It’s official folks, the future has finally arrived. Today, October 21, 2015, is the day Marty McFly travels to in the cult classic Back to the Future Part II.
Hitting theaters in 1989, the film created a massive buzz around its vision of the future. From Hoverboards to robots that walked your dog, the world of the future looked like a pretty good place.
So how well did the film’s creators do predicting what 2015 would look like? Let’s explore 5 things they got very right, and 5 that were dead wrong.
Predictions That Came True
1) Hands-free Video Games
“You mean you have to use your hands? that’s like a baby’s toy.” I really wish that was the advertising slogan for the Kinect. Introduced in 2010, the device not only lets you play games without a physical controller, it’s also highly hackable and being used for all kinds of incredible art and tech projects.
2) TV Glasses
Now here’s a prediction the movie got spot on. VR glasses/goggles are popping up everywhere right now. From Google Glass, to the Oculus Rift and even the smart-phone hacking Google Cardboard, there are a lot of new ways to watch “TV” strapped to your face. Plus you can do a LOT more.
3) Video Conferencing
Too bad for old Marty McFly getting fired. It’s so much harder in person.
Today’s video conferencing looks way more clear than what they predicted in 1989… and forget about being fired or late: now we can make video calls from almost anywhere using only our phones.
4) Targeted Advertising
Ok, I know what you’re thinking: “we don’t have holographic sharks.” But what we do have is an entire internet dedicated to serving up targeted ads aimed directly at you. That shark isn’t aiming at anyone but Marty in the video, just like those 6 ads based on your last Amazon search.
5) Tablet Computers
Apple beat this prediction to the punch with the first popular tablet computer, the iPad. Not only that, but with a large touch sensitive screen, it’s probably WAY more useful than the gadget spotted in that scene when Marty gets hit up for a donation to repair the old town clock.
Predictions That Didn’t Come True
1) Rehydrating Food
There’s pizza delivery, frozen pizza, microwave pizza… can it get any easier? Yes.
We still need food rehydrators so we can have teeny-tiny food that expands into steaming hot big food.
Inventors, you have two months to make our dreams come true in 2015.
2) Flying Cars Everywhere
Clearly, the skies are a little less crowded with cars than we’d hoped. 2015 looks a lot like 1985 actually, except we have some electric cars rolling around and just a few that drive themselves (which is honestly pretty magic).
The closest thing we currently have to the flying car is the AeroMobil, and while that’s VERY cool, it doesn’t come close to a flying DeLorean.
3) Laser Disk Would Still be Around
Not much to say here except Back to the Future Part 2 seriously overestimated the popularity of LaserDisk. There certainly aren’t enough around to fill an alley as garbage, but if you’re looking at the smaller DVDs and Blu-ray formats that came later that’s certainly possible.
Now, time to go stream a movie…
Nobody is more disappointed than ’80s and ’90s kids who thought they’d be floating on air by now.
What we’ve got looks crazy hard to ride, takes copious amounts of liquid nitrogen to levitate, and only follows tracks hidden below the skate park.
Nope, not yet:
5) The Cubs Still Haven’t Won the World Series
Sorry Cubs fans, even the BTTF2 writers knew this was a long shot, they gave it 100 to 1 odds. Not to mention that the date Marty McFly traveled to was today, before the World Series has even started.
Amazingly, FiveThirtyEight gives the Cubbies a 23.5% chance of making the World Series and a 12.2% chance of winning. Seems those writers could be on to something after all.