Saturday, 3 May 2014

Predicting the Future?

By Camilo Molina (undergraduate FIGRI student)

When I was young, I liked to watch movies that took place in the future and I always wondered how those innovative gadgets would look in real life. As time passed, and I started to see some similar devices, I realised that in some way, the film industry had predicted the future.

One example is in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), in which the robot HAL 9000 talks with humans with phrases such as “I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that,” and other things, which are similar to the well-known Apple programme Siri. This is a programme that you can have a conversation with, and which helps you with many things on your device.

In the same movie, the actors have online conversations on some kind of screen while far away from each other. Obviously it was much less sophisticated, but the concept is the same in all the real-time video chats we have nowadays, like Skype or MSN. The director Stanley Kubrick was very accurate with these predictions, but they took almost 40 years to become real.

In another movie called Minority Report (2001), the actor Tom Cruise uses his hands to control various devices without pushing any buttons, but instead using a touch interface. Some years later, all the technology companies such as Apple, Samsung and Hewlett Packard, launched a line called touchscreen, which lets you control your device with your fingers. There is even technology now that needs your fingerprint when you want to unblock your device.

Finally, in the movie Back to the Future II (1989), the main character Marty McFly uses some innovative devices, like a time machine and a flying skateboard, which are pure science fiction. However, in one part of the movie, he uses some glasses that help him to watch TV, play video games and answer calls. Recently, the big search engine on the web known as Google has launched glasses that can do many things. They work with word commands, can record videos and take photos whenever you want, can log onto blogs, show the weather, work as a GPS device, set events, arrange your agenda, and search for any information on Google in real time. These glasses will be launched in more places this year because they are testing this device at the moment to make them as useful as possible. Unfortunately, we don’t know yet how much these sophisticated glasses will cost.

In conclusion, these are just a few examples of what the film industry has been putting in movies for years, and we now have in our markets and affordable for us. Nevertheless, the question remains: do you really think that the film industry predicted these devices, or might it be that technology companies copied these ideas, and made them real in order to make a profit?

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