To say the least, technology and the way we use it have changed rapidly in recent years. Movies have long been a way to envision the future of technology, but now we’re suddenly finding that what once sounded like pretty far-out sci-fi is now a daily reality or might be soon.
Here are 15 movies that don’t seem so fantastic, in the sense of fantasy, anymore.
In the 2000 film version, the villain had plans to track Charlie’s phone using satellites and voice recognition. That seemed pretty wild then. Need we say anything more now?
The Pelican Brief
Julia Roberts’s character writes an article about an assassination plot, and the bad guys need to get her before she can publish it. Today, the work would be in the cloud and it would go straight to the internet.
Set in 1974, this Gene Hackman classic introduced the ideas of constant surveillance, never knowing what to believe, and the resulting paranoia. Nowadays, we take all of these for granted.
This film introduced then-unimaginable ideas like targeted ads, facial and retinal recognition, and algorithmic behavior prediction to identify threats. Currently, we have two of those three.
Characters Cosmo and Marty talk about the idea of using technology to manipulate information and gather secrets. That was in 1992. Now, governments and individuals can track our behaviors and habits like never before.
Personal robots and self-driving cars were part of this 2004 movie. The former exist in relatively simple forms (for now), and the latter are here, just waiting for refinements to make them reliably safe. The movie also featured contactless payment, which did exist then but is widespread now.
A pandemic seizes the planet, and people seek safety while the CDC scrambles to manage it and find a cure. Sound familiar? This isn’t a political blog, so that’s all we’re going to say!
When a TV network realizes that a deranged media personality is good for profits, they exploit the situation. Then they lose control. That was in 1976. It was a satire that now would seem like an everyday thing.
In this 2013 film, a lonely writer develops a relationship with an AI virtual assistant that has a female voice. The film seems eerily predictive of what we’re seeing take shape right now, both in tech and in what social scientists describe as a culture of loneliness.
The Truman Show
This 1998 movie is about a man who unknowingly spends his life on the set of a reality show for all to see. About the only difference between that and what we have today is that people willingly share every bit of their lives with the whole world now.
Children of Men
In a future world where people can’t have children, humanity falls into a state of despair that leads to violence. Fast-forward to today, where people are increasingly isolated by social media and online and real-life violence are on the rise.
Deep fake elements were part of this film from 1993. In 2023, Deep fakes are common and increasingly sophisticated, and they spread misinformation and can ruin reputations and careers.
Enemy of the State
In 1998, the surveillance state technology depicted in this film seemed unbelievable and almost totalitarian. Does anyone feel that way about the capabilities of surveillance technology anymore?
So far at least, we don’t have human-looking cyborgs assassinating people. However, remember that the premise of the movie is a world takeover by machines that become intelligent and self-determining. Many fear AI may lead us here.
2001: A Space Odyssey
Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 classic didn’t invent the idea of a sentient supercomputer taking a malicious turn, but it’s the earliest famous example of it. Once again, this film represents where many fear AI is headed.
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