All the ways ‘Minority Report’ predicted the future – CNET

‘Minority Report,’ 15 years later

Tom Cruise looks to the future in “Minority Report,” which came out in the US 15 years ago, on June 21, 2002. Fittingly for a film about people who can see into the future and predict crime, Steven Spielberg‘s movie has proven remarkably prescient about the technology we’re developing today …

Photo by: Dreamworks/Fox

Pinch-and-zoom technology

The most famous technology from “Minority Report” probably involves the transparent computer screens Cruise controls with hand gestures. We’re not quite there yet, but when you watch Cruise pinch and zoom in on parts of his screens, it’s easy to forget that back in 2002, we had no idea we’d be able to do this later, and on pocket-size phones to boot.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures


Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Smart home technology

When Cruise’s character gets home, he simply says “I’m home,” and he’s greeted by classical music. He then says “overhead,” and the overhead lights come on. In 2002, this seemed fantastical to anyone but Bill Gates, but now we can link our home products, such as the Nest thermostat, to smart speakers like the Amazon Echo, and do much the same thing.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Score one for newspapers

Cruise may have a smart home, but he still has to clip newspaper articles and keep them around in paper form, apparently. (Later on, we see newspapers and magazines with dynamically changing headlines, so these clippings make even less sense.)

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Talking cereal box

Cruise snacks on dry cereal (Pine and Oats), and the cereal’s jingle plays while the characters on its box dance around until he flings the package across the room. We don’t have this kind of packaging yet (thankfully), but most can relate to his frustration with overplayed ads. Also, why is “pine” part of a cereal? Paging Euell Gibbons …

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Memories on clear discs

“Minority Report” never heard of the cloud, apparently. Cruise stores memories of his lost son on these admittedly cool-looking clear disc-type items. You’d think by 2054 we’d have better label makers though.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

3D videos

In a scene that’s both technologically cool and tragic, Cruise sort of interacts with his lost son Sean. He plays a video of him, and Sean appears to become a 3D figure, at least briefly. You still can’t whip up 3D Grandma at home, but we’re getting closer, with even deceased singers such as Tupac Shakur being brought back using fancy reflection technique similar to a hologram.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Yoga lady

Welp, we still don’t have a lot of this going on. When Cruise crashes into some kind of yoga class, a woman walks over to him looking like a pretzel. Let’s just keep this in fiction, OK? There’s flexibility and then there’s freakishly disturbing flexibility.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Self-driving cars

In “Minority Report,” the cars not only drive themselves, they shoot up and down roads built like roller coasters; climb buildings; and hover using magnetic levitation. We’re still waiting on most of that, but driverless cars are already a reality, if not a regular site.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Cars that can be put on lockdown

When Cruise’s character is on the run, his own pre-crime department shuts down his driverless car and locks him inside. (He breaks out, because duh, he’s Tom Cruise.) That doesn’t happen, you say? In 2016, a Seattle car thief was remotely locked inside the BMW he was allegedly stealing.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Optical scans

Everyone from criminals to ordinary citizens gets an eye scan (called an eye-dent, as in “identification”) in “Minority Report.” In 2002, when the movie came out, this technology probably sounded more futuristic than it does now, when we’ve seen iris scanning used to unlock smartphones.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Eye see you

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Spyders commanded by police

The police send in robotic spiders (spelled “spyders”) to seek out humans by their heat signatures. (Cruise hides out in an ice bath.) We don’t have these yet, but military and police drones can rush in to dangerous situations where humans fear to tread.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Change of face

At one point, Cruise’s character gives himself a painful injection that temporarily melts and stretches his skin, making him look like a different person. The change isn’t as dramatic as the movies, but temporary procedures such as the “five-minute nose job” allow similar facial reshaping without full-on surgery.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Cyber parlor

Cruise takes “precog” Agatha, who can see the future, to visit a hacker he hopes can help him tap into her brain. They meet up at the hacker’s “cyber parlor,” where clients pay to have their fantasies enacted in private rooms with hologram-style characters. Some come for sex, but this man was being applauded and praised by a room full of well-dressed men and women, as if he’d just won an Oscar or saved the world. It’s not quite the same, but virtual reality headsets can thrust us into a situation we’d swear was real, whether roller coaster or jungle trek.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

FaceTime, future style

When Cruise is preparing to go out and prevent a murder as seen by the precognitives, he calls up live videos of a judge and a doctor to agree he has enough evidence to pursue his investigation — somewhat like signing a search warrant. We’ve had video conference calls for a while now, but the way this scene is presented comes off much more like a slightly newer invention — Apple’s FaceTime.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Jet packs

What’s the one technology we’ve always wanted from our future? OK, besides time travel and flying cars. Jet packs! And the technology is actually being developed — one of CNET’s editors even watched an ordinary person fly one after just a few hours of training. But unlike in Cruise’s movie, cops aren’t using them to fly down en masse and arrest suspects — yet.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Sick sticks

Apologies in advance for this image. One of the police weapons in “Minority Report” is called a “sick stick.” It’s kind of like a Taser, but get hit with it, and your stomach contents decide to make a return visit to their old friend, the outdoors. Sounds similar to the real LED Incapacitator, a weapon designed like a flashlight that uses different random pulses and can induce headaches, nausea, visual impairment and, yes, vomiting.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Newspaper with changing headlines

When Cruise’s character is trying to escape, a man on the DC Metro is reading USA Today. While they sit just rows apart, the newspaper’s headlines change to reflect the breaking news that he’s on the run, complete with photo for handy across-the-aisle identification. Our print newspaper headlines still can’t do that, but if the man were reading the news on a smartphone, laptop, or tablet, he might very well see news of a wanted criminal develop on his screen. Assuming, of course, he could get a signal …

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Magazine update

Like the newspaper in the earlier slide, a copy of U.S. News and World Report also changes its cover story to show moving video imagery of the on-the-run Cruise. The movie sure couldn’t see into the future here. It shows a paper copy of U.S. News in 2054, but the magazine went online-only in 2010.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Gesture controls

Cruise’s character can wave his hands and relocate screens and information on them. Viewers of the movie will have to admit that the first time they played Microsoft Kinect or Nintendo Wii, they felt a little bit like “Minority Report” had come to life.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Personalized advertising

As Cruise’s character walks through public spaces, advertisements recognize him through iris scanning and adjust their ads to target him personally, drawing on items they know he’s purchased. He’s encouraged by name to buy a Guinness, a Lexus, and a mockup of his name on an American Express card is shown. Modern shoppers can relate. If you’ve ever purchased, say, a pair of shoes on Amazon, personalized ads urging you to buy similar products will show up on Facebook, in Gmail, and numerous other online places. Never mind that you just bought some damn shoes.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Fall into The Gap

Cruise’s character heads to a Gap store to get some product placement done — er, to get some clothes for precog Agatha. He’s greeted by a Jennifer Aniston-looking holographic salesperson who scans his transplanted eyes and recognizes him as “Mr. Yamamoto” and wants to know how he’s enjoying the new tank tops he purchased. Sometimes, personalized advertising really does go too far.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures

Car factory with robots

At one point, Cruise and the police battle it out in a car factory, and Cruise ends up trapped in a self-driving car that’s literally built around him by robots. (The car even gets a shiny red paint job, shown here, while Cruise sits inside.) Robots building cars are reality of course, though usually enough humans are around to prevent a car from being built around anyone. Here’s a slideshow of robots working at Tesla Motors.

Photo by: DreamWorks Pictures


The most beautiful phone ever has one wildly annoying issue

The Samsung Galaxy S8’s fast speeds and fantastic curved screen make it a top phone for 2017, but the annoying fingerprint reader could sour your experience.

Hot Products

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *