Hoverboards, humanoids and self-lacing shoes – the future scenarios of sci-fi films have promised us a lot, and now with the Millenial milestone 2010 behind us, it’s time to grab SUPERSWEET’s success barometer and see what happened to the future predicted.
MINIMAL DIALOGUE AND GOOF-PROOF COMPUTERS
Predicted in: 2001: A Space Odyssey
Success barometer: Half success, half fail
Kubrick predicted a better future, where infallible computers would be hot and pointless yacking not. Obviously, the forecast about computers was merely wishful thinking, but perhaps his characters weren’t quiet just for the sake of being artsy. Maybe Kubrick knew that a nerd would come, create Facebook and leave small talk to the 20th century? Or maybe it was twitter that got the tongues of the humankind and the main character Dr. David Bowman’s twitter account that made up for the lack of talk: “Shit, a computer that just killed my crew! #pissedoff”. Oh yes, occasional killing was the only problem with the foolproof computers.
Predicted in: Blade Runner, A.I.
Deadline: "the not-so-far future"
Success barometer: Success, but read on before getting excited.
Life is unfair. Harrison Ford gets all the girls and humanoid hotties that run, shoot and fight, whilst we are left with tiny robots with a mission to sing stupid songs and nag about household chores. Even a Skywalker wouldn’t have been able to stand a babbling R2-D2, which is probably why the robots have been dumped to take care of the elderly, hoping the old folks will find them helpful and be deaf enough not to hear their carols. Those things better look like humans and have the features of Jude Law before we hit our seventies…
DIGITAL SELVES, BRAIN DISCS AND FREE INFORMATION
Predicted in: Tron, Tron Legacy
Success barometer: Partly there.
Playing golf and smashing tennis balls with digital copies of ourselves has become part of the everyday exercise of couch potatoes, so we’ll just tick the box for that. People are also inserting zip-codes under the skins of cats, kids and other things that tend to get lost, but in Tron the idea of identification has been taken even further: the characters carry discs on their backs with the contents of their brain written on them. Hello, gigabytes! The film’s hacker-hero Flynn also goes on about creating a place “where all the information was open and free”. Apparently he didn’t know that Wiki leaks or care much about starving artist and illegal downloading.
HOVERBOARDS, FLYING SKATEBOARDS
Predicted in: Back to the Future
Success barometer: One inch to success.
Nike gave us the legendary sci-fi sneakers, a fan designed the self-lacing shoes and so many things from the 80s classic have become true that we don’t really know why it’s our libraries that are flying and not us. Guess we should forgive the geek who started his work from the wrong end of cool (come on, if you’re going to make something fly please choose anything else than Shakespeare), hope they’ll take the hint at the Apple offices and make it possible to transport both our libraries and ourselves on iPads.
DOOMSDAY AND THE TRUTH ABOUT THIGH MASTER
Predicted in: Water World
Success barometer: Sorry Al Gore, it’ll be a success.
Remember Water World and the post-apocalyptic scene, where people lived on small junk atolls in the middle of the sea and called a TV-shop exercise product a torture device? If you haven’t seen the film, just imagine Lost with the white beaches made of trash, the mysterious polar bears gone extinct and a Kevin Costner-mutant with gills. With the glaciers melting and the amount of trash we’ve in store, we should be well on our way to doomsday. It might not be anything to hurrah for, but everything should be fine as long as the humankind will have the same synthetic percussion to comp their trashy lives as they do in the film. And if there’s something to happy about, at least most of us have been clever enough to realize the true nature of Thigh Master 489 years in advance.
MAGIC GLOVES AND SCREAMING ADS
Predicted in: Minority Report
Success barometer: Getting there.
If the Viagra adds of Google make you blush, the future won’t be any less embarrassing. Remember Minority Report and the talking billboards that recognized the passersby, called them by name saying “you could use a Guinness right now”? Databases of consumer preferences are and the technologies to identify individuals are getting creepily good. In Japan they’re already testing prototypes of the billboards, turning shopping malls into walks of shame. Luckily, Minority Report preached also about a mouseless future inspiring someone to design gloves to operate computers with hand gestures. We hope the magical hand wear of Mickey Mouse will also be able to turn of the screaming billboards.
Words: Emmi Ojala
Illustrations: Michael Zander