CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Culture

If sci-fi film plots turn real, you'd better avoid this city

If every futuristic apocalypse from the movies comes true, we're facing decades of trouble -- mostly because of some rowdy robots.

What if our favorite science fiction films really are an oracle sent back from the future to warn us of what's to come? If sci-fi turns out to be real, the United States is in for a rough ride and no one should be trusted, especially the government and robots.

The team at real estate site Redfin analyzed 44 futuristic films to see just how much the biggest US real estate markets -- and the rest of society -- would be decimated if the movies' post-apocalyptic plotlines came true.

future.jpg

Click the thumbnail to check out all the destruction sci-fi has in store for the US.

Redfin

It turns out that if all the iconic films turn out to be prophetic, the United States will be destroyed or rendered completely uninhabitable a total of 11 times in the future. The favored form of American apocalypse seems to come at the hydraulic hands of a variety of robots -- Hollywood imagines no less than eight robot revolts in store for the US over the next few millennia.

That's a threat plenty of real-world characters, like Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking, seem to think we should take seriously as well.

What's the second biggest cause of future chaos from sea to shining sea? The cynics among us won't be surprised to learn the sci-fi future foresees seven corrupt government regimes, but only two alien invasions.

But the US is a big country with plenty of places to hide out, and some cities will fare worse than others. Surprisingly, the city science fiction narratives pick on the most isn't on one of the coasts. It's Chicago that gets destroyed most often in the future, getting blown away a total of 10 times.

Robots take down the Windy City four times in the future, and 2035 will be an especially tough year with the army of the Twelve Monkeys from the 1995 classic releasing a deadly virus at the same time the murderous androids of "I, Robot" are on the prowl.

Our future demise begins right away this year in Los Angeles, where the 1987 dystopian Arnold Schwarzenegger flick "The Running Man" is set starting in the year 2017. If the Governator can get us past that hump, at least we'll finally get flying cars in time to sniff out the Replicants in the world of 2019 predicted by "Blade Runner." It won't be smooth sailing for Southern California, even with Deckard's help, though.

By 2029, the entire region will face extinction at the hands of Skynet from "Terminator," only to be transformed into the early 1990s action movie chaos of "Demolition Man" just three years later in 2032.

New York is scheduled to fall in 2019 and six more times in the future, but it's also a source for humanity's heroes: Woody Allen saves in the world in 2173 in "Sleeper" and a New York cabbie is our only hope in the 2263 weirdness of "The Fifth Element." Does that mean Uber doesn't make it to the 23rd century?

Not surprisingly, San Francisco's biggest existential threat in the future is robot uprisings, while corrupt government regimes are the downfall of Washington, D.C., more than any other sci-fi trope.

If you have faith in the foresight of sci-fi, you can start prepping right now by learning the rules of the sport Rollerball, because it will be the only game that matters by 2018.

It's clear you want to avoid Chicago in the future and there will be nowhere to hide by the time the moon breaks apart and showers the Earth with debris a la "The Time Machine" in the far-distant year 802,701. But there is still one place worth moving to.

Montana has by far the friendliest sci-fi future of all, playing host to the particularly friendly aliens from "Arrival." As a bonus, the landscape there isn't particularly friendly to robots, or corrupt government officials, for that matter.

Technically Literate: Original works of short fiction with unique perspectives on tech, exclusively on CNET.

Crowd Control: A crowdsourced science fiction novel written by CNET readers.