movies

Flying cars and climate change: What Blade Runner got right (and wrong) about life in 2019.

In 1982, Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner offered an… interesting look at the future.

The beloved sci-fi film, which starred Harrison Ford and Sean Young, attempted to predict what life would be like on Earth in November 2019.

And now, 37 years later, we’ve finally arrived at the future.

Need a refresher? Watch the trailer for Blade Runner below. Post continues after video.

In case you’ve forgotten, the 1982 movie presented a dystopian version of Los Angeles complete with humanlike robots, intrusive advertising, over-population, pollution and dreary weather.

But what exactly did Blade Runner get right about life in 2019?

Although high-collared full-length trench coats aren’t exactly popular (yet), a lot of the film’s predictions were pretty spot on.

Here’s what Blade Runner got right (and wrong) about November 2019.

Voice recognition technology

Blade Runner’s take on voice recognition technology is pretty spot on.

Well… sort of.

blade runner 2019
Image: YouTube.

In one scene, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) used verbal commands to instruct a computer to zoom in on a photograph.

Now, in 2019, we use voice recognition technology (e.g. Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa) to find out the weather, set reminders and even turn off the lights.

In the film, Deckard also used a phone booth to make a video call. While Skype or FaceTime is essentially available on every smartphone, Blade Runner wasn't exactly on the money when it came to this prediction for the future.

ADVERTISEMENT

After all, when was the last time you saw a phone booth? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Artificial intelligence

In Blade Runner, the film follows Deckard's mission to take out replicants, which are hyper-realistic bio-robotic beings that pose a potential threat to humanity.

In the movie, replicants are identified using the 'Voight-Kamff Test', which exposes their lack of empathy, thus distinguishing them from humans.

Although we're not exactly at the point where robots look indistinguishable from humans, artificial intelligence has come a long way from tools like Siri to Hanson Robotic's slightly terrifying "Sophia" humanoid robot.

Flying cars

via GIPHY

Flying cars are a pretty standard trope for most movies set in the future.

Although there aren't exactly flying cars available in 2019, there are a number of companies – including Uber and Kitty Hawk – attempting to make them a reality.

On the other hand, cars are becoming more futuristic.

Just take a look at Tesla's newly-announced all-electric 'Cybertruck', which was strongly influenced by the flying vehicles in both Blade Runner and the film's 2017 sequel, Blade Runner 2049.

ADVERTISEMENT

Intrusive advertising

In Blade Runner, Los Angeles is full of huge digital billboards from brands ranging from Coca-Cola to the now-defunct Pan American World Airways.

While the movie only gets some of the brands that have stuck around right (like Coca-Cola and Budweiser), advertising is indeed very much in your face in 2019.

blade runner 2019
Image: YouTube.

A look at the electronic billboards that have taken over New York City's Times Square proves that Blade Runner's prediction about advertising is pretty much spot on.

In fact, the ultimate attraction of Times Square is essentially the huge, flashing advertisements.

...Interesting.

Climate change

Just as foreshadowed in Blade Runner, the climate certainly is changing.

In the film, Los Angeles is shown dealing with constantly dreary, miserable, rainy weather as a result of humans failing to look after the world. In fact, there isn't an outdoor scene where it isn't raining.

Although climate change is already having a huge impact worldwide, we're not exactly at constant downpour status or creating off-world communities to escape Earth just yet.

But although we're not there yet, Blade Runner was definitely spot on when it came to the world's changing climate.

Listen to the latest episode of Mamamia's daily entertainment podcast, The Spill, below.

What do you think about Blade Runner's take on life in 2019? Let us know in the comments.


Sign up for our weekly "TV and Movies" newsletter. Every week, our Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik gives you a backstage pass to the best movies, TV shows and celebrity interviews.


00:00 / ???