Airport Security

After fleeing the Yakuza in the hotel, Johnny arrives in the Free City of Newark, and has to go through immigration control. This process appears to be entirely automated, starting with an electronic passport reader.


After that there is a security scanner, which is reminiscent of HAL from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey.


The green light runs over Johnny from top to bottom.


Looking at the picture, we can see that this green light is somehow making Johnny’s skeleton visible. It would be possible, by having an X-ray imaging system running at the same time and then re-projecting the X-ray image back onto the body, but why? Since there don’t appear to be any actual human beings on duty, I can only suggest that it is meant to look intimidating and impressive to encourage obedience. In the film Johnny appears to be alone and cannot see this himself, but it would be much more common for there to be multiple passengers, so each could watch the others being scanned.

There is also a screen showing another scan, a blurry body image, and text appearing on the right side. A voice repeats the text content. For the first time we see a blue background, the most common color for futuristic film interfaces.


The scanner detects Johnny’s implant, but whatever secrecy measures are present cause the system to decide that it is a registered dyslexia aid. The popup alert below includes the registration issuer and a domain name, so perhaps this is online verification over the Internet. Presumably Johnny can see this screen himself, if he cares.


The voiceover helpfully informs Johnny that there is “synaptic seepage”, and he should seek medical attention within 24 hours. This shows quite high level decision making by the system and an offer of assistance. Johnny says “thanks” in reply, an anthropomorphic response to this seemingly intelligent machine.

However, there seems to be a more detailed explanation in smaller text on the right of the display, and this isn’t announced. It’s not clear in this scene whether Johnny can see this display or not, but even if he could it would be difficult to read. Perhaps this is a legacy system from the days when airport security had actual staff.


At this point Johnny leaves the airport, riding in a taxi from the airport. It is a good time for the first review of a group of related interfaces, which will be the next series of posts.

3 thoughts on “Airport Security

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