Finally, it’s Back to the Future Day! Today is the date Marty and Doc arrived in the future in the sequel to the sci-fi adventure film Back to the Future, which was released in November 1989. In the film, a time-traveling DeLorean transports Marty McFly and Doc Brown to October 21, 2015.
Almost 26 years after its initial release, the film has impressively predicted a range of tech trends such as automation. Although dog-walking drones haven’t quite caught on yet, robots have indeed started to take over certain jobs, as forecasted by the mechanical car fuel attendant in the film. And unlike the future of lawyers, which were abolished in Back to the Future II, the future success of other types of jobs has been correctly predicted by the film. Which careers were foreshadowed to be big in the future by the 1980s blockbuster?
Wearable tech developers
In Back to the Future II, Marty’s future kids wore goggle-like headsets at the dining table to speak to their friends and watch TV. The model looks similar to Google Glass, which was first introduced in 2013. In the film, Doc Brown also uses a device that overlays information about people as they walk past.
By showing Marty wearing a talking jacket, the sci-film continued to foreshadow the tech world’s current fascination with wearable technology, including the growing popularity of devices such as smart watches and wearable health monitors.
Security and biometrics technologists
The World Wide Web was only developed in the year the film was released, which explains the Internet’s weird absence in Back to the Future II. The film does, however, introduce software options such as a video chat, which predicts our current options of communicating through social media and tools like Skype.
Back to the Future II does hit the nail on the head with the development of biometric technology. Where Marty has to have his eyes or fingerprints scanned to use certain equipment, biometrics are currently becoming more commonplace to help check IDs in the ‘real world’. It is possible to travel through an airport by staring at a little screen, pay for items with the touch of a finger and unlock your front door without having to carry keys. The film also features a mobile device, similar to an iPad, which requires only a fingerprint to process a payment. This resembles existing systems like Apple Pay.
Cosmetic surgeons and ‘rejuvenators’
In Hill Valley’s future, cosmetic surgery has become a part of everyday life. Doc Brown’s face looks youthful due to his many visits to a ‘rejuvenation clinic’ and he also admits to having had hair repair, a full blood transfusion and a replacement of his spleen and colon. Although not many of these radical medical advances have entered mainstream yet, the number of cosmetic procedures has risen dramatically over the last 30 years. This is partly due to the introduction of Botox, which was first used for cosmetic purposes a few years after Back to the Future II was released.
In 1985, Hill Valley’s town centre has gone downhill since its heyday in 1955. But in 2015, Hill Valley is the place to be and be seen, while the wealthy suburb Hilldale has become a much less desirable place to live. A focus on regenerating town centres has been an accurate prediction by Back to the Future II, especially now that the ‘suburban exodus’ has been reversed and for the first time in history more people live in cities than outside them.
In Back to the Future II, Marty uses a household item called a Hydrator to turn a small pizza into a large pizza within seconds. Although the Hydrator has not yet become a staple household item, 3D food printing technology is currently being developed. This includes the work of technologists in India who are finding ways to 3D print airplane food.
Back to the Future Day is celebrated worldwide today, with special events and screenings of the Back to the Future trilogy.
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