Stranger than fiction? Films that were right about the future!

By Sergio González | 11:51

At the turn of the 20th century, futuristic novels were hot and many authors predicted that in the 60’s we would be living on the Moon and commuting to Mars; sounds cool, but it didn’t happen. In the 70’s and 80’s, films developed a taste for sci-fi that showed Star Trek and Star Wars crew exploring the space and using high-tech devices to communicate with each other, circa 23rd century.

Well, unless you’ve booked with Virgin Galactic for a 200,000 euro orbital trip, surfing the universe is still out of reach but what these films depicted as far future technology are common smartphones nowadays, not expensive devices for astronauts. Today in our blog, films that were right, or almost, about the future.  

There are bunch of films that depict post apocalyptic futures which by no means we want to see come true, though some may be more accurate than what we would like to admit. Waterworld (1995) was probably Kevin Kostner’s greater fiasco -I still remember wondering where the bad guys got the tobacco they kept smoking, not to mention oil. However, sea level rise has increased to 10 inches since 1870 and it isn’t predicted to stop.

According to film makers, we humans are found guilty of bringing in our own doom, for destroying nature as much as for tearing society apart. We think of Idiocracy (2006) -depicting a society of numb TV viewers- or The Hunger Games (2012) as interpretations of artists’ free will but we may have felt the same about The Truman Show (1998) or Ed TV (1999). These 90’s films saw the current ‘reality show fever’ coming in advance. Let’s pray for the first ones to be utterly wrong.

Overpopulation is often regarded as one of our fatal fate triggers though it seems a pretty imposible future according to health guru Hans Rosling. On the other hand, low birth rates in Europe, Japan or Singapore back up films like Children of Men (2006), where our inability to have children leaves no future at all.

Robots, A.I. and machine uprising are a common resource for future depicting films. Terminator’s evil computer Skynet still belongs to the fictional world -though sometimes our smartphones seem to hate us- but several times a year we have very promising news from Japan and Asimo robot; yes, the bright white little guy by Honda. Every show they put together for the media is bigger than the former one. In the last one, November 2011, Asimo was able to fill in a glass of water without spilling any drop and to recognise three different human voices talking at the same time. It seems the old trifle over remote TV control will soon be shifted over home-robots. If they dream with electric sheep -as was pointed out in the book based on Blade Runner called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?– is an answer still to be responded.

One of the coolest futures of recent films was portrayed by Minority Report in 2002. We most certainly have no precogns able to read our future crimes but the amazing touch-screens were based on actual technology. It’s already here, though only available for the super-rich, just as cell phones were in the 80’s. 

Back to the future  (1985, 1989 and 1990) was one of the best trilogies back in the 80’s and if you saw it when you were a child, most certainly you remember Michael J. Fox flying on a pink hoverboard. Not sure if this time fiction foresaw our future or it’s just the other way round, but Mattel released a true hoverboard at Comicon 2012, though its technology won’t be perfected until 2015, exactly the same date in the movie. Anyone know if they are working on a flux capacitor?


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