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Blade Runner 2049 will explore the ‘social consequences’ of modern technology

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It’s never felt more real

Blade Runner 2049 is the sequel to Ridley Scott’s neo-noir, cyber-punk film from 1982, but many of the warnings about technology prevalent in that film will return.

During a Q&A for the movie earlier today, director Denis Villeneuve, along with stars Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford spoke about technology's societal impact as a main theme of the film. Ford, who will be reprising his role as blade runner Rick Deckard, said he thought it was fascinating just how important the conversation surrounding the ethical nature of technology has become in 2017. Part of that conversation, he added, feels like it has drawn inspiration from Blade Runner and the lessons in that movie.

“I think it's fascinating that the original film predicted a technology that in may ways we've surpassed and in other ways we're not quite there,” Ford said. “This film does take into account the 30 years that have passed. It references technologies that actually are on place now. To me, which is a little bit more interesting, it acknowledges and deals with some of the ethical considerations that technology presents us with.

“There's no such thing as a free lunch and we're really taking about both the benefit of technology and the social consequences of it in a way that I think is really interesting.”

Villeneuve said part of the film will examine just how important technology has become in our daily lives. The director hinted that part of the movie will imagine a society that has lost its memories and the necessary requirements that puts on technology to keep things together.

This may be an important theme for Blade Runner 2049, but it’s also why scholars, critics and movie goers alike fell in love with the original to begin with. In a Stanford University essay written by Douglas E. Williams and published in 1988, Williams argued that Blade Runner was one of the most important movies to tackle the dystopian nature surrounding emerging technological advancements — even if it was fictional.

Blade Runner [is] a film that has much to teach, or at least worry, us about the unprecedented and life-threatening complexities of our technologies, the social and political definition of their deployment and development, and the incoherence of our currently stereotypical attempts to escape from the repercussions of the world we see taking shape before our eyes,” Williams wrote.

As technology becomes a bigger part of our every day lives and futurists begin to explore transhumanism like never before, Blade Runner has never less fictional. Even Gosling joked, “We haven't worked out the flying car thing yet. but I'm being nicer to my electronics just in case.”

Blade Runner 2049 will be released on Oct. 6.