The future is now… almost

Posted by · 5:37 pm · June 17th, 2010

I love Steven Spielberg’s 2002 “Minority Report” for a number of reasons — it’s the director’s most searching and adventurous film since a certain 1993 Oscar champ, it’s got ideas as big as its set pieces and it’ll likely remain history’s only $100 million summer blockbuster to star Samantha Morton.

All good things. But what I like most about the film is that it contains one of the cinema’s few visions of the future that I actually look forward to living in — I know I’m not the only person who was reduced to pre-adolescent gosh-wow effusiveness by its gadgetry. (For one, I know that any attempt to interest my mom in a faddish computer gizmo will result in the reply, “Until I can control the whole thing with my hands, like in “Minority Report,” I’m not interested.”)

Good news, mom: according to this neat piece in the Guardian’s technology pages, we’re getting there. Eight years after the release of Spielberg’s film, journalist Charles Arthur offers a progress report of sorts on the film’s various futuristic inventions — pointing out the significant strides already made towards the realization of dynamic iris recognition, personalized advertising (already broached in an online capacity) and even “pre-crime” technology.

As for the gesture-based computing that Tom Cruise performed with such stern-faced panache in the film, Arthur writes that our cellphones have already taken us part of the way there:

John Underkoffler, the MIT scientist who created the gesture-based computing that Cruise used in Minority Report, has developed his own company – Oblong Industries – to make it real and market it. But he has already been overtaken by companies such as Apple with the iPhone, offering “pinch” and “pull” and “swipe” for pictures and text since 2007. And of course by Microsoft, both with its new Kinect games system and its table-sized, touch-screen Surface, which lets you move things around with your hands.

My inner geek is thrilled about this. Indeed, the only people who shouldn’t be are the film’s brilliant (and scandalously Oscar-snubbed) production design and visual effects artists, whose work might be rendered quaint sooner than they’d like.

→ 9 Comments Tags: , | Filed in: Daily

9 responses so far

  • 1 6-17-2010 at 9:39 pm

    Hans said...

    I’m not gonna lie, anytime I spend a good amount of time on my iPhone, I can’t help but feel that I’m channeling my inner Minority Report.

    Minority Report is easily one of my top movies ever, and it’s a damn shame it wasn’t recognized by the Oscars. It won’t be recognized in Chad’s “Life Without Oscar” column thanks to its pesky Sound Editing nod (seriously, WTF? If it was obviously on the Academy’s radar…anyway…), but, on a random note, I do hope that “The Others” will.

  • 2 6-17-2010 at 10:49 pm

    MovieMan said...

    I guess I’m basically the only person who didn’t like “Minority Report”? I dunno. I thought it to be cold, unmoving, stodgy, and right there with “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “The Terminal” as one of his least impressive films. I found “A.I.: Artificial Intelligence” and “War of the Worlds” both to be twice the film that “Minority Report” was and easily Spielberg’s best films this decade.

  • 3 6-18-2010 at 3:13 am

    cca said...

    I actually liked it, for its dark tone and atmosphere, as well as for creating a very “possible” future… But I hated the last 15 minutes.. as well as I hated the last 15 minutes of “A.I.” and the last 5 minutes of “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan”… Can’t Spielberg end a film without going soft or taking us to a cemetery?

  • 4 6-18-2010 at 3:56 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Yes, the ending is a wash.

  • 5 6-18-2010 at 7:29 am

    Carlo said...

    Minority Report was unbelievably robbed of any notable awards notice. I think it has to be one of the most underrated films of all time.

  • 6 6-18-2010 at 7:41 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Only if you’re defining “rated” in terms of awards attention, really. Its critical standing is quite healthy.

  • 7 6-18-2010 at 10:24 am

    AdamL said...

    I hate this film. Why didn’t Cruise just sedate himself in a locked room during the time of the murder he was supposed to commit? This and countless other plot holes made it unwatchable.

  • 8 6-19-2010 at 4:54 pm

    Ben M. said...

    It’s funny, I saw this with my brother and father and we had very different opinions. My father loved the film and thought it was brilliant; while my brother and I both felt it was terrible, probably Spielberg’s worst film, and seemed like a straight to Sci-Fi channel movie.

    Though actually I do like the other Spielberg/Cruise collaboration War of the Worlds more than most (it got generally good reviews but has some vocal dissenters).

  • 9 8-05-2014 at 7:56 pm

    Gilbert said...

    That’s not just logic. That’s really seilsbne.