October 21, 2015. Today is the day that Marty McFly will arrive in the fictional town of Hill Valley to save his ne’er do well son from disaster. While Zemeckis’s future made some false promises – where is my Hoverboard?! And my flying car?! Where I am, I do need roads. Badly. Like a caveman. This version of 2015 simply WILL NOT DO!
Nonetheless, 26 years down the line, several of the predictions from the cinematic masterpiece have come to fruition.
Video Chat: The accuracy with which video chat was predicted is kind of untouchable. With the advent of Skype, FaceTime, Google Hangouts and a myriad of other video communication technologies, the age of speaking to someone while not looking at them in real time is becoming less commonplace. If only they could predict a way to stop Skype from making those annoying sounds whenever a contact goes online.
Fingerprint Scanning: When exiting a taxi, Biff uses his fingerprint to pay. This is not dissimilar to Uber, Lyft, Easy Taxi and innumerable other car serve apps that store your information. To pay for your ride, all one has to do now is access an app. How do you access the app? By unlocking your iPone with your fingerprint! MIND BLOWN!
Computers as accessories: Is it just me, or does this device look like Google Goggles and the Oculus Rift VR headset have combined?
Drones: It is increasingly common for organizations like the BBC to deploy camera enabled aircraft to capture footage. Now, danger, geography and crowds are a worry of the past – on ground cameramen are so 1989. Also, if YouTube is to be trusted (and who would not trust everything on YouTube), the predicted dog walking drones are deployed. However, Back To The Future II did miss the mark when it came to the booming private, amateur drone market.
Waste-Powered Cars: While we still have a ways to go before we will see anything like Doc’s garbage fueled Delorean, but the advances of waste powered vehicles in the past 26 years are quite significant. In the UK, both Bristol and Bath have introduced GENco Bio-Buses. These particular buses recycle human waste rather than household, but nonetheless we are going to give this one to Zemeckis.
Smart Clothing: Marty’s talking jacket was THE END in cool. The very bees knees. Well, until now. The advent of smart clothing has seen technology incorporated into everyday wear in ways that my childhood mind could never conceive. Conductive gloves? Check! A shirt that stores information on your movement and posture in 3D? Sure thing! Silence your phone by tapping your jeans? Almost (check out Project Jacquard).
Voice Controlled Computers: Hey Siri. Need I say more?
So, for now, I will patiently wait for my Hoverboard and flying car. Not so my pizza hydrator. I am going to need that ASAP. This pizza is very small and very dry.