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6 Sci-Fi Technologies With Suspiciously Unaddressed Problems

For over a century now, science fiction has been pretty good at predicting future developments -- from rockets that can fly to the moon to little machines we can use to photograph our genitalia, many of the most impressive advances in technology started out in the imagination of some nerd/writer.

However, there are some admittedly cool future advances presented to us by sci-fi movies that we hope never come to pass, because when you stop to think about them, they would cause more trouble than they're worth. For example ...

#6. The Dark Knight Rises -- Batman's City-Destroying Reactor Has No Safeguards

In the years following The Dark Knight, and faced with a dwindling supply of masked criminals to fight, Batman sets out to punch economic disparity in the face. Under his identity of billionaire/occasional beard-haver Bruce Wayne, he develops a fusion reactor capable of meeting Gotham's energy needs at a fraction of the current cost.


"Half that energy will go toward powering my Batc- uhhh, Jacuzzi."

When a Russian physicist proves that fusion reactors can be easily modified into massively powerful nuclear bombs, Wayne decides to abandon the project and hides the reactor, taking the precaution to add a button that floods the chamber in which it's stored to make sure it isn't used for evil purposes. It's not Batman's fault that someone later figured out how to bypass his security and used the thing to turn Gotham City into an even bigger shithole.

The Problem:

Wait, no, it totally is his fault, because there was no security. Wayne just dumps this incredibly powerful nuclear bomb in an empty basement under a huge city and forgets about it. Yes, it's hidden (accessed by a secret elevator), but that's pretty much it. There are no security guards visible anywhere.

Lucius Fox explains that the chamber "can be flooded in case of a security breach," which sounds great, only that feature stops no one. First Bane steals the reactor, then when the "flooding" mechanism is activated later, it's so slow that even elderly businessman Lucius is able to get away from the room before getting even slightly damp.


"My shoes, your parents ... we've both suffered terrible losses."

Hilariously, when they're showing off the device and the security, Talia says, "Is Bruce Wayne really that paranoid?" That wouldn't have been our reaction. Keep in mind, it took about the same amount of effort to turn this reactor into a nuclear bomb as it would if it had just been an actual nuclear bomb from the start. Which is to say, very little. But where actual nuclear bombs are guarded by entire armies, this thing was sitting unattended in a basement in hopes that nobody would find the secret elevator button. There are people who keep their collectible Pokemon cards behind more security than that.

And why? Wayne wasn't using the reactor, so why keep it in a functional state at all? Why not just take the pieces apart and store them in different places? Hell, destroy the fucking thing and make sure to keep a copy of the schematics somewhere safe.


Perhaps encrypt them into the Bat-beard.

#5. Back to the Future Part II -- Holographic Ads Would Kill People

In the second Back to the Future, Marty McFly is transported to a futuristic Hill Valley that's way ahead of our current society in everything except fashion sense (somehow, everyone's clothes are even more '80s than in the actual '80s). For example, at one point Marty encounters a nifty holographic ad for the latest Jaws film. Marty's just standing in front of the cinema, staring at the obscene future-gas prices across the street ...


This is a dystopic alternate timeline where Jaws 4 somehow didn't kill the franchise.

... when a giant holographic shark emerges from the billboard ...

... and, after alerting Marty to its presence via its own theme music, casts him as Quint in its own personal remake of the first movie.


We really hope they've eliminated heart attacks in the future.

So Marty didn't even have to be looking in the ad's direction for it to target him. How cool is that?

The Problem:

OK, now imagine you're driving along when a brand new billboard for Trojan shoots a giant purple holographic boner across your windshield. Now imagine you're in a flying car when that happens. You'd better hope your future aircar has both air bags and parachutes. Keep in mind, even in our current, sadly earthbound cars, distracted drivers cause about 80 percent of accidents. Just taking our eyes off the road to look at a tiny iPhone screen is an incredibly serious and deadly problem, and people have complained that electronic billboards are "weapons of mass distraction" for drivers. And those don't usually try to eat the viewer.

We've previously pointed out that flying cars would be pretty damn unsafe -- now add the fact that holographic ads can jump at you at any moment. Imagine you're flying above that scene with Marty (we even see some flying cars landing nearby earlier in the clip) and you see the huge fucking shark come out of nowhere below you. And don't say that Marty was only startled because he was from the '80s and unfamiliar with holograms -- you try flying home at two in the morning and suddenly having a giant holographic Ronald McDonald come screaming out of a sign, demanding that you eat a McRib.


"The McRib is made from organ donors, so we win either way!"

We don't care if you live in the future or not: The first time you see that ad, you're going to simultaneously slam on the brakes and shit your pants. And for all of the people living at ground level, it's about to start raining flaming car parts.

#4. Minority Report -- Putting Criminals in Stasis Doesn't Rehabilitate Them

In Minority Report, the Pre-Crime department solves crimes before they happen, as the name cleverly suggests, so authorities have to come up with a way to house all of these pre-criminals. The solution is leaving them in a weird limbo dream state for however long their sentence is, unless they're awoken in the future and have to catch Wesley Snipes ... wait, no, wrong movie.


Sorry, we were thinking of the other short action star who only plays variations of himself.

In the movie, we see that the psychic predictions of the prevented crimes are played on a loop in front of the captured criminals, so presumably they're aware the whole time and being subjected to those images for as long as their sentence lasts.

The Problem:

"Putting criminals in a coma" has always been a pretty dumb solution for sci-fi movies, because if they just go to sleep and wake up when their sentence is over, then the whole point of the punishment is lost. Minority Report attempts to solve this with the whole "playing their crimes to them" thing ... but they're actually just making things worse.


Serious question: For sex crimes, wouldn't this just be showing them what they wanted?

Think about it: From the perspective of these people, one day the police showed up and trapped them in a strange place, then tortured them with images of a crime they had no recollection of committing. They were arrested before doing anything, remember?

The movie confirms just how ineffective this rehabilitation process is through the character of the eye doctor. After John Anderton (Cruise) is put on the wanted list, he decides to get an illegal eye transplant to avoid detection by retina cameras. So he hires the shadiest doctor in the world to perform the surgery ... who turns out to be one of the prisoners that Anderton had previously put away for the same crime. Progress?


In the original draft, he also gave Anderton breast implants as payback.

Even worse, at the end of the movie, every single criminal is let free on the basis that the Pre-Crime department was illegitimate. So now there are hundreds of people wandering the streets of D.C. who have been forced to watch a possibly fake video of themselves murdering somebody over and over again. If they weren't psychos before, they probably are now.

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