Put a monkey in a room with a typewriter and an infinite amount of time, and eventually it will have hit the right combination of keys to write Shakespeare's entire body of work. This is appropriately known as the "infinite monkey theorem," a theory meant to explain probability and how -- given the right amount of time and opportunity -- an outcome can be generated. Of course, the chances of this happening are cosmically low.
The infinite monkey theorem can be used to describe many of those bizarre, eerie moments when an aspect of a story's vision of the future becomes reality. Data pads, tablets, space travel, microwaves, even Soylent are some of the weirder aspects of modern life predicted by films, books, and television, all of which were ridiculed or seen as outlandishly fictional during their time. But, as we've seen several times over, throw a high enough number of stories and predictions out there, and eventually one of them will stick. It's proven by math.
Video games are a younger medium, but they've had their share of eerily accurate predictions, too. Allow us to run down some of the most striking.
Hideo Kojima's Metal Gear series contains many bizarre predictions and projections that have since come to pass - -privatized militarization, biofuel, child soldiers, nuclear arms races, etc. -- but this one is eerie because of its accurate, word-for-word setup. Before the days of rallies and unflattering red trucker hats, the famous battlecry "Make America Great Again!" was shouted verbatim in 2013's Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
Toward the end of the game, Raiden is accosted by Senator Steven Armstrong, a super wealthy man best described as a beefy men's fitness magazine model in a poorly-fitting shirt and tie. With Raiden's body lying face down against concrete, Armstrong places his foot squarely in Raiden's back, grinding it as the cyborg ninja writhes on the ground.
This is, of course, a perfect time for a villain to deliver a monologue, which Armstrong does while chewing mouthfuls of scenery. With very little substance behind his words, Armstrong decries the political establishment in Washington and explains his vague, Purge-esque vision for the United States.
"The weak will be purged, and the strongest will fly, free to live as they see fit," he barks. "They'll make America great again!"
It's not often you get to fight senators as major bosses in video games, so bless Kojima and company for making that dream become a reality.
Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is still lovingly referenced by developers of 4X games, due to its sheer depth and complexity. But this late '90s PC game allowed players to do something real scientists hadn't yet been able to accomplish up to that point: map the human genome.
A special project available for players to carry out in-game, human genome mapping required a knowledge of Biogenetics and -- when successfully completed -- gave the player a talent stat boost in every one of their bases and safeguarded the population from viral outbreaks. There was even a neat little video to go along with it.
Known as one of the greatest modern achievements in human history, the Human Genome Project was a combined effort of many to identify and map all of the genes in the human genome. It took our understanding of DNA and genetics to a new level and has since been vital research in many fields, including biology and medicine.
The weird part? The project didn't wrap until 2003, meaning Sid and the other developers of Alpha Centauri were on the ball several years before modern science.
Part-prediction, part-bizarre coincidence, the PC stealth action thriller Deus Ex accurately predicted the destruction of the twin towers on September 11, 2001 as an act carried out by foreign terrorists.
The biggest piece of evidence comes during the first level, wherein the Twin Towers are noticeably absent from the New York skyline.
Dig through enough messages on computer terminals, and you'll find several references to terrorist attacks on US soil, specifically in New York City.
The real reason is far less inflammatory and comes down largely to restrictions caused by tech limitations. The visuals were limited by memory capacity in those days, and in an effort to conserve space, the developers decided to simply omit the towers and instead create an in-universe reason for their absence.
This prediction is merely the more overt aspect of Deus Ex's precognition, however. Read through newspaper clippings in the game, and you'll see discussions about class, populism, Occupy Wall Street-style rhetoric, and debates surrounding the ethics of surveillance and its impact on freedom. It's not unusual for science fiction to project political sentiments and present us with possible outcomes -- both good and bad.
Not only was it one of the few games of the era to have a female protagonist, Perfect Dark turned its progressive sentiments up a notch by making the in-game President of the United States a black man.
Perfect Dark was released in 2000 for the Nintendo 64. Barack Obama wouldn't be elected president in our actual United States until almost a decade later in 2008, making this one of the more far-off predictions than many of the others on this list.
We're not quite at the point of having all-out murder contests on live television, but things like Running Man, Death Race 2000, and The Hunger Games expose our borderline creepy obsession with seeing 'reality' on television.
Smash TV was one of the first video games to expand on this idea, framing an all-out murder fest as live entertainment for the whole family to enjoy on TV. It predicted a very specific type of reality television: contest-based shows where contestants took a step beyond typical game show fare by being transported to a new location and practically immersed in the competition.
Surprisingly, Smash TV's vision of a future in which people willingly placed themselves on-camera for tests of strength and skill emerged in 1990, a full ten years before Survivor's debut. This would later expand into other shows like The Real World, The Amazing Race, Ru Paul's Drag Race, and even The Bachelor. So far, it's the latter that's had any real violence imitating that of Smash TV.
A first-person shooter turning the plot of Red Dawn into a Call of Duty-style campaign, Homefront's use of a unified Korea as a dangerous and dominant power in the world carried with it one strangely clairvoyant element: the prediction of then-leader Kim Jong-il's death, and his son Kim Jong-un's rise to power.
Hopefully the string of predictions made by Homefront end there. North Korea seems to love the idea of being an international bully, but their efforts so far haven't yet yielded any occupation of American territory. Then again, Homefront is set in the year 2027, so we still have a solid ten years before we can safely say they were wrong.
Tom Clancy had a proclivity for stuffing his books full of intense, detailed politics and military strategy, so the fact he so accurately predicted the conflict between Russia and Georgia isn't all that surprising. Again, law of averages and monkeys on typewriters tells us if you toss out an ample number of ideas, eventually one of them will stick. Tom Clancy's books were so chock full of bizarre instances of conflict between governments and military organizations, it's surprising we haven't seen more clairvoyance on his part.
What was surprising in this particular case was Ghost Recon's timeline accuracy. A game about deploying America's elite fighting force known as Ghosts to deal with a Russian nationalist threat seeking to rebuild the Soviet Union, the game took place in 2008 -- exactly the same year armed conflict sparked between the two countries. On top of his weird prediction, it's worth noting that Ghost Recon released in 2001, seven years before its plot would come to fruition in the real world.