Technofiction Review of “In Time” (2011)

The story is a parable commenting on Social Darwinism. We see the ultra rich and “proletarians” – to borrow a term from the book “1984”. We see a bit of verbose lifestyles – people who live with days or hours of life between “paychecks” – and a bit of ultra-rich people – with centuries of life on their arms. There is nothing shown of people in between or crosses – people with a lot of time and no money, or vice versa. So this story is purely parable, it does not explore new technology. (Actually the most amazing thing in the movie is watching Amanda Seyfried sprint in contemporary high heels. Yeah, she really does manage to do it! Wow!)

That said, here are some Technofiction details that don’t make sense:

* Everyone carries their “bank balance” on their arm. And there is no security: you can transfer time and steal time, simply by locking your arms with another person. This community should have imagined a little courtesy about this information by now, as well as some security.

* There is no discussion of the origin of this weather, as in, how it is made. There is a lot of talk and demonstration on how it replaces money, how there is hyperinflation, and usurious interest rates for loans made by proletarians, but none on how people’s time is created or distributed.

* This future has this wonderful invention of time, but only a contemporary oversight capacity. These temporal transactions are treated like credit card transactions, but for some reason the temporal movements cannot be traced well enough by the police to quickly locate the protagonist even after he “marks” a hundred years older.

* There is a lot of representation of the new wealth in reality TV style, but none of the old wealth or the old skill. These rich people are not presented as experts at anything. Likewise, the only shot we see of working proletarians shows insane assembly work. This is something robots should be doing.

* No one acts like an old spirit in a young body. Everyone is acting young … and conventionally enough that this story continues to move forward in a very conventional way.

* If these bodies are genetically engineered to be always young, they could easily be designed to always be sterile as well. There is no need to worry about a Malthusian crisis. (described in the story as the main reason why society has divided these proletarians / ultra rich) Moreover, there is no disengagement from this program, no one has a choice not to participate in it.

So the movie is a bummer … unless you’re excited by parables about the evils of Social Darwinism. There is no magic or wonder in the lives of those people who live with this wonderful technology. The most wonderful part is Seyfried moving at high speed in his heels.

Source by Roger Bourke White Jr.

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