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20 Prophecies Of Modern Technology In Classic Movies

20 Prophecies Of Modern Technology In Classic Movies

Movies have been at the forefront of popular culture ever since the Lumière brothers screened their first film in 1895. It wasn’t a particularly exciting film by modern standards, it was simply entitled ‘Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory.’ It didn’t have any lead characters, flashy editing or dazzling special effects. It was black and white and lasted 50 seconds. But people loved it. People prophesized that it would change the world, and it did.

Since then, cinema has played an important role in documenting the world as it unfolds, predicting the way the world might end up, but most importantly, inspiring the way it can be and should be. Below there are 20 prophecies of modern tech in classic movies. Did the movies predict them or inspire those who made them? You decide.

1. Face/Off – Face Transplants

Face off movie
    Face/Off (1997)

    In Face/Off, good cop (John Travolta) agrees to go undercover by getting a face transplant of a notorious criminal king-pin. When Face/Off hit cinema screens in 1997 critics enjoyed the action but labeled it ‘silly’, ‘preposterous’ and ‘far-fetched.’ 13 years later, in Spain, the first full face transplant was carried out and it was a success. While we aren’t using the procedure to send agents undercover yet, the technology and medical advancements might one day make this ‘silly’ film a real prophecy of the future.

    2. 2001: A Space Odyssey – iPads

    2001 a space odyssey iPad
      2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

      Film director Stanley Kubrick worked closely with science fiction legend Arthur C. Clarke to make one of the greatest sci-fi films of all time: 2001: A Space OdysseyIn the film one of the astronauts has what appears to be an Apple iPad. Quite extraordinary considering the film was released in 1968. Yeah, thats 42 years before the iPad was released. Was Steve Jobs a fan of this film?

      ipad while eating
        A familiar scene…

        3. Minority Report – Personalised Advertising

        Minority Report personalised advertising
          Minority Report (2002)

          Before Steven Spielberg embarked on adapting Philip K. Dick’s book Minority Report in 2002, he sat down with some of the  best thinkers on the planet to depict a realistic future in the film. In one scene Tom Cruises’s character walks into a store and a holographic saleswoman tries to sell him something based on his current attire. This is personalised advertising, and as the movie predicted, its everywhere. Facebook users, for example, often get shown advertisements based on their ‘likes’ and profile information. How’d those assorted tank tops work out for you?

          4. 2001: A Space Odyssey –  Skype

          2001 a space odyssey Skype
            2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

            In 2001: A Space Odyssey, the captain of the spacecraft talks to his daughter who’s situated back on earth. They talk through what looks like a webcam and a computer monitor… exactly like Skype. The strange thing is, the film was released 35 years before Skype was invented. Did the film predict the future or inspire it?

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            5. The Truman Show – Reality Television

            truman show reality television
              The Truman Show (1998)

              Jim Carrey plays Truman Burbank in the Truman show. A boy who grows up in a constructed world unbeknownst that he’s the star of the biggest reality show on earth. When Truman starts to figure out he’s being watched by everyone he tries to break free. The film came before the current wave of reality TV and prophesized our obsession with spectating people living an seemingly ordinary  lives. The only thing the film didn’t predict correctly was Truman’s desire to escape. Most people these days would probably want Truman’s life.

              6. Jurassic Park – De-Extinction

              jurassic park de-extinction
                Jurassic Park (1993)

                In 1990 Michael Critchton published the novel Jurassic Park, which in 1993 Steven Spielberg turned into one of the highest grossing films of all time. In the story, dinosaur DNA is extracted from a mosquito preserved in amber to bring dinosaurs back from extinction. For many years the real science lagged behind the science fiction. De-extinction was a pipe dream. Then along came dolly in 1996: the first cloned mammal (sheep). Since then technology and our understanding of the genome has progressed to make the de-extinction found in Jurassic Park possible today. We can’t bring back the T-Rex because they died out 65 million years ago and we don’t have much left of them, but any animal that has become extinct in the last few tens of thousands of years can be. The big question is… should we?

                7. Minority Report – Motion Sensor Gaming

                minority report motion sensor gaming
                  Minority Report (2002)

                  In Minority Report (2002) we see Tom Cruise’s character manipulating video data via his hand motions alone. Fast forward 8 years and Microsoft released their Kinect. A webcam that allows you to play video games without the use of a controller. This type of motion sensor gaming, like technology in general, will only improve as time goes by. One day, the remote control will be a thing of the past.

                  8. Back to the Future II – Oculus Rift

                  personalised computing back to the future
                    Back To The Future II (1989)

                    When Back to The Future II came out in 1989, the lead character, Marty McFly, wore a strange virtual reality headset over breakfast. Unfortunately for viewers, the film was indeed set in the future so we couldn’t go out and buy one. But fast forward twenty-five years and the most promising virtual reality gaming system of all time is in full development. It’s called the Oculus Rift. Perhaps in another 25 years we’ll have hover boards.

                    Oculus Rift
                      Oculus Rift (prototype)

                      9. 2001: A Space Odyssey –  Siri

                      2001 a space odyssey siri
                        2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

                        One of the earliest and most famous examples of artificial intelligence came in the form of HAL 9000, a spacecraft computer system that communicated with the astronauts in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Just like Apple’s Siri application, HAL 9000 has no face, just a calm calculated voice that sounds both friendly yet sinister at the same time. I hope Siri didn’t hear me say that.

                        10. Ironman – Exoskeleton Suit

                        iron man exoskeleton
                          Iron Man (2008)

                          Although the film Iron Man came out in the 2008 box office smash staring Robert Downey Jr, the character made his first comic book appearance way back in 1963. Tony Stark becomes Iron Man by using his billions of dollars and genius IQ to make an exoskeleton suit that can fly, shoot rockets and protect him from bad guys. But he’s not the only one. At DARPA, they’ve used their billions of dollars and genius inventors to do something similar.

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                          This is an image of a soldier lifting up incredibly heavy missile with ease thanks to his state of the art electrically powered exoskeleton. Sure it’s a bit clunky, but so was Tony Stark’s first attempt. I think it would look better in red.

                          military exo skeleton
                            Real life Iron Man

                            11. X-Men: Super Soldiers

                            x men superhuman
                              X-Men (2000)

                              The X-Men have some pretty crazy superpowers ranging from being able to control the weather to being able to manipulate metals. While these powers are still a pipe dream (for some of us), researchers at DARPA are developing ways of making ordinary humans a bit more super. For example, research is showing that by genetic manipulation we will one day have soldiers that can run at olympic speeds, function optimally without sleep and even regrow lost limbs! They’ll have to contact Stan Lee when it comes to naming them.

                              12. The Matrix: Gamified Learning

                              the matrix gamification
                                The Matrix (1999)

                                The characters in The Matrix are able to learn new complex skills such as kung fu and flying helicopters in a matter of minutes. They do this by entering virtual training simulation program that allows them to go through all of the trial and error of regular learning but without the real world consequences.

                                Jump through time to the present and you’ll find the gamification business is booming. Duolingo, voted Apple’s app of the year 2013, turns language learning into a point scoring game along with a host of other gamification programs such as Code Academy and Kahn Academy. With this gamified way of learning and Oculus Rift in the works, give it a few more years and we’ll all be entering The Matrix to learn kung fu… and spanish.

                                13. Planet of The Apes: Primate Communication

                                planet of the apes talking apes
                                  Planet of the Apes (1968)

                                  When Planet of The Apes came out in 1968 it made a satirical prophecy of the future based on our current political paradigms. That being said, no one actually thought that one day the earth would be ruled by apes. They aren’t that smart… are they?

                                  Well it turns out chimpanzees have an much better short term memory span compared to humans. Chimps can remember the sequential order of 19+ numbers flashed on a screen compared to the 4-7 us humans can. Not only that but there has been lots of research done on teaching apes sign language, most notably seen in the critically acclaimed documentary Project Nim. In the film, two researchers embark on teaching a chimpanzee sign language from birth. The results were startling. Communication wasn’t always smooth, but a lot smoother than you might think. Apes, however, don’t have voice boxes, so the talking apes won’t be happening any time soon. But never say never project caesar might be in the works.

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                                  nim talking monkey

                                    14. Terminator II – Google Glass

                                    terminator 2 google glass
                                      Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)

                                      At the beginning of Terminator 2, The Terminator walks into a bar looking for clothes to wear. We get a glimpse at his computerised view of the world. He is able to scan people in the bar and find someone with same size clothes as him. Now, 23 years later and, Google are developing Google Glass, or as I like to think of it ‘Terminator vision.’ With a pair of Google’s glasses you’ll be see directions overlaid on actual roads and possibly bring up people’s Facebook profiles just by looking at their faces. It’s pretty incredible.

                                      google-glass-hud
                                        Google Glass

                                        15. Total Recall – Airport X-rays

                                        total recall airport scanner
                                          Total Recall (1990)

                                          Total Recall is set in the future, where Mars is habitable. In one scene, the star, Arnold Schwarzenegger, walks through an airport in disguise as a woman. In this tense moment we see a real-time x-ray device which the passengers pass through. For years airports have had mandatory metal detectors but never full body x-rays… until now. The prophecy of Total Recall has come true. Since 2012 full-body backscatter x-ray devices have become mandatory in US airports.

                                          x-ray airport scanners
                                            Backscatter x-ray in progress

                                            16. Blade Runner – Digital Billboards

                                            blade runner digital billboards
                                              Blade Runner (1982)

                                              Blade Runner, like Minority Report and Total Recall, was adapted from a novel by Philip K. Dick. The guy was a serious prophet of the future. Blade Runner is set in a future where robots (called replicants) walk the earth in disguise of human beings. In one scene of the city scape we see a digital billboard. The film was released in 1982, years before the first actual digital billboard was  created. Now they’re so commonplace in places like Time Square that we take them for granted.

                                              17. Gattaca – Home DNA Testing

                                              gattaca home DNA testing
                                                Gattaca (1997)

                                                While human beings are a lot more similar than we are different, there are individual variances among us. Some of us have mild allergies, unusual vitamin deficiencies and react slightly differently to different types of diets and exercise regimes. In the film, Gattaca, the social class system is built upon the quality and thoroughbred of an individual’s DNA. During the film Ethan Hawke’s character, who has a less than ideal DNA, swaps his with Jude Law’s to avoid being labelled an invalid. Thankfully, this is not the direction the world is headed in, but home DNA testing is. Home DNA paternity tests went on sale in 2011, a full 14 years after being seen in Gattaca.

                                                18. Minority Report – Predicting Crimes

                                                minority report precog software
                                                  Minority Report (2002)

                                                  The precogs in Minority Report are genetic mutants able to predict the future with the power of their minds. We don’t have those yet but since this post is about modern tech in classic movies, we have the technological equivalent; computer software that can predict the likelihood of a crime occurring before it even happens. The biggest predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour and that’s what this software uses to figure of the statistical likelihood of a potential crime. The video game Watchdogs features a similar premise. Before long people will start getting arrested even before they do anything… maybe.

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                                                  19. Electric Dreams – Virtual Relationships

                                                  Electric dreams virtual relationship
                                                    Electric Dreams (1984)

                                                    In Electric Dreams, which came out in 1984, the main character gets into a strange relationship with his computer. This was comedic at the time but now with hindsight, the film prophesizes a strange reality that to some extent has come true. People, for the most part aren’t falling in love with their computers, but are using technology based relationships as a substitute for face to face communication. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but can be when the person you’re talking to isn’t who you think they are, as the documentary and TV show Catfish illustrates.

                                                    20. Short Circuit – Military Robots

                                                    short circuit military robots
                                                      Short Circuit (1986)

                                                      Short Circuit came is a military robot that suddenly becomes intelligent and escapes. The military robot industry is currently a multi billion dollar a year enterprise. Whether it be drones or land vehicles that can think for themselves, so to speak. Short Circuit is an incredible example of modern tech in classic movies. We don’t have military robots that act human because there isn’t really a need for such a thing.

                                                      If military robots replace foot soldiers, wars one day might be fought purely with technology, like a billion dollar chess game played out in real life. Now that would be cool. On second thoughts, lets keep that prophecy for the movies.

                                                      Featured photo credit: Modern tech in classic movies, iPad from 2001 a space odyssey via 9to5mac.files.wordpress.com

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                                                      Published on January 18, 2019

                                                      Best 5 Language Learning Apps to Easily Master a New Language

                                                      Best 5 Language Learning Apps to Easily Master a New Language

                                                      Learning a new language is no easy feat. While a language instructor is irreplaceable, language learning apps have come to revolutionize a lot of things and it has made language learning much easier. Compared to language learning websites, apps offer a more interactive experience to learn a new language.

                                                      The following language learning apps are the top recommended apps for your language learning needs:

                                                      1. Duolingo

                                                        Duolingo is a very successful app that merged gamification and language learning. According to Expanded Ramblings, the app now counts with 300 million users.

                                                        Duolingo offers a unique concept, an easy-to-use app and is a great app to accompany your language acquisition journey. The courses are created by native speakers, so this is not data or algorithm-based.

                                                        The app is free and has the upgrade options with Duolingo Plus for $9.99, which are add free lessons. The mobile app offers 25 languages and is popular for English-speaking learners learning other languages.

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                                                        Download the app

                                                        2. HelloTalk

                                                          HelloTalk aims to facilitate speaking practice and eliminate the stresses of a real-time and life conversation. The app allows users to connect to native speakers and has a WhatsApp like chat that imitates its interface.

                                                          There is a perk to this app. The same native speakers available also want to make an even exchange and learn your target language, so engagement is the name of the game.

                                                          What’s more, the app has integrated translation function that bypasses the difficulties of sending a message with a missing word and instead fills in the gap.

                                                          Download the app

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                                                          3. Mindsnacks

                                                            Remember that Duolingo has integrated gamification in language learning? Well, Mindsnacks takes the concept to another level. There is an extensive list of languages available within the app comes with eight to nine games designed to learn grammar, vocabulary listening.

                                                            You will also be able to visualize your progress since the app integrates monitoring capabilities. The layout and interface is nothing short of enjoyable, cheerful and charming.

                                                            Download the app

                                                            4. Busuu

                                                              Bussu is a social language learning app. It is available on the web, Android, and iOS. It currently supports 12 languages and is free.

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                                                              The functionality allows users to learn words, simple dialogues and questions related to the conversations. In addition, the dialogues are recorded by native speakers, which brings you close to the language learning experience.

                                                              When you upgrade, you unlock important features including course materials. The subscription is $17 a month.

                                                              Download the app

                                                              5. Babbel

                                                                Babbel is a subscription-based service founded in 2008. According to LinguaLift, it is a paid cousing of Duolingo. The free version comes with 40 classes, and does not require you to invest any money.

                                                                Each of the classes starts with with a sequential teaching of vocabulary with the help of pictures. The courses are tailor made and adapted to the students’ level, allowing the learning to be adjusted accordingly.

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                                                                If you started learning a language and stopped, Babbel will help you pick up where you started.

                                                                Download the app

                                                                Takeaways

                                                                All the apps recommended are tailored for different needs, whether you’re beginning to learn a language or trying to pick back up one. All of them are designed by real-life native speakers and so provide you with a more concrete learning experience.

                                                                Since these apps are designed to adapt to different kinds of learning styles, do check out which one is the most suitable for you.

                                                                Featured photo credit: Yura Fresh via unsplash.com

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