Believe it or not, both the original movie and the #HBO remake of Westworld are relatively grounded when compared to other works of speculative fiction, but they still have some fantastical predictions for the future that audiences believe will never happen in real life. The Hosts are used and abused by Westworld patrons for just about anything, including the guest's sexual desires. As outlandish as the idea of robots and lifelike sex-bots may be today, such a technological innovation is about to become available to consumers before the end of 2017.
This invention joins the long list of sci-fi technologies that have eventually ended up being available to customers in the real world. With this in mind, here are ten fictional pieces of technology from speculative works of film and television that have become a reality today.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) Features iPads (2010)
Many speculative fiction movies introduced the idea of a tablet computer replacing the standard clipboard, but none were as influential as Stanley Kubrick's #2001ASpaceOdyssey. What sets this particular cinematic device from everything else is how similar it looks to today's tablet computers - and it's possible that the similarity wasn't a coincidence.
In 2011, Samsung accused #Apple of ripping off its design for the Apple iPad from 2001, since the latter looked like an exact copy of the movie's prop: both were flat, square and touch-screen enabled. Ultimately, the United States Federal Court dismissed Samsung's complaint, and Apple was able to mass-produce the famous tablet computer that's still widely used today.
2. Knight Rider (1982) Features Smart Cars (1984)
#DavidHasselhoff may be the lead actor of the show #KnightRider, but he's hardly the main attraction - despite being Peter Quill's ultimate father figure in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The real star of the show was K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand), the artificial intelligence in the iconic black car Michael (David Hasselhoff) drives. Self-aware cars like K.I.T.T. have yet to be created for worldwide consumers, but the latest advancements in smart cars are closer than ever to bringing vehicles like K.I.T.T. to life.
The first truly autonomous cars debuted in 1984, and are now making their way to the market. The car manufacturer Ford is spearheading a project to prioritize these vehicles by naming the head of its autonomous car division as its new CEO. Toyota and other car companies are also looking to venture into this new frontier, and cars capable of driving themselves may soon fill the highways.
3. The Terminator (1984) Features Robotic Limbs (2000s)
#TheTerminator movies predict a dark future for humanity, where the remnants of mankind struggle to fight the unstoppable cyborg armies of the artificial intelligence network #SkyNet. While combat-ready robots like the T-800 are still a long way off, significant progress has been made in both military-grade and civilian-level robotics since the film's release.
The most famous humanoid robot to date is #ASIMO, created by Honda in 2000. ASIMO is capable of storing memory, interacting with humans and autonomous navigation. Since its debut, ASIMO has become popular and highly influential in the field of robotics, which also created unmanned military vehicles such as the Predator attack drones.
Meanwhile, the scientists at DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) are perfecting robotic prosthetic limbs that can be controlled via brain waves. The agency was also able to make these limbs capable of feeling, though they choose to remain secretive about the full scope of their innovations.
4. The Running Man (1987) Features Face-Swapping CGI (2010 Onwards)
Through a combination of special effects and motion-capture acting in #TheRunningMan, corrupt TV executive Damon Killian (Richard Dawson) was able to fake Ben Richards' (#ArnoldSchwarzenegger) death on live television. At the time of the movie's release this seemed implausible, but now it's something that is commonplace in mainstream films.
This innovation was famously used in Fast and Furious 7 to give the late #PaulWalker a final farewell, and again in Rogue One to bring back Grand Moff Tarkin (Peter Cushing) and Princess Leia. The MCU and Game of Thrones has also used technology to seamlessly place an actor's appearance onto a stand-in actor's face.
An ethical debate ensued, most notably with the release Rogue One, since some felt that this was disrespectful to deceased actors. Others felt it was better than recasting the roles with lookalikes, but at least everyone can agree that this technology is incredibly impressive.
5. Demolition Man (1993) Features Sexting & VR Porn (2010 Onwards)
#DemoltionMan takes place in the futuristic year of 2032, where American society has become excessively conservative and prudish. Despite this shift in values and adherence to chastity, the future of Demolition Man still used its technology to satisfy the need to seed.
One accurate prediction the movie made was the ubiquitous nature of video calls (not unlike #Skype calls), including a nude 'sext' from a lady who called John Spartan (Sylvester Stallone) by mistake. Spartan also learns that in this new society, casual sex is done through virtual reality headsets instead of human interaction - a speculative one-scene wonder that exists today.
In fact, sexting has become a topic of debate in the media, particularly when it comes to 'sextortion' and blackmailing. However, with the advent of VR devices, pornography has found its way into digital reality and some experts actually suggest that it could improve couples' sex lives.
6. Strange Days (1995) Features An Oculus Rift (2016)
The cyberpunk movie #StrangeDays depicted a future where memories are the most sought after drug. Thanks to the virtual reality machine called the SQUID, people could experience what it was like to walk in the shoes of another person by placing the device on their heads. This included living life as someone of the opposite gender, or experiencing the act of murder from a first-person perspective.
Today's equivalent of the SQUID is the #OculusRift, which first hit shelves in 2016. Even though it's not as compact as the SQUID, the Oculus Rift performs the same functions as the device used in Strange Days - fortunately without the scandals seen throughout the sci-fi flick. Through digital simulations and hand-held controls, the Oculus Rift allowed users to enter any world of their choosing while doing anything they wanted, all from the comfort of their own home.
7.A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) Features... Er... Artificial Intelligence (2010s)
The concept and dangers of artificial intelligence (A.I.) have always been a staple in speculative fiction, and the movie #AIArtificialIntelligence dedicates its entire runtime to examining the ramifications such a development would have on people. Modern AI has yet to replicate a human personality, but scientists have succeeded in creating an AI that's capable of the human-like intellect that some of the robots in A.I. possess.
Just recently, Google made big steps forward when its AI named AlphaGo beat the world's number one Go player in a game of Go. On the flip side, Microsoft's Chatbot AI, called Tay, turned into a sex-obsessed, Hitler apologist after being exposed to the internet for 24 hours.
8.Minority Report (2002) Features Gesture-Controlled User Interfaces (2010s)
When #MinorityReport opened in 2002, one thing that stuck with audiences was the computer that John Anderton (Tom Cruise) used while investigating crimes that were yet to happen. Using hand gestures to enlarge and zoom photographs and security footage, Anderton used a futuristic take on touch-screen technology in a movie that predated the advent of the innovation.
Modern touch-screen technology in smartphones may not be as dramatic as the one in Minority Report, but it's pretty much the same practise. For larger motions, motion-detecting devices such as the Nintendo Wii or the Microsoft Kinect exist. It should be noted that director #StevenSpielberg consulted with inventors to get the then-fictional technology right, and for the most part, he succeed in predicting the future.
9. Shoot 'em Up (2008) Features Fingerprint-Enabled 'Smart Guns' (2010)
In #ShootEmUp, Smith (Clive Owen) discovers that a gun manufacturer has created a weapon that only fires when its authorized user's thumb-print is verified by the gun itself. This kind of gun is known as the "smart gun," and it has become a real innovation that firearms experts are trying to perfect.
Designed as an added measure of gun control, Smart Guns are meant to curb the number of unregistered firearms and make legal guns "child-proof." The technology from companies such as TriggerSmart is still in development and lacks government support, since gun advocates question the quality of the firearms, and are worried about an advancement they fear will intrude on the privacy of gun-owners.
10. Westworld (1973/2016) Features Sex-Bots With Human Personalities (2017)
One of the major attractions in the titular theme park #Westworld are the hosts. Westworld regulars tend to abuse the hosts that are programmed to do whatever they want. Now, these sex-bots could become accessible to almost anyone with enough money to spare.
For just over $15,000, the sex toy company RealDoll plan to make their customers' desires come true with sex robots that come with sexual functions and (perhaps most disturbingly) a customizable personality. Described as the perfect sexual partner, RealDoll promises that its sex-bots are as good as the real thing.
Some experts have warned that the sex-bots could further objectify a person's outlook on sex and basic human interaction, but this isn't going to stop the sex-bots from being sold later this year.
With many fictional technologies becoming a reality, its astonishing to think that the tech we see in recent films might also become a reality in the not-so-distant future. We can only hope that alongside technological advancements come further ethical debates, so we don't end up facing a future that replicates The Terminator franchise or Westworld.
What's your favorite fictional technology that has become a reality? Let me know with a comment!