As Trekkies know, Resistance is Futile. The Borg are by and far the greatest baddies (beside Khan, duh) ever introduced in the Star Trek universe; these hive-minded Cyborgs are actually a monster mash of numerous alien species spliced together with nanobots. The terrifying Borg are always trying to assimilate new races into their Collective, and even get their claws on Picard for a short period of time.
What makes the zombie-like Borg so great is their willingness to splice more and more tech into their body, creating uniquely powerful and terrifying drones. Their Queen, Alice Krige, continues to haunt our memories some twenty years later.
Maybe the most lighthearted Cyborg across the history of cinema, this goofy inspector was basically the super high-tech offspring of James Bond and Inspector Clouseau from the Pink Panther franchise.
Although he’s a total goober, his unending stream of gadgets make him one of film’s most iconic and versatile cybernetic humans, and his trademark “Go-Go-Gadget” commands still factor heavily into our fondest childhood memories.
Most notably, his coiled spring legs, extendable arms, and hat-mounted helicopter blades made Inspector Gadget one beloved cyborg – even though he was played by Matthew Broderick.
Astronaut Steve Austin crashes an experimental space craft, barely surviving the catastrophe. He is rebuilt by the shadowy Office of Scientific Intelligence, reborn as a super-spy with a whole set of bionic limbs. His right arm, left eye, and both legs are replaced with cybernetic implants; these implants imbue him with superhuman speed and strength, basically transforming him into a Cyborg James Bond.
Everyone not living under a rock is familiar with Lee Majors and the iconic Six Million Dollar Man franchise. It’s a staple of Western television and one of the first shows to wow audiences with its use of slow motion scenes in combat. Plus, Majors kicked so much tail in the role that even Wahlberg wants a piece of the action.
“We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can make him better than he was… Better…stronger…faster.” It still gets us every time!
Yikes, if ever there were a Cyborg that stole the hearts of a generation, it would be Number Six. Tricia Helfer plays the seductive yet menacing Cylon in Battlestar Galactica, and it’s quite possible that a large portion of the franchise’s success is due to her performance. She (and the rest of the new breed of Cylons) are flesh and blood, but with a digitalized DNA sequence that allows enhanced abilities and downloadable memories.
The Sci-Fi TV two-part movie (based loosely on the original 1960’s show) evolved into one television’s most popular science fiction series; over the course of four fantastic seasons, the show delved deeply into the meaning of humanity, blurring the line between man and machine with every plot twist and stunning new discovery.
Number Six = Bae.
Does the original Dark Lord really need an explanation? There’s not a single person breathing who would argue against the inclusion THE cybernetically-enhanced human whose iconic mask (and theme song) are pillars of all things Evil.
Vader was even bad-ass enough to survive through the God-awful origin story that the Star Wars prequels spun – that in itself is actually far more impressive than surviving a quick dip in a lava pit.
Since the Dawn of Man, the human race has looked to the stars. Our earliest civilizations created entire religions and myths based upon the cosmos, telling tales of powerful beings that shaped our world and ruled from above. The tales of our ancestors are the roots of modern science fiction; stories that struggle to comprehend the unknown, to explain those burning points of light so far overhead. We apply whatever worldly knowledge we possess in a pitiful attempt to grasp the inner workings of an infinitely-complex universe.
It is our destiny, some argue, to leave this Earth behind and explore the endless depths of space. They believe that man should strive to master and subvert the universal laws, bending them to our will with astounding technological achievements. It is our duty to create, to improve, to move forward. And so we do – if only in literature or film.
The science fiction genre offers us a voyeuristic glance beyond the veil of time, into a future where anything is possible. The very best sci-fi films speculate about the technological, medical, and societal advancements that man will make decades before those feats are possible; it should come as no surprise that they are, many times, unsettlingly accurate. The worst of these films tend to feature more fiction than science, driving us to painstakingly detail all the ways $140 million could have been better spent. (I’m looking at you, Armageddon.)
Here are the most believable science fiction movies ever produced, in absolutely no particular order…
Kubrick’s classic is considered by many rocket scientists to be one of the most scientifically accurate films of all time. Every detail is nailed; the oppressive silence of space, the soundless movement of spacecraft, the positioning of Earth’s satellites, the centrifugal force used aboard the Discovery One. Even the astronaut’s systematical and deliberate approach to their space travel duties and the food they eat is right.
Oh – and you’re not going to like this part – HAL 9000’s slow descent into murderous insanity is (borderline) plausible. The supercomputer’s decision to kill the astronauts aboard Discovery is motivated by a sense of self-preservation and a desire to comply with conflicting mission directives.
“You can’t train [artificial intelligence] for every problem it might have to solve,” roboticist Daniel H. Wilson told Popular Science. “Different levels of classified information are exactly the wrench that could turn a predictable learner into a murderer.”
Mind = blown.
This is one of those “I wish it weren’t here” entries. The fact that 1971’s Andromeda Strain is considered scientifically accurate and even remotely plausible should scare the living hell outta you.
The premise is simple: US government uses a satellite to capture what they believe to be an extraterrestrial virus, said satellite crashes into New Mexico town, everyone in aforementioned town dies.
Why is that relevant to this article, you ask? Because everything we know (and theorize) about bacteria and pandemics and the origins of life indicates that this could really happen. We know that bacteria actually can survive the deadly vacuum of space. We know that space flight can actually alter the structure of bacteria, turning it into a more infectious and deadly pathogen.
We also know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the US government is dumb enough to try and capture an extraterrestrial virus with a satellite. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
No, this entry isn’t here because of the Replicants, so relax. I don’t think that we’ll be engineering (or hunting) synthetic humans anytime soon. Nor do I believe that we’ll discover a way to genetically engineer and implant false memories in the human brain. Although now that you mention it, that would be preeeetty sweet. Almost as sweet as a Blade Runner sequel. Almost.
Ridley Scott’s 1982 neo-noir sci-fi masterpiece was actually scientifically accurate from an entirely different standpoint. The bleak dystopian setting of the film, might have actually predicted the fate of our world. At least, that’s what the science nerds say. The perpetually-blackened skies seem to hint at an atmosphere suffering from carbon excess, and some of the technology in the film kind exists today. Those futuristic Spinner transport crafts? Yeah, we’ve got that. And they’re about the get a whole lot cooler, too. WEIRD, RIGHT?
Best of all, European tech company Aeromobil has a flying car that will apparently be available to the public very, very soon. Toyota’s been trying to build a hovercraft-type car but….eh. Not as exciting when you’ve got the real thing!
Fun Fact: Philip K. Dick, author of the 1968 novel that inspired Blade Runner, made some eerily accurate predictions; he wrote of nuclear meltdown in the Soviet Union by 1985 (Chernobyl blew up in 1986), and artificial life by 1993 (Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1997).
If you haven’t read it, do it now. It’s called Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
While the Neo-Nazi inspired society of Gattaca hasn’t come to pass, some of the science that drives the movie already has. Don’t worry, geneticists aren’t inspecting every human embryo, removing undesirable traits and creating the “master race”. They are, however, able to make genetic modifications to living tissue and enhance traits for strength, intelligence, and cognitive function. It’s already been done in animals, so the only logical next step is human testing, right?
Strangely enough, most of the genetic alterations seen in 1997’s Gattaca are either already possible or expected to be possible in the very near future. Designer babies are a very real thing, and it’s now possible to have our entire genome mapped and sequenced in order to screen for debilitating diseases.
Don’t be surprised when parents start pumping out Super Babies. It’s inevitable.