Just As I Thought

The future was better a long time ago

I’m watching the 1984 film “2010: The Year We Make Contact”, and I’m struck with how completely wrong it is in its prediction of the future.

I’m watching the 1984 film “2010: The Year We Make Contact”, and I’m struck with how completely wrong it is in its prediction of the future.
According to this film, in 2010:

  • We have the capability of intra-solar system travel on large ships
  • The Soviet Union still exists and the Cold War goes on
  • People have dolphins in their home aquariums
  • Cars are small and electrically powered
  • Computers still have blocky graphics, command-line interfaces, and displays are huge bulky CRTs with enormous curved bezels

The original film, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, was a little closer with its prediction of flat-panel displays and more refined computer graphics as well as an international space station; of course, it predicted that the station would feature a Hilton hotel and regular flights from Pam Am.
The latter film looked futuristic, and still does — if one ignores the year it is set in, the film still looks like a good prediction of the future. Conversely, the former, made some twenty years later, looks dated.
It’s funny how this works; older shows like the original Star Trek still maintain some semblance of futurism because their technology uses techniques that are not commonplace today — backlit control panels and the like, as opposed to the later Star Trek series which used ordinary CRT displays, dating them instantly.
The lesson for filmmakers: never use the latest cutting-edge technology, because cutting-edge quickly becomes yesterday’s news.

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