The world is changing, and it's hard to tell in which direction it evolves. Far from the ancient descriptions of potential ideal societies toward which it could incline, it seems, for unclear reasons, that most of the foretellers' trends are characterized by pessimistic notes. Indeed, what does our best predictor, art, have to say? Various fictitious devastated states of the world have been depicted as direct consequences of human activities. Planet of the Apes shows a return to primary civilizations after a nuclear warfare. Other uncareful and destructive behaviors may lead to climatic disasters according to The Day after Tomorrow and desolating droughts (combined with famine because of ressource consumption) according to Soylent Green. More humorously, intellectual decadence has been addresed in Idiocracy.
A few futuristic movies have envisioned societies where feelings are suppressed and with a high culture for performance. They share a common idea: escaping from a utopian but dehumanized world to conquer freedom. In Gattaca, a transhumanist society, a member of the underclass of humans, the kind employed to do menial jobs, tries to infiltrate the elite to fulfill his dream : travelling to the stars. In Equilibrium rulers use a drug, Prozium, to annihilate feelings, which are illegal. The Island presents a world where people are raised to work until one day where they are elected to go to "the Island", a paradise. In his review of the movie, the most famous film critic, Roger Ebert, notes that (spoiler warning)
it was a little eerie, watching "The Island" only a month after reading Kazuo Ishiguro's new novel Never Let Me Go. Both deal with the same subject: raising human clones as a source for replacement parts. The creepy thing about the Ishiguro novel is that the characters understand and even accept their roles as "donors," while only gradually coming to understand their genetic origins. They aren't locked up but are free to move around; some of them drive cars. Why do they agree to the bargain society has made for them? The answer to that question, I think, suggests Ishiguro's message: The real world raises many of its citizens as spare parts; they are used as migratory workers, minimum-wage retail slaves, even suicide bombers.
In the past, some authors have been quite successful at describing the future on Earth. A classical example concerns the duo formed by George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. In the foreword of his book Amusing ourselves to death, the media theorist Neil Postman holds that
what Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. These remarks are illustrated here and in a different manner there; they show how Orwell's and Huxley's visions match, in some measure, our contemporary world. And everyone of us can do something about it.