10 Things 2001: A Space Odyssey Got The Future Wrong


Back in 1968, Stanley Kubrick changed the face of science fiction cinema (permanently) with his masterclass project. 2001: A space odyssey. For the first time, a space-themed movie went beyond flying saucers, ray guns, and mutant monsters in rubber suits, and ascended to a higher level of storytelling and technical authenticity.

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By the way, 2001: a space odyssey He made some bold predictions about what life would be like 33 years later. Many of them turned out to be true, especially when it comes to technology, while other predictions were not as accurate. Some hit the mark but missed the date, while others still have a long way to go before moving on to the practical and / or theoretical stages.

10 Long-distance space exploration

A shot of Discovery One approaching Jupiter in 2001: a space odyssey

2001 depicts Discovery One traveling to Jupiter with Drs. David Bowman and Drs. Frank Poole on board. There, they discover a huge monolith linked to the first two previously glimpsed in the film. It’s a stunning scene that feels authentic and real, solidifying the movie as one of the best deep space dramas ever made.

Humans have a long, long way to go before venturing that far. Part of the reason has to do with the physics of space itself. While the satellites have managed to travel to Jupiter in just 550 days, a space crew hoping to establish an orbit around the planet would have to travel much slower, lest they fly in tandem. Current estimates put that trip at around six years, which is hard to imagine at this point.

9 Artificial gravity

A flight attendant delivers food in an artificial gravity environment in 2001: a space odyssey

It may seem quirky and cool to float in zero gravity, but that spells doom for anything that looks like long-term space exploration. In the end, humans will have to find a way to double the force of gravity to achieve this. There are several methods to achieve artificial gravity and 2001 use one of the most effective.

Newton’s third law plays an important role here, specifically when it comes to centrifugal force. This could be the first method humans perfect for simulating gravity, although it probably won’t be the last. NASA has successfully tested the technology, but at this time it has never been used in space. The crippling factor, right now, is cost.

8 Artificial intelligence

A shot of HAL 9000 looking at David and Frank

Of all future predictions represented in 2001, Artificial intelligence is what managed to predict so well, but at the same time was so wrong. The murderous computer known as HAL 9000 suffers a nervous breakdown due to a dead end of logic in one of Stanley Kubrick’s most crucial and memorable scenes.

Today’s artificial intelligence is advancing by leaps and bounds, but it is mostly limited to machine learning and predictive responses, rather than full-blown interaction and conversation. AI projects like IBM’s popular Watson look more and more like HAL 9000 all the time, but there is little to do other than beat human contestants in Danger!

7 Computer hardware

A shot inside an EVA capsule in 2001: a space odyssey

Much of the computerized hardware in 2001 it bears similarities to the type of technology being used today, but there’s no way anyone could have predicted how far real-world computing would jump year after year. While the premise is the same, there is something dated about the way computer technology is depicted in the film.

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Although the use of tablets appears to be successful, those elements did not exist until around 2010. Other types of computer hardware lack the sleek and streamlined interfaces that humans have come to regard as commonplace. Even mice and keyboards were relatively new technologies when 2001 it was made and as such was not in the film’s vision of the future.

6 Colonization of the Moon

An overview of the lunar colony in 2001: a space odyssey

A gigantic and sprawling colony called Clavius ​​Base is depicted in 2001, and it is quite a sight to behold. Unfortunately, humans in the real world probably won’t see anything like it until 2050, at the earliest. In fact, Elon Musk’s Mars colonization project is much more likely to see further progress before someone cuts ground on the Moon.

However, it is far from an impossible prospect. There have been plans to colonize the moon, and it will certainly happen before the end of this century, but 2001 jumped the gun too much. The fictional basis for the film was completed in 1994 when humans were getting used to the concept of email.

5 The expansion of the BBC

Frank and David watch BBC 12 on a giant tablet in 2001: A Space Odyssey

While the BBC was a fairly popular broadcasting company from the 1960s to the 1990s, it began to wane afterwards. 2001 describes the company expanding to the point of having 12 individual stations, which is a premise that went a bit beyond their skis.

In reality, the network has never gone beyond BBC Four, along with some subsidiary channels such as CBBC and BBC Parliament. Although it has several international stations around the world, the BBC itself is experiencing a rapid decline in viewership, as it takes over the rise of Internet news sources. Fortunately, you still have some decent shows to enjoy.

4 Pan-Am Flight Company

A Futuristic Pan-Am Spaceship In 2001: A Space Odyssey

The sleek space shuttle with all the luxurious amenities shown in the first half of 2001 it is courtesy of Pan American World Airways, more commonly known as Pan Am. The company was founded in 1927 and by the 1970s it had risen to a profitable peak.

Unfortunately, Pan Am did not last until 2001. In fact, a National Airlines acquisition in 1980, coupled with a highly competitive and deregulated market, burdened the company’s balance sheet. It filed for bankruptcy in 1991 in an attempt to restructure operations, but by then it was bleeding money and stopped working in December of that year.

3 Video call

Dr. Floyd talks to his daughter on a video call in 2001: A Space Odyssey

The first act of 2001 shows Dr. Floyd contacting his little daughter on Earth via video conference. Surprisingly, the movie predicted the rise of what humans now take for granted in the form of Facetime and Zoom calls. However, these technologies were certainly not the norm in 2001.

Also, the transmission method appears to be on some kind of videophone line, as evidenced by the fact that Floyd is charged $ 1.70 after the call is ended. The type of video conferencing we use today is streamed over a broadband connection and usually for free, unless a person exceeds their roaming data limit.

two Suspended animation

David reviews scientists in cryosleep in 2001: a space odyssey

Scientists are not far from creating a stable and viable form of suspended animation, but humans weren’t using it in 2001, especially for the purposes the film intended. In fact, many are still breathing in relief that the Y2K crash never happened, while enjoying the fashions of the time.

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Currently, suspended animation research seems to focus primarily on chemical treatments that replicate the type of hibernation seen in bears. The type of frostbite seen in 2001, and similar movies like Ridley Scott’s Alien seems to be far away. It remains to be seen which form ends up winning the race.

1 Space stations

The interior of a futuristic space station in 2001: a space odyssey

The type of space stations represented in 2001 they are a long way from what we have today, and it will be some time before that vision is within our grasp. The first act of 2001 finds Dr. Floyd making a pit stop on an orbiting space station that looks like something from the 22nd century, at least. The level of luxury is staggering.

These days, space stations are quite utilitarian and straightforward, and life on them is not particularly easy. The one represented in 2001 It has restaurants, chain hotels, and other upscale amenities, with future-chic, minimal decor, clean lines, and pleasing aesthetics, so the real world is still a long way off.

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