What would Back to the Future look like if it were made today, in a world where video calling, biometrics and hoverboards already exist?
If Marty McFly were living in 2015 and travelled 30 years into the future – the year 2045 – would our smartphones be embedded right into our bodies? Or worse, would the robots have taken over?
In celebration of Back to the Future Day – which marks the date that Marty McFly, Doc Brown and Jennifer Parker journeyed from 1985 to 2015 in the sci-fi film trilogy’s second installment – Global News spoke with futurist Jim Carroll to discuss what the world might look like 30 years from today.
Cash will be long gone
“Control of the speed of innovation in the banking industry is shifting from banks to companies like Apple, Facebook, Google and PayPal,” Carroll told Global News. “With things like Apple Pay, our cellphone is becoming our credit card.”
But this transition isn’t that far off. In fact, Carroll predicts that within five years consumers will be making most of their financial transactions via their mobile devices.
“I think the inevitable conclusion is that cash will eventually disappear. It will be something from the olden days,” he said. “Cash is going to join that list of things like 35mm film that we don’t use anymore.”
TVs will only exist in museums
“This idea of having a physical device in the room – that we all have to position ourselves in a certain spot to watch it – is going to disappear. Who knows what type of projection capabilities are going to emerge,” Carroll said, who pointed out that mobile devices have already drastically changed the way we watch video content.
“Think about the way we are watching video now – and then think about the opportunity for holographic or other forms of beaming video anywhere in the house.”
You might never set foot in a doctor’s office again
“The concept of a hospital as a physical place you visit is going to disappear. The need for me to visit my doctor for routine blood tests, or blood pressure test, is going to disappear,” he said.
“We are already seeing the emergence of all of these medically connected devices. Just go into an Apple Store – there are scales that transmit your weight and BMI to a password-protected website. There are already iPhone-connected blood pressure cuffs, little prick devices that will test your blood glucose levels.”
Carroll said he expects the connected medical devices field to be one of the fastest growing industries in future tech.
He also predicts that it will be commonplace for people to swallow electronic pills that will automatically send medical information to doctors.
But the idea isn’t far-fetched – many companies, including Google, are already experimenting with that type of technology.
Still in the experimental stage, the pill is packed with tiny magnetic particles, which can travel through a patient’s bloodstream, search for malignant cells and report their findings to a sensor on a wearable device. As many as 2,000 of these microscopic “nanoparticles” could fit inside a single red blood cell to provide doctors with better insights about what is happening inside their patients.
In Back to the Future, everyone gets around in flying cars. Of course, we are nowhere close to having skies filled with sedans in 2015, but could we finally see “skyways” in 2045?
Carroll isn’t ruling it out.
“I don’t think it would be anything like The Jetsons, but think about how quickly drones are evolving and combine that with autonomous vehicle technology,” he said.
…And much more
“My kids are 22 and 20 and I don’t think I really understand their world. I think they live in a world that is entirely different than I did,” said Carroll.
“I think that’s the biggest trend – this next generation has never known a world without the Internet and I think they are going to change the world in absolutely stupendous ways.”