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Where’s My Flying Car?

October 21, 2015

Today’s the day. 4:29PM to be precise. 

Back To The Future II released in 1989 had Marty McFly travel into the future to October 21, 2015. Near future fiction is hard. Sometimes innovation outstips even an author’s wildest imagination. Much of the tech in Star Trek, set in 2364 has already come to pass. iPads look a lot like those tablets they use. Flip phones were patterned after the communicator. Voice interactive computers are now commonplace. 

Other times, technology fails to keep up with the author’s imagination. Back To The Future is a perfect example. And there is no bigger disappointment than the lack of flying cars. I have to think that the author understood that he was painting a future that was likely beyond the reach of earth’s scientists, at least in the 30 year window that he gave himself. 

But, these movies do something important for us as a society, rather than just entertain us. When done with an eye toward science (as opposed to magic like the Harry Potter films) a movie like Back To The Future helps us imagine what’s possible. And it’s strange because we often know that it’s impossible. It’s just a movie. But, we start to think about the possibilities. And there is no factory so productive as a fertile mind. 

So, while I miss my flying car, the hoverboard that Lexus created, and the self-lacing shoes that Nike has patented, and a number of other “inventions” from Back To The Future and other movies gives me hope that we will get there someday. 

Oh, and one other prediction from Back To The Future that people had a hard time believing: the Cubs are still alive and may yet win their first World Series in 107 years. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

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