The director behind the upcoming film adaptation of Ready Player One is making some bleak predictions about what lies in store for us in the decades to come.
While the rest of us are still waiting for Steven Spielberg's vision of creepy AI children to come true, the legendary director has moved on to imagining how other real-world technologies will affect society. "Virtual reality will be a super drug," he said in a new video promoting Ready Player One, which is set to release in the U.S. on March 30.
Based on Ernest Cline's beloved novel, Ready Player One takes place in a dystopian future where people are hooked on digital fantasies. Spielberg sets the scene for how this technological takeover happens, explaining that "the fabric of our economy is crumbling. It's a good time to escape."
Presumably referring to the current rise of VR tech like the Oculus Rift, Spielberg adds, "I suddenly saw a future that Ernest Cline, the writer of the book, envisioned. It wasn't too far away from what I think is going to happen someday."
Cline is also featured in the behind-the-scenes look, explaining how Spielberg actually inspired much of his novel, which published in 2011. Like the main character in his book, Cline is also obsessed with 1980s culture — which Spielberg had a big part in creating through his filmmaking.
As with every creation in the universe, there has to be a humble beginning for everything and VR technology was no exception. Although it’s hard to pinpoint the father of this amazing technology, history suggests that it could have been the innovation of not one but five key individuals. First, Morton Heilig for giving users the very first interactive film experience which can be take the credit as the beginning of 3D content. Then, there’s Jaron Lanier, the first person to credit the term “Virtual Reality”; Douglas Engelbart, who invented the computer mouse and laid the foundation for the modern user interface; Ivan Sutherland, inventor of the first head mounted display (HMD); and Myron Krueger, a computer graphics and audio wiz.
In the ouroboros of inspiration that was Cline and Spielberg's overlapping visions of the past and future, they hit upon the perfect collaboration for movie magic.
Of course, the veracity of their technological predictions remains to be seen. Many have critiqued both creators for imagining a future strictly defined by straight white fanboy fantasies — like the nerdy '80s vision of the Oasis video game Cline describes as "the ultimate toy box."
But if our technology (like VR) continues to predominantly be made by straight white men, their dystopian vision of 2045 may come true after all.