2015. Wow. Kids who were born at the start of the millennium can now drive–isn’t that wild? Fifteen freakin’ years into the new millennium. What do we have to show for it? What great strides have we, as a culture, made in terms of progress and innovation since this coveted era has begun. And most importantly, do our achievements match those predicted in the riveting 1989 film Back to the Future Part: II?
Back to the Future: Part II sent its protagonist Marty McFly 30 years into the then-future, 2015. Which if you didn’t know that–shut up and go watch the movie.
Why did I just tell you to shut up?
Because I’m the writer of this article and I’m drunk with power.
During his time in 2015, Marty stumbles across all sorts of stunning technologies that help emphasize the “fish out of water” aspects that the trilogy is famous for. Well — did we as a society get our shit together and make that movie’s dreams our modern day reality. Let’s take a look!
This is probably the most coveted piece of technology seen in Back to the Future: Part II, aside from the time-travelling flying DeLorean of course. The hoverboard was the technology that wowed most audiences at the time, making all kids hope that we could all one day hoverboard down to your local food court prior to eating a full 3-course meal consisting of only Dippin’ Dots.
That was just me? Okay.
Regardless–the concept of being able to travel by way of some floating piece of tech is irrefutably cool. So, have we made one?
Engineers have made proto-hoverboards that can only work on certain surfaces–limiting yourself to only use one at a “hoverboard rink”, which is still an awesome prospect–aside from that minor hindrance though, the hoverboard tech we currently have is so difficult to maneuver that even the Birdman himself, Tony Hawk, can’t ride one easily.
This simply makes Marty McFly’s achievements that much more bad-ass.
Still, we have produced other pseudo-futuristic tech that actually functions pretty well–check out these motorized skateboards and futuristic unicycles that The Verge test drove.
Also, don’t forget the power-vehicle of our time:
This tech seems to be engrained in nearly every future-based sci-fi movie. Marty most directly encounters A.I. when he pops into the Hill Valley diner — which is stocked with “Max Headroom”-esque A.I.-based computer monitors that act as your server. So, do we have Michael Jackson-faced A.I. programs that take your order at restaurants?
No. And thank god for that, because that would cause a drunk Taco Bell run to be that much more horrifying.
But do we have A.I.?
Well, somewhat. And do we use it in restaurants?
There are some spots around the world that use touchscreen menus in the front of the house for customers to input their orders. And we all know that we have A.I. programs embedded into our phones with Siri, Google Ask, along with other tech, like Amazon Alexa, and Windows’ own version–Cortana–coming out with the Windows 10 rollout.
So, I guess the full answer is–we’re on our way to that reality. But if you’re angry that you can’t order a cheeseburger from a digital Ronald Reagan… you’re kind of a weirdo.
Or Sean Hannity.
As a tall, super-skinny guy–this tech is what I’m really hoping for in the 2015 presented by Back to the Future: Part II — the citizens of Hilly Valley wear seemingly baggy clothing that shrinks to fit them. Most iconically, this is shown with Marty’s super-fresh-2-death Nikes.
“Now, Patrick!”, you say
“I’m the type of person who is too lazy to tie my own shoes, but I want to look like a futuristic basketball player!”
Well, nameless horrible person, you’re in luck! Nike is currently developing replicas of those very shoes–with the self-tying function and all.
A similar pair of these shoes were auctioned off in 2011 to great success–and by “great success”, I mean Nike made over $5,000,000.00 off of the 1500 pairs they auctioned off. But, due to the lack of the self-tying functionality that was shown in the movies, many fans were still somewhat underwhelmed by the 2011 version of the shoes. So, get ready to shed those velcro LA Gear shoes! An upgrade is on its way!
If you recall the taxis and other cars presented in Back to the Future: Part II, you’ll remember that they didn’t have any drivers piloting them.
This one is kind of easy to compare to reality. Self-driving cares are in development, and the first fully self driving batch of cars are supposed to hit the road by 2020. Google, the company you may recognize the term “Google that” from, is currently at the forefront of self-driving technology, with a prototype self-driving car that has traveled over 300,000 miles with only a handful of accidents recorded.
But if you feel like those five years are “tooo farrrrrrr”, then let me remind you that many cars already have self-driving technology already implemented. Many already use auto-parking technology that is slowly doing away with the stress of having to parallel park. Cars have also implemented self-driving features that act as a safeguard for driver error*.
*AKA: falling asleep at the god-damned wheel.
‘Member how the DeLorean is outfitted by some sort of fusion reactor that runs off of compost?
Yeah, kinda cool.
Unfortunately, we haven’t found any cars that run off of shoving garbage into them
But in the last ten years, the hybrid vehicle has become more and more prevalent on the roads–using both gasoline and electricity to reduce the vehicle’s overall carbon emissions. Luckily, alternatively-fueled cars don’t seem like a passing fad, thanks to the advent of the Tesla. The Tesla is the first experiment of an entirely electrically-powered, mass-produced car which has been majorly successful thanks to the Model-S Tesla release.
You may recall the McFly family preparing a Pizza Hut meal by way of using some sort of hydrating-based microwave thing that allows you to plump up pre-shrunk food to full size.
Yeah, that uh…that’s not happening. But you can still boil things to re-hydrate them if you want.
In reality, our culinary technology hasn’t progressed too much aside from accessories–and those are really only used in uber-chic restaurants. Things like infusers and dry ice and molecular gastronomy have started to be implemented into some fancy kitchens all over. Take a look at some of the tech The Verge checked out:
But in terms of “regular Joe” cooking tech?
Well, we did get this one game-changer: