Warnings From The Future

Sci-Fi flicks have always involved some dark, twisted utopian vision of the future. Yeah, you have the flying cars, the laser guns, robots and the like. But the future that is envisioned  often features some totalitarian state that governs the people, some macabre unfeeling computer/database that runs the System, an Artificial Intelligence construct controlling civilisation. People are retina scanned and tracked (a la Minority Report); their complete biometric data is stored in databases and perused and controlled by machines, or an elite governing body. Doors, vehicles, weapons, computers all work at the touch of a fingerprint or the scan of a retina for convenience. The futuristic vision of Sci-Fi films is not so far off, with the rate technology is advancing. But how personal is our genetic makeup? How public do we want our DNA records/iris makeup/fingerprint patterns to be?

You see, for me the Science Fiction futuristic cities and societies were always seen as something dangerous, something cold and unfeeling. In the films, people had traded in their personal data and genetic makeup to the higher powers, and the System as it were is always run by some macabre governing body (e.g Equilibrium, 1984- not sci-fi as such but Orwell’s vision of the future, hauntingly accurate) in conjunction with a state-of-the-art AI System (e.g The Matrix, Surrogates etc, etc.)… In the films, the vision of utopia and advancement is seen as beneficial, everyone is “happier” and tasks are much simpler. And yet, the protagonist of the film, the hero of the hour is often the only one to notice how bad things have truly gotten, who sees beyond the facade and notices that something is not right, and that the totalitarian governing body (be it a human gvt. or AI system) is inherently evil, or at least cold and unfeeling enough not to have emotion. In essence, human emotion is usually eroded away in these Sci-Fi film portrayals.. People become much like the very robots that “serve” them, or is it control them?  Continue reading