Leave the World Behind: What is predictive programming?

Daisy Phillipson
Still from Leave the World Behind on Netflix

Leave the World Behind has been riding high on the Netflix chart, with the movie sparking accusations of “predictive programming” – but what does it mean?

Back in 2020, a star-studded movie based on Rumaan Alam’s novel Leave the World Behind sparked a bidding war, with Netflix ultimately coming out on top. And judging by the reaction, the move paid off. 

Directed by Sam Esmail and starring Julia Roberts, Ethan Hawke, Mahershala Ali, and Myha’la, the apocalyptic drama centers on two families who fight for survival amid an inexplicable blackout. 

Over the past week, there’s been input from Elon Musk, claims producer Barack Obama sent out a “warning,” and plot holes unpacked. Today, we’re here to look at what’s known as predictive programming. 

Leave the World Behind: What is predictive programming?

Leave the World Behind has been accused of using predictive programming, a conspiracy theory claiming that the government, the illuminati, or the elites are using mass media as a method of mind control, sending out hidden messages to brainwash viewers and make us more accepting of planned events in the future. 

Many believe The Simpsons is a prime example of predictive programming thanks to its uncanny ability to predict the future. One that stands out is an episode aired before 9/11, when Lisa holds up a magazine with the words “New York” and “$9” on the front, next to the Twin Towers – which looks like an 11 next to the 9. 

Still of The Simpsons

In the case of Leave the World Behind, the fact that Barack Obama produced the movie and gave it a sense of “realism” has only sparked further belief that the film is a case of predictive programming, preparing the world for the downfall of civilization.

Those who believe this to be the case have claimed there are a number of easter eggs peppered throughout the film, subliminally preparing us for an incoming attack. Moments highlighted by those who support the conspiracy theory include the Sandford kids Rose and Archie wearing t-shirts with the words “Obey” and “Nasa” respectively, as well as references alluding to EMP threats and the “evil cabal.”

The theory has taken on a life of its own online, with one X/Twitter user writing: “Leave The World Behind, the new Netflix film produced by the Obamas is straight out of the globalist playbook: predictive programming, fear mongering and anti-white sentiment. In short: They’re telling us what they have in store for us next.”

“A new Netflix film called Leave The World Behind which was produced by Barack and Michelle Obama is a blatant display of predictive programming,” said another. “The movie shows a cyber attack causing a major blackout in the United States.”

A third added: “The new movie Leave the World Behind, produced by the Obamas, sees as classic predictive programming, laying out a future narrative they want us to believe. Packed with code words and cabal notions, it offers a glimpse into what they have planned for us.”

One went as far as to describe the film as a “documentary,” while another said: “It’s really interesting when obvious predictive programming such as Leave the World Behind is released just in time to coincide with real world stories like this one about a cyberattack from China. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence though.”

Not everyone is on board with the idea, however, including this person who commented: “The conspiracy theories about LEAVE THE WORLD BEHIND being ‘predictive programming’ from the Obamas for an upcoming cyberattack epitomize why conspiracy theories always fall apart – they absolutely lack even basic logic.”

“The theory is that the film, showing the early stage of a massive multi-pronged electronic and kinetic attack on the US and co-produced by the Obamas, is ‘preparing’ us for societal collapse through subliminal messages meaning the Obamas know such an attack is imminent.

“Twitter and Reddit are going DEEP on finding symbols and hidden meanings – including that the daughter’s obsession with the TV show FRIENDS is connected somehow to Matthew Perry’s death, that it includes hidden pro-Ukraine messages, and has a hidden anti-white narrative.”

They stated that “some of this is mindless conspiracy baking,” adding: “Predictive programming isn’t real. Beyond that, Obama hasn’t had power since 2017. The film was shot last year, based on a book from 2020. If the attack was ‘upcoming,’ it’s sure taking its sweet time. 

“And why would the Obamas tip their hand to an upcoming societal collapse that they, presumably, are helping engineer? Conspiracy theorists have an answer, of course – they’re absolving themselves of guilt. But why would they care about guilt? They’re the Evil Cabal!”

Leave the World Behind is streaming on Netflix now, and you can read more about the movie below:

About The Author

Daisy is a Senior TV and Movies Writer at Dexerto. She's a lover of all things macabre, whether that be horror, crime, psychological thrillers or all of the above. After graduating with a Masters in Magazine Journalism, she's gone on to write for Digital Spy, LADbible and Little White Lies. You can contact her on daisy.phillipson@dexerto.com