Week 1: Sjordal

For the first assignment, I decided to watch 2012’s Dredd, with no prior knowledge of the film besides the fact that the main character was a judge, and he was played by Karl Urban. While opening Netflix, I thought about the role of judges in our current society, and how it might differ in the movie. In our society, we know judges as people who sit behind a desk, bang a gavel, and make the final judgment on the sentencing of convicts. In Dredd, the main difference is that judges get guns and motorcycles instead of desks.

What stood out most to me, was the version of America portrayed in the film. It’s shown as a distant future of our country, where everything has been assimilated into one large, out of control, crime-ridden city. The character, Dredd, mentions that their Justice Department is only able to attend to six percent of the emergencies called in every day, so I suppose it’s logical that the role of judges could have been adapted into the judge/police officer hybrid seen in the film.

Their Justice Department’s is made easier by technology that we could feasibly see in the next decade or so. The judges are equipped with guns with various functions, from regular bullets, to explosives, to a fingerprint recognition system that causes the gun to self destruct if an unauthorized person tries to fire it. The skies are policed by drone planes with cameras that can identify city inhabitants and/or lawbreakers with facial identification software. I doubt we’ll have access to that kind of multi-functional gun anytime soon, but I don’t thinks it’s overly far-fetched to say that we could see similar fingerprint and facial recognition become more widespread. For instance, the new iPhone 5S features a fingerprint scanner. This technology is already readily available on computers and security systems, so there could be a chance that it might be adapted for use on firearms, as a method of curbing gun violence. A self-destruct trigger might be a little over-the-top, but a fingerprint scanner could be an option for anyone who wants to keep unapproved individuals from using their weapons, from regular citizens to law enforcement officers.

While that could be an interesting hypothetical, I’d say the more troubling of the two technologies I mentioned, are the drones with the power to identify anyone. With our new knowledge of government security agencies like the NSA, and the increasing usage of drones for national security purposes since the invention of the predator drone in 1995, this is pretty intimidating idea that could potentially become a reality. Right now, it costs roughly $5 million to build a Predator drone. With ever increasing technological advances each year, this cost could drop until one day, it might be fairly cheap to manufacture drones not just for national security, but internal security as well.

If our leaders continue exploit our system, misemploy their power and make it out to be an insignificant matter, perhaps we could one day see a future that resembles the one depicted in Dredd. While Dredd isn’t a particularly deep movie some of the concepts it displays make for interesting speculation about one possible future for America.