It's been a long wait guys, but we're finally here. Despite many false starts, Wednesday, 21 October 2015 was the day that Marty McFly arrived when he travelled to the future in Back to the Future Part II - at 4.29pm precisely.
Unfortunately for many of us, the reality of 2015 hasn't quite lived up to the film's hype - we're still feeling pretty down about the fact that we don't quite have flying cars, and our attempts at hoverboards so far have all been pretty underwhelming. But before you get too down on reality, there are some things the film got (mostly) right about 2015, and in some areas, we've actually outdone ourselves. Thank you, science.
In Back to the Future Part II (BTTF), Marty gets fired by his boss over a video call that looks a lot like Skype or FaceTime. Obviously, we've mastered this form of video communication by now - but we've also managed to take it one step further by developing real-time translation software that lets people hold live video conversations in different languages. Oh, and someone also invented Chat Roulette, so there's that.
The wearables in BTTF aren't pretty, but they do have a lot in common with today's devices. In one scene, we see the Doc driving the DeLorean wearing hideous silver wraparounds, which connect to various cameras around the car and provide him with real-time information about his surroundings.
We also see him using a handheld device (which looks a lot like an iPhone) to get extra information about objects around him.
The good news is we've already mastered this technology, with the advent of Google Glass and the Oculus Rift in recent years. We've also taken things a big step further by creating mobile phones that give us access to pretty much all of humanity's knowledge, as well as each other, any time we want.
"The fact that everyone can have one device that's a computer, that's a camera, that's a recording device, that's a calculator, that's a flashlight … we didn't think of that," screenwriter and co-producer of the BTTF trilogy, Bob Gale, admitted to The Hollywood Reporter last week.
In the movie, Biff pays for a cab simply by scanning his fingerprint. And while we're not quite up to that stage as yet, people with Apple Pay can pay for something simply by tapping their fingerprint-activated iPhones. Sweden is even moving towards getting rid of cash altogether. We also now use fingerprint scanning at airports and for security purposes, and scientists have even worked out how to detect what we've recently eaten from monitoring our fingerprints.
We don't have dog-walking drones just yet like they did in BTTF, but we do have flying robots that are able to capture news footage, monitor disease, fire weapons, and plant trees, which is something that Gale and the BTTF team never dreamt would be possible.
"The fact that we have drones that can take news pictures - now that was just a joke," he said. "We weren't seriously thinking about how that technology would work, but wow."
The screens in BTTF were pretty ambitious at the time, but they got it right in terms of the flat and large screens we have everywhere these days. But what they didn't predict was the fact that we'd have totally foldable and flat screens on the horizon. We feel like Marty McFly would have really appreciated being able to roll his TV up and take it with him.
And, sure, there is that awesome 3D hologram Jaws 19 ad in BTTF, but we don't think the film really captured just how pervasive 3D technology would be on TVs in the home, not to mention in the cinema. We can watch Mr Robot on 3D from the comfort of our own homes these days, guys, life is good.
Nike has developed these, but to be fair, they're more gimmick than practical footwear. But what BTTF never predicted was exoskeletons - these bad boys can give you superhuman strength and speed. Not to mention the fact that they're able to restore mobility to the disabled.
Yes, BTTF doesn't really mention space exploration. But it's worth adding this in here because we've the kind of progress that the writers wouldn't have been able to imagine when the film was released in 1989.
For starters, we've landed science-performing robots on Mars, and we're planning to send humans there within the next two decades. We also managed to land a probe on a comet hurtling through space at 135,000 km/h. We've even spotted planets outside our Solar System, and perhaps something more interesting orbiting a distant star.
Tl;dr we've come a long way since Back to the Future II, so don't get too hung up on the lack of hoverboards in your daily transportation.
Back to The Future vs The Reality of 2015.
Posted by Junkee on Sunday, October 18, 2015