Matt Damon: ‘Elysium’ Isn’t Just Sci-Fi Speculation
The sci-fi film, in theaters this weekend, depicts two distinct classes of people living literally in different worlds. And oh yeah, there's also exoskeleton hardware that's bolted into the body — Damon's body! — and cancer-wiping scans that completely destroy the disease.
When Yahoo! Movies talked to Damon about the film's narrative flights of fancy, he pointed out that the advanced technology and huge social class divisions are actually happening now:
Damon: "There's so much that I can't fathom about what the world's going to look like in 30 years. If you think of how it looked 30 years ago, and how much it's changed… Thirty years ago, the most powerful computer in the world was not as powerful as my phone. And now, it's in my pocket. I have the most powerful computer in the world from 30 years ago in my pocket. So, in another 30 years… the exponential curve that we're on with technology makes it really hard to even understand the world that [my children] will inherit from me."
We can all recognize that technology is advancing in leaps and bounds. Computers are getting smaller and faster, while tech gear like Google Glass brings virtual reality into the real world in real time. With that in mind, see how our current tech stacks up against that in "Elysium" ...
Alice Braga's Frey seeks medical attention for Emma Tremblay's Matilda. (Photo: TriStar/Kimberley French)
In the film, machines on the space station Elysium are able to cure all diseases and ailments. One featured machine in the film's previews is even able to wipe out all traces of cancerous cells.
These days, we're not able to target cancer cells like that – yet. But modern medical research is making huge leaps and bounds. Just this past year, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh implanted microelectrodes in the brain of a woman paralyzed from the neck down, and now, with the help of a mind-controlled prosthetic hand, she can perform previously physically impossible functions like high-fiving and holding objects.
In a closer parallel to the film, IBM's supercomputer Watson (which notably trounced human opponents in a special round of "Jeopardy") was reportedly going to be used to make personalized diagnoses and suggested treatment courses for cancer patients at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. There's still miles to go before machines can wipe away disease, but we're definitely taking steps in that direction.