Blade Runner 2019 vs. Real 2019
Do you remember when the year came around that Back to the Future 2 was supposed to be set in and everyone wanted to compare the big screen movie version to the drab reality we got? Yeah, that was…(rubs eyes in disbelief)…FOUR FREAKING YEARS AGO?!?!
Yep, 2015 was BTTF2 year and a whole new fictional movie year is upon us. 2019 is the year that the 1982 Harrison Ford/Rutger Hauer sci-fi classic Blade Runner was set. So, barring any major leaps in technology by the Tyrell Corporation, we probably won’t have any Nexus-6 quality replicants by the end of the year. But some of the other “predictions” in Blade Runner have already been accomplished. Some of them have even be exceeded.
Let’s look at some of the things in Blade Runner and compare and contrast. For each entry I’ll give a brief version of the Blade Runner version, a brief version of reality and then I’ll name a “winner” between the two. This should be fun!
- 1.) ROBOTICS
BLADE RUNNER 2019: They’ve got some dope-ass robots in this version of 2019. The “replicants” are SO real, in fact, that only an elaborate cognitive test called the Voigt-Kampff test can differentiate the two. And, the fact that the replicants are stronger, smarter and more resilient than humans
OUR 2019: Here in the boring real world, we’re not even close. The best we’ve got is that creepy Asian receptionist android. That may be an interesting conversation piece but that’s not fooling anybody. Creeping people the hell out, yes, but not fooling anyone.
WINNER: The real 2019! I’ll take our boring 2019 real robots, thank you very much. Sure, they’re nowhere near escaping the uncanny valley (LINK TO: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncanny_valley) but they also (probably) kill you dead in a pique of existential despair. The replicants in Blade Runner 2019 are used as slave, given shorter life-spans and are pissssed when they find out about it.
- 2.) Los Angeles is an Environmental Disaster
BLADE RUNNER 2019: L.A. is constantly overcast, drizzling rain and gloomy. We’re left to assume this is the result of some kind of ecological disaster.
OUR 2019 : L.A.’s climate poses perils, not as immediate as those in Blade Runner and, oddly, sort of the exact opposite of the movie.
WINNER: Blade Runner 2019! This might be a matter of personal opinion but, say what you will about constant rain and glumness but maybe it beats having rampaging, devastating wildfires every single year.
- 3.) Space Exploration
BLADE RUNNER 2019: They’ve got mining operations throughout the solar system and are beginning to colonize space.
OUR 2019: We might go back to the moon after nearly 50 years. Maybe.
WINNER: Blade Runner, obviously. How did we go to the moon in what was basically a giant tin can on the end of a really big stick of dynamite back when the smallest computers were still the size of entire rooms and NOW when we’re all walking around with the equivalent of 1,000 ENIACs in our pockets we’re still only in the talking-about-it stage of manned extraterrestrial exploration?? I’m not a Trump fan but Space Force can’t come quick enough for me.
- 3.) Video Chatting
BLADE RUNNER 2019: Deckard can do a video phone call, sure. All he has to do is go to…(stifles laughter)…video phone booth (snicker)…and use DIAL UP…(guffaw) to place his call! And it costs him a buck twenty five!!
OUR 2019: Oh, man. We’ve been Skyping and Facetiming for like a decade now, virtually for free and from almost anywhere.
WINNER: Our 2019! But, who knows? Maybe before the end of 2019 the Internet will break or the Cloud will get clogged and we’ll all have to pay to use grimy, graffiti-ed phone booths that we’ll have to pay more than the cost of the average APP for. If I understand how technology works, it could happen. Right?
- 4.) Los Angeles Changing Demographics
BLADE RUNNER 2019: Everything is very…Asian…in the movie version of 2019. From the noodles everyone buys in bodegas, to the ads that run on giant digital billboards to the clothing style. I think maybe “Asian” has been movie shorthand for “futuristic” for a long while now.
OUR 2019 : The real 2019 L.A. is nothing like that. It’s all Mexican, not Chinese. Deckard should have been eating tacos from a food truck, listening to ranchero music and speaking Spanglish.
THE WINNER: Oh, no. I’m not touching that hornet’s nest.
- 5.) Flying Cars
BLADE RUNNER 2019: They’ve got ‘em!
THE WINNER: Anybody’s guess, but it has a lot more to do with politics and transportation safety than it does with technology. We’ve had the practical tech for flying cars for a couple of decades now. What we haven’t had so far is the necessary infrastructure to make flying cars an everyday part of life. Where would the roads be? Who’s going to control all that traffic? You know how annoying a fender bender is. How much worse would that be if it happened at 4 thousand feet? You get it. But, maybe the true dawn of the flying car is on the near horizon. Time will tell, but maybe the coming of the “driverless car” will also make the flying car more likely.