Since the beginning of the genre, science fiction has pushed the boundaries of our ideas about the world’s possibilities. Sometimes, science fiction books and movies use the future to comment on current social issues. Occasionally, though, they actually hit on seemingly impossible ideas that could actually come true. Here are five movies that touched on some scary, but possible, scenarios.
The large, floating space station and political turmoil aside, Elysium brings up a more plausible and equally scary possibility: people will modify their bodies if they can. However, actually upgrading the body’s abilities through mechanical help might become a reality sooner rather than later. Militaries in several countries have already done research on how to manufacture special suits that can help soldiers with tasks like lifting, running, and seeing in difficult conditions through built-in glasses and other integrated devices. Soldiers are tough cookies already, but they will probably get much stronger with some technological help in the near future, and this could change the nature of combat around the world.
Speaking of body modifications, Gattaca deals with genetic modifications that slowly create classes of the modified and the non-modified. A superior class of humans emerges after their parents select for the best genetic make-up possible for their children. Those who have kept an eye on the news have likely noticed the trickle of stories coming out about parents doing just that. Some have actually looked for ways to choose physical and cognitive characteristics of their children. As gene therapy improves, the post-human future imagined in science fiction may prove not to be so fictitious after all.
28 Days Later…
If scary zombies don’t sound realistic, it pays to remember that the premise of this movie is that a virus has spread quickly through the population. It results in zombie-like qualities in humans who then infect anyone they come in contact with. Health professionals constantly keep their eyes on possible epidemics and fear the worst as globalization continues. While this trend may not result in actual zombies, having an on site cleanroom builder might not seem like such a bad idea, just in case. At the least, this trend of concentration in cities does invite a quicker spread of dangerous diseases and illnesses.
Pre-crime units have yet to sprout up across the world. That being said, neuroscientists have done research on brain centers related to criminal thoughts and activities. Intelligence and law enforcement agencies have taken notice. Although researchers caution that just seeing activity in those areas doesn’t prove criminal intent, if the technology progresses enough, the temptation to track down criminals before they commit any crimes might prove too great.
Although flying cars may not seem so bad, the concept does come with some significant obstacles. Of course, if everything is functioning perfectly, floating through the air on the commute to work sounds wonderful. However, traffic accidents, whether due to human or computer error, would multiply the damage and loss of life people today know. A wreck in the sky would result in tons of heavy vehicles plummeting to the ground where people are walking around and where buildings and homes are located. Suddenly, the traffic report would take on much more meaning for everyone, even those who don’t drive.
The Nature of Predictions
Predictions being what they are, we can never truly know what the future will bring. Considering these horrific sci-fi scenarios, that is probably a good thing. On the other hand, art has a way of following chains of cause and effect to logical solutions. With any luck, our wisdom as a species will advance along with our technology to avoid these fictional outcomes.