"Minority Report" Is 40 Years Ahead of Schedule: The Fictional World Has Become Reality

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute,

“The Internet is watching us now. If they want to. They can see what sites you visit. In the future, television will be watching us, and customizing itself to what it knows about us. The thrilling thing is, that will make us feel we’re part of the medium. The scary thing is, we’ll lose our right to privacy. An ad will appear in the air around us, talking directly to us.”—Director Steven Spielberg, Minority Report

We are a scant 40 years away from the futuristic world that science fiction author Philip K. Dick envisioned for Minority Report in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

Unfortunately, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we may have already arrived at the year 2054.

Increasingly, the world around us resembles Dick’s dystopian police state in which the police combine widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining and precognitive technology to capture would-be criminals before they can do any damage. In other words, the government’s goal is to prevent crimes before they happen: precrime.

For John Anderton (played by Tom Cruise), Chief of the Department of Pre-Crime in Washington, DC, the technology that he relies on for his predictive policing proves to be fallible, identifying him as the next would-be criminal and targeting him for preemptive measures. Consequently, Anderton finds himself not only attempting to prove his innocence but forced to take drastic measures in order to avoid capture in a surveillance state that uses biometric data and sophisticated computer networks to track its citizens.

Seemingly taking its cue from science fiction, technology has moved so fast in the short time since Minority Report premiered in 2002 that what once seemed futuristic no longer occupies the realm of science fiction. Incredibly, as the various nascent technologies employed and shared by the government and corporations alike—facial recognition, iris scanners, massive databases, behavior prediction software, and so on—are incorporated into a complex, interwoven cyber network aimed at tracking our movements, predicting our thoughts and controlling our behavior, Spielberg’s unnerving vision of the future is fast becoming our reality.

Examples abound.

FICTION: In Minority Report, police use holographic data screens, city-wide surveillance cameras, dimensional maps and database feeds to monitor the movements of its citizens.


REALITY CHECK: Microsoft, in a partnership with New York City, has developed a crime-fighting system that “will allow police to quickly collate and visualise vast amounts of data from cameras, licence plate readers, 911 calls, police databases and other sources. It will then display the information in real time, both visually and chronologically, allowing investigators to centralise information about crimes as they happen or are reported.”


FICTION: No matter where people go in the world of Minority Report, one’s biometric data precedes them, allowing corporations to tap into their government profile and target them for advertising based on their highly individual characteristics. So fine-tuned is the process that it goes way beyond gender and lifestyle to mood detection, so that while Anderton flees through a subway station and then later a mall, the stores and billboards call out to him with advertising geared at his interests and moods. Eventually, in an effort to outwit the identification scanners, Anderton opts for surgery to have his eyeballs replaced.


REALITY CHECK: Google is working on context-based advertising that will use environmental sensors in your cell phone, laptop, etc., to deliver “targeted ads tailored to fit with what you’re seeing and hearing in the real world.” However, long before Google set their sights on context advertising, facial and iris recognition machines were being employed, ostensibly to detect criminals, streamline security checkpoints processes, and facilitate everyday activities. For example, in preparing to introduce such technology in the United States, the American biometrics firm Global Rainmakers Inc. (GRI) turned the city of Leon, Mexico into a virtual police state by installing iris scanners, which can scan the irises of 30-50 people per minute, throughout the city.


Police departments around the country have begun using the Mobile Offender Recognition and Information System, or MORIS, a physical iPhone add-on that allows police officers patrolling the streets to scan the irises and faces of suspected criminals and match them against government databases. In fact, in 2014, the FBI launched a nationwide database of iris scans for use by law enforcement agencies in their efforts to track criminals.


Corporations, as well, are beginning to implement eye-tracking technology in their tablets, smartphones, and computers. It will allow companies to track which words and phrases the user tends to re-read, hover on, or avoid, which can give insight into what she is thinking. This will allow advertisers to expand on the information they glean from tracking users’ clicks, searches, and online purchases, expanding into the realm of trying to guess what a user is thinking based upon their eye movements, and advertising accordingly. This information as it is shared by the corporate elite with the police will come in handy for police agencies as well, some of which are working on developing predictive analysis of “blink rates, pupil dilation, and deception.”


In ideal conditions, facial-recognition software is accurate 99.7 percent of the time. We are right around the corner from billboards capable of identifying passersby, and IBM has already been working on creating real world advertisements that react to people based upon RFID chips embedded in licenses and credit cards.


FICTION: In Minority Report, John Anderton’s Pre-Crime division utilizes psychic mutant humans to determine when a crime will take place next.


REALITY CHECK: While no psychic mutants are powering the government’s predictive policing efforts, the end result remains the same: a world in which crimes are prevented through the use of sophisticated data mining, surveillance, community policing and precrime. For instance, police in major American cities have been test-driving a tool that allows them to identify individuals—or groups of individuals—most likely to commit a crime in a given community. Those individuals are then put on notice that their movements and activities will be closely monitored and any criminal activity (by them or their associates) will result in harsh penalties.  In other words, you are guilty before you are given any chance to prove you are innocent.


The Department of Homeland Security is also working on its Future Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST, which will utilize a number of personal factors such as “ethnicity, gender, breathing, and heart rate to ‘detect cues indicative of mal-intent.’”


FICTION: In Minority Report, government agents use “sick sticks” to subdue criminal suspects using less-lethal methods.


REALITY CHECK: A variety of less-lethal weapons have been developed in the years since Minority Report hit theaters. In 2007, the Department of Homeland Security granted a contract to Intelligent Optical Systems, Inc., for an “LED Incapacitator,” a flashlight-like device that emits a dazzling array of pulsating lights, incapacitating its target by causing nausea and vomiting. Raytheon has created an “Assault Intervention Device” which is basically a heat ray that causes an unbearable burning sensation on its victim’s skin. The Long Range Acoustic Device, which emits painful noises in order to disperse crowds, has been seen at the London Olympics and G20 protests in Pittsburgh.


FICTION: A hacker captures visions from the “precog” Agatha’s mind and plays them for John Anderton.


REALITY CHECK: While still in its infancy, technology that seeks to translate human thoughts into computer actions is slowly becoming a reality. Jack Gallant, a neuroscientist at UC Berkeley, and his research team have created primitive software capable of translating the thoughts of viewers into reconstructed visual images. A company named Emotiv is developing technology which will be capable of reading a user’s thoughts and using them as inputs for operating machinery, like voice recognition but with brain signals. Similar devices are being created to translate thoughts into speech.


FICTION: In Minority Report, tiny sensory-guided spider robots converge on John Anderton, scan his biometric data and feed it into a central government database.


REALITY CHECK: An agency with the Department of Defense is working on turning insects into living UAVs, or “cybugs.” By expanding upon the insects’ natural abilities (e.g., bees’ olfactory abilities being utilized for bomb detection, etc.), government agents hope to use these spy bugs to surreptitiously gather vast quantities of information. Researchers eventually hope to outfit June beetles with tiny backpacks complete with various detection devices, microphones, and cameras. These devices could be powered by the very energy produced by the bugs beating their wings, or the heat they give off while in flight. There have already been reported sightings of dragonfly-like robotic drones monitoring protesters aerially in Washington, DC, as early as 2007.


FICTION: In Minority Report, Anderton flees his pursuers in a car whose movements are tracked by the police through the use of onboard computers. All around him, autonomous, driver-less vehicles zip through the city, moving people to their destinations based upon simple voice commands.


REALITY CHECK: Congress is now requiring that all new cars come equipped with event data recorders that can record and transmit data from onboard computers. Similarly, insurance companies are offering discounts to drivers who agree to have tracking bugs installed. Google has also created self-driving cars which have already surpassed 300,000 miles of road testing. It is anticipated that self-driving cars could be on American roads within the next 20 years, if not sooner.

These are but a few of the technological devices now in the hands of those who control the corporate police state. Fiction, in essence, has become fact—albeit, a rather frightening one.

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Looney's picture

...Fiction, in essence, has become fact—albeit, a rather frightening one.

The Short Bus has just gotten much shorter. ;-)


booboo's picture

If the government really wanted to stop crime before it happens they should install a self destruct button and punch it now. A criminal enterprise wanting to prevent crime, imagine that. Sounds like they want to eliminate the competition.

Pinto Currency's picture



Precrime is fancy branding for the right to arrest anyone for any reason.

The Communists and Nazis were way ahead on this one.


tarsubil's picture

The original Minority Report had a great ending. The protaganist walks up to the Dick Cheney of the story and blows his brains out in broad daylight in front of a crowd listening to the Dick Cheney of the story give a speech. Funny thing is "Dick Cheney" gets to read about how his brains are going to get blown out right before it happens.

erg's picture

Goddamm those aliens crashing at Roswell, leaving all their highfaluting semiconductors around. We would have been busy for the next 500 years screwing around with vacuum tubes.

They can fly from their star to our Homeworld. Just can't land the damn thing. sarc

ersatz007's picture

The aliens' ineptitude at landing has always made me wonder too.

erg's picture

I meant to edit my comment in a completely different direction. And now for something completely different but it didn't stick.

In my heart of hearts, I don't think this is going to work as well for them as they may think. Call it the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.

Blowback is fluidic, best measured in retrospect. 

Nothing ever works out as planned. Nothing!

We are in a race of abscissas. Once our knowledge curve intercedes theirs we will have our death-cross and they will be done.

Never underestimate their ability to devour each other either.

El Vaquero's picture

"The Department of Homeland Security is also working on its Future Attribute Screening Technology, or FAST, which will utilize a number of personal factors such as “ethnicity, gender, breathing, and heart rate to ‘detect cues indicative of mal-intent.’”" 


That is going to be such a serious clusterfuck.  Give me a database full of areas with their demographics and crime rates, and I will most likely be able to tell you about what an area's crime rate is using demographics alone.  But when you get down to the individual level, it's a whole other ballgame. They may think that they have the technology to capture enough variables to explain all of the variance in their "predictions," but they do not.  Such a system will lead to a further degredataion in the trust of police and a much bigger waste of resources than anybody who is pushing this could possibly imagine. Here's why:


You have 1000 people, one of whom is a criminal, and a test that is 99% accurate when detecting criminals.  Now apply that to all 1000 people.  How many innocent people would you expect to get flagged as criminals?  Why, 1% of 999 people, or 9.99 (basicallly 10, for the obvious reason.)  How many criminals would you likely catch?  0.99 (basically one, again, for the obvious reason.)  I betchya their system won't be anywhere near 99% accurate becuase of the nature of such things mean that using the input variables that they'll have access too will not put the explained variance of the output variables anywhere near close enough to 100%. They'll have to have their machine spit out probabilities that somebody is going to commit a crime, and then when they look at how accurate it is, the dumbfucks will probably only look at all of the criminals that it caught while ignoring all of the innocent people that it ruined.  Then, after the rash of civil rights lawsuits, they'll have to introduce a bigger bias which makes it less likely to flag criminals. 

Personality Disorder's picture

=1% colateral damage, bring on the drones.

old naughty's picture

fiction becomes reality (no longe ronly happens in the movies!)? well, more like "reality" back-engineered to fiction, scripted into movies, to show "intent"... (oh, they know, these more-advanced entities)

to slave, farm, and control.

Bring on the zoombies, ex-Machinas, transformers...

Humanity IS Fucked, still thinking we're scientifically advanced !.

El Vaquero's picture

I should have been more specific.  It'll either be as usless as tits on a billy goat, or it'll be a fuckton more than 1% collateral damage.  A project that I'm working on right now involves using demographics to predict outcomes.  One of the issues of interest is, how much of the variance in the outcome is explained by the demographics.  Depending on the data set, it is anywhere from 75% to 60%, and there is a shitload of cross correlations between demographics, meaning that often you can swap one for the other, and get similar results.  That means that adding variables doesn't necessiarily add information.  Adding in heart rate and breating isn't going to get them any near 99% accuracy. 

Personality Disorder's picture

Facial recognition tied to a data base of cell intercepts, that then coralated with thermal and back scatter imaging, things happen

El Vaquero's picture

That's not the system that DHS is working on for pre-crime.  That's a post crime kind of thing.  For pre-crime, they will bring about such a clusterfuck that it will either be completely useless, or the logistics of it will crush them.  And, FYI, for post crime, there are already enough laws on the books that they don't need a technological monstrosity. 

Nehweh Gahnin's picture

Throw these variables in, brah:

Dynamite thefts

Local bulk food store purchases

Ammunition orders and gun sales

Credit card numbers logged (remembering the new RFID-chipped cards)


Still feeling comfy?

El Vaquero's picture

Why wouldn't I feel comfy today?  The fucks in power haven't achieved what they want, and they will not achieve what they want in the future.  But today, we live as kings did 1000 years ago.  The question is, how comfy are we going to be tomorrow? Brah.

Scooby Dooby Doo's picture

If we can get these damn sheeple to use the bitcoin we'll have total domination!

SuperRay's picture

Bitcoin is for morons who believe the net is more powerful than an off-switch.  Pull the rod out of your head, exit the matrix, and take a look at the real world

Bemused Observer's picture

But people don't act in ways that can be predetermined, even by the one acting. So there'd BE nothing to 'precapture'. Unknowable variables affect our behaviors.
People often do contemplate an action, even fantasize about doing it, but either won't or change their minds at the last minute and decide NOT to do it.

So...how would that moral conundrum be handled? If we DO have prethoughts that can be read with accuracy, it would imply predestination of events, and negate the whole idea of criminal guilt for them.

Blue Vervain's picture

This article perpetuates the fiction that the powers-that-be give two hoots about crime, or seek to stamp it out rather than exploit it.

Boygoy's picture

As a longtime ZH reader who's had a hell of a time getting his email address vetted for an account on the ZH Commentariat, it pleases me to no end to be able to post here for the first time. I've been working off and on on a series of stories exploring the 'spirit' behind the police state, and the tack I've taken is to embody that spirit as a malevolent artificial intelligence unit installed in a police prowler.

His name? Reich Rider.




BarkingCat's picture

Kids just finished a game of basketball with his friends and realised that he is late for dinner.... the system scans his elevated body temperature and raised heart beat plus sensense his angst (his mom is going to chew his ass out for being late).... the system's alarms are tripped by all these readings and the fun begins

omniversling's picture

AI: the last technological development of homo sapiens


JADE2 (Jade Helm 2015 US domestic rollout of Network Centric Total Information Awareness and NetworkCentric Warefare?)


See the two embedded clips here with the orange CtM logo. Both have players in them. 



@1:35 smart dust/nano receiver/processor chip in:

The Secret Break Away Civilization You're Not Supposed To Know About


For a snapshot of the infrastructure to achieve that see Technocracy Rising - Patrick Wood, and Jade2 AI Internet of everything. It's apparently being trialed now under title Jade Helm 2015: 


@1:35 smart dust/nano receiver/processor chip in:

The Secret Break Away Civilization You're Not Supposed To Know About



dark pools of soros's picture

Aliens can drive and crash drunk just like anyone else!



TAALR Swift's picture

Pre-crime goes back MUCH further than than, to the dawn of Man.

Its detectors are something called Parents.  They typically know when when their offspring is about to do something most of the time.  This seems obvious to TAALR, but not so obvious to you humans, it seems.

slvrizgold's picture

Precrime is NOT a new concept. For example, segregation, and hundreds of countries expelling Jews. Just sayin'!

xtop23's picture


And the boldface type in the original post should read ".... prevent NON-SANCTIONED crime.... "

p.s. fuck you Blankfein

813kml's picture

I'm not too worried, so far the only crime that Microsoft software can accurately predict is a blue screen of death.

algol_dog's picture

Lets go back to the 70's & 80's and dance, laugh and groove to the beautiful music again. Fuck this crazy world now ...

FreedomGuy's picture

I'd pick the Wild West, America's founding or ancient Greece. My favorite movies are Tombstone, Last of the Mohicans (Daniel Day Lewis version) and 300. 

The Big Brother future sucks no matter how many toys we have. It's a future for sheep, for cattle, for neoserfs. 

Took Red Pill's picture

We can't go back to the past but all it takes is a big coronal mass ejection to put us into simpler times.

BarkingCat's picture

Do not worry. In time humans will fuck things up and will go back a lot further in time than that.

As Einstein said  "I don't know what weapons WW3 will be fought with, but WW4 will be fought will sticks and stores"  (not a direct quote)

Bloppy's picture

Happened to catch some of the movie version a few days ago and was amazed by how many of their predictions were already obsolete, such as small clear discs holding video clips of his dead son, large glass drives inserted into screens to upload files, etc. Only 13 years ago, but so much has changed.




Dumb news: Hillary vs pumpkin spice, ‘man bun’ dangers



wizteknet's picture

Get a encrypted vpn not so much.

alexcojones's picture

Like Orwell, Dick died young.

Two Great Visionary men. RIP

BlackMagician's picture

"...one fish asks another fish "how's the water?" The other fish replies, "what the hell is water?" ~ David Foster Wallace

4 wheel drift's picture

they will never turn it on....


we be without politicians, banksters and ekonomists....   in a flash


nor lawyers....

khnum's picture

Since world war 2 we've had Nazi scientists and Pentagon black ops vaporize trillions on God only knows what,worldwide mind control-a death star who knows,but there will still be plenty to sell their soul 'ás long as its not happening to them'.What could be a spanner in the works though is the oil,electricity and ammunition to power whatever toys are out there all take money to purchase and tptb are just about bankrupt.

CHoward's picture

OK - fine - fuck em.

Hohum's picture

The government won't be that effective in 40 years.

PoasterToaster's picture
PoasterToaster (not verified) Sep 28, 2015 9:10 PM

People really have no idea just how weak "the government" actually is.

khnum's picture

the primary function of government is to pretend to fail,they are stronger than you think.

FreedomGuy's picture

There seems to be this illusion that all or most of the people are anti-government and willing to do something about it. There are lots of muppets...who like being muppets. Add to those whose basic idea is "It's not my problem/better to lay low." and you have a docile population that will endure most anything. 

Dragon HAwk's picture

Assume the government knows everything... but don't be surprised when they don't

TheWrench's picture

That is why I always wear my Groucho Marx eyebrow-glasses-big nose-moustache face scan proof disguise while in public.

DipshitMiddleClassWhiteKid's picture

the data mining is good and only getting better thnks to the cheapness of storing massive amounts of data


im moving out of this country or moving toward the country where it's VERY white (Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, etc) 



RopeADope's picture

Anyone who has worked with large data-sets knows how much garbage they contain.

But I guess if the War on Drugs is forced to come to an end the Internal Security Industrial Complex will need a new reason to suck up trillions in spending.

Will citizens be forced to prepay for their stay in precrime detention centers with pretax?

If citizens predetain themselves is that an admission of precrime?

Will there have to be a Department of Prejustice established for the prosecution of precriminal activity?

Any healthy cogitating species would have expunged from itself any presupposing mental premasturbators a long time ago.

DipshitMiddleClassWhiteKid's picture

heheeh, yea this is true


but it's the meta-data that is effective at trracking people. 


and when there is so much of it..it becomes VERY significant