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If you’re like me, you enjoy watching movies. I love to watch some of my favorites when there’s nothing else on TV.
My wife and I have passed this pleasure on to our son, who at 14 years old enjoys many movies that were made when he was very young, or even before he was born.
One of our favorites is “Back to the Future.” You probably remember the 1985 hit movie featuring Michael J. Fox as a time-traveling teenager who uses a sports car to travel 30 years back in time from 1985. A few years later there was a sequel titled “Back to the Future II.” Granted it wasn’t as good as the original, but it was still entertaining, and a good watch on a cold, slow TV day.
The sequel has Fox’s character, Marty McFly, traveling ahead in time to the year 2015, where he experiences the future, along with some of the amazing technological changes that were expected to come along. The sequel was made in 1989, when I was a senior in high school. At the time, the year 2015 seemed a world away, and the futuristic things we saw on screen sounded too far-fetched to be possible. But just how far away are those high-tech devices and gadgets used by Marty McFly? Some may not be as far away as you might think.
n When Marty visits a futuristic diner with a retro theme called Café 80s, he plays a video game. Some kids who happen to be watching him, including a young Elijah Wood, comment on how he has to use his hands and a controller to play the old-fashioned game. That’s already a blast from the past as new games have allowed you to use your body as the controller for the past two or three years, with no hand-held controller required.
n Want to make a phone call and look at the other person? It sounded impossible when Marty did it on the big screen in the 80s, but we can already easily do it today. There are TVs on the market that allow users to view each other through Skype, and we can even look at who we are speaking with on our iPhones through a program called Face Time.
n I was never a skateboard rider, but for those who enjoyed it, you would have to love riding a hoverboard. After inventing the skateboard in the first film, “Back to the Future II” has Marty riding on a hovering board that never touches the ground. That one is not out yet to my knowledge, so we’ll have to wait and see if and when it arrives.
n Remember those Nike shoes Marty wore, the ones that laced themselves up? Well, they weren’t real, but the technology has been invented, and a little research shows me that Nike has made the shoe, although it’s not on the market. Yet.
When I think of how funny these things seemed when I first watched the movie, I look at the devices and services I use today, then I just shake my head. Who, in the 1980s, would have expected everybody, even children, to have a high-tech phone in their pocket these days? Would you have imagined that we would be able to shop on a computer, watch movies on a phone or other handheld device, and even order food from our seat at a ball game from that same device, and then have a waiter bring it to our seat? Well, we can, and we do.
These services and more are possible through technology, and while we take them for granted, just imagine what amazing things really do wait for us in the future.