Part of the fun of watching science fiction movies is seeing how filmmakers depict humanity's future. From alien invasions to a technologically advanced metropolis, sci-fi films often feature creative visions of what the coming decades or centuries may offer. While some supposedly futuristic years have come and gone and left viewers unimpressed, the list of potential outcomes has yet to dry up. Looking forwards to 2018 and beyond, here are five different futures that we could be seeing in our lifetime, according to movies.
1. The Year 2019 in Blade Runner (1982)
The Future: Many consider #BladeRunner to be the definitive cyberpunk movie, and its vision of 2019 has influenced an entire genre of film since its release in 1982. In a bleak industrial future, human-like androids known as replicants exist solely to complete manual labor.
Likelihood of Happening: While many of the more fantastical elements such as flying cars and the seedy industrial cityscape may not exist yet, the replicants of Blade Runner are slowly becoming a reality.
Recently, scientists and researchers have made great strides in the fields of artificial intelligence (A.I.) and robotics. Today's A.I. is capable of calculating complex ideas such as winning a game of Go (mirroring the game of chess that is won by Blade Runner's Roy Batty against his creator), while robotics will also give humanity its first batch of life-like sex-bots that come with programmable personalities before the year ends.
The upcoming #BladeRunner2049 takes place a mere 30 years after the original, and we'll be able to discover what director Denis Villeneuve believes the future will bring when the Blade Runner sequel finally hits theaters in October.
2. The Year 2019 in The Running Man (1987)
The Future: In 2017, the American economy collapsed, turning the country into a police state by 2019. All forms of cultural actives have been monopolized by the government, and the masses are kept entertained and distracted by a variety of reality TV shows that range from quirky to murderous.
Likelihood of Happening: The American economy almost collapsed during the economic recession of the late 2000s - something that the 1987 audience would have felt was a stretch of the imagination. The damages were somewhat contained at the last minute, but the ramifications of the downturn can still be felt to this day. The worst may be over, but fears of an economic failure still hang over peoples' heads.
Reality TV, on the other hand, exploded in popularity during the late '90s and has been a mainstay ever since. A good number of reality shows like Duck Dynasty, Here Comes Honey Boo Boo and Jersey Shore attract high ratings and controversy due to content accused of being questionable. If allowed to remain unchecked, similar new reality shows could become as amoral and cruel as the titular #TheRunningMan.
3. The Year 2027 in Children of Men (2006)
The Future: Due to a mysterious epidemic, humanity became infertile in 2007. Two decades later, society is on the brink of total collapse as the fears of extinction are slowly turning into a reality. To stay afloat, an already troubled Britain transforms itself into a totalitarian state where order is maintained with an iron fist.
Likelihood of Happening: Infertility is a real problem that exists today - albeit not like the global crisis seen in #ChildrenOfMen. Case in point, Japan's birthrates declined to less than one million last year, the lowest since Japan started recording statistics about its populace in 1899. This has come to the point where sales for adult diapers have outsold those for baby diapers.
Instead of an infertility pathogen, the declining number of births is blamed on Japan's social constraints, climbing cost of living and an aging population - though the possibility of biological infertility has yet to be entirely dismissed.
4. The Year 2031 in Snowpiercer (2013)
The Future: In 2014, the governments of the world agreed to disperse an experimental cryogenic compound into the atmosphere to stop the effects of global warming. However, the plan worked too well, dragging the world into a new Ice Age. By 2031, the last remaining humans ride the #Snowpiercer, a massive train that endlessly circles the world.
Likelihood of Happening: Global warming has been a major issue for as long as many of us can remember, but it gained prominence in recent years due to the worsening effects and some governments' refusal to act against it. Today's climate change has yet to be as severe as the one seen in Snowpiercer, but it could become a reality if nothing is done to counter it.
Meanwhile, the class struggle depicted in the most expensive Korean film to date may be a cinematic, satirical exaggeration, but it's still one based on fact. Global trains like the titular Snowpiercer are yet to exist, but cross-continental trains are nothing new in today's day and age.
5. The Year 2035 in Demolition Man (1993)
The Future: After surviving civil unrest and an earthquake, the cities of Los Angeles, San Diego, and Santa Barbara merge into one massive city called San Angeles. Life is peaceful as long as you follow the strict conservative rules that ban everything bad for the health, including (but not limited to) crime, pessimistic thoughts, dissent, sex, physical contact, swearing, alcohol, meat, spices and toilet paper.
Likelihood of Happening: Though the severity of real-life political correctness can be put up for debate, other aspects of everyday life in San Angeles could become a reality sooner than anticipated. As for megacities like the fictional San Angeles, there are currently 37 megacities in existence today, the largest being Tokyo and Jakarta.
Self-driving cars, biometric implants, and voice-activated appliances are being developed today, and could see widespread use in the near future. The ubiquitous nature of advertisements and restaurant chains is already something people deal with everyday, and the presence of these ads could intensify in ways similar to the ones seen in #DemolitionMan.
What other movie futures do you think we'll be seeing in our lifetimes? Share your thoughts in the comments below.