Flashback to the Future


Hannan Waliullah

dELOREAN TIME TRAVEL2In the 1980s, when director Robert Zemeckis depicted the future in the “Back to the Future” franchise, he visualized Oct. 23, 2015 as a time filled with flying cars, fancy pizza-enlargers and hoverboards. But what did we get instead? Tiny life-sucking pocket computers, the selfie stick and Donald Trump running for president. Zemeckis was wrong. Technology has changed in the past 30 years, but the real 2015 is clearly not in the same universe that Marty McFly and the eccentric scientist Doc Brown traveled to in their time-defying DeLorean. Although predictions like flying cars or hoverboards seen in the movies were a bit ambitious, it’s undeniable that technology has changed in the past 30 years.


THE ORIGINAL: Marty McFly, the protagonist, travels back in time to when his parents were in high school to save their relationship and his existence.

THE SEQUEL: Marty travels to 2015, where he accidentally changes the past by changing the future.

THE OTHER SEQUEL: Marty travels to the Wild West to rescue the inventor of the time machine Doc Brown.

Movie Universe: Hoverboardhoverboard

The hoverboard is iconic to many “Back to the Future” fans. In the movie, The effect of the boards “hovering” was achieved by suspending wires on the hoverboard, then having the wires digitally erased later.

segwayOur universe: Hands-free segway

In 2014, a company known as Hendo started a kickstarter campaign to make the hoverboard more that just a fictionalized fantasy. Unfortunately, for most, the hoverboard is something that has not yet been commercialized. The closest equivalent—the hands free segway—can cost upwards of $400.


Movie Universe: Flying carsFLYING CAR

In the movie, cars could receive a hover conversion, as an extension to their car. The wheels would fold down, and the car would defy gravity. Cars in the air travelled on skyways, the air-bound equivalent of highways.




Our universe: Self driving cars The development of cars has steered in another direction: instead of looking up into the sky, engineers are looking for convenience. Google is developing a “self driving car” or SDC for short. However, this car is not to be released to the public for at least another five years.


Movie Universe: Fax machinesFAX

Fax machines have become practically nonexistent in the past 15 years. Marty McFly was fired using a Fax machine, but in our timeline, the equivalent would be being fired over email or text — still a lousy way to be fired.




Our UniverseSmartphones

The popularization of smartphones and email has impacted our methods of communication and has made fax machines obsolete. Fax Machines have not become essential for every room in the house, but hey, smart devices are used in the bathroom.