The Future Is Now

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back to the future

“Wait a minute . . . Cubs win World Series?”

Marty McFly’s dubious reaction to the breaking news, reported via hologram sportscast, was entirely understandable. On the day he and his time-traveling DeLorean arrived in his Hill Valley hood of the future, the suggestion of a Cubs’ championship surely would have sounded impossible to someone rooted in a late-1980s reality.

Shockingly, the prospect of the Cubs winning the World Series no longer is as unfathomable as it was when McFly landed in the fantastical future envisioned in Back to the Future II. Today, the Cubs stand four wins away from reaching the Series. And that’s what matters, as it was very nearly exactly today that the 1989 movie made its prediction about.

Marty McFly’s Future is Our Now. His visit began on October 21, 2015. Sixteen years down the road in his world; this Wednesday in ours.

Suddenly, the sequel looks pretty prescient, doesn’t it?

Sure, the film didn’t get everything right. This once-improbable prediction called for the Cubs to beat Miami in the Series. Ridiculous, right? Miami is in the National League . . . and yet it’s somehow spooky, as there wasn’t even a Major League Baseball team in Florida when the movie was made. Today, there are two.

It may surprise you to know that the film’s vision of today – even beyond baseball – was not egregiously off-base in the many depictions of what the world would be like in late fall 2015.

Sadly, the flying car is not yet a thing (nor is the car fueled by Mr. Fusion). But the flat screen TV is.  So is thumbprint technology for unlocking doors and such. That petition to Save the Clock Tower the local man wanted Marty to sign? That hand-held device looked a lot like today’s tablet, doesn’t it?

How about the hoverboard, that combination of skateboard and Star Wars landspeeder that put the literal “fly” in “McFly”? The stuff of fantasy? Hardly. Meet The Slide, by Lexus.

Yesterday’s dreams are today’s realities all over the place. Those glasses worn by the McFly children were the ancestors of Google Glass, the forerunners to the Oculus Rift – the virtual reality glasses that Samsung expects to become actual reality in the first quarter of 2016.

The Pepsi Perfect preferred by McFly? Yep. It’s here, if only as a collectible item.

And those lace-less sneakers we’ve all been waiting for? Hello, McFly . . . this futuristic feat reportedly is almost ready for our futuristic feet – if the unofficial Twitter account for the long-awaited Nike Mags line of sneakers is to be believed.

The point of this week’s blog is not to fact check a bunch of fictional prophesies. It’s to remind ourselves that the future is what we choose to make of it. And that we don’t need 1.21 gigawatts and a bolt of lightning to get there. We just need to be inspired.

How else can you explain all the products currently being enjoyed on campuses across the country that even the imaginations behind the Back to the Future series couldn’t conceptualize?

If they thought the Cubs winning the World Series was a bridge a bit too far, what would they have thought about items like the Neo Smartpen N2, which captures “digital copies of whatever you write or draw”? Or any of the other 10 products on computerworld.com’s list of the top tech tools that were available for Back to School 2015?

Not only do we have smart phones you can use to take photos. We have apps available today that will take the files from your camera roll and turn them into a personalized monthly magazine of the life you’d just lived over the previous 30 days. For awhile now, we’ve been able to turn our phones sideways and watch videos on them; that’s nothing new. What’s new is a free mobile streaming service, like Go90 from Verizon, designed to cut out that old school middle man we know of as the television.

And who better to market these products to than Millennials, the generation probably most engaged in and curious about the possibilities of the near future?

On Wednesday, we should all take a moment to recognize the connection that exists between Now and Then, between Now and What’s To Come. We should ask ourselves, What do we want our future to be? And how do we get there?

The Future is coming. And though the prospect of the Cubs winning the World Series is unpalatable to many of us at Newbridge, (whose founders are fans of the Cardinals and White Sox, and the guy writing the blog you’re reading has for years had “Meet the Mets” as his ringtone), it’s a great reminder that anything is possible.


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David Seigerman’s latest book, Take Your Eye Off The Ball 2.0 (Triumph Books)
will be released this fall. Follow him at @dseigs18.




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