Decoding Tomorrow:
Futurism and Foresights Today

Foresights and ideas that expand minds and inspire a change of heart.

What Does Blade Runner Predict About Our Future?

15 Nov 2019

In the gritty, dystopic setting of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, flying cars and human-like robots are commonplace. The skyscraper-filled metro is gloomy and wet, with an ever-grey sky looming as a shadowy premonition to unpredictable weather conditions. Among the characters in the film, replicants are humanoid robots designed to handle dangerous tasks that humans cannot undertake. And when they start a revolution, replicants are violently removed from the face of the Earth.

What makes science fiction appealing to audiences of all ages is the myriad of what-ifs that the genre presents: What if cars could fly? What if our billboards featured images that moved? And what if robots could think like humans?

In this depiction of the City of Angels in the year 2019, technology does just that.

Today, some of these predictions are now a fact: electronic billboards made out of Light Emitting Diodes (LED) are familiar fixtures in the metros all around the world. Voice-activated technology sits in our homes, helping us schedule appointments, make calls, or give you directions to the nearest kebab place.

The weather forecast is not too far from reality, as well. While it’s not raining non-stop in sunny California, people’s lives and homes are persistently threatened by wildfires. Due to the proliferation of harmful technologies, humanity is now wrestling with increasingly unpredictable weather and rising sea levels.

Other predictions are on their way to be true. While we can still distinguish robots from humans, we are well on our way to developing artificial intelligence that will rival our thinking capacities and problem-solving skills.

However, science fiction does not exist to merely predict the future. By presenting utopian and dystopian settings, we can prepare for whatever future may come. And as we look towards 2020, we can carry these ideas of technological grandeur into the next year.

Check out my interview with ABC TV where I talk about the accuracy of Blade Runner’s forecasts.


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