Back to the Future’s 2015 Tech Predictions

Great Scott! Today marks the day that the world has finally caught up with Doctor Brown and Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part II. More specifically, for those of you who may not be Back to the Future fans, today is the day that Marty, Doc and Jennifer visited the future in the 1989 movie.

There were some pretty interesting predictions made in the movie about what America would look like on October 21, 2015—like everyone wearing their pockets inside out as a fashion statement. While they may have gotten some things wrong, there are some pretty stunningly accurate predictions about the technology we have today.

So, what did they get right? Let’s take a trip back to the future and don’t worry about buckling up, because where we’re going, we don’t need roads:

Virtual Reality: When Marty and Jennifer make the decision to hop in Doc’s DeLorean, they visit the future where their future children are using what can only be described as virtual reality oculus glasses. A pretty futuristic prediction nonetheless, but the movie was actually spot on with the popularity of this type of technology.  Virtual reality (VR) has recently garnered a lot of buzz as a new hardware device and software platform that immerses the user in a computer-generated simulation of an environment while projecting images in full 3D.

The Samsung Gear VR® powered by Oculus has been on the tip of techies tongues since the company announced it will be released sometime next month.  Gear VR will connect with Samsung GALAXY® smart phones, turning them into a “next-generation virtual reality system”. Marty Jr.’s pair, created by the once-tech giant, JVC, may not be as sleek as Gear VR, but the features we see in the movie are a pretty close prediction to today’s idea of VR.

Video Conferencing: Another accurate prediction done by the movie was the concept of video conferencing as a way of communication. In the movie we see the future Marty using video conferencing on his television for business purposes, where he ultimately gets fired by his boss (Ugh, Needles!). The system Marty is using, though it seems to be strictly for business at home, looks a lot like PGi’s iMeet®.

There’s no arguing that video conferencing has become one of the most common ways modern workplaces interact with internal and external stakeholders. And while our video conferencing solutions are also accessible through handheld devices (a major missed prediction from the movie), the idea of using a large flat-screen monitor was pretty spot-on.

Smartwatch: You really had to be paying attention to catch this one! Briefly during the movie we see Doc using a watch that gives him real-time updates on the weather. Though not one of the more notable and obvious predictions, the movie definitely was onto something here as we are in fact able to access real-time information right on our wrists. However, I don’t think we’ll be able to change the weather anytime soon like Doc did with his smartwatch.

Rise of Robots: Do you remember the little orange robots roaming the streets accepting everyone’s trash? The Litter Bug trashcans robots were not far off from the robots that roam our homes and pick up our trash. Of course, I’m talking about iRobot’s® Roombas! These aren’t the only examples of robots in the movie however. We also see drones walking dogs and robot gas attendants at the local Texaco.

The rise of artificial intelligence and robots has become a true reality in 2015 with Google’s self-driving car, Apple’s iOS 9 installment of Siri® and much more. There are whole host of robotics and artificial intelligence improvements just on the horizon, so again, the movie got this prediction right.

Sadly though, we still don’t have flying cars or legitimate hover boards (though Lexus has gotten close), but the technology is definitely coming along. So Back to the Future buffs, which predictions did we miss? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo courtesy Universal 

About Andrea D.

Leave a Reply