Science fiction films often extrapolate from
the state of the world to take a glimpse into our future. So let’s take a look at five movies, that
took it one step further and see if we’re really heading into one of their dystopian
futures. Number One: Elysium In Elysium, Earth is overpopulated and almost
destroyed. Those who still live on Earth are struggling
for their everyday survival, suffering from poverty, unemployment, starvation and diseases. But the upper class, live on Elysium, a utopian
space station where they live the high-life with access to advanced technology and private
medical care. And medical nanotechnology has progressed
to the point where wealthy citizens each have their own med bay in the home. It can diagnose and heal all injuries and
diseases and prolong life indefinitely. It’s a medical utopia, but let’s hope,
the day med-bay becomes a reality, it’s not gonna be exclusive to the upper one percent. Number Two: Children of Men Like The Handmaid’s Tale, Children of Men
revolves around the idea of mass infertility and how it would unravel our world as we know
it today. In the film, the youngest person in the world
is eighteen years old, as a childless final generation lives its final days. It’s a terrible dystopia. And unfortunately it’s not completely fictional. According to studies, sperm counts among men
in the West have more than halved in the past 40 years and are currently falling by an average
of 1.4% a year. It doesn’t mean the end of humanity though. But we could face giant social and biological
problems as we have no idea about the cause of the condition. It’s truly terrifying to know how fragile
we can be. Number 3: Gattaca Gattaca tells a story of a future where the
measure of a person starts and ends with DNA. From the moment embryos are in a petri dish,
those destined to become “valid” are altered through means of genetic engineering to create
perfect humans. For example, after getting screened for a
perfect set of DNAs, our protagonist’s brother, is pre-determined to be a male with hazel
eyes, fair skin, and dark hair. And even today, gender and eye color can be
selected at a genetic level. The process is simple: doctors fertilize multiple
eggs and then look through the DNA of all the embryos in order to find one that has
a genome coded for your expectations. But that’s a cheat isn’t it? Simply scanning a set of eggs for the right
traits won’t be enough to realize Gattaca‘s future. For that, we’ll need to be able to alter
the human genome with extreme precision. Aren’t we lucky, that the genome editing
technology, CRISPR might be able to do just that. And actually, it was already used to modify
human embryos when Chinese researchers were able to remove and replace a malfunctioning
gene. But making life to depend purely on DNA is
a real dystopia. Number 4: Prometheus: So Ridley Scott’s prequel to the classic
Alien movies is kind of a hit and miss, with gorgeous cinematography, great ideas about
terraforming other planets, and a so-so story. But I think we all know why it’s on the
list. The autonomous surgical robot: Yeah, that’s enough of that… Number 5: Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind
In Eternal Sunshine, our protagonist, Joel, has just been through a bad break-up and wants
to erase all memories of his girlfriend. Luckily, the technology is there to help him
out. But how far fetched is it? Are we ever going to be able to erase our
memories? Well, unlike in the film, conscious memories
are not like records you can just look up. But there is research already on how to erase
unconscious memories, like fear of a threat. In a way that’s the opposite of what the
film is about, with Joel erasing his memories but still having an emotional connection. In other words, this could mean a whole new
therapy for people with PTSD, but we won’t be able to get rid of specific memories, only
the pain and fear itself. As these movies show, the best science-fiction
is always based on real life – the question is are we going to use these technologies
for the better, or are we going to take them in a wrong direction and bring these dystopias
alive.