Movies that mispredicted future technology

Molly Wood Feb 27, 2014


The Oscars are this weekend, and we thought it was a good chance to talk about how technology is presented in the movies. The industry often gets it wrong, when depicting the future or even the present era of technology. Sarah Wanenchak* has a great post at the blog cyborgology about why tech on film can be a tricky. Here are some other examples of movies that didn’t effectively predict the future of tech. 

Gattaca supposedly takes place in 2020 or thereabouts. Moral challenges regarding genetics? Almost definitely. But this level of genetics-based societal strata seems unlikely. Great outtake nonetheless:  

 “2001: Space Oddysey.” Artificially intelligent computers by 2001? Almost but no cigar. HAL might be close, but even just the computer parts alone in this movie are way too big. 


“Bladerunner”? Straight classic of course. Also hard to decide if “android” in this movie predicted or inspired the name of Google’s operating system. But either way…2019 seems much too early for this robot clown fight: 


Last from our short list: “Terminator 2.” Again, the 1994/1995 landscape seems prescient. After all, Google Glass seemed based on this kind of heads up display with technology scrolling across your eyes. But considering we’re still waiting for wearable tech to be cool, it’s pretty obvious that this fight scene couldn’t yet happen. 


 What movies can you think of that grossly overestimate the tech of the present or “future,” now passed? 

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misspelled author Sarah Wanenchak’s name. The text has been corrected.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.