By the time that Blade Runner was being lensed, the modern car already had more
technology in it than the L.E.M. used to land the first astronauts safely on moon.
And in just the last five years alone, auto mechanics practically need to be computer
engineers just to check a car's timing. In some vehicles, embedded microcontrollers
manage the ignition, transmission, suspension, antilock brakes, and numerous other
subsystems. Localized data networks have relieved cars of pounds of discrete wiring.
Side-view mirrors tilt downward so the driver can see the curb when the car is in reverse.
Adjustable suspensions turn luxury sedans into sports cars at the touch of a dashboard button.
Electronic brains in automatic transmissions use fuzzy logic to match drivetrain performance
to the condition of the road and the driving style of the vehicle operator.
During this time, the government and private industry have been busy spending billions
of dollars on research and will continue to do so over the next several years. Adapting
super expensive military technology down to affordable smart cars and roads. Their objective:
to streamline traffic and virtually eliminate highway accidents.
To achieve this goal, fully computerized vehicles may one day ask drivers to turn control over to
onboard computers and an automated highway management system - and thus to the government that
runs it. Intelligent transportation systems, as they're called, will change not only the way we
get from one point to another, but also the interaction we will have with our vehicles.
And as technology is continuing to grow, so is the type of vehicles we will be using. One such
experimental vehicle today is an internal propulsion air car called the
Designed with a compact fuselage, similar to that of the VeryEasy ®, the sky car
brings with it a concern over how air traffic and day to day highway traffic will interwork.
The answer? "FREE FLIGHT", an aviation community term for changes that constitute the most
significant development in air traffic management since the invention of radar 60 years ago.
Under free flight, many tasks now carried out by air traffic controllers will be automated,
and some of the authority that controllers possess will be shifted to pilots.
As the OnStar ® system evolves, it too will most likely find it's way into air traffic control,
and the future flying cars. Something similar to this can be seen in Deckard and Gaff's flight to
police head quarters.
Another growing technology is referred to as cybernetics. A technology that will become a gray area in
the near future as it begins to look more like bioengineering. Rather than working with hardware,
like microprocessors that have to be implanted into a body, we will see bioengineered strips that
work like chips and processors but made of biological tissue. One day we will have our homes
identify us as we walk into a room, and even transmit information through neural impulses to
where our house or car will know what it is that we want.
This is similar to the way some limb implants work already, but to a more defined level.
You want a light on? A signal is registered through your bio processor and sent to a receptor within your
house that receives the signal and turns on a light. Sound like ESP? Maybe that is all ESP really is.
Can this work? Isn't it a bit far fetched? Well, they are experimenting on it already.
Cybernetics professor Kevin Warwick of the university of Reading in Great Britain, had himself
implanted just two years ago to run an experiment of interactivity between himself and his lab.
Professor Kevin Warwick on technology & man as one:
".My implant communicated via radio waves with a network of antennas throughout the department that in
turn transmitted the signals to a computer programmed to respond to my actions. At the main entrance,
a voice box operated by the computer said "Hello" when I entered; the computer detected my progress
through the building, opening the door to my lab for me as I approached it and switching on the lights.
For the nine days the implant was in place, I performed seemingly magical acts simply by walking in a
particular direction. The aim of this experiment was to determine whether information could be
transmitted to and from an implant. Not only did we succeed, but the trial demonstrated how the
principles behind cybernetics could perform in real-life applications."
Kevin Warwick (email@example.com) is a
professor of cybernetics at the University of Reading in the UK.
Beside the technology mentioned already, a few other Smart Technology based tools used in
Blade Runner were the Voigt Kampff machine, the ESPER, the parking meters and
the street crossing signals. As an interesting anecdote, the talking street signs, or
something like them, are already in use today.
Since around 1990, on the UC Davis campus in Califonia, there are street
crossing signs being used that emit an audible signal for the vision impaired.
The north and south signals give off a different signal than the east to west crossing. This
is how they avoid confusion.
So what we end up with, as we see an advancement with Artificial Intelligence and nano technology,
is a symbiosis between man and machine. And with that increased interactivity will inevitably
lead to the narrowing of the line drawn between human biology and technology. Something
readily referred to in Philip K. Dicks body of work, as well as the film Blade Runner.
And with all that is being developed today, it is inevitable that growing technologies
will always and most inexorably collide. Should we be afraid of it? Anytime their is a greater narrowing
of these lines, their should be greater respect and concern of invasion of privacy and abuse
of human rights. To know that not only our house or car can track us and our movements throughout a given day
is one thing, but that our government could track us too, is something else.
To avoid an Orwellian scenario that will allow us the opportunity to better embrace
these advancements, precautions must be taken early on so as to make certain that this new and ever narrowing
technology doesn't affect our constitutional or civil rights.
Research shown on this page gathered from Wired Magazine
An Example of Smart Technology in 2019
Here we see a police officer hitting the uplifted wheel guards on the spinner,
signaling for the car doors to open. He hits the passenger wheel cover telling the
passenger door to open, and it does, then he hits the driver side wheel cover,
and the driver door opens.
To view the BR footage in AVI format of the police officer and the spinner, CLICK HERE.