6 Terrifying Sci-Fi Predictions (About the Year 1997)

What do you remember about the year 1997? Probably not a whole lot. Titanic? The Spice Girls? The tech bubble economy? It's the kind of year that won't get a lot of mentions in future history books.

But the same can't be said for science fiction. According to a lot of science fiction movies, comics and TV shows, 1997 was the single most eventful year in the history mankind. Why did they all pick 1997? Who knows? But according to sci-fi ...

#6. It's the Year SkyNet Becomes Self-Aware ( Terminator 2)

What Science Fiction Promised Us:

"Three billion human lives ended on August 29, 1997."

According to Sarah Connor in Terminator 2, 8/29/1997 at 2:14 a.m. (EST) was the exact moment when machines decided they had enough of our bullshit and started wiping us out like ants, if ants were wiped out with nuclear explosions. The movie predicted that on that date, a complex artificial intelligence defense system would become aware and take control of the country's entire nuclear weapons arsenal, launching an attack against Russia basically just to piss them off. And that would lead us to this part:

Now, we're not advocating the extermination of the human race or saying that a nuclear apocalypse would be "balls awesome" -- we're not soulless monsters. However ... this chain of events did eventually lead to the creation of possibly the most awesome series of killer robots in science fiction history, plus a badass human rebellion led by guys like adult John Connor and time-traveling Kyle Reese. Honestly, we'd be lying if we said a big part of us wasn't looking forward to getting to see all that shit for real.

Sure, we all probably die. But to Terminators, instead of cancer and diabetes and heart attacks.

Plus if the humans win the war, we'd be left with the coolest looking home appliances ever.

What Actually Happened:

In the U.S., the computer networks of government agencies like the FBI, CIA, and the Departments of State and Justice were all breached at the same time in June, 1997, along with various computer systems and power grids all over the country.

"Now, delay Starcraft one more time and see what happens."

But, just as we all got our hopes up and started stockpiling shotguns, it all turned out to be an unannounced anti-hacker exercise carried out by the those jerks at the NSA.

#5. HAL 9000 is Brought Online (2001: A Space Odyssey)

Via Sciencefictionwallpapers.com

What Science Fiction Promised Us:

Damn, 1997 was a huge year for evil, artificial intelligence.

In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL 9000 is a supercomputer with highly advanced cognitive skills that eventually decides to kill everyone on his spaceship (except for astronaut David Bowman, who went on to become Ziggy Stardust). Most of 2001 takes place in 2001, as the name subtly suggests, but the book establishes that HAL became operational on January 12, 1997 (in the movie it's 1992). This means that he was somewhere between 4 and 9 years old when he went on that murderous rampage.

Ages 4-9 are the normal "murderous rampage" period in cognitive development.

Psychopathic tendencies aside, HAL is a remarkable piece of work: he carries out pretty much every operation in the ship, from piloting maintenance pods to controlling the life support systems of the sleeping astronauts. This would prove to be not such a great idea, but still ...

Also, just to demonstrate how smart he is, the movie shows him playing a chess game with one of the astronauts and defeating him.

Later, HAL had sex with his wife.

That's some pretty impressive technology you've come up with, 1997.

What Actually Happened:

Eerily, 1997 was the first time a computer defeated a world chess champion (Garry Kasparov) in a full match. The computer was called Deep Blue and was especially made by IBM. Now move each letter in "IBM" to the left and see what it spells.

Via Wired.com
Not on your keyboard, genius -- think.

It's not like IBM intentionally planned for this to happen on that exact year as some kind of tie-in publicity stunt; Deep Blue had played against Kasparov the year before, winning a single game but losing the match. Another IBM computer lost against Kasparov in 1989. After being defeated in 1997, Kasparov accused IBM of cheating, claiming he saw "deep intelligence and creativity" in the machine's moves. IBM responded that it was just that good, then dismantled Deep Blue anyway (possibly after it started calling everyone "Dave").

Another thing they promised us in 2001 was that by now, space travel would be commonplace and Pan-Am would be flying passenger shuttles between the Earth and orbiting space stations, complete with space stewardesses and in-flight entertainment. Obviously that was bullshit, because Pan-Am closed in 1991.

And we still haven't seen our sweet fro-hats.

#4. New York is a Prison and the Planet is on the Verge of WWIII (Escape From New York)

Via Thefilmstage.com

What Science Fiction Promised Us:

Escape From New York showed us a dystopian future in which New York has completely given up on that whole tourism thing and turned the island of Manhattan into basically one huge maximum security prison populated by the scum of the Earth (New Jersey remains largely unchanged). Things aren't much better outside New York, though, because the entire planet is balls deep in World War III.

What's so awesome about that? This guy:

"It takes an hour every morning to keep my stubble this way."

When the Air Force One crashes in Manhattan and the President is captured, professional badass Snake Plissken is sent in there to rescue him and thus prevent an impending nuclear catastrophe (since the President was actually on his way to a summit with China and the U.S.S.R.). Of course, all of this happens sometime in the year 1997.

Via Newsrealblog.com
Looks like late February, early March.

What Actually Happened:

As the '90s unfolded it became increasingly obvious to the citizens of New York that the prison island future they were promised would never materialize. A world summit did take place in NYC in 1997, but it was actually about environmental issues and sustainable development (rather than ending World War III). The closest thing a nuclear disaster to strike the state in that year was a rubella outbreak.

"Snake Plissken in: RUBELLA PANIC!"

Meanwhile, instead of being kidnapped by crazy murderers, the President of the United States was having sex with interns and getting away with it (for a while anyway).