Thursday, 8 March 2018

PRESCIENCE

At tennis this morning over coffee we talked about how cinema often has foretold events and discoveries. Literature and cinema has for years produced works that have had a vision of the future some of which is frighteningly exact.
Forget the whimsy of The Jetsons and the trashy nonsense of American 1950s B-Grade sci-fi and horror movies which were corny and strangely out of date even when first made - and look at creations like:

  • George Orwell's 1984
  • Terry Gilliam's Brazil
  • Ridley Scott's Bladerunner
  • Steve De Jarnatt's Cherry 2000
  • Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
  • Paul Verhoeven's Total Recall
  • Luc Besson's The Fifth Element

In these and others the writer and or director has managed to introduce an idea or device that is far ahead of its time and seemed to be fanciful.

The excellent Bladerunner (1982) showed a futuristic society with environmental and overpopulation issues alienating humans who have chosen to build robots and Artificial Intelligence machines to run their lives:



In The Fifth Element (1997)  fingerprints and multipasses were used as a universal password and identification tools This was way before we had such things that are only just now being employed by Apple with the Apple Touch ID.




Total Recall (1990) shows Arnold Schwarzenegger getting into a robot driven 'Johhny Cab'. Last week UBER announced it's experimentation with driverless cars and the possibility of UBER taxis being robot driven:



One of the great scenes in Cherry 2000 (1987) is the dating scene (human vs human) where before a one-night- stand or pick-up from a bar can be made the prospective couples have to have lawyers draw up a contract. Recently I read that 'relationship contracts' are the latest thing for people who hook up via dating sites and that these are becoming popular given the current climate of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour:



Cherry 2000 was about a dysfunctional man who had relationships and sex with a sex-robot. When this broke down he had to go on a hunt to find a replacement model he liked - The Cherry 2000.
Today there is a flourishing industry not only in sex toys but in fully functioning sex robots.


Video phones were presented to us in many early TV shows like Get Smart and in films like 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) but we always thought that those were real science fiction. Nowadays our smart phones and operating systems give us FaceTime and Skype that we take for granted.


My favourite though is the guidebook from Douglas Adams's 1979 novel The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. At the time I was intrigued by this and fantasised about having such a thing. Nowadays GOOGLE is my go-to search tool that I quickly flip to for an instant answer to things. Prescient? Yes and it's wonderful.





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7 comments:

Robert said...

Is that it?
Why didn't you discuss Defoe's "Robinson Crusoe"?

THE CURMUDGEON said...

Why? Because you're doing a good enough job of fucking up a critical analysis of that good novel. Why should I add to it.

Robert said...

He he ... dear I suggest Crusoe finds God!

THE CURMUDGEON said...

What?
Was god lost on a desert island too?

THE CURMUDGEON said...

Maybe that's why he hasn't been seen for over 2000 years.

Richard (of RBB) said...

"Dear I suggest Crusoe finds God!" I think that Robert likes you a lot. Maybe a bottle of Chardonnay and soft lights are called for. Snuggle up, you two love birds!

THE CURMUDGEON said...

Yeah, I ignored Robert's misspelling as the norm OK.
Look, I don't want to be a snob but I'm sure that your 'cleanskin' chardonnay would be more to his liking than the 2016 Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay that I'm drinking is.

Just a thought.

Hey, light some candles too.

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