Movie released: 1997 | Set in: early 21st century

Summary Table
Event Likelihood Time frame
Genetic improvement of human embryos high 2015+

Approach to the future

Scenario-as-fable — Gattaca is a serious examination of the impact of human genetic engineering, serving as a backdrop for a fable about the human spirit.


Futurism: 8

Entertainment: 8

Plausibility: 7

Interesting depictions

Human genetic engineering / reproduction:
Society is divided into two tiers: the majority who have been genetically improved mentally and physically, and those who arrived by “faith-birth,” without genetic intervention.

The natural-born are assumed to be inferior, and are discriminated against. And they are inferior, in some sense: they have not been given specific abilities, and their defects have not been eliminated.

These issues will arise inevitably. The elimination of defects has already begun, with the abortion of fetuses found to have serious medical problems. (But “defective” is relative: in India and other male-centered societies, fetuses are aborted for being female.) More and more genetic conditions will be testable, and it will be logical to conceive outside the body and test before implantation.

Then it will be possible to correct some serious medical conditions, and people will decide that this is right. Then the scale will begin to slide: do you correct poor eyesight, if you can? Do you correct shortness? Do you begin to correct behaviors which have a genetic component?

Finally, enhancements will be possible, and the divergence between people or societies who use them, and those who do not, will grow greater.

Other technologies/topics depicted

Information technology:
By the 2030s, workers doing complex modeling and programming are not going to be sitting at desks with keyboards and small screens. Interface and display will be flexible, immersive, and intuitive.

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The futures depicted in the movies