Recently I saw the newly released 50th-anniversary version of 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film that got me thinking about the future, as well as the last 50 years. When the original was released in 1968, it defined the height of futuristic thinking. The visions of life in space foreshadowed a world yet to be, but one that was portrayed in realistic terms.
And though I’ve seen the movie many times and it’s one of my all-time favorites, this new viewing was an entirely different experience. Why? Because so many of the things that Stanley Kubrick included as futuristic are now commonplace. Until just a few years ago you couldn’t say that.
For example, in one scene, a character makes a video phone call from a space transport to his young daughter for her birthday. Today many of us make video phone calls regularly. Another scene shows the same character watching a movie playing in front of his seat on the transport, much like the screens we see today on JetBlue and other airlines. And finally, an important character in the movie is the HAL 9000 — a computer that can have completely natural conversations that only a few years ago seemed phantasmagoric.
This scene hit home when I watched part of a recent Google developer conference in which the tech giant showed off its computer-based Google Assistant, which can strike up a completely natural conversation over the phone as it performs a rather mundane task: making an appointment. Read the Article