It’s easy to look at older films and laugh at how inaccurate their predictions are. The Terminator franchise predicted a robot takeover of the world by 2004. And 2001: A Space Odyssey imagined we would colonised the moon by 2001, which seems ridiculous now. Nevertheless there have been some movies that have made some truly impressive predictions about what the future had in store for us. Here are six times that movie technology became a reality.
Back to the Future Part II – Hoverboards
Back to the Future Part II certainly made some incorrect predictions about the future. When Doc and Marty travel forward to 2015, their home town of Hill Valley features flying cars, inside-out pockets, expanding pizza and the 19th instalment of the Jaws movie franchise. While these visions sadly failed to reflect reality, there were a few things they did get right. Perhaps none are more memorable that the famous hoverboard. A real flying hoverboard does exist in 2017, but if you want to buy a hoverboard in the UK your main option is the self-balancing scooter that goes by the same nickname. They are not quite the full Marty McFly experience but they are certainly a lot of fun.
Blade Runner – Video calls
Blade Runner is set in 2019, so theoretically technology still has a couple of years to catch up to that which was envisioned on film. However, it seems unlikely that we will see the kind of android artificial intelligence that is displayed, despite modern advances. Like the aforementioned Back to the Future Part II, Blade Runner gets hung up on flying cars. But one thing that they did get right was video calling. In fact, if anything, Blade Runner underestimated the quality of the video calls we would be able to make. Skype, Facetime and other calling apps have made HD video calls something that almost everyone can access.
Iron Man – TALOS
The US military is currently working on a form of bulletproof body armour. This name of the armour is the TALOS, which stands for Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, and it is described as a robotic exoskeleton. It uses smart materials including something called liquid body armour, which turns into a solid when a magnetic field or an electrical field is applied to the material.
Many have speculated that suit was inspired by the Marvel superhero Iron Man; like the TALOS, Iron Man’s suit is intelligent armour that adapts to the environment.
Who can forget the scene in the 1990 classic Total Recall when Arnold Schwarzenegger is driven around by Johnny Cab? The automated taxi is the film’s imagined version of the driverless car, and while there are no companies with plans to place an animatronic driver in the front seat, there are several brands doing research into self-driving cars. Some have suggested that we could be driverless cars on the road as early as 2019 so this is definitely something that Total Recall got right. But more importantly, are we liked to have colonised Mars by 2084? Probably not.
Tron – Virtual reality
Over the last few years we have seen a huge upsurge in the technology relating to virtual reality (VR) gaming. Headsets and consoles such as the Oculus Rift are now widely available and it’s easy for almost anyone to get involved in VR. A large part of the plot of 1980s cult classic Tronrevolves around a type of VR computer game. We haven’t quite advanced to the point where humans can be effectively uploaded into a digital environment but it can’t be long before it’s possible to be play Tron’s infamous light cycle game.
The Jetsons – Automatic vacuum cleaner
The Jetsons is full of accurate predictions about the future including everything from flat screen TVs and dog treadmills to tanning beds and smart watches. One particularly astute idea was the automatic vacuum cleaner that travels around the Jetsons’ home. Surely this was a forerunner for the Roomba robot vacuum.