The Sci-fi Is Now
The future is not tied to technological or political boundaries. Everything is possible. This artistic freedom is one of the reasons that sci-fi, or dystopian movies often lead to financial success. Film fanatics are keen to see what the future has is in store for them. Let’s take a look at some of the prophecies from classics from the old days to see if the makers knew what they were talking about.
Written by: Thomas van den Berg
Blade Runner (1982), set in 2019:
The iconic film by director Ridley Scott is set in the 2019 version of Los Angeles. The city is in a hopeless state of decay. Overpopulation, combined with extreme pollution, are the reasons that the future of mankind is at stake. With doomsday coming, mankind has provided itself with some emergency exits situated in space. By now, most of the work is done by very human-like androids, made by the Tyrell Corporation. The ‘geniuses’ at Tyrell disregarded one major flaw that androids usually tend to have: boy, do they like an uprising. When this finally happens it is up to blade runner Rick Deckard to exterminate these renegade robots.
The chances of us being overthrown by androids and the total annihilation of the world are fairly small. But some of Blade Runners’ prophecies are not that far off.
Androids will be hard to distinguish and therefore we are going to have sex with them…
Robots are already very integrated in our world. Our grandmothers with dementia are best friends with robots who keep them company. But those types of robots still look like the electronic creatures a child would draw. And more importantly, have a noble task. But that is about to change because our sexual drift is once again superior to our reason. The sex robot is coming to town, and because nobody wants to get intimate with a slutty Terminator, they will look just like us. In Blade Runner (and in this year’s sequel) the main character ends up in bed with an android and frankly, it was not that far fetched.
The sex robot will be casted in the form of a super model. Her name is Harmony and she has a cute Scottish accent. She is manufactured by a Californian laboratory. At 125.000 dollars, she doesn’t come cheap. Due to high-end technology the robot will have human-like genitalia and can be programmed to do everything you desire between the sheets. After the deed is done, you conveniently put your robotic girlfriends’ privates in the dishwasher. It sounds utterly disgusting but their future arrival is imminent. For now, they still are very expensive but the porn industry sees promising opportunities. The first prototypes were very successful.
Minority Report (2002), set in 2054:
The world created by Steven Spielberg is a lot less dystopian than in Blade Runner. In Minority Report we follow a special unit of the Washington Police Department called ‘Pre-crime’. This unit with Tom Cruise as leading agent specialises in crimes that are going to be committed in the near future. The visions of these crimes occur in the mind of so-called Precogs. These creatures are indispensable for the crime fighters. Their prophecies result in a crimeless society where murderers are being caught before they actually proceed to bash someone’s head in. Chief John Anderton (Cruise) is one of the main proponents of the system, until the Precogs turn against him and foresee him to be the murderer.
Unfortunately, there are no Precogs. But preventing crimes before they are committed is already actually a thing. It is called PredPol instead of Precrime. PredPol stands for Predictive Policing and is used all across the United States and has been recently introduced in the UK. The system has proven to be very successful.
Does that mean I will shortly be arrested for the forthcoming murder of that colleague that chews way too loud?
Not yet. PredPol is mainly a predictive system for crimes less serious. Crime often seems random but that is not the case. It usually follows significant patterns. PredPol has a huge criminal database with all the variables you can think of. Demographic statistics, crime rate, number of arrests, you name it. PredPol uses years of crime data to establish these patterns and then the algorithm uses near real-time crime data to predict the next property crime.
“It is like predicting an earthquake”, Jeff Brantingham of the L.A. University says. PredPol proved to be a helpful appliance for multiple police and justice departments all around the US. There was a significant drop in crime since the system was introduced in Chicago and Los Angeles. On the other hand, it is also a huge cause for debate. People fear that minorities in bad neighbourhoods will be the main targets of the system. And furthermore, PredPol is only as accurate as the data it is provided with. Dubious data could lead to dubious arrests. PredPol is not yet directive, but may be in the future as is further develops.