Autocorrect Fails (1994)
The Simpsons made a lot of eerily accurate predictions about the future—they jokingly claimed that Donald Trump would become president, for one thing—but every so often the show actually helped change the course of history.
It happened in 1994, in an episode where Kearney asks his fellow bully to take a memo on his Newton, Apple’s early attempt at personal digital assistants. But when the bully writes down “Beat up Martin,” the device translates his handwriting as “Eat up Martha.”
Almost two decades later, Nitin Ganatra, Apple’s former director of engineering for iOS applications, claimed that this mortifying moment inspired the new and improved iPhone software.
“If you heard people talking and they used the words ‘Eat up Martha,’ it was basically a reference to the fact that we needed to nail the keyboard,” he said. “We needed to make sure the text input works on this thing. Otherwise, ‘Here comes the Eat up Marthas.’”