The Vision of Future Depicted in Steven Spielberg’s “Minority Report”

Published: 2021-07-19 23:55:06
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The whole story revolves around John Anderton, captain of “PreCrime”. With the help of three gifted humans called “precogs”, the squad manages to stop crimes before they take place. But the system seems to make an error, when it shows that John Anderton will commit a murder in the next 36 hours. So a “manhunt” begins, a “manhunt” of himself, as Anderton is determined to prove that the system is wrong and to find out the truth. He also believes that one of the “precogs” predictions’, namely Agatha’s, will help him find the truth of this “minority report”.
In order to make “Minority Report” more realistic, more believable actually, because year 2054 is too far away to predict what will happen then, Spielberg hired a group of thinkers in technology and science to show him how they think the future will be like. In 2010, there was an article written, showing and proving that the thinkers that Spielberg had, weren’t wrong. Some of the ideas of the crime fighting that are presented in the movie became a reality. A few examples are: Facebook, Google Maps, scanners, drones etc.
Some of them say that even if year 2054 is so far away, many of the technological developments already happened sooner than they predicted. Spielberg sees the future as a great technological development and also with totally changed mind and vision of the human being. The “precogs”, the humans that now believe in other humans to predict their future and they take it for granted, like they have no mind of their own and no free will. It will be like today, influenced by media, press, technology and politics but at a higher level.
It will get to a point where all these things will control our lives and we will make our decisions based on some factors and predictions. As in any other things made by humans, there are errors, mistakes that no one can see or prevent. And here I am talking about technological errors. Even the title shows us that there is a minor chance that something will go wrong, but there still is. Trusting technology and making technology a way of living is not a good idea. Spielberg shows how a minor error can quickly transform into a fight for life and for freedom.
Technology already started to make our lives easier, but we also make decisions based on technology. And as technology wouldn’t be enough, Spielberg also sees media as one of the important factors that will influence us. In the movie, he presents the media as a manipulative force. In Spielberg’s vision, the media will play an important role because as any other important agencies like the police or some big corporations, it will have a power of deciding what to say or show to the people.
It will influence us and take decisions for us, because as today, many people tend to believe the advertisement industry and trust all the stories they hear. There will be no need to confirm something, because it will have such a power of influence upon us that we will “know” for sure that everything is real and must not be questioned. As an example, there is a scene in the movie when captain John Anderton walks through Washington D. C. and as he passes beside billboards, they all shout at him. This shows us that there will be a future when as we pass a billboard, we will be identified and told what we want to buy.
Another thing that must be discussed is the police. Again, I think that Spielberg’s thinkers didn’t expected this to happen so soon but the police is already in control of everything. I don’t say that it’s not the way it should be, but as in the movie some of the people that are accused may be innocent. Here, there is also an error, because it doesn’t matter how technological evolved a nation is and how thrust-worthy this technology is, it may be that things are not always right. He sees the future controlled by surveillance technology and without any privacy.
A predictive analytic software that will help the police solve crimes more quickly and prevent them is being developed and so far it has been a success. Another innovation seen by Spielberg is the new computer, no mouse, no screen. Just an interface and some gloves will be enough. There are some specialists that say that this will happen in a few years. The main theme of the movie is free will versus determinism. From this point of view, Spielberg sees the future controlled by others and with no free will.
Even if there will still be a choice to make, there will be people that will know what we’ll going to do before we know it. The crimes that the “precogs” predict are a very good example. As Spielberg sees it, it doesn’t matter if the humans that are accused are guilty or not, they were still thinking of doing it so they are guilty. All these accusations are made on presumptions, nothing is known for sure. In the movie there are some parts where the impression of free will seems like a possibility, but when the system shows that Anderton is going to commit a crime there are only two ways to resolve this.
Either Anderton kills someone or he proves that the system is wrong and that an error was made. But if he shows that the system was wrong, then how would they know if all the people that they arrested were guilty? So Spielberg tends to make us believe that technology will rule the world in the next years. No errors and no mistakes, no matter what. It is true that those who are accused of wanting to commit a crime still have a chance of proving their innocence but for some may not be enough.
This is like an escape from the technological era and Spielberg sees this proving innocence as another chance. As Anderton does, placing his full trust in the system he soon sees that the system has limitations and becomes a victim of it. This can be compared to what happens now and what will happen for sure in the future. Spielberg sees the authority that will make justice as a technological invention that makes accusations on presumptions and who will decide the faith of person if it wants it or not.
Sure, justice will be made and chances are that it will be more possible than today, but there will still be errors and those errors will happen only to the people that are not guilty. There will be believers as today, but more confident and decided. This believers will sustain the system and oblige everyone to let themselves be ruled by it. It is not only the future, it’s the present too. In the actual political system these things do happen. Spielberg said that he would totally be against a “PreCrime” system if it were ever possible, because he knows that those who will control it, will abuse its power.
Captain John Anderton, besides wanting to prevent crime he wants another thing too. His son, Sean Anderton was kidnapped and murdered so by doing his job he hopes that he will prevent other families from the pain and the suffering that this event caused him. He is lead by emotions and feelings and sometimes he acts without knowing for sure what the consequences will be. This shows us, that in the future, besides technology, out feelings will count too. It is still a question whether there will be free will or not but our feelings will not “suffer” any changes.
Because of the quick development of technology, Spielberg’s future is no longer a far away dream. There are so many examples that show us that the real projects that he had in mind are now real. 1. In “Minority Report”, the surveillance cameras, maps and holographic data screens are used by the police. In real life, we have Microsoft that in collaboration with New York City has developed a system “will allow police to quickly collate and visualize vast amounts of data from cameras, license plate readers, 911 calls, police databases and other sources.
It will then display the information in real time, both visually and chronologically, allowing investigators to centralize information about crimes as they happen or are reported. ” 2. The images that John Anderton sees, about his upcoming murder, are played by a hacker who took them from Agatha’s mind. As Spielberg saw it, there is a possibility that transforming thoughts to images become a reality. 3. While he is driving, Anderton’s car is tracked by the police, by its movements. All around him, the other drivers seem to have no problem with it and they continue their destination with the self-drive cars.
In reality, the Government requires that all the new cars that are now produced, must come with an onboard computer that records all the movements and events. Returning to the possibility of transforming thoughts to images, here we can see a lack of privacy. In the future, if this technology will become possible there will be no private thoughts or private life. With scanners and other innovations, there will be no more secrets. As Spielberg sees it, what comes next will be based on technology, consumerism and politics.
All these combined will show us that the need for expression or for free will, will no longer be necessary. There will be cars thinking and driving for us, justice made by a technological system and predictions made by “precogs”. The “precogs” are replacing the human mind. They were created by humans so it’s not a surprise if they make an error. The “PreCrime” sometimes decides to ignore this errors, but not because they simply don’t want to deal with them but because of the makers of the system. If errors are made we either ignore them or we throw the guilt on each other.
John Anderton is an exception, because he choses to solve the error. Maybe he has an interest of showing that he is not guilty or he wants to demonstrate that the system sometimes may be wrong. In the future, if this things will happen, and they will because errors are inevitable, Spielberg shows us that maybe one human in a million will take in consideration the error and try to solve it. Again here we can speak of free will. Because of this system, that will make us believe that no matter what the system is always right, the free will, will be an option.
Whether you chose to believe and do what all the others are doing or you try to make your own future. Because “Minority Report” has both elements of utopian and dystopian future and is a futuristic films, Spielberg shows us his view upon the near future and does not make any connections with the present. The themes of the movie are related with the technological changes that he thinks, will take place. It is well known that the future will be ruled politics and technology and with this two combined as Spielberg sees it, an abuse of power will be most likely made.
The future, in Spielberg’s vision, will be a capitalist future with surveillance cameras everywhere, identifications devices and emotionless people that are being controlled by the government. Brian Godawa says “by seeing what we may become in the future, we can better address the issues right now that may lead to such dystopia. ” With this statement he wants to draw attention to the actual problems and changes that are happening now. In 2002, namely 2001 when the production for “Minority Report” started, Spielberg’s summit with the intellectuals had some interesting ideas about what the world will be in the future.
After the film was released and since nowadays many of the ideas were proven to be very realistic and some of them were actually made we start to wonder if in 2054 the world would be like that. Also Brian Godawa says that there is a religious meaning in the movie. The scene where a detective from the U. S. Justice Department, Ed Witwer comes to the center of “PreCrime” to investigate the effectiveness of the “precogs”, by that time he is already convinced that they were made by humans and that all humans make mistakes.
He already sure that nobody can predict the future as it is and claims that people always have questioned the prophets and oracles, made a religion of their if they had nothing to believe in and worship those who had the same ideas and opinions as theirs’. As an example, the room where the “precogs” are held is called “the temple”. Steven Spielberg took the technology that he had back then, in 2001- 2002, and with the predictions of the intellectuals, he took all those things to the extreme. The technology he had imagine will soon be at every corner.
Some of the critics compare the nowadays traffic lights with the upcoming surveillance cameras that will be everywhere. A future in which everything will be controlled, with no right to think for yourself or do something on your own. The car that self- drives is becoming a reality also. No matter what, the problems that concern us today will not be solved in 2054 as Spielberg shows us. The abuse of power will become one of the most concerning problems, because of the system that will be implemented. Nevertheless, if this capitalist system is going to be applied, the free will and freedom will disappear.
Not for ever, but for some time because at first, as seen also in the movie, the people will not disobey, they will embrace the new system and maybe see it at as a salvation from all the problems. For a few years it may work, until the system has an error. Then, everything will be turned upside down. But not for all of them, there may be some who will escape from this mess clean and freed. Like John Anderton, someone will have to suffer in order to make justice. In the movie we see that the freedom of choosing something is somehow restrained. John Anderton has only two choices, two major choices.
All the others don’t. As one suffers because of the system, the others live their lives as nothing has happened. It is like this today, and if some changes won’t be made it will be like this in the future. For example, media will always be controlled by the big corporations and by politics. People will see only what other want them to see. The billboards that change for every people’s needs became a necessity in order to control everything. Because of those believers, the “precogs” are something real. The images that “precogs” see are enough for everyone to believe.
There are no questions, it happens because it happens. I believe that if in the future this will happen, there will a lot of people who at first will want answers but after a while they will get used to it. In my opinion, Steven Spielberg sees the future in a realistic way. There were many articles written after the movie was released and all of them were somehow sustaining Spielberg’s ideas. The way he sees things, are nevertheless what are they going to happen. It is a question if they will happen in 2054 or earlier. It’s for sure that some of the things have already started, that technology evolves from day to day. Even if Spielberg presents us a dystopian future, many of the viewers embraced it and took it in consideration. There are still people who don’t believe or maybe people who hope that there will not be a capitalist nation. For many of them, the free will is an important value, and as presented in the movie, free will and the freedom of choice must be valued. Guessing from the reviews of the critics, the movie was a huge success and Spielberg’s summit and all the intellectuals that he gathered made a good job.
Steven Spielberg is a good director and a very appreciated one. His view is taken in consideration and the movie is still discussed today. Until the moment that all those things will become reality there will always be questions. Trying to present the future in a way that everyone understands with no hidden meanings is maybe the best way to make the people see what they today and maybe what they will have 50 years later. As one of the people I do believe that all those inventions are possible, and I think I’m not the only one that doesn’t agree with the “precogs”.
Spielberg left an open door, because “Minority Report” could be understood in many ways: a vision of the director, a vision of the future but the most important a question of what will be. Believing in prophets and making our life revolve around some predictions, this is left to decide. Today we can still chose but in the end, Steven Spielberg shows us that it doesn’t matter if we chose or others chose for us, if we believe in predictions, prophets and if we want technology to rule our life, the destiny is how we make it, it’s our own.

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