Predictions for a new decade: Anna Higgs

To mark the start of the 2020s, we’ve asked a selection of our regular columnists to offer up predictions of what lies ahead for the creative industries. Here, Facebook Head of Entertainment Anna Higgs looks to cinema history to help foretell the future

I’ve never been a massive fan of futurology, always pointing out when asked for predictions that I’m not Marty McFly. But given this new year is the very futuristic sounding 2020 and Creative Review asked me so nicely, Great Scott, I’m going to give it my best shot.

What I am is a huge film fan, so I couldn’t resist thinking about this coming decade through the lens of some future-facing films whose predictions are now mind-bogglingly in our past. There’s the obvious ones of course, like Back to the Future Part II which is set in 2015. Though it hasn’t yet delivered hoverboards, if you watch it back you’ll see a very 80s vision of Google Glasses on Marty’s kids, and some of the fashion on display is practically a uniform in East London these days.

As we enter the 20s, whether they’ll be roaring or not is still to play for, but it’s surprising to see how many films showing us possible futures were set in 2019 – Arnie vehicle The Running Man and Michael Bay’s The Island are just a couple set in our right now. I write this post-Christmas, post-election and I’m in the midst of festive traffic and a seasonal flu, so filmic dystopias feel quite fitting.

But – despite the tone of global politics suggesting otherwise – I don’t want to look at this new decade pessimistically. So there’s another reason that I’m leaning heavily on my movie nerdiness here. Films, as a part of the creative industries and a huge part of popular culture, can often influence developments of our future. As can all of you reading this, and that’s cause for great optimism.