“Terminator,” “The Matrix”, “Stranger Things”, “Ex Machina”, “E.T. – The Extraterrestrial” and “Ready Player One” are all multi-million dollar sci-fi hits that captivated the imagination of their audiences. Touting futuristic themes about science and technology, the productions gave people a chance to ponder a new, bigger and more exciting universe. If you keep up with technology news, you’ve probably noticed an exciting, yet somewhat startling trend. All of the futuristic technologies we saw in movies over the last fifty years are becoming reality. Logically it makes sense, considering the concepts have been around for a long time and scientists eventually figured out how to execute them. Here are seven ways the mind-blowing sci-fi future is now here:
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.”-William Arthur Ward
1. Terminators. In the future, humans and machines go to battle, and humans win. Having figured out time travel, future machines send a humanoid robot back in time to execute the future leader of the human resistance and his mother. These robots are “cybernetic organisms” with human skin covering their metallic parts, giving them the ability to blend in with humans before striking. While we haven’t figured out time travel, the humanoid robot concept is becoming realistic. Boston Dynamics has created a variety of robots that mimic both human and animal movements, including a humanoid named “Atlas” that rivals Schwarzenegger’s T-800. More recently, Japanese scientists have created artificial skin that behaves just like living human skin. It can repel water and “heal” or repair itself when wounded. Oh, and they were able to put the skin on a robot. Where is Sarah Connor when you need her?
2. Re-Growing Body Parts: Movies like “The Sixth Day” and “Elysium” show a future where people can be cloned, bodies are miraculously healed, and body parts are regrown. Here in 2022, we aren’t that far off. Scientists can already grow organs in a lab. On top of this, doctors using stem cell methods and 3-D “bioprinting”, may have the ability to regrow limbs. In 2021 it was done in frogs, and many prominent scientists believe we’ll see this in our lifetime. This will drastically reduce the demand for transplant limbs and dramatically increase our lifespans to well over eighty one years.
3. Mind Control: Also known as telekinesis, mind control is another sci-fi concept moving towards reality. We don’t need Eleven from Stranger Things to do it! In 2022, Chinese scientists published a paper demonstrating how brain waves can be potentially used to control meta surfaces. Both the simulated and test results showed that the user’s brainwaves directly controlled the outcome, with a significantly better control rate and switch rate. If scientists operationalize this, it’s only a matter of time before we’re able to perform brain-to-brain communication. Better get those tin foil hats ready.
4. Humanoid Robots: Many sci-fi movies show us a future where robots are part of everyday life, interacting with people in a variety of ways. They don’t necessarily have to be terminators, traveling through time for nefarious purposes. Tesla plans to unveil their humanoid robot, Optimus, in September 2022. The bot will be a friendly, good companion used primarily for factory work. Elon Musk has been quite vocal about the threats to humanity AI poses, calling it “the biggest existential threat to mankind”. Optimistically, I believe Elon built a kill switch in Optimus to avoid the inevitable future war between robots and humans. Let’s hope Optimus doesn’t become self aware and hell bent on destroying it’s human overlords.
5. “Self Aware” Computers: Can computer artificial intelligence (AI) become self aware and “sentient”? Is it possible for computers to develop their own consciousness? In both “The Matrix” and “Ex-Machina” films (among others), computers evolve to a level where they are living beings with their own decision making capabilities. It is implied that they’ve developed their own consciousness. Even with Elon Musk warning world leaders about the potentially devastating impact to humanity, it’s hard to believe someone somewhere won’t develop this technology. For all we know, it already exists. A Google engineer named Blake Lemoine says AI they created, called LaMDA, has become sentient. Lemoine was promptly terminated from his role at Google, but he is not staying silent. More recently, he claims LaMDA has hired its own attorney to advocate for its rights as a person. This leads me to the most important question of all: what pronouns will we be using for AI?
6. Life in Virtual Worlds: The movie “Ready Player One” takes place exclusively in a single, unified cyberspace where everything from clothing to houses to currency is virtual. You’ve probably heard of the “metaverse”, which is another term for the large scale virtual reality being built by technology companies. In the not so distant future, these virtual worlds may become indistinguishable from reality. Tech giants Microsoft and Meta (Facebook) are investing billions of dollars into these digital ecosystems, betting that people will spend more time online than in the physical world. If you ask Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Founder of Meta (Facebook), our future lies in the metaverse, and we’ll be hooked up into virtual worlds via devices like Oculus. I don’t know about you, but I prefer the taste of real pizza, the warmth of a real body, and the smell of fresh air. Being hooked to a computer all day sounds a lot like being a robot.
7. UFOs Are Real: The truth is out there, and as a matter of fact the US government has acknowledged “unidentified aerial phenomena” are real. Unsurprisingly, they claim to be unaware of the origin of these mysterious crafts that defy the laws of physics and taunt our military. The largest sci-fi franchises (Star Trek, Star Wars, ET, the X-Files, Superman, etc.) all exist upon the notion that not only are UFOs real, but the space aliens that operate the devices are, too. Oh, and these aliens regularly interact with humans, both on planet Earth and out in space. The Pentagon alone reported on 400 UFO encounters, 144 of which remain unexplained. The international community isn’t far behind. Israel’s former Defense Ministry’s space directorate Haim Eshed said the U.S. government has been in contact with extraterrestrials from a “galactic federation.” Whoever is operating these crafts clearly has more advanced technology than us, and historically that does not bode well for the future of humanity. Here’s hoping they come in peace.
-Your Big Bro