It is funny how science fiction movies predict the future and allow the audience to take a voyage into imaginary worlds and explore strange new lives. Sci-fi movies have been forecasting advanced technologies and scientific inventions ranging from hovercrafts, jetpacks, drones, flying cars, robots and much more and many of these predictions have truly become a reality.
The Fifth Element, directed by Luc Besson in 1997, is one of such sci-fi movies. The movie was primarily set in the 23rd century and the central plot involves the survival of planet Earth. A responsibility for saving the planet is placed on a taxi driver, a former major in the special force, and a young woman. As the two undergo the quest for the ultimate humanity survival, the audience comes across a wide range of ‘imaginary’ technologies ranging from animatronic disguises, self-driving vehicles, automated homes, robotics, and automated driving that have become reality today. Let us have a closer look at these predictions and their modern-day realization.
1. Home Automation
Home automation (also called Domotics, smart home or smart house) is a home that leverages the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence to provide its inhabitants a comfortable living. Home automation system controls lighting, climate, appliances, security and entertainment systems.
In the sci-fi movie “The Fifth Element”, the main actor lived in a smart home that was equipped with present smart-home features like ring video doorbell, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HIVAC) system, lighting control system, home security, pet control system and a smart kitchen/connected cooking. Now, we have connected homes like Google homes and Amazon homes that have the features featured in the movie.
2. Autonomous Driving
In the Sci-Fi movie, the main character that happened to be a taxi driver- Korben Dallas used an autonomous vehicle – taxi. The driverless car design was related to the classic 40s and 50s Sedans but has a modern element like high window belt lines and curvaceous panels and could fly.
We are evolving into a world where autonomous driving is eventually taking over the steering wheels from our hands. Autonomous vehicles popularly called driverless cars involve a mind-blowing technology that is capable of making decisions without human intervention. The autonomous vehicle in the sci-fi movie had features like automatic mode, ambient environment, tons of buttons that served different purposes, GPS locators, geo-fencing technology, and sensor systems. The car from The Fifth Element also had a virtual assistant with artificial intelligence that was able to detect the vehicle’s and passenger’s health, predict possible accidents or detect oncoming gunshots from vehicles around it. Although this last feature is yet to be implemented in nowadays autonomous vehicles, other features have become a reality.
In previous years, a flying car was just an imagination but, recently, Terrafugia has designed, built, and driven a prototype of the frying vehicle and soon, there might be many successful flying cars on the market.
Robots are no new news and popular companies like Clearpath Robotics, Fetch Robotics, Pal Robotics, Robotnik and more are using advanced artificial intelligence in the creation of robots. However, despite significant advances in digital transformation and artificial intelligence in recent years, there is still a long way to go in meeting the reality of human-like robots.
In The Fifth Element, robots were used to provide security. Presently, we also have robots like Knightscope that provide security. These robots are called security robots and are used as replacements for human security guards. They also collect far more data than humans could. Companies like Robot Robots company have created a Robot Security System (RSS) like Secure Autonomous and Mobile (SAM) which is a perfect solution for security issues in logistics and data centers, public venues and parking garages. Apart from using robots to provide security, they are also used in many industries like aerospace, automotive, computer, beverage, electronics and so on.
4. Genetic Engineering
The movie predicted technological advancements in cloning and genetic manipulation. In the sci-fi movie, a portion of the remains from the supposed keeper of the stones after an accident was used with a construction device to create the fifth element which eventually takes the form of a human woman. Although these advancements are already becoming a reality, they are yet to be in the market for public use. Companies like Horizon Discovery Group, CRISPR Therapeutics, Sangamo Therapeutics, Intellia Therapeutics are already performing genetic manipulations but their work is still limited in the scope of application.
5. Artificial Intelligence Assistant
In The Fifth Element, there were a lot of human-machine interactions performed with the help of artificial intelligence assistants. Artificial intelligence or virtual assistants perform tasks or services for an individual based on questions or commands. Some of these tasks include: adding tasks to the calendar, providing information, controlling or checking the status of automated driving, home automation, robotics, and more.
Today, artificial intelligence solutions have already surpassed the ones in The Fifth Element in their abilities to read human emotions, dictate decisions, and predict happenings. Now, artificial intelligence has entered into every sector like automotive, medical, telecommunication, banking and more. Some companies that are taking artificial intelligence to another level are FPT Software, Nuro, Aurora innovation, Uptake, Lemonade and more. These assistants may be integrated into platforms like Amazon Alexa, devices like smart speakers, smartphones, instant messaging platforms, appliances, cars, websites, and wearable technologies. At the same time, we are getting little advancements in inventions that would enable human bodies to interact with digital resources without using physical devices.
6. Space Travel
The movie presents the concept of space tourism for luxurious desires. Nowadays, space travel or tourism is gradually becoming a reality. Until now, we have had only orbital space tourism performed by the Russian Space Agency, but Elon Musk and his SpaceX’s gives a viable space tourism promise in the near future. What is more, most sci-fi movies are usually space-based and humanity is already working on the technologies that support comfortable living in space. Companies like Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin are upping their game to make this become a reality.
As the example of The Fifth Element shows, with global technological advancements, we gradually come to live in our own imagination.