Where are we?
When are we?
We are descending towards Hill Valley, California on Wednesday, October 21st, 2015.
Well, here we are. Great Scott! Is that really what we thought the future was going to be like??? Twenty-six years ago, Back to the Future Part 2 (BttF II) promised me there would be flying cars with garbage-fueled fusion engines, self-adjusting clothes, power-laced shoes, rehydratable pizzas, hoverboards, and a swift justice system that had abolished all lawyers… Hello, McFly! Anybody home?
I was just rewatching Back to the Future Part 2—for research, I swear. Some of the wild technology predictions for 2015 were pretty humorous while some of them were pretty close to the mark. The tech that was missing struck me as far more significant than the tech they got wrong. Though, I am certainly happy that inside-out pants, the Cubs sweeping the MLB World Series, and head-to-toe spandex outfits were false promises.
Hindsight easily makes things seem more like obvious technological evolutions and progressions than they actually were. I am fairly certain that the iPhone I can no longer function without would have blown my mind back then. In 1989, I was learning how to type on one of these bad boys!
An IBM Selectric did sound a bit like a flux capacitor charging when you turned it on. Maybe they were on to something, but that is a different blog.
Tech isn’t the only thing that seems to have matured over the last 26 years. I had a personal revelation upon rewatching BttF II. Apparently, “1989 me” was completely oblivious to blatant product placements. I am looking at you Pepsi, USA Today, Mattel, AT&T, Texaco, Nike, JVC, Nintendo, Black & Decker, Western Union, and DeLorean Motor Company ()!
After thinking about why the missing tech seemed so significant, I noticed they had some similarities. They all stemmed from world-changing technologies. These are the technologies and trends that epitomize the classification of “disruptive technologies.”
Back to the Future Part II
The Present Reality
|Pay phones everywhere||Mobile phones|
|Unhealthy obsession with paper
|Everything was so “big”||Moore’s law came true|
|People interacting verbally and making eye contact||Social media
|Generic and untargeted advertising||Big Data|
|Regular people were trusted flying cars!!! (As a New Yorker, the thought of taxi drivers being given the ability to fly about is absolutely terrifying.)||IoT
They all also happen to be one of the Nexus of Forces or a pillar of the digital business. Talk about being onto something! Now I am looking at you, Gartner!
Since most businesses are at the beginning of their journey to become a digital business, the changes we are currently experiencing from these technologies are just the beginning! As I pointed out in a recent blog, becoming a digital business doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a process—a process that will take many years, which I think begs the question… what can we expect in 2041? I am sure in 26 years our current assumptions might prove to be just entertaining to reflect on. What BttF II has taught me is the only thing we can expect and prepare for is the unexpected and change itself.