Science-Reality II

Image from Chris Marker's La Jetée

Image from Chris Marker’s La Jetée

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“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.” – George Orwell, 1984

In a previous post I recommended three Sci-Fi movies: Alphaville, une étrage aventure de Lemmy CautionBrazil and Minority Report. These stories can open your mind and help you make some interesting connections when practicing forecasting and future scenario planning. Excellent Sci-Fi movies (and books, of course) do something beautiful and terrible to your mind, allowing you to imagine and invent a future that goes beyond the constrains we face in everyday life. However, we must remember that the “Fi” bit of Sci-Fi stands for fiction, so don’t forget to add some real-world factors when using these movies to forecast what the future may hold.


These are some of my favourite Sci-Fi movies (very humbly, I’m miles away for being an expert, any expert can tell), some are widely known, some not so much. But for anyone interested in innovation, and therefor the future, they are worth a (re)watch!

The Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Garth Jennings (2005). Based on Douglas Adams’s “trilogy” of five books written between 1979 and 1992. In this movie the characters travel along the universe to find a massive computer that allegedly can give them the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. That could easily be a reference to Google, Wikipedia or the Internet in general. The hitchhikers always carry ‘the guide’ with them, that knows exactly what to do and how to act in every place and situation in the world. That could be the new Wikivoyage. Feel free to comment on the bowl of petunias’ last words.


Fahrenheit 451. François Truffaut (1966). Based on Ray Bradbury’s book from 1953. 451 Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper burns, in Truffaut’s world that’s a fact that everybody knows because books are forbidden and the main character of the movie works burning them. Maybe what Bradbury predicted was the invention of the iPad or those new flexible electronic displays substituting paper books. Maybe not and they are going to be forbidden soon.


The Fifth Element. Luc Besson (1997). This is a relax action/comedy kind of movie, and one of the funny things in Besson’s movie was Reality TV, back in 1997 the idea of a program in which a person narrates everything they are doing and says everything they think without editing themselves was hilarious – now it’s Jersey Shore or The Apprentice, and it’s not funny anymore. Also, in this world, situated in the twenty-third century, commercial space traveling is absolutely normal, but according with Virgin Galatic we might not need a couple of centuries to get there, just a couple of years.


Gattaca. Andre Niccol (1997). Another movie that toys with the idea of space travel, but this one makes it a prize for the genetically superior. The moral dilemma of the movie was the central piece of January’s edition of Newsweek Magazine, devoted to genetics and the ethically controversial ability to map the human genome and eventually create enhanced human beings. Have a look at some other controversial genetic experiments in this article.


La Jetée. Chris Marker (1962): an incredible 30 min portrait of a post-apocalyptic world made up of stills (except for just one scene). Marker, shows a society that is under extreme surveillance with very limited resources, in which the only hope of survival depends on time travelling. Marker was known for exploring societies in transition, or as he used to say: ‘life in the process of becoming history’. In 1995 La Jétte was adapted by Terry Gilliam in 12 Monkeys (1995); he added the army of the 12 Monkeys, Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt to Marker’s world and got himself a blockbuster. Looper (2012) might have taken some ideas of La Jetée too.


Bladerunner. Ridley Scott (1982). A classic, as you may know, and probably one of the movies with more validity in today’s world of Google Glass and other available technologies that can make you a cyborg. The future scenario of this movie is only six years away, do you think any of the gadgets featured in the movie will see daylight by then?


Nineteen Eighty-Four. Michael Radford (1984). The ultimate dystopia. Totalitarianism, scarcity, war(?), fear, surveillance, forbidden books, forbidden love, Nineteen Eighty-Four has it all. Based on George Orwell’s novel, Radford tells a story of a man whose job consists in the one thing totalitarian regimes love the most: re-writing history. If you only have time for ONE movie, this is the one.