Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.
Twenty-six years ago, I was shown a vision of the future, and it was amazing. At the tender age of 9, I looked at a world that was all neon and new and instantly found it wild, alien and exciting, and yet at the same time approachable, familiar and livable.
Of course, I’m talking about the seminal film Back to the Future Part II, the second film in an epic trilogy that spans 130 years and multiple generations of the McFly family, the fictional city of Hill Valley, California, and chronicles the adventures of one Doctor Emmet Brown. If you haven’t seen it, you probably should. Stop here, go watch it, and come back.
Ok, now that we’re all on the same page, it’s quite remarkable that a movie made nearly 30 years ago was at once so prescient about the fictional future it predicted, yet at the same time so unbelievably far off in others. Few times has one piece of fiction been able to skew so far in both directions. However, what makes Back to the Future Part II completely remarkable is that while it may-or-may-not have predicted the future, it also inspired it. There are concepts, inventions, and actual products that exist in 2015 only because they were conceived for use in this movie. No, I don’t mean Jaws 19 (although holograms, giant public video screens and incessant sequels are certainly things of today)—I mean things like this, or even this. Heck, even the Cubs are vying for the World Series as we speak, just as predicted. In that way, the movie stands alone as a work of life imitating art imitating the future imitating now. This is heavy.
So we don’t have flying cars, self-lacing shoes or double neckties, but here’s some tech we absolutely have today.
Giant flat-screen TVs
This one is right on the mark. Every day we are surrounded by them, wall-mounted just like Marty had it in his home.
Whether it’s Skype, or Periscope, or Facetime, we have various ways to video conference today that were only a dream in 1989.
While Google Glass may not be a common sight on every sidewalk in America, it was still an idea very accurately portrayed in the film.
Hands-free Video Games
Elijah Wood was right in his disdain; today, a plethora of games are available for the Kinect and other systems, although the trend seems to have shifted away from hands-free gaming for the time being.
As Griff is taken into custody by the police, he is surrounded by a number of flying drones filming him live on television. While the live aspect of drone photography is not yet commonplace, drone aircraft are becoming more and more of a mainstay in the film industry. Continuum even has one!
While this is a lot of fun, it is an exercise that’s also exceptionally important for MSPs. How many times in your career have you had to try to assess the future needs of your clients, not knowing which way the tides of technological tomorrow will shift? How do you carve that way through the weird, the wacky and the woeful to embrace meaningful change for your clients? It takes research, the right business partnerships, and perhaps even a bit of luck, too.
The world of 2015 in real life and on screen did not become the way it was by clinging to the status quo; technology forges ahead by embracing change and understanding that, much like the spacetime continuum (ha!), the future is fluid and will change in ways you never would have expected. But it also requires ingenuity, innovation, and imagination, because all too often the technology we want to have is always just out of reach, or just off into the horizon. Sometimes, if the hoverboard doesn’t exist, you have to have the courage and fortitude to control your own destiny and create it yourself.
For a great article on the complete list of ways Back to the Future Part II predicted the future, check this out.
In the meantime, here's a clip from the movie for your viewing pleasure!
More movie favorites:
- Celebrating Tech Culture & Douglas Adams with Towel Day!
- MSP Summer Blockbuster: The Dark Knight of IT
- Are You a Minion or a Leader? Advice for the MSP Business Owner
By Paula Griffin
By Lily Teplow