How is 2001: A Space Odyssey an accurate prediction of the future: our own present?
Perhaps the most accurate portrayal of life in the 21st century that the film makes is the way the way that humans have come to rely upon technological innovation to the point of becoming disconnected from each other. HAL 9000 is essentially a prediction of modern technologies ranging from Apple’s Siri to Amazon’s Echo; a computerized assistant that slowly eats away at making human connections between those without information and those with information. The result is global disconnect that “echoes” the communication gap between the astronauts aboard the Discovery.
How was 2001: A Space Odyssey an inaccurate prediction?
Most space operas tend to miss the timeline of when space travel will become a normalized, everyday reality. In 2001’s case, however, it missed it by underestimation. The use of the space shuttle to fly to the International Space Station preceded the turn of the millennium. Beyond that atypical sort of inaccurate prediction, however, lies the primary misstep of the film in portraying what the near-future might be like. 2001: A Space Odyssey presents a space program sponsored by conglomerates like Hilton and Pan-Am, but which still serves interest of science and exploration. Compare that today’s space missions which are all about serving the commercial interests that, oddly, prefer not to have their logos involved, but which nevertheless are all about producing profit.
What is the primary underlining difference between 2001 and previous space movies in terms of actual plot?
Kubrick strongly alluded to this difference himself in an interview in which he said that it was time for such films to break away from “monsters and madmen.” One could make the case that Kubrick merely turned the monsters and madmen into a machine in the form of HAL, but the point is made: although one can hardly call the storyline in the film a “plot” in the traditional sense, what really makes the movie stand out from its precursors is that it is definitively about the wonders of space exploration rather than the fears of Martians, ray-guns and black holes. The very fact that there are no invading armies from outer space or other conventional and traditional threats would have made 2001 a subversive space epic even without its art-house credibility.
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