Una Mullally

Society, life and culture on the edge

How Minority Report predicted the future

10 years ago today, Minority Report was released in the US. I’m obsessed with Minority Report. In my opinion, it’s one of the most incredible films of the past thirty years. Not because of Samantha Morton being in a weird jacuzzi, or …

Thu, Jun 21, 2012, 17:49

   

10 years ago today, Minority Report was released in the US. I’m obsessed with Minority Report. In my opinion, it’s one of the most incredible films of the past thirty years. Not because of Samantha Morton being in a weird jacuzzi, or Tom Cruise poking his eyes out, or Colin Farrell incessantly chewing gum, but because of its vision. Unlike so many films based in the future, Minority Report actually got loads of stuff right; malleable digital paper, targeted advertising, gesture-controlled computing, self-driving cars and so on.

Now and then, articles about the film pop up, referencing how visionary it was. The latest is this one in Wired, ‘Inside Minority Report’s Ideas Summit, Visionaries Saw the Future’. To create the futuristic realism in Minority Report, Spielberg got a bunch of leading thinkers in science and technology to hash out what they thought the future would really look like. The results were surprisingly accurate. The Wired article linked above is well worth a read if you’re interested how this forum (which included Douglas Coupland) predicted various technologies.

Wired previously detailed six gadgets that the film got right, and the launch of Microsoft Kinnect prompted this 2010 article in The Guardian, reflecting on how accurate the film was, referencing amongst other things iris recognition and personalised ads.

Also in 2010, Fast Company wrote about seven crime-fighting initiatives and incidents that are mirrored in the film; IBM’s Blue Crime Reduction Utilizing Statistical History, Facebook (yes, Facebook), Google Maps, OnStar, scanners, drones, and Mii.

And again in 2010, NPR posted this short podcast titled ‘The Future According To Minority Report May Be Now’.

The most obvious correlation Minority Report has with entertainment predicting technologies is probably Star Trek, which foresaw several future technologies; mobile phone technology, stun guns and video conferencing among them. But it’s Minority Report‘s stunning accuracy that keeps bringing me back to the film.

Here’s a TED talk from John Underkoffler, one of the science advisors on Minority Report. 

Now, relive the magic!
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