The Future In Movies

Posted By on October 7, 2015

On Tuesday October 6th, 2015 I sat down with about 20 people to talk about how I became a futurist, what I think about the world and the changes that are happening and to answer questions. In this session I was asked what movies do I think show us where the future was headed. Great question. I had to give three answers and I wanted to expand on that and highlight 10 movies that have not only inspired me but I think show us a window into the future somewhat.

The Future In Movies shows us 10 science fiction movies that help us to question and think about what will likely come to pass.

The movies are as follows, and in no particular order:

  • 2001, A Space Odyssey
  • Blade Runner
  • The Lawnmower Man
  • Moon
  • Elysium
  • Gattaca
  • Interstellar
  • Johnny Mnemonic
  • Sundays

2001, A Space Odyssey – Renegade Artificial Intelligence

The film follows a voyage to Jupiter with the sentient computer Hal after the discovery of a mysterious black monolith affecting human evolution. The film deals with the themes of existentialism, human evolution, technology, artificial intelligence, and extraterrestrial life. It is noted for its scientifically accurate depiction of space flight, pioneering special effects, and ambiguous imagery.

Blade Runner – Sentient Androids

Bladerunner is one of those films you live with and revisit often.

Ridley Scott depicts a dystopian Los Angeles in November 2019, in which genetically engineered replicants, which are visually indistinguishable from adult humans, are manufactured by the powerful Tyrell Corporation as well as by other “mega-corporations” around the world. The use of replicants on Earth is banned and they are exclusively utilized for dangerous or menial work on off-world colonies.

Replicants who defy the ban and return to Earth are hunted down and killed (“retired”) by special police operatives known as “Blade Runners”. The plot focuses on a group of recently escaped replicants hiding in Los Angeles and the burnt-out expert Blade Runner, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who reluctantly agrees to take on one more assignment to hunt them down.

I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe. [laughs] Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched c-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like [coughs] tears in rain. Time to die.

The Lawnmower Man – Virtual reality

If ever there was a movie that embraced and showed us a vision of what Virtual Reality was then it was The Lawnmower man.

A simple man is turned into a genius through the application of computer science.

Moon – Clones and Robot Assistants

What if we have clones to do our bidding and they can love?

It is the near future. Astronaut Sam Bell is living on the far side of the moon, completing a three-year contract with Lunar Industries to mine Earths primary source of energy, Helium-3. It is a lonely job, made harder by a broken satellite that allows no live communications home. Taped messages are all Sam can send and receive.

Thankfully, his time on the moon is nearly over, and Sam will be reunited with his wife, Tess, and their three-year-old daughter, Eve, in only a few short weeks. Finally, he will leave the isolation of Sarang, the moon base that has been his home for so long, and he will finally have someone to talk to beyond Gerty, the bases well-intentioned, but rather uncomplicated computer.

I truly love Gerty’s emoticon suite to convey mood and emotion – expressions read as follows (from top left reading across): Happy (Default), Indifferent, Sad, Confused, Excited, Winking, Unhappy, Suprised, Thinking (2 icons cycling), and “Good News”.


Elysium – Divided Society

What if wealth and privilege truly divided the world. Those that have could live forever and those that don’t fight to survive in overpopulated cities.

In the year 2154, two classes of people exist: the very wealthy, who live on a pristine man-made space station called Elysium, and the rest, who live on an overpopulated, ruined Earth. Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) will stop at nothing to preserve the luxurious lifestyle of the citizens of Elysium – but that doesn’t stop the people of Earth from trying to get in by any means they can. Max (Matt Damon) agrees to take on a life threatening mission, one that could bring equality to these polarized worlds.

Gattaca – Genetic Selection

Will our predisposed genetics decide our fate?

Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Alan Arkin and Jude Law star in this engrossing sci-fi thriller about an all-too-human man who dares to defy a system obsessed with genetic perfection. Hawke stars as Vincent, an “In-Valid” who assumes the identity of a member of the genetic elite to pursue his goal of traveling into space with the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation. However, a week before his mission, a murder marks Vincent as a suspect. With a relentless investigator in pursuit and the colleague he has fallen in love with beginning to suspect his deception, Vincent’s dreams steadily unravel.

Interstellar – Time and Space

The film features a crew of astronauts who travel through a wormhole in search of a new home for humanity. This really shows the potential of what we could do if we go far enough and if our physics geniuses are right.

Johnny Mnemonic – Information Carriers

Keanu Reeves is a space-age courier who’s plugged in, turned on and buffed up to deliver the most important data of the 21st century, wet-wired directly into his brain! A rapid-fire roller coaster of action and high-impact imagery! Also starring Dolph Lundgren, Takeshi, Ice-T, Dina Meyer and Henry Rollins.

This is not a great movie (for me anyway) however the idea of uploading information and being a courier will become very real.

I can carry nearly 80 Gigs of data in my head.


This year, in 2015, a short movie called Sundays hit Vimeo. It has all of the sensibilities of Cyberpunk with the modern polish of low budget yet high definition and quality of the modern filmmakers ecosystem.

Sundays is set in Mexico City sometime in the future.

The end of the world seems like a nightmare to Ben. A memory of a past life that doesn’t belong to him. When Ben starts to remember Isabelle, the only love he’s ever known, he realises she’s missing in his life. An existential descent into confusion and the desperate need to find out the truth begins. This reality depicts a stunning, surprising and dark world. A world that is clearly not his.


Nikolas Badminton is a world-respected futurist speaker that researches, speaks, and writes about the future of work, how technology is affecting the workplace, how workers are adapting, the sharing economy, and how the world is evolving. He appears at conferences in Canada, USA, UK, and Europe. Email him to book him for your radio, TV show, or conference.


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