Great Scott! This week our present finally caught up with an imagined future.
What am I talking about? Fans of the movie franchise Back to the Future won’t need me to tell them, but this Wednesday – October 21 2015 – marked the day that Michael J Fox’s Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown travelled into the future, after setting the date on their DeLorean time machine.
Not really a ‘super-fan’ – despite dressing up in 50s gear and attending last summer’s sell-out secret cinema event in a replica Hill Valley, next to the Olympic Park – I must admit that, before this week, I hadn’t seen the second instalment of the trilogy. But having got caught up in the excitement, I tuned in on Wednesday to find out what predictions had been made 30 years ago. And, as has been widely reported, the movie-makers weren’t far off.
While we may not have robot dog walkers (Momma S will certainly testify this, when out for the fourth route march of the day), self-drying coats (could have done with one of those this week) or flying cars (we in fact do need roads, despite what the Doc said in 1985), some of the ideas have become reality.
Video calling, as seen in the movie, is commonplace thanks to the likes of Skype and Facetime. Touchscreen technology and using thumb prints as identification is also an everyday occurrence, and while self-tie sneakers are not widely seen on the market, such a thing does exist, and Nike this week announced plans to make these more readily available.
But what about the one thing that everyone really wanted from the movie: the hoverboard? Again, apparently these are in development, with companies claiming to be close to a breakthrough.
But will this be a case of careful what you wish for? Perhaps, given the fact that I’ve now twice almost been run over by motorised ‘Air Boards’ – the new must-have toy for school kids and businessmen alike.
Despite apparently being banned on roads, I’ve been surprised a couple of times by individuals balancing on their two-wheel boards while weaving in and out of crowded streets.
The first stopped me in my tracks, the second I almost stopped in his, after attempting to overtake the same group of people and finding that fleet of foot may be more effective than a motorised board.
Which may be a lesson to us. Some things should stay in the world of make-believe.