13 Inventions in the Eye of Total Recall (2012)

February 11, 2013

Where I whine about inventions placed in a SciFi movie.

I am a sucker for science fiction: books, movies, the works. It means that 95% of all movies of that genre are enjoyable to me (that’s a lot of crap). So being dead like a nail for almost a week with the flu, got me to watch Total Recall (2012) – something that got it 6.3 rating on IMDB – the definition of crap.

Total Recall 2012

Sorry to say – I enjoyed myself. While there is no real sense to what goes on in the movie, how they got to where they did and why they are doing such stupid things, it was fun. It was fun partly because the tech introduced in this film, conincides with so much of the things I am working on these days.

The movie is set at the turn of this century, which is probably about 80 years from now – too much time to do any real future-telling that makes sense these days. That said, I’d like to go over the different gadgetry and technologies on display in this movie – just to take a laugh at them: for a movie made last year, it sure doesn’t make any sense…

1. A Journey Through the Center of the Earth

Jules Verne thought of it first, and these guys decided to finally show it properly. It took us less than 80 years to drill the whole way from America to Australia and make the day-long trip it takes today into 15 minutes.

Wish it was true – especially the ability to have a view out the window.

That said, you’d think that the smarts required to build such a transport system would also allow people to find a solution to live in places that are only breathable through gas masks…

2. Imprinting Memories

So, we finally got to the point when we can map the human brain and fondle with it.

Somehow, I don’t buy this one, though it is impossible not to with the whole theme behind this movie.

3. Our Next iPhone is an Implant

And a very ugly one at that. What goes? Google Glass is way cooler than that set of wires. And what about some mind controlled communications? You can imprint memories but you can’t just tap into the brain to make calls?

The next iPhone will not be implanted in someone’s hand – that’s a bit to obtrusive with a type of an interface that even looks awkward on the big screen (only 42″ in my case).

4. Samsung Transparent Displays

Since we have an Apple device on this list, we need something from Samsung to counter.

The thing that is most prevalent in the movie looks like the day in glass movie from Corning:

And that next iPhone? It can interact with any surface, slave it to its needs and use it as a display area.

5. Private Communications

There are two modes of communication in this movie: voice calls and video calls

Video calls are deemed public. The moment you want a private channel – you switch to voice and talk into your hand.

Interesting concept. Google Glass works better for me.

6. No Instant Messaging

When you want to say something at the end of this century, you will need to talk. Face to case, even through a phone.

All that instant messaging, presence, SMS, emailing, pokes, likes, +1’s? Not going to be used.

Back to square one for us humans.

7. Horizontal elevators

Not much to say. Buildings are huge in all directions, so elevators move in all directions as well in this movie.

8. Wing pianos and paper books

These are two collector items from an analog era that make it into the movie. No Kindle, and no tablet for the gadget lovers.

9. Barak Obama on 500 USD Notes

I have no problem with inflation or having Barak Obama on money. I do have a problem with physical money though.

What happened to the Digital Wallet we’re all hearing about? It isn’t going to kill physical money by the turn of this century?

10. Face Holograms

Total Recall 2012 decided to work on the success of Star Wars and go back to hologram basics.

While holograms are a nice concept, I am not sure they are the medium for me. Neither are 3D TVs.

11. Autonomous Robots

They have this robotic type in the movie – the one that fights. They are autonomous and powerful. They plot doesn’t involve them too much, so they aren’t celebrated in any way in the movie. The weird thing is, this is the only automation that you really get to see in this movie.

12. Flying Cars

More like floating. But not autonomous ones – they aren’t robots. I think this movie missed that company called Google, as we already have autonomous cars roaming the streets in some cities, so how does this progress get stopped and forgotten so easily?

The floating gig is nice, but where’s the real automation?

13. Big Brother and Big Data are Rather Small

With all the hype going on around us about Big Data, the end privacy, real time analytics, etc. – you’d think this is going to stay with us. Not in Total Recall 2012. Someone ignored this trend altogether.

It seems that Enemy of the State from 1998 had a lot more Big Data/Brother going in for it that this one. Somehow, the movie revolves around the people in it, trying desperately to build characters into them, so the whole automation, analytics, data angles are just ignored and forgotten for the sake of the “plot” that doesn’t resonate with people anyway.

Flying cars, replaced memories, but no real Big Data or automation angles? You’d think they made this move 20 years ago…

Anyway, if you do have something to whine about when it comes to technology in movies – I am here for you: what your most embarrassing technology moment in a movie?


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