Fans of the original Blade Runner film will remember space crafts zooming around the skies of Los Angeles with not a freeway in sight, animals and plants were almost extinct, and most of the earth's population had left the planet. It was set two years from now in 2019. Based on a book that came out in 1968, the original post-apocalyptic story was meant to take place in 1992, so pushing the timeline to 2019 for the movie was quite generous. Looking back at what the media projected early 21st century life would be like can sometimes turn comical (2015 in Back to the Future 2 anyone?), until we step back and see the small changes that would look revolutionary to someone from the past.
Landlines turned into flip phones which turned into smart phones and now these super computers are carried in everyones' pockets. Clear face to face (via a screen) communication is commonplace and groceries or food can be delivered to your door with a few swipes and pushes on your screen. You can even wear smartphones on your wrist, like George Jetson in 2062. The world is connected via email and social networks and it is possible to avoid personal interaction with other humans altogether.
Two weeks ago at the 68th annual International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide Australia, Elon Musk debuted one of Space X's latest projects, a rocket nicknamed Big Falcon Rocket or BFR, to be used for commercial travel. This is the lightening-fast travel of the future that would be right at home in Blade Runner, example: New York to Shanghai would take an estimated 39 minutes. All the more impressive, Musk promised that seats aboard the ship would approximately be the same cost as an airline ticket. It might sound like a pipe dream but ten years ago so did a self-driving electric car that could go from 0 to 60 in 2.8 seconds. Musk has proven he's one to act on his lofty goals.
So perhaps 1982's version of Blade Runner wasn't too preposterous after all? Perhaps we should take the sequel's vision of 2049 a little more seriously? In which case, it might time to take that trip to one of the National Parks soon.