and Lisa on the night of their senior prom. The seemingly normal Polaroid picture quickly grows into a cake with Bart and Lisa’s pictured on the front. Nine years later, 3D-printed food is the talk of every major tech convention.
The GoPro In the 1994 episode, “Homer and Apu,” an investigative news program asks Homer to don a novelty hat fitted with a camera in order to catch Apu selling spoiled food from Kwik-E-Mart. Twenty years later, the GoPro is the go-to hands-free camera.
Google Slowly Taking Over The World In this futuristic episode “Holidays of Future Passed”, Lisa admits that though Google has enslaved half the world, it’s “still a damn fine search engine.” While Google hasn’t achieved world domination just yet, it’s certainly trying its hardest to infiltrate nearly every aspect of our lives,
Auto Correct In the 1994 episode “Lisa on Ice,” school bully Dolph tries to take a memo on his Apple Newton: “Beat up, Martin.” After jotting down the note, he’s disappointed to find that the device has recognized his memo as “Eat Up, Martha.” The bit haunted Apple executives for years, pushing them to nail the iPhone keyboard and to introduce the auto correct feature.
The Cry Translator In the 1992 episode “Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?,” Homer’s deadbeat half-brother Herb tries his hand at inventing a baby translator that helps mothers understand their children. Though it sounds like a far-fetched idea, a real-life cry translator hit the childcare market in 2009. It even has its own (admittedly low-rated) app.
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