I’ve seen countless articles and social posts marking the real date when Doc Brown and Marty McFly traveled 30 years to the future in Back to the Future II. Heck, USA Today even recreated the front page used in the film as part of a wrap-around supplement today. Since the film trilogy was my favorite growing up, I couldn’t resist posting one too.
From a technology perspective, the movie introduced some innovative concepts that have actually come to fruition in one way or another. Thanks to the ever-evolving community of tech start-ups and larger entities alike, things like self-service touch screens in restaurants and biometric security to access buildings (or iPhones) are now integral to mainstream business and personal life. It also showed us the concept of flying dog-walking drones through Marty’s neighborhood and another when Biff was arrested after crashing into the clocktower on his souped-up hoverboard.
Additionally, the movie eerily predicted accurate consumer preferences of the future, including society’s demand for a personalized and multi-screen experience that offers entertainment, business and personal communications abilities (remember Marty’s multi-screen office where he effectively “Facetimes” with Needles?).
The combination of these concepts has led to the real October 21, 2015 reflecting elements that also existed in the movie—including business trends like 24/7 real-time data access from anywhere and 3D modeling across a multitude of industries. While we may not yet have self-sizing clothing, the concept of “right-sizing” has clearly been applied to everything from software and consulting services to cloud computing.
I’m personally still waiting for the flying cars but can’t say I’m disappointed with the level of uncanny accuracy that the movie delivered. However, they somehow thought we’d still be using fax machines. Those, I think, we can do without.