Did ‘Bart to the Future’ See Into the Future of Tech?

Bart to the Future
Bart to the Future

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They say that The Simpsons is able to predict the future. And by “they,” we mean “everyone on the internet for the last ten years.” From unlikely presidents to mutant tomatoes to even a Super Bowl performance, The Simpsons’ long, long run means that its fiction is likely to become reality purely through the law of averages.

But what about when The Simpsons takes the action from whatever Twilight Zone timeline Springfield is currently in to the wide-eyed future? Did it predict things like monkey profile photos sold on a made up chain? Would the show even be that dystopian?

In order to find out, we took a look at Season 11’s ‘Bart to the Future,’ an episode from 2000 where Bart sees himself 30 years in the future in the prophetic fires of a Native American casino, to see just how clear the show’s crystal ball is when it comes to the World of Tomorrow.


LED Drinks

The episode’s very first frame of its flash-forward sequence is Bart holding a can of “Future Duff Beer,” which seems to be the exact same Duff as usual except, uh, it lights up like a Vegas sign.

Funnily enough, in an almost immediate continuity error, the next frame shows Bart chucking the now regular can of Duff Beer into a whole bunch of regular Duff Beer cans.

Animation: sometimes shifts are extremely long.

Do We Have It Yet?
Nope! It’s not completely scientifically implausible but: a) putting lights right next to liquid is a big no and b) the cost of putting lights on mass-produced drinks would probably eat into profits too much. Though it would be good advertising to walk into a cold drinks aisle and see it light up like a nativity scene.


Telegram Hologram

The Simpsons Telegram Hologram
The Simpsons Telegram Hologram

It’s not long before the next glimpse at The Simpsons’ future tech, as a courier arrives to show Bart and Ralph a message from Nelson, who’s basically Biff Tannen, in the form of a telegram.

Do We Have It Yet?
No, but only because a dude turning up at your door to show you a telegram is more obsolete than an AOL chat room in 2024.

We can just use Discord, Zoom, or any number of alternatives these days, and it’s just far smoother overall. Sci-fi predicts the future of video chat like this a lot, and even an earlier episode of The Simpsons from all the way back in 1995, ‘Lisa’s Wedding,’ shows characters on a rather chunky video call.

But we do have holograms! Kind of. Concert holograms are very much an in-thing in the music industry and a way of bringing performers back from the dead in a totally-not-ghoulish way.


Flying Cars

Is there anything more “look, this is definitely set in the future” in media than seeing a flying car?

Back at 742 Evergreen Terrace, Homer and Marge are seen to own a red hover car, and even a hover bus is mentioned by Bart and Ralph earlier on.

Do We Have It Yet?
No, but there is something called the Model A that’s currently in production, which is basically exactly that.

However, just from a safety and logistical point of view, flying cars are exceedingly unlikely to hit the mass market. We can barely afford to fuel a Ford Focus these days.


Virtual Reality Food

Inside the house, Homer and Marge are seen enjoying some virtual fudge while wearing fairly modern looking headsets, but with an added tube to chew on for apparently pretty poor results compared to “cyber fudge”. Homer manages to electrocute himself on the tube.

Do We Have It Yet? 
While we do have virtual reality in multiple forms these days, being able to taste food while playing VR Chat is a long, long way off if it ever actually happens. Hey, if we couldn’t conquer smell-a-vision, how are we supposed to simulate a VR lasagne?




Throughout the episode, one of the current frontiers of technology is showcased: augmented reality without any unnecessary headwear.

Brainvision keeps Bart and Lisa up to date with current events, but the full extent of the BrainVision isn’t really showcased. Imagine having to zap yourself every time you wanted to go on Twitter? Actually, that might be just the kind of deterrent we need.

Do We Have It Yet?  
Sort of, but not really. The Apple Vision Pro is probably the closest thing to BrainVision that we have, but has a giant, unsightly headset as part of the deal. Meanwhile, Elon Musk’s Neuralink has allowed a user to control their mouse with the power of their mind, but has not yet got anywhere near mass market.


Back to the Past

While ‘Bart to the Future’ does have some pretty wild swings when it comes to future tech, it also has some now pretty quaint guesses about where the tech of 2000 would be in 30 years. For instance, Bart is still seen hawking tapes for his band, but nowadays even CDs are somewhat obsolete. The episode doesn’t even really touch on the internet at all, either, and that’s what bringing you these words now. And these ones. And the previous ones. Here, have four more.

It just goes to show that even though  the writers of The Simpsons might be pop culture oracles, they can’t get everything right when it comes to the future. Neither can we, and that’s what makes it so exciting. Sorry, we meant absolutely terrifying.

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