October 21, 2015 marks the day that Marty McFly went to the future in Back to the Future II. Aside from making us feel old, it is interesting to reflect on where we are versus where the movie writers put us.
Thirty years is a long time in our day. Over history, 30 years is nothing. It is said that the people of 200 years ago had more in common with people who lived 2,000 years ago than they would with us today. People of 200 years ago could not conceive of the world today. Even people 100 years ago would have trouble, although they did see the beginning of the miracles of electricity and human flight.
In Back to the Future II, there were hover boards, video conferencing, and flying cars in 2015. The video conferencing is very real today with Skype, Facetime, etc.
Hover boards are being worked on now and they may become a consumer good in the years to come.
While we don’t really have flying cars, or at least nothing practical to use, self-driving cars are just coming on to the scene. It is not hard to imagine that self-driving cars will be a common thing in 10 years.
While we haven’t yet reached some of the technology that the Back to the Future II writers had in mind, we have surged ahead in terms of communications and electronics. In the 1980s, the internet did not exist, or at least not in any functional form. Now it is a major part of our lives.
We do some of our shopping from the comfort of our homes. We communicate instantly with email, text messaging, video conferencing, etc.
Probably the most incredible thing is just the wealth of information that exists on the web. Encyclopedias have become obsolete. We can look up practically anything and get most of the answers within seconds. It is truly amazing.
If you walk the streets, there is nothing really different today than 30 years ago. The major difference is seeing people walking around with their smartphones, either talking on them or looking at the screen.
There are always changes in dress and style. Sometimes they go through cycles. We have seen some styles return from the 70s and 80s. Marty McFly’s “life preserver” in Back to the Future was foreign to the 1950s, but it would also be rather foreign to today’s world.
Discussing technology and the future is an interesting conversation to have. It is amazing how fast things are progressing. At the same time, as a libertarian, it is a bit depressing knowing how much further we could be if we had an environment of more peace and freer markets.
Technology continues to increase, yet the American middle class continues to struggle. While the stagnant living standards in terms of basic needs is a bit depressing, it is also encouraging that life goes on and technology keeps advancing at an extraordinary pace.
While many people will celebrate October 21 as Back to the Future day, November 5, 2015 is significant for me. In Back to the Future (Part I), Marty McFly goes back in time to November 5, 1955.
This gives us a major reality check on time and how fast it passes. I was a kid in 1985, but I saw the movie and liked it. It was probably 1986 when I first saw it. If you are old enough to remember seeing the movie in the 1980s, even if it wasn’t right when it came out, try to remember how you felt about the 1950s. Those were the old days. I remember thinking, “so that is what the world looked like when my parents were kids.”
For kids growing up today, the 1980s to them is what the 50s were to me and my generation. It is a long time ago.
Thirty years can pass in the blink of an eye. If you have something you want to accomplish in life, you should not put it off.
The lesson from the Back to the Future movies is not about technology and what we have developed and what we have to look forward to. It is an interesting topic, but there isn’t a lot there for self-improvement.
The lesson is that time flies. Don’t have regrets when you look back years from now. If there is something you want to try that is not high risk, then maybe you should try it. Some people will regret things they did in the past. Some people will regret things that they didn’t do in the past.