The future is now — just ask Tupac or Michael Fassbender.
Earlier in the week, nerd culture scored two big victories: one, the arrival of Hologram Tupac, who performed from beyond the grave at the Coachella music festival. Shortly thereafter came the announcement of David 8, a new line of androids from Weyland Industries set to launch on the upcoming "Prometheus" voyage.
Frankly, both sound like ridiculous sci-fi concepts that could only occur in the far-off future. But one of those things actually happened. Even if you're not a hip-hop fan, the fact that a walking, talking, swear-slinging Tupac Shakur appeared before Coachella attendees for nearly five full minutes 16 years after his death should illicit an avalanche of geek-gasms. It certainly did for "Talk Nerdy" co-host Eric Ditzian.
"Holo-pac is the beginning of something very new," Ditzian said in Splash Page's latest Hero of the Week column. "It's a sci-fi nerd's dream come true, in a sense — a game-changing technology no longer part of a fictional realm but in our own."
He's right, of course. For years, we've watched men, women and aliens alike appear via holographic image on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, as an urgent message issued through the eternally adorable R2-D2 and so on. Messages from fully formed individuals based in another place, perhaps even in another time, coming our heroes' way through the inexplicable powers of science fiction. None of that was real, of course, because let's be serious: Did we ever expect to see these kinds of things happen anywhere other than in Space, the Final Frontier or in the land of a Long Time Ago in a Galaxy Far Away? I certainly didn't.
Tupac — with a little help from Dr. Dre and friends — proved me wrong.
But it says a lot that even with the newfound discovery of Holo-Pac, I remain equally obsessed, if not more so, with "Prometheus." Ridley Scott's first science-fiction film since 1982's "Blade Runner" is easily my most anticipated film of 2012. That says a lot, considering this is the same year that sees Earth's mightiest heroes together onscreen for the first time, the same year that Bane might break the Bat on behalf of Christopher Nolan. The first two "Alien" films are permanent fixtures in my otherwise evolving list of all-time favorite movies, but it wasn't until I saw the David 8 advertisement — a viral video that sees Michael Fassbender's cybernetic character explain his own capabilities and uses as a robot, eerie and fascinating and beautiful in every sense of those words — coupled with Tupac's digital return, that I realized why I'm so excited for "Prometheus."
Maybe it's the power of a good Guy Pearce speech. Or maybe I've just binged on one too many geek movies in my day. But I look at the list of achievements accomplished by Pearce's "Prometheus" character — Sir Peter Weyland, a pioneer in many fields including terraforming and robotics — and I can't stop thinking that maybe, just maybe, we're not so far off from having a Broca Dialectical Implant (the first language tool that requires absolutely no learning on the user's part) or developing faster-than-light space exploration vehicles.
No, at the moment, there are no functional hoverboards as promised by the movies, and the Nike Air McFlys do not yet lace themselves up without assistance. And maybe we'll have to wait a bit longer than 70 years to meet an android with the same emotional depth as David. But right now, we do have a long-deceased music legend performing from beyond the grave via hologram. If we brought Tupac back in 2012, then what can't we accomplish by 2073?
It's not a robot ... but we're getting pretty damn close.