Is the hoverboard just over the horizon? Not quite. But you’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise!
According to futurists of the 20th century, food of the future was supposed to be calorie-dense, inexpensive, and ready in a flash. And in many ways that future has arrived. But we're still waiting on one high-tech food prediction from the 1980s: The rehydrated pizza of the film Back to the Future: Part II.
"It's too bad the Post Office isn't as efficient as the Weather Service," Doc Brown says in the 1989 movie Back to the Future: Part II, referring to the fact that the weather could be manipulated by the government. But was that vision of the future really that futuristic?
When was the last time you sent a fax? 2000? 1995? Never and you hardly even know what a fax is because you're just too young? Fair enough. But the fax machine was the high-tech device of its day. And even in the world of Back to the Future Part II, it plays an important role. Which is probably why it looks so silly…
If I learned anything from watching the Back to the Future movies, it is that prescience is dangerous. Someone who knows too much about their own future might try to reprogram it in their favor, and every small change has the potential to rewrite history.
Back to the Future Part II was a classic '80s movie in part because it was an escape. From the harp plucking and the optimistic-sounding French horn in the first scene, it's obvious that you're going to get a picture of the future that is probably closer to Star Trek than Big Brother.
Every decade produces iconic pieces of futurism that help to define a generation. For the 1960s it was The Jetsons and Star Trek. For the 1970s it was Future Shock and Soylent Green. What about the 1980s? It was almost certainly Back to the Future Part II.