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A Sci-Fi Novel’s Eerily Accurate Predictions About Today’s Tech

Neal Stephenson’s 30-year-old Snow Crash imagined the metaverse, digital currencies, and AI-powered assistants.

Mark Zuckerberg demonstrates an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset and Oculus Touch controllers.

Mark Zuckerberg demonstrates an Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset and Oculus Touch controllers.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Thirty years ago, Neal Stephenson published his seminal novel Snow Crash. Many Silicon Valley luminaries have marveled at how accurately it anticipated the future shape of tech.

Decades before Mark Zuckerberg began constructing his Metaverse, Stephenson imagined a 3D virtual world with the same name, where people interact as avatars—and even commit murder. Years after the novel was published, Stephenson did a stint as the chief futurist at the mixed-reality headset company Magic Leap.