It’s ‘Back to the Future’ Day: How the Movie’s Predictions Hold Up

Oct. 21, 2015: Let’s see how well Marty and Doc fit into the real future as shown in the second film of time-hopping sci-fi trilogy. Plus, great ways to celebrate the day.

The future is today, and it’s about time!

At least, that’s what those celebrating “Back to the Future Day” say.

In the second installment of the popular trilogy, 1989’s “Back to the Future Part II” characters Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) and Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) land their time traveling DeLorean in what is now our present day, Oct. 21, 2015.

Through their eyes, we see the future envisioned by producer Steven Spielberg and director Robert Zemeckis. Through our eyes we can see how close they got — and in some cases, what we got instead.

back to the future sxsw photoPhoto (cc) by achimh

Time travel

No, we still don’t have time machines, and we don’t even have scientists agreeing on whether we could time travel, but that doesn’t mean we stopped experimenting with the possibility, as Space.com reports. Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia recently simulated how time-traveling photons might behave, the Daily Mail reported. Their research suggests that if we ever could travel back through time, we could deal with the grandfather paradox cited in “Back to the Future”: If we stop our grandparents from meeting, we wouldn’t be born to travel back in time.

Terrafugia photoPhoto (cc) by dayblakelydonaldson

Flying cars

Weren’t we supposed to have flying cars by now? They haven’t really gotten off the ground yet. Envisioned long before “Back to the Future,” they were featured in movies, including “A Visit to A Small Planet” with Jerry Lewis and television’s “The Jetsons.” Boston-based Terrafugia says its model is coming soon, and you can reserve one now. It’s even making a vertical takeoff model, it told the BBC, that would be ready in less than 10 years.

In the meantime, as the BBC notes, we’ve got electric cars and garbage-fueled cars. And don’t forget self-driving cars, they’re here, thanks to Mercedes, Google and Apple.

Picture phones

As movie character Needles (Flea) talks in a video phone call, on-screen text lets a middle-age McFly see his caller’s personal likes and dislikes. We’ve got Skype and other video conferencing tools. Personal details don’t flow automatically yet, but during a Skype call, we could call up or search for details about people with whom we’re talking. Also, we’ve got FaceTime on iPhones, putting live video chats in the palms of our hands.

Fax machines seem ubiquitous in the movie, but their use in our real lives has diminished with the growth of email, PDFs and JPEGs.

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