How Minority Report Predicted the Future With Surprising Accuracy

Saturday, 08 August 2015 - 3:19PM
Minority Report
Saturday, 08 August 2015 - 3:19PM
How Minority Report Predicted the Future With Surprising Accuracy
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While we don't yet know what impact the new Minority Report TV series will have on society, there's little doubt that the original 2002 film had a huge impact on technology. A number of future technological advances displayed in Minority Report are now a reality in some form or another, and it's tough to say whether that's because of the film's use of scientists in predicting what would come to pass, or because of today's scientists being influenced by the movie. Either way, the movie's vision for 2054 is looking more and more accurate every day.

Before making the film, Steven Spielberg gathered together a team of no fewer than 16 scientists. Their task? To come up with a realistic vision of what the world might look like in the year 2054. As you're about to see, the team which included researchers from MIT and DARPA, really hit the nail on the head.

Here are some technologies that Minority Report predicted that exist today.

Gesture-Control Interfaces

The first thing that comes to most people's minds when they think of Minority Report is the image of Tom Cruise using his hands to conduct data across a screen without ever touching it. And we now have the ability to do just that. Microsoft unveiled their gesture-based Kinect system for X-Box 360 back in 2010, and the technology has since expanded to be used in other arenas. And unlike Cruise's gadget, no gloves are needed.

Driverless Cars

Who could forget the scene where Cruise traverses, outside of a vehicle, across a highway of self-driving cars? A scene like this could unfold sooner than we expect if Google has their way. The tech giant has been experimenting with their autonomous cars for quite some time, and have now logged over a million miles on the road. Now, with actual automakers like Audi and Tesla getting in on the self-driving game, the future is now.

Personalized Advertising

Remember when Tom Cruise walks into a Gap in Minority Report and an ad mistakes him for another man (whose eyes he's wearing) and asks him if he wants to buy more of the same shirt? This type of personalized advertising is already happening to us every day, but thankfully only to our virtual selves. Ever notice that after googling something, say a car you're interested in, you start seeing ads for that same car popping up on unrelated websites? It isn't magic, the ads are based on your searching history, but one day technology could recognize you in the real world and comb through the search history linked to your identity. Or, you know, the phone you always have with you.

Facial Recognition

Tom Cruise has to change his face to keep from getting scanned in Minority Report, and criminals may need to go to such lengths in the future to avoid being caught. The FBI has recently unveiled its new facial recognition system, Next Generation Identification (NGI), and is said to be able to scan and recognize the faces, fingerprints, and retinas of anyone in its database, which is expected to consist of around 52 million people at the end of its first year of use. The system is only about 85 percent accurate, but it returns a ranked list of the top 50 matches when scanning someone. The FBI is saying only mugshots will be used to populate the list, but as of right now there's no law preventing them from sourcing photos from social media. So there's a comforting thought.

Voice Controlled Home Automation

Tom Cruise walks into his futuristic house and announces that he's home, and the house springs to life. Believe it or not, you can already outfit your house with similar technology. Home automation is expected to be big business over the next several years, with Apple even dipping their toe in the water last year with the announcement of their Home Kit for developers. And of course, voice control is at the heart of automation; controlling your lights with your phone is one thing, but talking to them is something else. A number of companies have already made this a reality, so go buy yourself some voice-activated lights!
Science Fiction
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Minority Report