In 1956, Warner Brothers produced a landmark sci-fi film named Forbidden Planet. The movie was a first in many areas. It was the first movie to have a totally synthetic soundtrack produced by synthesizers of the day. It was the first to take place in an alien planet very fram from Earth. It was the first to use a robot that had a personality and not just a person in tin can box. Of course it had the cliche romance seen expected of any hollywood movie of the day. The movie takes place in the last "decade of the 21st century." But, as time passes, the film becomes more prophetic, at least when it comes to the technologies that are now imminently before us. The basic plot of the film is an Earth ship many years in the future seeks a lost expedition on a planet that is seemingly isolated. It discovers survivors in the form of a Dr, Morbius and his daughter. The rest of the expedition were hideously murdered, twenty years earlier, by a force that apparently still exists on the planet, yet remains dormant since those days. We will cover some of the things that this movie predicted in technology, that, at the time it was made, seemed far fetched, but, now, are within our view of the possible.
This planet, had been the home of a very advanced race of beings called the Krell. They were according to Morbius, one million years ahead of the human race.
The One Machine - The Internet of Things With An Unlimited Power Source
|The Great Machine|
"...prepare your minds for a new scale of physical scientific values gentleman." Dr. Morbius
This machine as described by the earthling that studied (Dr. Morbius) as huge. This machine, stretches 40 miles from east to west. It has 7,800 floors from top to bottom. It has 400 ventilations shafts. The machine can repair itself. It has functioned for 2,000 centuries, replacing worn parts. It is powered by units sunk 50 miles into the heart of the planet. The planet is its energy source, with 9,200 nuclear reactors working in tandem. Basically, it has unlimited power.
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But what is this machine for? Morbius explains that the Krell in their last days had been applying their entire effort to eliminating "physical instrumentalities." And this is the ultimate goal for all of science it seems to us. To be able to produce a reality from a mere thought. Our minds creating ex nihilio (out of nothing) as the Bible said God had done. To do this a massive amount of energy would be needed to transform matter. This machine was created to supply that power, as well as to provide the interface with the Krell brains.
This film anticipated nanotechnology by speaking about the ability of the Krell, to produce, matter millions of times denser than our strongest metals. In an example, of this characteristic, Morbius, has the Captain, point his weapon at a Krell wall. Not only does the weapon not disintegrate it, the metal is not even warm, thus demonstrating its ability to absorb heat at many times that of normal metals. This control over subatomic particles allowed the Krell to create extremely dense metals. Right now, through the breakthroughs of nanoscience, we are at the threshold of the beginning of this kind of technological revolution. Nanotechnology has the potential of eliminating human hunger and poverty.
"...the scientific community has been less than embracing of these ideas. The most vocal critics claim that this technology is either so distant in the future that we need not concern ourselves, or fundamentally impossible and will never happen. The engineering community has been for the most part silent about the controversy, which is a significant omission because the proposed technology has very little to do with new science and everything to do with engineering analysis, design, and construction.***This is not to say, of course, that the things presented in this film are near term, but it would be unwise to laugh at their possibilities.
"...the heights they had reached, but then, seemingly on the threshold of some supreme accomplishment, which was to have crowned their entire history, this all but divine race perished in a single night." Dr. MorbiusHow A Civilization Can Destroy Itself
That a machine of the size, as that one found on that planet, which can connect to a brain, and using a very advanced form of nanotechnology, instantly transform matter, would make us as near gods. This is where the invisible creature that attacks the mother ship at the end of the movie, is scientifically conceivable.
The question remains, and it is one this film tries to answer, is man ready for all the power this technology will give him? Will he create the very instruments of his own destruction like the Krell did? How will we do? The Krell according to this story, had long before abolished all crime, poverty, injustice, and war. We have not even come close to that yet. But for the Krell despite these amazing cultural accomplishments, their subconscious minds had not dramatically changed. The machine which they created connected to their entire mind. Will we do better when we create computers that surpass our entire racial intelligence? Will they look at us as their creators? These issues and others are what will make Forbidden Planet a timeless classic.
For sci-fi buffs, the rumor is that there a follow up to this movie that will create a franchise. The director being spoken about is no other than James Cameron from Avatar. The script for this movie has been written by one of the foremost sci-fi writers currently, J. Michael Straczynski. Stay tuned for more details.