The year is 2015. Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) steps out of the time traveling DeLorean in the film Back To The Future II and is told, by Dr. Emmett Brown (Doc) (Christopher Lloyd), not to look around or interact with anyone in the future because “No one should know too much about their destiny.”
I disagree. As a futurist, I believe we should know as much about our future as we can. We should study big data, developing trends in technology, innovation and human behaviour. We should all step out of our “reality tunnels” and look seriously at the future.
Serious Wonder editor B.J. Murphy and I made a list of futuristic technologies that appeared in the film. Many of you who read Serious Wonder will know that the future has arrived. Even though Back to the Future Part II is science fiction and meant to be entertaining, a great deal of the technologies shown in the film are actually available today. Yes, even the hoverboard and the flying car.
Science fiction often inspires innovation. We see fantastical technologies in sci-fi films and we strive to replicate these concepts. From Star Trek‘s Tricorders to the Star Wars Lightsaber, sci-fi films and books have inspired our future realities.
Bestselling author of The Transhumanist Wager Zoltan Istvan tells Serious Wonder:
“For decades, science fiction has inspired innovation and expanded what we think is technologically possible. It’s really only in the last few years, though, that much science fiction–like bionic arms and telepathy–are actually coming into scientific reality. In my mind, there’s no question that science fiction plays a critical and essential part in inspiring what is possible of human beings.”
Image to the left: “FOX5 NY called this morning and wanted me to talk about Back to the Future II 2015 tech. So I thought the first day of 2015 would be a great time to re-watch B2F2 again before my interview.”
Futuristic Tech We Found
What Back to the Future‘s 2015 got right: Flying cars (though not hover cars), mobile facial recognition, self-tying shoes, bionic implants, holographic advertisements, robot waiters, gesture-based gaming, hoverboard, dust repellent tech, suspended animation, drone news reporters, Fingerprint Door Lock, biometric fingerprint payment systems, in-home garden, wearable phones and smart glasses, video conferencing, digital windows, and I even saw what could have been an EEG headset.
What Back to the Future‘s 2015 got wrong: Skyways, organ replacement (on its way), autonomous dog walking drones, plutonium fusion (we’re so close), rejuvenation clinics, self-adjusting clothing, robotic car repairs, self-drying clothing, food hydrator, and holographic movie theaters.
One of the best things about Back to the Future II is that the future Marty finds is not a dystopian nightmare. It is far from perfect, however, we do not see flesh eating robots munching on babies, nuclear fallout or sand storms overtaking the food supply. Thank goodness. I’m bored to no end with drab, dreadful, dystopian futures. As I have said so many times before, we need more optimistic future fiction.