Looking “Back To The Future”

How close was the 1989 hit movie when it came to predicting our technology?

Jacob Prosser

“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads!” Doc said as the DeLorean took off into the sky.

This quote is, of course, from the widely known movie “Back To The Future II” in which friends Marty and Doc Brown head 30 years into the future: 2015. In the movie’s depiction of 2015, many great strides in technology had been taken since 1985—flying cars, hoverboards, auto drying and fitting clothes. The movie seems to have struck out on correctly predicting how tech should be effecting our lives—or did it?

While many of the technology shown in the movie’s portrayal of 2015 seems pretty ludicrous, it didn’t completely miss on everything. In the movie, Marty puts on a pair of shoes from the future to blend in. The futuristic part? These shoes tie themselves. Back in 2011, Nike released a limited number of the shoes designed after the shoes from the movie and sold them for charity. This year, they are taking the next step and actually releasing self-tying shoes. Power laces are a soon to be thing, so say goodbye to tying your laces!

The most coveted piece of technology shown in the movie just may have been the hover board. Essentially a skateboard without wheels, the hoverboard glides over anything—including water. In early 2014, a video featuring Tony Hawk went viral, showing real hoverboards similar to those in Back to the Future. Many people got super excited about them, only to find out it was fake. But later that year, another version of a hoverboard again popped up, and this time it was real. This hoverboard, called the Hendo, uses magnets to achieve lift and let the rider coast around. The only catch is it must be used on a specific surface made out of copper. But, definitely a cool invention nonetheless and shows that some day hoverboards could be a legit way of getting around.

Also shown in the movie are several other ideas that seemed crazy for their time: cars that run on resources other than gas, video conferencing with people from far away, wearable technology, and using biometrics in tandem with tech. It is crazy to see how far technology has come since the movie first debuted in 1989. Who knows, in another 30 years, maybe we will have those flying cars.

Jacob is a sophomore studying communication.