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Films From the Future
November 2018

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Films from the Future

The Technology and Morality of Sci-Fi Movies
Andrew Maynard

Learn how movies reveal the future of technology.

Science, technology and society: In "Films from the Future," former physicist Andrew Maynard threads together his love of science fiction movies with his expertise on emerging technologies to engage, entertain and make you think about the relationship between technology and society as they discover astounding, transformative advances in science. Through the imagination and creativity of science fiction movies, Maynard introduces readers to the profound capabilities presented by new and emerging technologies, and the complex personal and societal challenges they present.

The future of artificial intelligence and other technologies: Each movie in the book provides the starting point for exploring key technologies and trends, from genetic engineering ("Jurassic Park") and brain-enhancing drugs ("Limitless"), to human augmentation ("Ghost in the Shell") and artificial intelligence ("Ex Machina"). These are woven together with emerging ideas on technological convergence and responsible and ethical innovation, to provide a sweeping perspective on where our technologies are taking us, and how we ensure this is where we want to go.

The enlightening science and philosophies of movies: With each examination of 12 movies, you will take a progressive journey through the fascinating worlds of biological and genetic manipulation, human enhancement and cyber technologies, and nanotechnology. Maynard shows that the fantastical worlds of the movies might not be as impossible as we think. With a focus on hard science, economics, the social implications of technological feats, and the movies that could very well become our real-life future, "Films from the Future" will be sure to educate and entertain.


Andrew Maynard — a former physicist and leading expert in the responsible development of emerging and converging technologies — is a professor in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society and director of the ASU Risk Innovation Lab. Maynard maintains a blog on technology and society (2020 Science), produces the YouTube channel Risk Bites and is active on Twitter as @2020science.

Praise for this book

“Art imitates life, but life also imitates art. Some technologies that existed only in science fiction are now becoming real. So, it makes sense that those movies can also help anticipate ethical and social problems arising from new technologies. This book walks us through some of the most iconic films―pointing out things, with an expert eye, that most of us had missed the first time around. It makes me want to watch those movies again.” 

Patrick Lin
Director of the Ethics + Emerging Sciences Group at Cal Poly; co-editor of the book "Robot Ethics 2.0: From Autonomous Cars to Artificial Intelligence"

“Thoughtfully composed and delightful to read, Films from the Future ushers us on a whirlwind tour through decades of science fiction, shedding light on some of the most extraordinary achievements of our time. Maynard explores the incredible possibilities and dire consequences of boundless human innovation, imagination and ambition…and may just change the way you go to the movies.”

Sheril Kirshenbaum
Author of "The Science of Kissing" and executive director of Science Debate