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Future Tech: 

The 5 Biggest Lies Hollywood Told Us About The Future

For as long as movies have existed, audiences and filmmakers have been obsessed with the future. From Georges Méliès silent masterpiece A Trip To The Moon to the classic 1960 adaptation of The Time Machine and, errr, the 2002 remake starring Samantha Mumba – Hollywood has a rich history of looking ahead. The problem is that it often gets it predictions very, very wrong.

Our advice? If you’re going to set your film in the future, it’s a good idea to set it way in the future. Far enough that when the next smart-ass article appears online to pick apart your inaccurate forecast, you’ll either be long dead or lying in a pod somewhere next to your cryogenically-frozen organs. Just don’t ask us to put a date on when that might be possible.

In the meantime, here are five of the biggest fibs Hollywood told us about the future.

1) We can travel through time

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We have to go back!” You’re telling us.

There have been enough movies about time travel now that you’d think we would have at least dabbled in a different dimension, but the truth is we haven’t even got close. Never mind the future or the distant past, you couldn’t even go back in time to, say, before you started reading this article. Despite what we learned watching Austin Powers and Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and took to be based on real science, it looks like time travel is just something dreamed up by scriptwriters – like Superman or Barney the Dinosaur.

Notable culprits: Back to the Future, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Timecop

So, is it possible? Well, Stephen Hawking thinks so. Apparently, travelling back in time is very complicated (well, duh..) but hurtling to the future is much more likely – all we need to do is find a wormhole. Unfortunately that’s not something you can pick up at Walmart, and if we do manage to find one it would still have to be made into a working time machine, which all sounds very dangerous if you ask us. Maybe we’re fine where we are, after all.

2) We will all have jet packs

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Voted no. 1 in Paste Magazine’s list of The 25 Best James Bond Gadgets, the jetpack from 1965’s Thunderball has been teased in movies for at least 50 years. You’d think that would be long enough to knock up a half-decent rocket pack, but instead we’ve been treated to yet more of Hollywood’s lies. Jet packs have since featured in Return of the JediThe Rocketeer and the Arnold Schwarzenegger-featuring Running Man – if you’re sensing a pattern it’s that Arnold Schwarzenegger really likes lying to us about the future.

Notable culprits: The Rocketeer, Thunderball, Running Man

So, is it possible? Google was actually working on a jetpack in its secret Google X laboratory, but gave up when it ran into power efficiency issues. A poor effort.

3) We can get our clones to do our chores

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Okay, so cloning in movies hasn’t always worked out for the best, and that’s before we even begin thinking about the stacks of ethical considerations. But we’re getting away from the point here – Hollywood told us there would be human clones and there aren’t any. Not even one.

Notable culprits: The 6th Day, Moon, The Matrix

So, is it possible? Probably, we did manage to clone a sheep after all. Even if it is biologically possible to clone a human, though, after seeing the results play out in movies it’s probably best we leave this one alone.

4) We can fly to work on hoverboards

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When Marty McFly and the Doc travelled forward in time in Back to the Future II, the date the Delorean pulls up at is October 21, 2015. Now, admittedly, we still have a few months before the movie’s vision is proved to be a gigantic lie, but we can say with some confidence that a hoverboard like Marty’s is out of the question. The latest effort, Hendo, requires a specific metal surface in order to go anywhere and, even when it does, it sounds like a room full of vacuum cleaners sucking up gravel.

Notable culprits: Back to the Future II, Spider-Man 3

So, is it possible? We can make a board hover, but we’re a long way off something as functional, seamless and cool as Marty’s. If you’re interested in how close we’ve come, we recently charted the complete history of real-life hover boards, from best to worst.

5) We will live in fear of our robot overlords

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For all of Hollywood’s failures in predicting the future, sometimes we’re glad when they get things wrong. Robots, for instance, may be getting smarter (they can even get jobs in banks), but they’re still mostly clumsy, less-competent versions of human beings. If it came down to a battle between us and them, it’d be far less epic than the Terminator series, so let’s just be thankful of that and enjoy the movie.

Notable culprits: Terminator, 2001: A Space Odyssey 

So, is it possible? We hope not, and if there are any robot overlords reading this, we didn’t mean that thing we said up there about you being clumsy. You’re actually very nice.

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