Wednesday, October 21, 2015

It's Back to the Future Day!

Few movies have affected popular culture and generated so much interest in what would otherwise have been an obscure vehicle quite like the Back to the Future trilogy. A lot of people are celebrating the movie today, from a town in California holding a festival to Toyota releasing some special videos based on the movie.

The whole reason for the celebrations today is that it's the date that Doc and Marty McFly arrive in the future in the second movie. Plenty of Photoshop scam screen captures have tried to claim that many other dates were displayed on the DeLorean's display, but in reality it was October 21, 2015.

Trying to predict the future of technology is difficult. The people who made Back to the Future tried to do just that, even if it was in a lighthearted manner. Other movies have tried to do the same thing as well, guessing at what kinds of vehicles, communication devices and other innovations will be available. Some things they get right, other things not so much.

Today, we do have hoverboard technology, even if it's limited to prototype examples only. Lexus created a functioning hoverboard that works with magnets and uses liquid nitrogen cooling:

While technically there are flying cars today, they're nothing like how the DeLorean in Back to the Future flies around. The simple truth is that flying cars are problematic, because they're far more dangerous in the hands of too many untrained people. Likely flying cars will never be commonplace, but it's difficult to predict the future, so who knows?

We still have fax machines today, but outside of some government agencies it seems that hardly anyone actually uses them. Instead, email is the popular way to communicate in written form. There's also social media. Back to the Future didn't portray people walking around, typing on their phone instead of paying attention to what's going on around them. That would have been far more accurate.

What will the future of cars bring? Purely guessing (even though they're educated guesses) I'm going to say the death of the internal combustion engine will happen, at least some cars will be fully autonomous (meaning nobody will even have to be in them to operate) and projected guides on the windows and other surfaces (like heads-up displays) will be commonplace. We'll have fewer accidents, but likely motorcycles will be even more the choice of rebels who want to get around the autonomous and other "nanny" technologies.

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