Classic movies have predicted much of our current technology. It could, however, be argued that these movies might have inspired engineers to produce our advanced gadgets in the first place. No matter which theory you believe, it’s safe to say some of our most loved classic science fiction films have captured our imaginations and made us hopeful for the future. Technology like speech recognition software, high-speed mobile networks and handheld computers exist thanks to the few that believed fantasy could become reality.
‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (1968)
Fortunately, we don’t have robots trying to take over the world — yet. What we do have is Siri. The famous AI that lives in our iPad and iPhones is certainly no HAL 9000. Actually, before you continue reading ask her what she thinks of the protagonist in “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Chances are, she’ll want nothing to do with him. Siri’s speech recognition software is the only thing she has in common with the evil robot in this classic science fiction movie. In other words, keep calm (and perhaps turn your Wi-Fi off) if you ever hear her say, “I’m sorry, Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
This list certainly wouldn’t be complete without mentioning “Star Trek.” The Personal Access Display Device, or PADD for short, is a handheld computer that looks similar to our present day iPad. The tablets in “Star Trek” consist of a large touchscreen display and one or two buttons, notes Memory Alpha. Apparently, Steve Jobs wasn’t content on waiting until the 22nd century to bring this incredibly useful tech tool into our lives.
‘Back to the Future II’ (1989)
One of the most famous scenes in “Back to the Future II” shows the McFly family wearing computer glasses at the dinner table, says Gizmodo. Fast forward to 2014 and wearable tech that can take photos and videos, send text messages and make phone calls is no longer a thing of the future. Google has been working diligently on Google Glass for some time now. The beta version of the futuristic eyewear was released in 2013 and the consumer version could be released this year, says CNET. At this rate it won’t be long before we have auto-drying clothing, holo-billboards and, if we’re lucky, hover-boards.
So you want a child with blue eyes? Check. You want a girl with freckles? Check. A pair of extremely intelligent identical twins? Check and check. “Gattaca” illustrates the consequences of liberal eugenics, says Scientific American. Currently, clinics typically only screen embryos for diseases but The Fertility Institutes is taking a different approach. The U.S. clinic’s director Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, advocates gender and physical trait selection and says, “Others are frightened by the criticism but we have no problems with it” reports The Wall Street Journal.
‘The Truman Show’ (1998)
“The Truman Show” constructs an alternate reality that glorifies putting every detail of life on display, making the movie an eerie predictor of social media. Truman’s life has been filmed and broadcasted to the world since before he was born. Essentially, that’s not much different from our current generation’s social sharing habits. Many millenials are turning to Facebook and Twitter to share the smallest details about the lives of their children. Like Truman, children are unable to give consent about what details are or aren’t shared about them online. And remember, the director of “The Truman Show” was also Truman’s “Father” since he controlled every aspect of his life.
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