In Back to the Future Part 2 Marty McFly travelled to 2015 to prevent his son from ending up behind bars. Once he got there he was met with some pretty fantastical things. There were hoverboards, flying cars, robot trash cans that zoomed around the street, fingerprint scanners that acted as credit cards. There was video conferencing on mounted flat screens, voice activated lights, and robotic gas dispensers. While all these advancements probably seemed crazy in 1989 they’re not so far fetched today. It’s funny, however, to look at the things in the movie that are totally lacking. They still use newspapers as their main source of news when today newspapers are dying out because of the internet (something no one predicted). Phone booths were also still being used in the movie’s 2015 which would never happen today.
I think this goes to show how unpredictable technological advancements are. We’re always so skeptical when something new comes out and then it becomes slowly integrated into our daily lives. I remember when Apple announced they were introducing FaceTime and a front facing camera. I confidently said it was a stupid idea and no one would want to hold their phone in front of their face to talk to someone. Look at us today:
That being said there were definitely some hot topics this semester that we can only hypothesize about (and even more that we could never know about)
Who isn’t developing a self-driving car these days? There are still so many questions I have about them. We talked about how there is a possibility that some day no one will own a car because they will only request cars when they need them. Or that parking will no longer be an issue because your self-driving car can drive around for hours while you’re busy. How will this effect sharing economies? They’re going to be disruptors but how much will it change? Will be trust robots so much with our lives? Or possibly will we use the self-driving feature only on long drives?
We always talk about the end of Twitter. Is this the end? I don’t think Twitter will ever reach the levels of Vine. It’s never going to be shut down in my opinion. Even if it isn’t making inroads like Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat, it serves a unique purpose. It gives people the opportunity to share news or opinions in real time. Facebook and Instagram both have timelines based on your interests and what you will be most interested in. Many public figures and celebrities use Twitter as their way to voice opinions or talk to fan. (See our President-elect’s Twitters rants about the perils of SNL because that is hitting news and important stuff.) Bottom line: I don’t think it’s going away but it’s value won’t be increasing any time soon.
Snap Inc. valued their company at $25 billion which is even larger than Facebook’s. Will Snapchat really ever surpass Facebook? I don’t think so. I think Snapchat’s ability to sell ads on their platform is much more limited than Facebook’s. I don’t know how what other function they could add to their product to make it more appealing to advertisers. What will they do in the future? Will these glasses be a success?
Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality
Sometimes we forget that Snapchats filters are actually forms of augmented reality. They transform what’s in front of the camera to create interesting new content. Their use of it has definitely increased usership because it’s fun. Although I think the world’s Pokemon GO phase has largely passed, it showed a great way to create new products that people are interested in. Advertisers are using it to create a brand experience at a time where brand is one of the most important things to a customer. I feel like VR and AR will be one of those fields where innovations are going to be made that I could never have predicted and my mind will be blown by.
Whatever it be, I don’t think we will ever have enough knowledge to fully predict the future. Like we learned, you can’t predict virality or what’s going to be popular. We’ll just have to wait and see.
BUT Back to the Future did predict the Cubs winning the world series even if it was one year off!