Welcome to the future everyone….it looks strangely the same.

Any fan of the Back to the Future movies will know that this is the year that Marty travelled to in Back to the Future II, and will also remember all the great tech predictions for what we would have by now.

Now to be fair, we aren’t quite there on things like the hoverboard, but we also managed to nix fax machines, so in some respects we’re doing better.

[Update: Ok, now we kind of have hoverboards, thanks to Lexus.]

 

Predictions aren’t about truth, they’re about promise

Of course it’s not possible for someone to accurately predict exactly what life will be like more than 20 years from the fact, even a few years into the future for that matter. But it’s for that exact reason that we need to stop being so literal about predictions.

It’s not about having a hoverboard or the movie was completely wrong. It’s about the fact that forward-thinking people were ready to believe in the abilities of our greatest minds to bring about a very different reality to what was the present.

 

Look around – it’s true

Technological advances can sometimes be as subtle as watching a child grow up. When you see them every day, you’re less likely to notice the small changes, with only the big growth spurts making any impact. But if you don’t see them for some time, you’ll notice just how much has changed.

Even though this world we live in isn’t exactly what the makers of the Back to the Future series envisioned, I think they’d still be pretty damn impressed.

Let’s quickly list all the changes since 1989:

  • 1990 – The World Wide Web was invented by Tim Berners-Lee. In April of the same year, the Hubble Space Telescope was launched.
  • 1993 – Email was born, and Apple came out with the first Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), the Newton. The first smartphone, the IBM Simon, was also released as a concept phone.
  • 1994 – Laurence Canter sent the first piece of spam e-mail (ok, so not everything has been good).
  • 1996 – Dolly, the first cloned sheep, was born.
  • 1997 – The first widely-available hybrid-electric car, the Toyota Prius was manufactured.
  • 1998 – The year GOOGLE was incarnated.
  • 2001 – Apple releases the iPod. Wikipedia, the largest general reference site on the net, went live in the same year.
  • 2003 – Wifi becomes widely available after Intel incorporate the function into their Centrino chip.
  • 2004 – Facebook goes live, though for the meantime is limited to Harvard students.
  • 2005 – YouTube is started.
  • 2006 – Twitter is born.
  • 2007 – Apple introduces the first iPhone, revolutionising the mobile market.
  • 2009 – Digital television is adopted as the broadcast standard in America, as well as in other countries, opening up the possibility of web-based TV services (yay Netflix!).
  • 2010 – Apple revolutionised tablet computing (first introduced by Microsoft in 2001) with the unveiling of the iPad.
  • 2012 – Cubify Cube 3D Printer brought 3D printing to consumers, allowing them to print any plastic object in just a few hours.
  • 2013 – Wearable technology gains popularity.
  • 2014 – Robots are created that have the agility and balance to walk and run across uneven terrain.

That wasn’t even everything, just some highlights.

So I would say that we’ve more than made up for not having those hoverboards and millions of fax machines in our homes. Here’s to seeing what 2015 brings.