Very few days have been anticipated more in pop culture more than October 21, 2015. That’s the date that Doc and Marty McFly travel to in Back to the Future II, and it’s now right around the corner. In honour of such an auspicious event, I wanted to take a look at the tech that was mentioned in Back to the Future II, and see where we compare to actual technological advances that are available today!
In Back to the Future II, we find a digital cookbook in Marty Senior’s kitchen. While there’s no standalone product, today’s tablets make it easy to pull up recipes while you’re cooking. If you don’t want to risk dropping your tablet into the stew, you can always purchase a smart refrigerator (both Samsung and LG have one on the market) with a touch screen, allowing you to check your favorite recipe with just a swipe. Make sure and clean your hands first; that heavy cream is difficult to wipe off a touch screen!
Advertising aimed at the user was forecast during the memorable scene where Marty gets up close and personal with the shark from ‘Jaws 19.’ Today, cookies and retargeting allow websites to track our digital presence, making it easy for them to continue to try to get the sale long after we’ve left their website.
One of the biggest technological advances of our time, Siri, was foreshadowed in Back to the Future, II. In the movie, people talk to their devices-kitchen appliances, televisions, etc. Today, Siri sends text messages or retrieves driving directions for us. We can even talk to our computer to conduct a search on Google.
In Back to the Future II, Marty Senior takes a video call with a work colleague. Today, we use Skype for video conferencing anywhere, whether with someone in the next room, or on a different continent. Most new laptops come with a video camera as standard equipment, so it’s easy to be able to set up a conference with anyone. The only constraint is finding a time that works on everyone’s overbooked calendar.
That brings us to the next piece of tech. When Marty takes that call, he takes it on the flat panel widescreen TV in the den. Not only is he able to take a phone call over his television, he’s able to watch multiple channels at once, as we can do today. Apple TV, available now, syncs together all of your devices, which means you could, theoretically, take a Skype call over your flatscreen TV while you’re hanging out in the den.
Marty Junior watches TV at the dinner table through his TV glasses. In 2013,Google Glass was released, allowing us to wear our tech. Wearable tech has also been a game changer, spawning such devices as the Apple Watch and Fitbit. Wearable tech allows doctors and medical technicians to more accurately diagnose patient symptoms or monitor vital signs.
Older Biff pays his taxi fare by using his fingerprint on the driver’s screen. Today, the Samsung Galaxy S5 has a fingerprint scanner that allows users to unlock the phone or authorise online purchases. Fingerprint scanners are commonly used as a way to log into and out of a time clock, preventing fraud.
Unfortunately, everyone’s favourite Back to the Future II technology, the hoverboard, is one we haven’t quite managed yet. We’re close. The technology is there, but much like the early days of anything that’s ground breaking, it’s having some rough moments. I’m guessing that we’ll see a hoverboard that’s capable of carrying a human within the next several years.
What Has Actually Come True
Wireless video games. Yeah baby, Nintendo Wii and Oculus Rift are just wonderful! Unless you develop an addiction, I guess. Just imagine MMO role-playing games in ten years or so, using Oculus Rift and everything…
Tablets. Remember the scene in the Hill Valley Preservation Society, when a guy holds out a tablet for Marty to sign? Well, that’s a pretty trivial thing nowadays, isn’t it?
Video conferences. I can’t brag too much about this one – I gotta call my auntie via Skype.
Hoverboards! apparently so, I haven't seen one however Lexus claims they've invented the first one. We do have UWheels, which is a segway without the front handles.
What is Still Fiction
Flying cars. Yep, it’s still not like in the “Fifth Element” outside. Yet.
Dehydrated food. Not a big deal, considering everyone’s modern obsession with the healthy organic super-natural pure 100% clean beneficial food.
Laserdiscs. Haha, well, they’re in the past already.
Double ties. Even if someone would cram me into a suit (which I would violently resist), making me wear a double tie would be simply impossible. Fortunately, there are none of them around anyways. Whew.
Self-lacing sneakers I already mentioned above. They were announced, but they aren’t here yet. But personally, I don’t mind lacing my shoes manually.
Back to the Future Part II the American film came out in 1989