Movie made: 1973 | Set in: 2173
|Genetically engineered food||occurred||occurred|
|Brain-interface pleasure devices||medium||2020+|
|Android robot butlers||low||2020+|
|Authoritarian government in U.S.||low||2020+|
|Artificial intelligence confessional||low||2010+|
|Personal jet-helicopter packs||low||2030+|
Woody Allen is Miles Monroe, who awakens in the 22nd century after he is preserved following complications from an ulcer operation. The future depicted is the usual future of rounded concrete minimalism that prevailed for much of the 20th century, with 1973 hip styles (and beanbag chairs) thrown in.
A satirical send-up, it amusingly skewers many futurist standards.
Brain technology / sex / entertainment:
People are fond of the orgasmatron, which apparently induces an extremely pleasurable state through some type of brain stimulation.
They also use the orb, which induces an instant high when handled. It is not clear if it is a drug delivery device or interfaces directly with the brain.
Knowledge of the brain is increasing rapidly, and there are preliminary efforts to create direct brain-device linkages.
It is possible that means to stimulate the brain’s pleasure centers could be found early in the 21st century. Would it be accepted? Societal acceptance or rejection of various drugs is essentially arbitrary, so it might.
And the orb could be a safer and more precise means of achieving the effects of alcohol and other commonly used drugs.
The house also has an aromatron, to generate fragrances. There are already devices on which one can dial an odor.
Monroe raids a farm, on which gigantic carrots and tomatoes are grown. He escapes with a 7-foot banana and a 12-foot celery.
Since the movie was made, genetic engineering has become a reality. The first commercial product was in fact a tomato, and Americans now eat genetically engineered foods every day.
The evil leader has been assassinated, but the government is going to resurrect him by cloning his nose, his only surviving part.
This may soon be possible in reality. The problem is that cloning results only in an embryo, without any memories or knowledge. But in the movie they seem to have developed technologies for accelerated growth, and perhaps a mind download as well.
See: A note on cloning.
Miles is measured, and a suit of clothes is created instantly. (It doesn’t fit, but the robot tailor says he can take it in.)
This too has begun. Levi’s and other companies offer customized clothing on a limited basis, and customization will spread widely in consumer goods in the opening decades of the 21st century.
Miles is given a robot dog. (“Is he housebroken or will he be leaving little batteries all over the place?” he asks.)
The Japanese are developing robot pets as possible companions to the elderly. Robot pets will be capable of increasingly sophisticated behavior, and should be able to simulate most pet behaviors within a couple of decades.
Everyone is registered in identity databases. This is already possible, but Americans’ inclination to privacy has kept it from being implemented.
Increased use of biometric devices and electronic commerce will drive the proliferation of mass databases in the U.S. Elsewhere, pervasive electronic identity systems are already in use, tied to national ID cards.
By 2020, there will probably be national systems in some countries in which anyone can be instantly identified by facial features, fingerprints, irises, or other characteristics.
Miles goes to an artificial confessional to confess his impure thoughts to the state.
The confessional is just the sort of situation that could be automated: structured, with limited vocabulary and limited outcomes.
Voice recognition is on the verge of being able to support such a function.
Clumsy-looking robot butlers help around the house, cleaning, chauffeuring, and gardening.
These capabilities will gradually appear over the next few decades, though it is likely they will not all be embodied in a humanoid robot. Cars will drive themselves, for instance, without an additional robot driver.
People drive the generic humming bubble cars of the future.
They also have personal jet-helipacks, which function poorly. These are unlikely in the foreseeable future, baring new power sources and safety advances.
The U.S., or world, is authoritarian, worshipping a single leader.
Anything is possible by the 22nd century. But the trajectory in the West for the past 400 years has been toward greater freedom and human rights, and this trend is accelerating globally. It would take social upheaval in the U.S. to turn the country away from democracy.
People are still wearing glasses in 2173, though this is unlikely in the developed world beyond the mid-21st century.