Although it has been over 30 yeast now since the Back to the Future movies have been released, their popularity is still high on the ranks. In our fast paced age of the internet, they are still very relatable and define our generation very well. October 21, 2015 will always be known as the day Marty McFly travels to the future, with social media echoing this as a reminder for years to come.
Back to the Future Part II introduced its audience to a future of amazing innovations and technologies. Although, at the time most of these were thought of as a distant impossibility, in reality these predictions were not that far off. Even though in some ways Marty’s world does resemble our own, the main difference is that we have managed to streamline technology much more then it was perceived in the movie. Let’s take a moment and look at some of the differences and similarities between the two and what we still have to catch up on.
Video Calling: No TV Screen Needed
Although some parts of Marty’s futuristic home are not yet a reality (we’re looking at you, flying cars), some are actually ancient compared to what we have now. In the movie, McFly gets a call from his boss, and it happens to be a “Video Call” on his large flatscreen projection TV at home. While this is truly a fantastic accomplishment, the reality is even better thanks to software such as Skype.
The big screen is not a requirement for some one on one “Face Time”. The mobile revolution gave us the opportunity to use Video Calling and Video Conferencing with the simple swipe of a finger across a high definition screen and voila, your loved ones are right there in front of you. Furthermore, thanks to the social media corner of the internet, we are now able to Snapchat, Vine and Instagram shorter snippets of information to friends and followers.
There are also live-streaming video platforms like Meerkat and Periscope, which have gained much popularity lately, allowing us to watch events like Fashion Week or Live Cat videos in real time as they happen worldwide.
The Fastest of Food: Mobile Ordering
Being waited on by Ronald Reagan and Michael Jackson while drinking Pepsi Perfect was certainly something most of us looked forward to after seeing Back to the Future Part II, but not nearly as much as the mouthwatering pizza created instantly by a voice controlled Black & Decker Hydrator.
Even though the instant pizza making device is still just fictional, we have managed to create something rather interesting, “Tweet-a-Pizza”. Thanks again to our social media web sites and the pizza giant Domino’s, you can now order pizza by the method of tweeting the pizza emoji. Furthermore, the foodie in all of us can now turn to GrubHub and Seamless to schedule the meals we desire most, order Blue Apron to deliver perfect recipes with measurements and ingredients paired with wine and delivered to their doorstep, or even quickly check all availability for a table for 4 at 8PM on Friday via Reserve a Table.
Touch Tech: The World at Our Fingertips
Fingerprints were used around every corner in Back to the Future Part II. From keyless fingerprint entry to your home (seen when Officer Reese and Foley had to get Jennifer into her residence after her momentary tranquilization) to countless digital transactions which were prompted by fingerprints (such as the donation collection and the cab driver fair collection scenes). This technology is widely used today, and I’m sure it sounds familiar.
In 2014, Apple was one the first to utilize the fingerprint tech in their iPhones, giving you the ability to Apple Pay by simple placing your finger to the home button. Not only is this amazingly convenient, it also adds an additional layer of security for the consumer, making it much more difficult to input fraudulent charges.
However, we must note, according to the fictional USA Today from Back to the Future Part II, fingerprint tech did cause some level of concern. In the movie, to bypass the system, some criminals sunk as low as amputating thumbs to gain access to restricted areas and credit cards. It’s a good thing this was pointed out to us, since we all want to keep our fingers intact! In reality, we are developing much more sophisticated technology for means of identification. By 2025 we all just might be signing into our everyday devices through the means of retinal scans or vein matching, tech which is already being used today. Take that McFly!!!
Fashion: Wearable Technology
There was a plethora of wearable technology featured in our favorite film. Martin’s video glasses, which allowed him to watch TV remotely, had an uncanny resemblance to Google Glass. Marlene’s video phone somewhat resembles the iPhone, but is not as nice and sleek as what we have today. And who could forget the self-drying jacket with the button by the zipper which let you not only dry the jacket completely but also resize it to fit anyone!
Today, some of this technology is already available. We are lagging a bit behind in the “self-drying” clothing department but we do have some smart clothing to offer with many handy features, like ability to measure heart rate, breathing rate, and your workout intensity. Some brands have even created clothing which absorbs moisture to generate heat and keep the user one and a half times warmer than other brands. We also have 3D printing, and soon enough we will be printing our own clothing. Oh, and don’t forget the smart watches and fitness wearables, starting from the Samsung Gear and ending with some FitBit health monitors which let you track distance traveled, heart rate, time, weather, you name it. The future is here.
Even though some of the technology which Marty McFly had the opportunity to experience isn’t available yet, I must say we are much more technologically advanced than he would have thought. All of our current innovations have changed our lives in more ways than one, but they also gave us the opportunity to redirect our focus on what matters most, creating a better tomorrow.