Today is Back to the Future Day, Here’s What They Got Right (and Wrong)

Today, October 21 2015, is not just Wednesday. It’s Back to the Future Day.

In 1989, Marty McFly and “Doc” Brown hopped in the DeLorean for a second time and travelled to this very day in the future. Which is now the present. Which also means that every day after this one will occur after Back to the Future. For the first time ever, we don’t have Marty to help us know what’s coming.

If your ears are bleeding already, it’s ok to take a break.

In the sequel’s version of today, there were a lot of gizmos, gadgets, and trends introduced that had Marty’s eyes bugging as he fended off a delinquent future and the belligerent Biff.

Now that we’re here, it’s time for us to go back to the future and see what’s fiction and what’s fact. These are the ones I’d consider the most relevant…


Hover Boards Are Pretty Much Sort of Real
After seeing BTTF Part 2, pretty much everybody from geezers to geeks wanted a hoverboard. While we’re not scaling any walls or hurdling over hatchbacks, both Hendo and Lexus have created boards that actually hover. The Lexus one actually hovers pretty well too. We may not see them on sidewalks any time soon, but kudos to the people that actually took it seriously to try making it this far.

Video Conferencing Errwhere
Who doesn’t use Skype or Facetime or something to chat with a distant relative or a soon-to-be-ex long distance lover? Still, the movie had it playing on a home television screen. They didn’t even try stretching their predictions to include everyone having the technology in the palm of their hands. Pretty incredible.

Addiction to Personal Electronics
Nailed it.

I Still Have to Tie My Own F***ing Shoelaces
You’d think that before figuring out how to print a kidney, they could have put a little engine in my sneakers to help me fend off my inevitable hip surgery at 61. Technically, in 2011 Nike released 1,500 of the Mags to raise money for Michael J. Fox’s Foundation for Parkinson’s. Some recent Twitter activity, as well as comments from the real shoe’s creator, would suggest that Nike is planning to launch the powerlace kicks before the end of the year. But I’m not hanging up the Stan Smiths just yet.

We Love 3D and Sequels
At one point Marty gets eaten by a 3D shark in front of the “Holomax”. The theatre is playing Jaws 19. By the end of this year, there will have been almost seventy 3D movies released in theatres and in case you’ve forgotten, there have been seven Saw movies, seven Fast & Furious installations (they have formally said they’re making ten), seven American Pies, five Die Hards (they have officially announced that they’re making a prequel), five Scary Movies, four Pirates of the Caribbeans, and three, yes, three Sharknados. They’re actually releasing a fourth next year.

Flying Cars Ain’t Flying Off the Shelves
Way off. And thank heavens too. We can’t even have drones without close calls with planes, drug and porn drop-offs in prisons, and making it legal to equip them with rubber bullets and tear gas. We’ll be much safer with the ones that just drive themselves…even if we don’t have a choice.

The Double Tie
Considering the comical styles people seem comfortable wearing when they’re not on drugs, I’m surprised this one hasn’t caught on yet. Then again, with reminders like this article, some putz will probably be all over it by the end of the year.  I’m calling Kanye.

Auto-Fit Clothing
SOMEBODY PLEASE GET ON THIS. Buying jeans with my waist and thighs is a nightmare.

They Still Read the Newspaper
Sales aren’t exactly skyrocketing and people are moving over to digital every day but millions of people still get their news the old fashioned way. Hopefully not from USA Today, but somewhere.

Fax Machines Didn’t Get the Memo
I actually laugh every time I see “Fax Number” in an email signature. Like, out loud. Until I pee. They’re everywhere in the movie but that’s because they missed the biggie…

It Rhymes With Shcminternet
If you really wanted to play devil’s advocate, you could cite police officers “wirelessly” retrieving information from a thumbprint or Marty being asked to sign a petition on a tablet. However, given all the “laser discs” and fax machines in the flick, it’s likely those devices reflected leaps in storage technology. Interestingly enough, Tim Berners-Lee , generally credited with inventing the internet as we know it, completed the first HTTP communication the same year the movie was released. But that’s how crazy the internet is. They didn’t really see it coming at all. And now it’s everything.

For those who like playing this game here are few more folds in the space-time continuum to which we can look forward:

Zombie Strippers: 2016 (yesssssssssssss)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes: 2019

Bladerunner: 2019

Children of Men: 2027

Robocop: 2028

The Terminator: 2029

Demolition Man: 2032

Total Recall: 2084

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