Christopher Nolan on how ‘2001’ influenced modern technology

Christopher Nolan on how ‘2001’ influenced modern technology

  • Technology
  • May 13, 2022
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  • 4 minutes read


The future haunts us. He doesn’t show up in the bushes saying, “Hi, this is the future.” Do you mind pointing me in the direction of the toilet? it creeps in slowly, almost imperceptibly. Just as we don’t realize we’re getting older until one day, quite uncovered, we realize we’re old and gray; We only notice the impact of progress when things have already changed beyond recognition. Only then do we begin to look back, looking for clues as to how we got to where we are.

We’re in the middle of one of those retrospective moments right now. With technology more abundant, affordable, and smarter than ever, there is a growing sense that humanity’s creations are making humanity obsolete, or at least seem a little tenuous in comparison. In the 1960s, when the idea of ​​robots folding clothes and smart ovens first entered the popular imagination, there was a question on everyone’s lips: “Can you think of a machine?”

It was an enigma posed in the 1950s when Alan Turing proposed that a machine could be taught in the same way as a child. As AI researchers began using computers to translate between languages ​​and recognize images and understand instructions, the idea that computers would inevitably develop the ability to think and act on their own began to enter the dominant culture. The most obvious example of artificial intelligence anxiety in the 1960s is presented in the form of the HAL on-board computer in the work of Stanley Kubrick. 2001: A Space Odyssey.

While we are still a long way from developing sensitive machines like HAL, many of the technologies are there 2001: A Space Odyssey they are very recognizable to current Apple users. As Christopher Nolan explained in a BBC interview: “Ten years ago, the ideas of artificial intelligence [in 2001: A Space Odyssey] they looked a little quaint, they looked a little outdated. But then, over the last ten years, things have gone a long way toward AI, the idea of ​​talking assistants, you know, with Alexa and Siri and all those electronic assistants talking to you, and the idea of ​​AI: everything has arrived. return en masse.

In retrospect, it seems incredible that Kubrick was able to predict future technologies so accurately. Video calls, tablets, electronic assistants – they are all there 2001. Of course, to assume that Kubrick was a kind of oracle would be to ignore the fact that fictional representations of the future determine the form that future later takes on in reality.

“Look at these guys with these screens, and they’re iPads for all intents and purposes,” Nolan continued. “So the extent to which the people who make today’s technology have been influenced by the film and what part of the film only predicted where things would go naturally is impossible to unravel because the 2001 has had a massive influence on the way I envisioned the future. ”



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