Tinder: Logan’s Run (1976)
Logan 5 (Michael York) is looking for a date. Dressed up in a toga, he checks the screen. A man appears. Swipe. Finally a woman appears — Jessica 6 (Jenny Agutter). Just when it begins to look like a date, Jessica hesitates and says, “I felt sad. I put myself in the circuit. It was a mistake.” We are at once reminded how chaotic the dating circuit could be.
Self-driving cars: Knight Rider (1982)
What good is a self-driving car if it’s not your friend?! Anybody who grew up in the 1980s watching Doordarshan remembers KITT (Knight Industries Two Thousand) and its owner Michael Knight (David Hasselhoff) in The Knight Rider. On the show KITT was as much the hero as Michael. Watching the show we thought the future was around the corner. Elon Musk is still at it and on the right track with Tesla.
Hacking: WarGames (1983)
A young man (Matthew Broderick’s David Lightman) finds a back door into a military computer. Unknowingly he begins a nuclear confrontation. It was the stuff that worried us! Looking back, David’s IMSAI 8080 PC kit — complete with a 17-inch black-and-white monitor — was stunning. There was even an acoustic-coupler-type modem to talk to other computers.
GPS and body scanner: Total Recall (1990)
AI-driven hi-tech scanners? We keep reading about them. At airports the scanners can pretty much interpret what’s on one’s body. In Total Recall, scanners made Arnold Schwarzenegger get into a fight! The same movie has the concept of GPS, which in this case was a bulbous device: “When you hear a crunch, you’re there.”
Voice assistant: Her (2013)
There have been films that talk about digital voice assistants but the Spike Jonze film Her took the concept to a new level. A love story between a man and someone like Samantha may not look very out of place in the near future. The only difference is that Scarlett Johansson gave her voice to Samantha but she won’t do the same in the real world.
Artificial reality: The Matrix (1999)
The Wachowskis offered an alternate reality, suggesting that
what we perceive is just an illusion, a virtual computer simulation that has taken over. Is the reality we are living truly the reality, or is it an illusion? Whatever we are creating now, let’s just hope that we stay on top of it.
Gesture computing and personalised ads: Minority Report (2002)
Steven Spielberg’s sci-fi film Minority Report is set in 2054, but some of the technologies shown are already here. Tom Cruise’s John Anderton finds that ads know his name. Uncanny! There is also gesture-based computing and facial recognition. We are not even getting into the scarier stuff.
Automation: WALL-E (2008)
The year is 2805 and earth has become a garbage dump. (We are getting there!) The other things shown in the movie include floating holographic screens and drivable chairs. The movie focuses on a few very important issues — consumerism, poor waste management, centralised control and automation.