How Accurate Were ‘Back To The Future II’s 2015 Predictions? Here’s Your Reading Guide.

Senior Contributor
01.02.15 15 Comments

It’s 2015, and that means we’re officially living in the future depicted in Back to the Future Part II (and Schwartzenegger classic The 6th Day). We already spent a lot of 2014 looking forward to this moment and the Hill Valley comparisons. We even spoke to the film’s Art Director about the vision and the accurate and misguided predictions. Here’s what we found it got right and wrong…

Hoverboards

Actually, the hoverboard saw a lot of progress in 2014, to the point where it’s a reality on Kickstarter. Tony Hawk even rides one, in our breakdown of the history of the hoverboard, and it’s not that stupid prank video, either. It’s a real, legit hoverboard built as a publicity stunt to advertise an advanced maglev technology.

What It Got Right

Surprisingly, on the technological end of things, Back To The Future II got a lot of things right, which we broke down back in July. While it’s not exactly what you’ve seen in the movie, some form of the various technologies, from biometrics to Mr. Fusion to TVs in funny shapes, are either on the market or being developed as we speak.

They even nailed ’80s nostalgia and the fact that physical media was headed to the dumpster. On the other hand…

What It Got Wrong

In other cases, though, the technology in question may be out there, but market forces proved far more powerful than Hollywood in our roundup of technology there’s no chance of seeing in 2015. Among the things we won’t see? Holographic displays, precision meteorology, and freeze-dried Pizza Hut. Sorry, folks, we’re stuck with Ramen for our freeze-dried dinners.

What It Missed Completely

What’s interesting, though, is what the movie missed completely about the future. Here’s a brief overview of stuff we use every day that you don’t see in this ’80s view of 2015.

  • Smartphones, or even much in the way of PCs. Oddly, for a movie about breaking the laws of physics, nobody involved seems to have anticipated that we’d have computers everywhere. Marty’s still using fax machines.
  • The Internet. Granted, most movies in the ’80s kind of just glossed over the Internet if it even pretended it existed at all. Look at Star Trek: The Next Generation, where we’ve got more advanced communication methods than a starship that can travel beyond the speed of light.
  • Social networks. Nobody’s on Facebook, nobody’s on Twitter, Marty’s hoverboard shenanigans aren’t going up on Vine…nobody anticipated we’d be so greedy for attention.
  • The prevalence of video games, which are still largely limited to arcades. In this movie, the PS4 and Xbox One are just as much science fiction in 2015 as they were in 1989.

Time Travel

Finally, there’s time travel itself, which, to our knowledge, has yet to be invented. Of course, it was recently shown that one of the key issues in time travel, the grandparent paradox, could successfully be gotten around. And physics is advancing rapidly all the time. Who knows? Perhaps this might be the year you shouldn’t bet your future on a roll of the dice.

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