Happy Back to the Future Day! For those who have no idea what this means (ie those hiding out in the past, courtesy of the Doc’s time travelling DeLorean), it’s the day that Marty McFly landed in the future in the second movie of the 80s cult trilogy.
In Back to the Future Part II, young Marty finds himself face to face with a number of futuristic inventions - everything from self-tying shoelaces to flying cars.
But which - if any - of these technologies did the film makers accurately predict?
Let us examine which, on October 21, 2015, turned out to be fact or fiction.
In the film, eyes and fingerprints are scanned to check people’s identities - just as we see taking place today with certain security checks. Although the film does go one step further, with the technology rolled out into every day life. The McFly’s future home, for example, comes with a thumb print scanner rather than a doorknob.
Smart TVs and Video Conferencing:
If Marty was impressed by a slim wall mounted TV in the future, he wouldn’t believe his eyes if he saw the latest 110 inch TVs. In the film, Marty engages in a real time conference call via the TV. In the 80s this must have seemed ludicrous, but now apps like Skype and Facetime mean you can call anyone, anywhere in the world, for free, via your television or mobile.
Hands-free games consoles:
In one scene, which takes place in the nostalgic Cafe ‘80s, Marty’s misspent youth is revealed as he shows off his skills on an arcade machine - to the shock of two 2015 boys who say “You mean you have to use your hands?”
With the launch of the Xbox Kinect several years ago - which sees gamers controls on screen actions using their voice and gestures - this prediction was scarily accurate.
The film is awash with people wearing high-tech glasses which bear a spooky resemblance to Google Glass-style technology, such as cameras, magnification and access to an information database (no mention of the internet in the film though).
Fax is king:
In Back to the Future Part II, they stated that the fax would be the most efficient way of communicating in this day and age. How wrong they were. The fax is now a dinosaur and although there may be a few still operating in captivity, they have long been replaced by email and scanners.
This said the principle of firing someone via technology such as fax, as shown in the movie, is very much a reality today. There have been countless cases whereby a business has cut loose its employees by email, text and even Twitter.
The double tie:
Thankfully, fashions have moved on considerably since the 80s, but not in the way the movie predicted. The double tie fad hasn’t become a thing here in 2015, and neither do we have sound-effect programmable vests as yet. And we might be waiting a little while longer for the size-adjustable, self-drying jacket sported by future Marty. Though self-tying shoelaces may not be outwith the realms of possibility if you listen to Nike and the rumours that this footwear will be available before the year’s out.
In the film, Marty’s mother Lorraine prepares dinner for six people by simply placing a pizza the size of a coaster into a rehydrator for a couple of seconds - and voila, a feast to feed the family appears. Sadly this invention has not yet made it into our households.
“Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”, Doc Brown tells Marty as they head Back to the Future. Unfortunately, for us commuters who sit in traffic jams for hours every week and encounter endless sets of road works, this hasn’t become a reality in 2015.