The most iconic tech in the movie Minority Report is the computer interface Tom Cruise’s character uses. It all looked very intuitive – he seemed to be navigating the software like he was manipulating something physical. There were taps, swipes, and twists. He moved information on the screen as if he was moving paper.
Then the movie continues to reveal this possible future, where ads are holographic displays and serve as their PoS system if they would like to purchase the products. One can’t help but compare services in Asia like GrabPay in the Philippines and Singapore. Still, in this future, personal information is basically out in the open, and the system uses that to determine if you can proceed to purchase.
It all sounds convenient, but it also includes every public document including medical and criminal records. Since they have access to an immense amount of information, the authorities find it easy to track down lawbreakers. For now, we have digital records that cover criminal and medical records of perpetrators, including their DNA profile. But this has not yet extended to law-abiding citizens.
Many strides have been made in this area, and we might not be far off from the kind of future we see in the Minority Report. However, the legality of using such a technology is still a question lawmakers and policymakers continue to discuss.
The hand gesture-heavy interface scenes are not just cool to look at, they are probably closer to reality than what most think. Touch screens are already able to detect multiple fingers. Cameras are now able to sense depth – XBox’s Kinect peripheral can detect limbs and fingers, even heart rate.
Some phones even have proximity sensors that let them know when the user is near, where practical use of this is when one can unlock the phone without touching it. Google is also experimenting with its hand-tracking technology, promising to detect even the smallest movements like the rubbing of two fingers. These are all bits and pieces that combined could soon replicate what the movie shows.
The people commute in vehicles that use magnetic levitation. Vertical roads and flying cars are also present. This part is something that may be far off in the future since it also entails major changes in city infrastructures.
Holographic displays project 3D images to the viewer. Though holographic technology is now available in the real world, its uses are not as broad as those in the film. What reality has that is close to it is a transparent OLED screen from LG, which right now is made for commercial purposes. Even better is an actual holographic display from Looking Glass Factory. Their displays are true 3D images since they do not require the aid of 3D glasses.
Technology at Hand
Since Minority Report was released in 2002, technology and science have made astounding leaps. The emergence of smartphones, tablets, video calling, electric vehicles has brought us closer to the kind of world imagined in Minority Report. Researchers and scientists are hoping that the march of science and knowledge will keep humanity moving forward.