[Philip K. Dick] The Minority Report

Title: The Minority Report
Author: Philip K. Dick
Published: 1956

If the system can survive only by imprisonment of innocent people, then it deserves to be destroyed. My personal safety is important because I’m a human being.

from the book – Anderton

You have heard of “The Minority Report,” most likely from the Hollywood blockbuster movie, starring Tom Cruise and directed by Steven Spielberg. The movie is loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s SF novel, first published in Fantastic Universe in 1956.

Just like other Dick’s movie adaptations, the film is more focused on the actions and sentiment of family relations. The original story is more about questioning the relationship between individuals’ free will and authoritarianism. Even with non-stop actions and webs of twists, the movie fails to deliver a coherent message and the motives of each party. The story, however, seems non-realistic but fits all blocks together.

The existence of a majority logically implies a corresponding minority.

from the book

The story asks you a question about the deterministic future and human beings’ free will. Also, the existence of a minor report shows that we have multiple future time paths, all existing at the same time. Are we free to choose one of our possible paths, or are we guided blindly by fate?

The base assumption of Precrime, which prevents future crimes, is based on the existence of multiple time paths or a minority report. Without an alternative future, you cannot even stop the crime. The presence of a minority report is the two-sided blade, which supports and invalidates the Precrime system at the same time.

Finally, we need to ask whether we can morally justify the act – arresting some for the sake of the general public -. Precrime might be justified from the utilitarian perspective, but everyone will doubt it is not based on rationality.

A book is good when it can motivate readers with many thoughts. From this perspective, “The Minority Report” is really a good book. At the same time, it is very interesting as well.

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