Human beings have seen technology ceaselessly advance as long as we have been around. From the very first wheels, to the industrial revolution, to the dawn of artificial intelligence, technology is constantly evolving and becoming more effective. Even casino technology has changed so much since the first casinos opened: now there are live dealers online who can explain to you how bonuses work if you need to know! Hollywood has long been fascinated with the many aspects of technology and the potential futures that might be in store for us as it grows. Let’s take a look at some of the films that have taken us on the wildest rides and predicted some extremely interesting futures for the technology that helps keep our lives running smoothly.
Back to the Future Franchise
Back to the Future came out in 1985, with the sequels that followed released in 1989 and 1990. If any of you out there are 80s kids, like I am, then this is probably one of the films that really blew your mind when you were younger. The very first Back to the Future film took Marty McFly played by Michael J Fox) and Doc Brown (played by Christoper Lloyd) back to 1955, where Marty met his much younger mother. The sneaky Marty leaves a note in someone’s pocket that saves them from a horrible fate, but alas, even after this misguided but caring gesture, all is still not well. Doc Brown and Marty, along with Marty’s girlfriend, Jennifer, must now travel back to the future again in Back to the Future 2.
They all hop into a modified DeLorean (the time travelling car created with technology known only to Doc Brown) and go to the year 2015 to correct some problems that technically haven’t even happened yet. The 2015 that they see is vastly different to the one that we knew. It’s full of flying cars, gas stations with robot operators, curbs lit up by neon lights and worst of all…dehydrated pizza. While most of these technological advances still haven’t happened and some are far too silly to even consider, the film did get some things right. 3D movies, wireless, “brain controlled” video games, tablet computers and video conferencing to name just a few.
The film series’ last installment sees Marty heading back to 1955 to find that years’ version of Doc Brown to help him fix the DeLorean, so that he can go back even further to 1885 to rescue the version of Doc who is still trapped there. Confused yet?
Ex Machina is a dark tale about the potential future of AI technology. It draws the inspiration for its name from a latin phrase, “Deus ex machina”, directly translated, “God from the machine”. This phrase was coined in ancient Greece where rudimentary lift machines were used to make God characters in theater appear or disappear from the stage.
The film follows a programmer called Caleb Smith, who wins a once in a lifetime chance to spend a few days in the home of CEO, Nathan Bateman. Nathan’s android assistant, Ava, is the focus of the movie. Nathan asks Caleb to help him decide whether or not Ava has the ability to genuinely think and feel like a human being. As the film progresses, Ava and Caleb spend time together and she expresses her distrust of her “owner”, while Caleb begins to foster feelings of attraction for the robot woman. The psychological aspect of this film is so intense that Caleb begins to doubt whether he is human or not, and in a very dramatic moment he cuts himself to prove that he is.
As the film’s plot unfolds, we see how flawlessly Ava has manipulated Caleb’s emotions to get him on her side. This, it turns out, was the true test all along and Ava has passed with flying colors. It’s a twisted and slightly frightening look at the future of AI technology and what it might mean for humans and robots to be on a similar emotional footing. It calls into question who really has the power of creation, whether or not you are “human” without a soul and even what it really means to have a soul.
The Matrix Franchise
Quite possibly one of the most successful movie franchises in history, The Matrix takes us inside technology like no other has. Science fiction at its best, The Matrix takes us out of what we believe to be the real world, and into what is “actually” reality. The films set the premise that we are all actually living in a simulation. Our lives are controlled by code while our bodies are plugged into the all consuming Matrix. This is a future where machines run humanity, not the other way around. Humans, having blocked the machines from access to solar energy during the great Human/ Machine war, are now used by intelligent machines as nothing more than an energy source. A select few humans are aware of this fact and have made it their goal in life to awaken as many people as they can and hopefully bring the machines down all together. The crew of the Nebuchadnezzar believe that they have found The One who is destined to help them end the age of the machine, Neo Anderson (played by Keanu Reeves).
The franchise follows Neo on his journey of self discovery and of course, along his way to bringing down the machines (known as Sentinels). In the second installment, Neo and the crew must race to save Zion, the last human settlement, from the onslaught of machines headed there to attack them. Neo’s abilities grow and so does his following. He is able to go so far as to save Trinity’s (played by Carrie Anne Moss) life by removing a bullet from her heart.
Next, we find Neo trapped in limbo. He finally escapes and warns the machine leader of Agent Smith’s intentions to conquer the earth and the matrix. He asks for peace in exchange for stopping Smith, and his wish is granted. Neo ends up making the ultimate sacrifice for the greater good…but that is not where the story ends. The Matrix Resurrections will be released in December of 2021, and who knows what Neo has up his sleeve.
Last Updated: September 22, 2021